Sounds a bit like McDonald County, no? Well today I’d like to share with you a trip of a lifetime as my sister, Barbara, and I visited our Uncle Carl.
William Carl Spears was born in 1922 and raised in McDonald County but he now lives on Missouri Flat Road in Grants Pass Oregon. We traveled via Amtrak, from Kansas City, southern route, to Los Angeles where we changed trains and went up the Pacific Coast – changing to a bus to Grants Pass, and enjoyed two wonderful days with Uncle Carl and aunt Linda, after which we boarded Amtrak again, out of Portland, Ore., enjoyed breath-taking scenery along the Canadian/U. S. Border to Chicago and back down to Kansas City.
Carl and Linda enjoy magnificent views of mountains and grape vineyards from their deck, shared their dogs and horses and delighted us with a short walk behind their home into a wooded glade to an old swinging bridge. Wonderful, healthy air, comparable to what we have here in McDonald County, quiet country walks, and breakfasts by Linda that would be more than enough for a ranch hand, and that included grilled t-bone, sautéed zucchini and fried green tomatoes. Firm, ripe grapes from the vines, produce from their big garden, home-raised beef, and fabulous company.
Having spent his lifetime in construction, owning and operating big equipment, Carl could share the Grants Pass he helped settle many years ago and the changes that have taken place in the last 35-plus years. My sister and I hardly knew what to expect as we traveled west in our country, as we heard news stories describing forest fires and stories of violence from the big cities of Los Angeles, Portland, and Chicago Ill., but we were encouraged at the still beautiful and wonderful country that we live in. We watched a full moon come up over the mountains from Carl and Linda’s deck, we witnessed spectacular scenery from the beautiful Cascade Mountains, breathtaking views of autumn as we passed the Kalispell and Flathead Lakes at Whitefish, traveled through Glacier Park, and Browning, the headquarters of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, and followed the path taken by the early explorer Meriwether Lewis in his search for a pass through the Rockies.
Our imagination leaped as we passed through Wolfpoint, a town that memoralizes a major frontier-era role of wolf trapping and trading and had difficulty with the vision that became a reality creating the trail for the rails along the sides of the steep mountains. Awesome was the Big Sky country on a clear, cloudless day, past the Twin Cities to North Dakota to the sights and mayhem we experienced at Chicago’s train depot. It is true you have to leave it to appreciate your hometown and we were ever so glad to find our way back to McDonald County. We were reassured at the wonderful, interesting people we encountered. The helpful young men who are employed by Amtrak to make our trip one of comfort and pleasure.
Page 2 of 2 - It is good to get back into a familiar routine and we would like to reassure you that while history is being made today, you might want to review the history we share in McDonald County at the McDonald County Historical Museum at 302 Harmon Street in Pineville. Volunteers attempt to keep the doors open, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, do stop by or check out recent progress at email@example.com.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.