Happy Father’s Day

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Blessed are we that have Montana Dads! I am so lucky to have Harold Donaldson—salt o’ the earth Central Montana wheat farmer—for my dad.

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Photography Courtesy of The Donaldson Family

Thank you, Daddy, for raising me in the heartland of Montana surrounded by multiple generations of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Thank you for teaching me the value of wide-open spaces, for encouraging me to get dirt under my fingernails, and for working so hard from sunrise to sunset for our family.

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I had such a happy childhood. I remember stepping into your worn-out Redwings when they came up to my knees. Your hands are still as big and weathered from hard work as ever. When you’d come in from the field, your face would be tan and black with dirt, but your forehead always neon white. In the late evening, I loved sitting in the bay window watching for the trail of dust your red ’67 Ford pickup would kick up…Mom would be in the kitchen…the house smelled like dinner, and it meant you were done for the night.

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I always smile when I hear the story of you plowing the field in front of our house when I was a newborn baby, stopping each round to come in and marvel at your newborn bundle…getting me so dirty Mom would have to change my clothes several times a day.

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All through grade school and high school, I loved sitting in the school cafeteria at lunch and being able to looking up on the wall to see Grandma Donaldson’s graduating class, and your senior picture—in the class of 1952—smiling down at me. I felt like you were both watching over me, keeping me safe.

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I am so grateful you and Mom raised me in Denton where—even though it grated on me in high school—all of Fergus County keeps a watchful eye on its youth. I’m thankful for all the Sunday drives and countless road trips we took across Montana in the white ’74 Oldsmobile…KMON on the AM radio. Trips to Virginia City…the Dry Falls of the Missouri and the PN Ferry…lunch in Square Butte…camping trips up Hay Canyon. You’ve rarely traveled beyond The Big Sky, but you know this state like the back of your hand. Thank you for infusing me with your insatiable curiosity and love for Montana.

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And especially, THANK YOU for being such a wonderful grandfather—for instilling your values and sharing your local knowledge and love for “The Last Best Place” with your three grandchildren. (There’s more than a little Harold Donaldson in all three of them!) I thank you and Mom for your love and support and for showing me all the beauty, good food and and fun in my own backyard. Happy Father’s Day. We love you so much!

2 Comments

  • kravikga@aol.com' Gayle Kravik Blair says:

    Hi, Lynn
    I met you several years ago at your Mom and Dad’s ranch when I was in Lewistown for my 40th high school reunion. Your Grandma and my Mom (Annabelle Smith Kravik) were best friends as they were growing up in Lewistown. My half-sister, Sandy went to school with your parents. I just happened to get your website address by reading literature on MT. I’m retired and living in Tucson but am still a MT girl (check for straw in my hair); hope to get to Lewistown this summer for a visit. I realize after living in Phoenix, Denver, San Francisco & Tucson, the gem that is central MT. Gayle

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Gayle,

    How wonderful to hear from you! Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember meeting you. I certainly remember how very fond my Grandmother was of your mom. (I’m sure you know my mother’s sister, Lila, has Annabelle for a middle name.) I remember seeing many, many black & white snapshots of Annabelle and my grandmother as girls and (as a child) thinking it strange how close people could be when young, and then never get to see each other again. (A pre-Facebook world before we could be in constant, real-time touch!)

    I love Tucson and get there about every other January. (My husband has regional meetings every other year at the Star Pass Resort.) Maybe next time we can get together? Email me at lynn@lynndonaldson.com and let me know when you’ll be in Central MT. Maybe we can meet then. We’ll be up for Fair Week in July. Also, I am certain my mom and dad would love to see you if you have time. Are you staying with relatives, or at the Simms-Wicks House or The Calvert? Or renting Nickie Edward’s cool place? Email me and we can catch up.

    Loved your comment about straw in your hair. I am constantly pulling it out of mine! So glad you found my blog and commented. Let’s stay in touch. Are you on Facebook? Find me…I’m lynn_donaldson on Instagram. Traveling around MT right now for Nat Geo Travel & Instagramming up a storm…absolutely loving life and “work”! Thanks again for commenting.

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