Big Sky miscellany

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Hey! Antelope! Antelope up close!

I drove through western Montana, northeast Wyoming, and into South Dakota yesterday. By the time I arrived in South Dakota, both deer and antelope had already stopped being such a novelty — they roam everywhere. It’s like the song says:

Rye, rye, rocco.
Marco Esquandolas.
Bid you to have any spike, man?
Run, run, run, run
Run, run, run, run
Run, run, run, run
Run, run, run, run
Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul.
You’ve got to run like an antelope: out of control.

Obviously that is “Run Like an Antelope,” the classic hymn of the American west by the band Phish. I’m not sure what you were expecting.

Here are some other photos from the last two days of driving:

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This is what Montana looks like.

This is where Custer last stood.

This is where Custer last stood.

Custer National Cemetery

Custer National Cemetery

This is the grave of Cpl. John Noonan, who was working in a nearby depot during the Battle of Little Bighorn. He was married to a laundress who had been previously married to a succession of soldiers. In the summer of 1878, while Noonan was out of town, his wife died. While her body was being prepared for burial, it was discovered that she was biologically male. The news was so shocking to Noonan, and he was mocked so mercilessly, that he shot himself.

This is the grave of Cpl. John Noonan, who was working in a nearby depot during the Battle of Little Bighorn. He was married to a laundress who had been previously married to a succession of soldiers. In the summer of 1878, while Noonan was out of town, his wife died. While her body was being prepared for burial, it was discovered that she was biologically male. The news was so shocking to Noonan, and he was mocked so mercilessly, that he shot himself.

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6 responses to “Big Sky miscellany

  1. Hi Ruth-
    LOVE-L-O-V-E your blog!
    Thank you for providing me the virtual vacation that I’ve yet to take this year. I grew up 70 miles east of the Little Big Horn Battle Field…and yes, that’s exactly what “Eastern” Montana looks like- this is a snapshot of my chilldhood days.

  2. Montana. Wow, that’s a HUGE sky!!

  3. RUTH….I AM GOING TO SEND YOU A POEM I WROTE ABOUT A YEAR AGO…….IT IS ABOUT CUSTER AND HIS LAST RIDE

  4. well, i’m obviously going to spend the next hour reading everything i can about john noonan and wife.

  5. It’s that “previously married to a succession of soldiers” part that REALLY baffles me.

  6. One of the eeriest experiences of my life was traveling out west with Ellen, listening to a succession of audiobooks over 5,000 miles of road to the west coast and back to Chicago. We happened to select University of Illinois historian Dee Brown’s book “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” about the fate of numerous Native tribes interacting with white culture, for our traveling companion at one point (he also wrote “Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow, about railroad construction in the West–another excellent read). The really eerie part was that, as we drove, we listened to many stories of betrayal, massacre, etc. and as we happened to enter the Wounded Knee battlefield, we happened also, quite the accident of timing, to be listening to the part of the book about Custer. As we crawled along the battlefield scenery on the Greasy Grass Hills, we felt chills as the narrator described the terrible battle. We were looking across the graves in your photo as the book described the desperate last stand and the (justified?) assault by the enraged tribe. We drove away and turned off the book, traveling many, many miles in silence.

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