Letter from home telling about the Dedication of Highway 61

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Letter from home telling about the Dedication of Highway 61

Postby Soapweed » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:19 pm


Copied by Steve Moreland, February 4, 2018

During the fall of 1971, I was working on an elk hunting camp in the Teton Wilderness Area of northwestern Wyoming. I was horseback every day, with my job being that of a mule packer for L.D. Frome, Outfitter. Our base camp was at the mouth of Box Creek on Turpin Meadow, and the first hunting camp was at the foot of Hawk’s Rest 28 miles to the north. Our second camp was 25 miles further on by way of the Thorofare River, and located on Pass Creek, near the Ishawooa Cone. This area is furthest from any roads of any location in the lower continental 48 states. Any mail was quite welcome, as a diversion to our Spartan lifestyle. Here is a letter that was received during this time, from my mother, Elaine Moreland.

The letter was written and mailed on October 4th, 1971.

Monday a.m.

Dear Steve,

Seems like I’ve been thinking about you all morning so I’ll write a little note while Nancy Jean [my youngest sister, age 5] sleeps. It’s 9:20 but she is tired today.

Yesterday was the big dedication of Highway 61. [This was a 67 mile stretch of blacktop between Merriman and Hyannis that had been completed during the summer of 1971. The two towns had been quite isolated from each other because it was mostly all Sandhills two-track trail roads connecting the two towns before this highway was constructed.] They planned for 1,000 people, and the radio said this morning that 1,800 were there. We were a little late for the opening remarks and band playing. Church was out in good time, but it takes a while to get down there. We had communion, too, but the preacher just talked faster.

We stood in line for two hours to get our free barbeque, but there was plenty of meat. Then we were lucky to get potato salad and beans and a spoon to eat with. Some had to use a plastic knife. Gordon Chamber of Commerce furnished free beer. Stub Hinton was laid out cold at the end of the day. He fell off the bench onto the ground. Dr. Bunner was true to form. Rammed his pickup into Jim Gray’s car. Jim, Wilma, and Mrs. McCray were in it. It was parked near the hangar where they served the food. Two lines of food, but it had to merge into one for coffee, catsup, etc. We talked for quite a while and then went on to Jack Cobb’s. She had another supper, sandwiches and other food. Very good, but we had only eaten at 3:30. It was about 9:30 when we got home.

Everyone was tired this morning. Bob just left to go down south. Had troubles with getting his bulls fed. He went to a sale by Rapid City—neighbors of Bruce and Bonnie Weber. He bought 10 cows with calves and 17 bulls to speculate on—one to keep. He and Snyd [Ronald Snyder] went up late Friday afternoon to get them. Got home about 1 a.m.

Saturday was so windy and nasty. Bob and Sandra went to Leach place, but were home by noon. In evening we all went to Cody church supper.

Zack Ward was telling Joy C. [Fairhead] about you riding in with the field glasses. I think they were quite happy to get them back. [I had found some nice high dollar Bausch and Lomb field glasses along a wilderness trail in Wyoming. There was a label that said “Paul Nelson, Martin,” but there was no state listed. I carried them with me for a few days and rode into a couple other hunting camps trying to find the owner. It turned out that Zach Ward from Martin, South Dakota had borrowed the binoculars from Paul Nelson for his hunting trip. Paul owned and operated the Inland Theater in Martin, and he insisted that I not pay for several times after that when I would go to the movie. All is well that ends well.]

Don Chappell told us a fellow from Indiana had asked about you. He was one of the hunters going home. [Don Chappell owned and operated the Standard Station in Merriman. He always carried change for a thousand dollars in his billfold. One time a guy filled up with gas, and all he had to pay was a thousand dollar bill. Don let him off, but he learned a lesson. Of course, he probably never again had opportunity to make change for a thousand dollar bill.]

Better take care of Nancy Jean. Getting anxious to see you. Bob heard on radio they would only be taking numbers through 125. Just your luck. [My draft card lottery number was 119. Military obligation was looming on the horizon for me.]

Be good,

Love, Mom and all

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Re: Letter from home telling about the Dedication of Highway 61

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:11 pm

Mom's wrote the best letters.

I always looked forward to getting mail while at college, sure different with email and cell phones.
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