Montana Stories

( 7 )

Overview

When Hank leaves South Dakota for Montana, he carries a heavy heart and some dark secrets; all of his belongings fill just one small suitcase. A country boy who doesn't speak the King's English, he's willing to work hard and keep his head down.

He finds that opportunity as a flatland ranch hand helping Russell and Lora with the chores and their cattle in the Missouri Breaks in eastern Montana. The family provides him with work, renewed faith, and a respite from his troubled ...

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Montana Stories

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Overview

When Hank leaves South Dakota for Montana, he carries a heavy heart and some dark secrets; all of his belongings fill just one small suitcase. A country boy who doesn't speak the King's English, he's willing to work hard and keep his head down.

He finds that opportunity as a flatland ranch hand helping Russell and Lora with the chores and their cattle in the Missouri Breaks in eastern Montana. The family provides him with work, renewed faith, and a respite from his troubled past. They introduce him to Eileen, a beautiful, confident red-head. Their courtship revolves around working the land and the ranch, as well as truly learning what it means to be a family under the grace of God.

MONTANA STORIES tells a fictional story of the joys and sorrows of the seasons of ranching, cattle drives, hard work, a clean life, and good morals.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462060276
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/4/2011
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 1,186,833
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Montana Stories


By Tim Dailey

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Tim Dailey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-6025-2


Chapter One

The Montana Man

The far off sun was bright and the northwest wind was starting to blow as the first snowstorm of winter was blowing itself out. Hank could see his breath in the frosty morning air as he gazed across the windswept prairie. He put his suitcase into the bed of his friend's pickup. I'm 26 years old and about all I own is in this suitcase ... and in my old pickup, he thought; it's time to move on.

He was going across North Dakota with his friend, Frank. Frank was going to call two square dances: one in Minot and the other in Williston. Then they'd go on to Plentywood, Montana for a horse sale. Frank farmed and ranched and was looking to buy more brood mares.

There was a light skiff of snow blowing across the road and the farther north they went the more slippery the snow packed roads became.

After calling the first dance, they headed for Williston; there was less than an hour before the dance was scheduled to start there. The hall was filling up as they moved the sound equipment into the dance hall. Some of the dancers came over and asked if they could help with the setup. One of them asked about the condition of the roads?

"It was like ice skating in a pickup," Frank replied.

The following morning they started for Plentywood. The sky cleared and after a few miles the ice and snow started to melt. Antelope herds and a few white tailed deer were grazing on the winter wheat fields along the roads. They arrived after several hours, just a few minutes before the sale started. They had only a few moments to look over the horses.

Hank went and sat in the bleachers once the sale started. He introduced himself to the rancher next to him named Russell. Russell was a thin willowy man who stood five feet, eight inches tall and weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds. His wrinkled face showed his more than fifty years in the saddle on the Missouri Breaks. They talked for a few minutes and he turned and introduced Frank to Russell.

"I have brood mares for sale and it really isn't far out of your way. Why don't you stop at my ranch on your way home?"

They agreed and after the auction, stopped at several other ranches on the way to Russell's place. They looked but didn't buy any horses.

Before arriving at Russell's, they stopped and had supper, then went to the motel to get a room. After checking in, Frank asked if he could use the phone to let Russell know that he and Hank were on their way.

"Don't rent that cabin. Save that money for whiskey. I have plenty of rooms out here," Russell said.

"I have already paid the man for the rooms," Frank replied.

"Hand the phone to the manager."

The manager said into the receiver, "I will be happy to." He hung up the phone and handed the money back to Frank.

"What kind of whiskey does Russell like?" Frank asked the manager.

They left and stopped at the liquor store and brought a bottle of Ten High and drove to the ranch. Hank soon learned that here in Big Sky country, Russell's "not far out of your way," meant less than two hundred miles.

The next morning they looked at some of Russell's mares and Frank agreed to buy several of them.

"I got more mares near Circle, Montana," Russell said.

"Sorry," Hank said, "I've got be getting' back." He was too embarrassed to tell Russell had to be back in town for a court hearing.

"We'll look at the other mares next week," Frank assured Russell.

The following week he and four others started back to Montana with two pickups and horse trailers. They hit a snow storm in western North Dakota and the roads got very bad, there were times they couldn't see fifty feet in front of them because of the white outs.

"It's like driving in a cloud," Frank said, "all you see an in any direction is white."

The forty miles per hour headwind made it difficult to move forward and from time-to-time they found themselves driving on black.

Frank thought it was best to pull over at the next fuel stop. When he got out he saw a black and white angora cat huddling next to one of the fuel pumps.

"Nice cat you to there," Frank said as the paid the manager for filling up both pickup trucks.

The manager said, "If you like the cat, take him."

He thanked the manger, telling him he would give the cat to his children.

He climbed into the pickup with cat. His ranch hand Steve was in the passenger's seat. When they pulled back onto the road Steve said, "Do we have to have the cat in the cab with us? I'm allergic to cats."

Frank pulled off the road. Hank, who was driving the second pickup, pulled over behind Frank not knowing what caused him to stop so soon after leaving the gas station. He watched Frank put the cat into the tack box on the trailer.

The trip was very slow and it was late when they arrived at Russell's. The next morning Hank got out of bed and went downstairs to the smell of coffee. He stepped out to check on the cat, but it wasn't in the trailer. He saw Russell over in the corral and went over to give him a hand with the horses. He asked Russell about the cat.

Russell said, "Frank let the cat out and it went into the barn," Russell replied. But when they were ready to leave Montana, the cat was nowhere to be found.

The blizzard they have arrived with continued in the Missouri Breaks and they didn't leave Russell's home the rest of the day.

After breakfast the following day Russell took them to a friend's ranch to look at horses. On day three they met Harold, an old friend of Russell's, then went to Russell's other pastures near Circle, Montana.

After driving for over an, hour Russell pulled over to the shoulder. He got out, pulled a pouch from his pocked and rolled a cigarette from the can of Price Albert tobacco.

Hank walked up to his pickup and asked, "How much further is it to the mares?"

Russell replied, "Just over there and he pointed off to the southwest."

He asked again, "How many miles from here to the mares?"

Russell put his hand on his chin and said, "I would say close to thirty miles from here."

When they arrived Harold unloaded his horse from the trailer Russell had been pulling and rounded up the mares. After looking over the mares, they loaded the ones Frank wanted to buy and spent one last night at the ranch. Hank commented that he wasn't in a hurry to go south.

Russell said, "If you want some place to spend the winter, come back here."

Hank had a bad break with his ex-wife and was looking to move on. He remembered what his father had told him a few months earlier, "Son always keep the faith, when this is over that maybe all you have left. Hank returned to Montana a few days later.

Russell appreciated Hank's willingness to work hard and keep up with the numerous chores. It was the dead of winter and the weather was about to get bad again. Storm warnings were out for the Missouri Breaks. They went to town to stock up on groceries. Russell usually didn't like going to town during the week, but he had several checks he needed to put in the bank.

On the way home, Russell drove nine miles past his ranch house to the Macintyre Ranch and introduced Hank to Grandpa (Lee Macintyre). Grandpa was on the top side of eighty years old, five feet seven inches tall, around one hundred fifty pounds and as tough as wire rope. His face was the color of reddish tan leather, with lines and cracks in it, a man who had spent his life in the sun, rain, wind and weather. He said, "Call me Grandpa." The only person in the country that called him Lee was Russell.

Hank shook hands with the man and noticed a woman approaching Lee from behind. Grandpa turned and said, "This is my daughter-in- law, Nora."

She was a beautiful woman with auburn hair down to her shoulders, but youth had left her face, replaced with lines of sorrow and grief. When she smiled and spoke the love and kindness from her voice filled the driveway. She extended her hand and said, "Welcome to our home and family. (Little did she know just how much a part of her family Hank was to become.)

Hank took her hand; she had a strong handshake. They were the hands of a woman who had changed many diapers, dressed many children, scrubbed, cooked and cleaned. He noticed they were the hands of a mother. He replied, "I'm happy to meet you."

She and Grandpa lived on the home ranch with her three red-headed daughters, Eileen, who was twenty-eight, Ida Kay, eighteen, a senior in high school, and Rose Marie, sixteen years old. Her husband had been killed in a truck wreck a few years earlier. The two younger girls were in school that day.

They all went inside the house and gathered around the kitchen table.

Grandpa asked, "Where are you from?"

Hank replied, "Eastern South Dakota."

"So you're Russell's new cowboy that I've heard so much about?"

"No, sir, I'm a ranch hand. Russell told me that he didn't hire any eight second cowboys, and if that was what I planned on doing, then I shouldn't unpack my gear."

Grandpa chuckled at that, saying, "You're a flat land cow hand then. Well son, you will find ranching up in the Breaks a little different."

A few weeks later Hank was to experience that for himself.

Nora brought them coffee, toast and soft boiled eggs. He was having trouble with his egg when Nora said, "I can see you have never had soft boiled eggs, hand it to me." She showed Him how to open a soft-boiled egg without making a big mess.

As he scooped the runny yolk from its shell, Eileen came flowing into the room. His heart about jumped out of his chest, and he hoped he could talk without making a fool of himself. She wore a long off white cotton dress almost down to her ankles with red and blue flowers on it and buttons down the front. She had on ankle socks but no shoes. Her long red hair was in two pigtails down her back. Her green eyes sparkled above her little button nose, beautiful lips, strong chin, and slim neck. She didn't weigh a hundred pounds, but she was a confident woman.

Hank realized her had seen this woman before. He recognized her from church. He arrived back in Montana on a Saturday and had gone to church with Russell the next morning. He noticed them when they came in and took their seats three pews ahead of him, just to his left.

"I have to meet that red headed angel, she is drop dead gorgeous and no bigger than a whisper," he whispered to Russell.

She was the shortest of the three girls; the youngest was the tallest and kept looking back at him, checking out the new man in church. When they made eye contact, He winked at her and she jerked her head around. Eileen thumped her on her ear and looked back toward him. But he was looking straight ahead. He had another surprise when he heard them sing. They had the voices of angels.

Mother introduced Hank to Eileen who asked, "Where did Russell find you?"

He replied, "In a storm over northwest of Circle, Montana. I was walking down the road when he came along and asked, 'Where are you going?' I said, "'I'm not sure.'"

She appeared charmed by his story, aware but undisturbed by his embellishments.

"It was a cool clear night on the flat lands when I heard this Red Headed Angel singing, and the next thing I knew I was in Montana. About that time Russell came along and said, 'Get in, I know where she lives.'"

Everyone laughed and Mrs. Macintyre said, "You're Irish alright and you've kissed the Blarney Stone."

Hank blushed, then took Nora's hand and thanked her for the food and the lesson on eating soft-boiled eggs. He turned to Eileen and said, "I'm sure glad I got to meet you." He took her hands in his and winked at her.

Holding His hand Eileen said, "Mother, now I remember this guy. He's the one that winked at Rose in church and got her in trouble." She continued, "If you wink in church again you better have something in your eye." She smiled and winked at him.

He was on cloud nine as he went to the pickup. Nora hollered, "Sonny, you sit with us in church this Sunday."

He replied, "Yes, Mother Mac." And from then on that is what they called each other.

Later that winter, while Russell was at the winter stock show in Billings, Hank noticed that some of the brood mares were missing as he did his morning chores. A few days before going to the stock show Russell had given a neighbor permission to trap mink on the springs west of the horse pasture. Hank thought that the trapper might have left the gate open on the west end of that pasture and let the mares out.

He completed his chores and loaded the roan horse into the trailer behind the power wagon and went a mile south, then seven miles west and into the horse pasture. About two miles in he saw the mares.

He stopped on a hill, unloaded and saddled the roan. The mares were west of him and it was just starting to snow. They were the little bunch that Russell had bought from the Lazy A before Harold went to Australia. Russell always said, "They had such clean little muzzles they could drink out of a tea cup.

Hank gathered the mares and drove them through the gate on the west side of the horse pasture and into the brood mare pasture where they belonged. By that time, it was snowing so hard that he couldn't see the pickup and the wind was intensifying. He thought to himself, I shouldn't be out here! It's about to get nasty.

He closed the gate with his horse on the east side and headed for the ranch. He would just have to leave the pickup behind for now. A mile down the fence he came to a correction line where two hundred head of Macintyre's cows were up against the corner. He remembered Russell telling him that they had lost cattle when they bunched up and smothered next to a fence in a heavy snowstorm. He stepped off the roan, but held onto the reins; then he cut the wires on the fence next to five posts and let the cattle go through.

He stepped back up on his roan horse and tied the reins together at the ends and dropped them on the horse's neck saying, "Take me home, I can't see anything in this storm." Russell had warned him, "If you ever get caught in a storm let the horse bring you home."

Three hours later, the old roan brought him safely to the barn. He put the roan in the barn with a little extra oats and a lot of hay for a job well done. He went in the house and called the Macintyre's; a lady answered the phone. He said, "Mrs. Macintyre is Grandpa there?"

The lady replied, "This is Eileen. How are you Hank?"

"I'm great now, but I was in a bit of a storm earlier today. How did you know it was me calling?"

"I know your voice," she said.

He replied, "This is the first time I've talked to you on the phone."

"Whose fault is that?" she quipped.

Her reply left him speechless.

I will get Grandpa," she laughed.

When Grandpa came to the phone, Hank told him that he had cut the fence and let about two hundred head of their cows onto Russell's horse pasture.

"When did you do that?" Grandpa asked.

"About four hours ago," Hank replied.

Although he was grateful, he said to Hank, "Just what the Hell were you doing out in this storm?"

"That's a long story," Hank replied, but when this storm is over, will you take me to get the power wagon? It is about seven miles west of the horse pasture on a hill."

"I'll call you sometime tomorrow," Grandpa said, "but stay in the house."

Russell returned from Billings and after hearing about Hank's troubles he said, "You are very lucky," and he told him about the storm of the winter of 1948.

Back then he fed his cows with two teams of horses; each pulled a hayrack. Russell would load both racks with hay and drive one team while the other team followed. He would drive down to the flat that opened out in front of the big canyon where he wintered the mares now and unload one hayrack and then the other.

On this particular morning the sky was as dark as the devil's soul off to the northwest and the clouds were rolling overhead. When he reached the bottom Russell turned to the west, got down and started to unload hay when the storm hit. The wind was blowing the wet snow so hard he couldn't see. He turned the team back toward the barn and lay down in the hayrack. Instinctively, the team took him back to the barn and the other team followed.

Relieved to make it home safely, Russell put the horses up, made sure they had plenty of oats and hay and went to the house to ride out the storm. The storm blew out two days later and when he ventured out to the pasture, he discovered ten or eleven dead cattle that had smothered and froze out on the flat before they could get back into the canyon.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Montana Stories by Tim Dailey Copyright © 2011 by Tim Dailey. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

The Montana Man....................1
Out to Pasture....................11
Old Buck....................15
The Yellow Horse....................24
The Drive....................31
Gisselbeck....................36
The Kisses....................39
Grandpa's Homestead....................42
Spring Planting....................46
Oat Hay....................51
The Race....................58
Fall Roundup....................67
Hancock and the Broken Leg....................75
The Reunion....................83
April Showers....................90
A Little Fight....................95
Hank's Scare....................100
Gathering the Bulls....................109
The New Straw Hat....................117
Danged ole' Truck....................122
Thanksgiving....................130
Christmas....................145
The Blue Dress....................155
Happiness Died....................162
The Sad Days....................167
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    You won't be able to put this book down

    I loved the book, It was like sitting on a porch swing and listining to Tim tell his stories. An old friend of the author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2012

    This will take you back to a beautiful place and time.

    The author puts you in Montana and incorporates you in to the story. You will be able to see the people and the beautiful country of eastern Montana . The people, the values and love of a good christen family life.

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  • Posted January 21, 2012

    Superbly Consuming!

    Wow! This is a book to take you away and into another world, much like a Calgon bath or a really, really fresh cool Mango... or chocolate. Its like a walk on the beach, in giving the reader a sense of being where it matters, a sense of being drawn away from one's self and trivial matters into the realm of Ahhh!
    This is the escape to . . . well to Montana and all things good.

    Bravo Bravo Bravo
    Can't wait to read more!

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    A great story. I couldn't put the book down, had to get to the end.

    It was a great story. I laughed with it and cried with it. Would love to read about what happened next in his life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Hard to put this one down!

    I can still hear the characters in my head. This fantastic book about a young man finding himself in Montana made me laugh and cry. There are not many books like this one available - honest, hardworking, Christian,simple folks.

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  • Posted January 10, 2012

    A must read for thoses who like to read about country life and love.

    This is a book that will bring back memories to those of us who love the land, its people, and the path that one man took early in his life to find adventure and define what love and Christian values are about. I would like to read another companion book that tells the rest of the story of this country boy.

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  • Posted January 7, 2012

    Highly Recommend..awesome love story

    The author paints a beautiful picture of the land and life of Montana. I fell in love with the characters. I laughed with them, I cheered them on, I cried with them. This book shows a courtship of yesteryear and good Christian values. It is a good read for any age. I would highly recommend it.

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