The United States of America. Land of the free, home of the brave. This is where I am blessed to live. I was born and raised on cattle and horse ranches. I lived a simple country life. It was a life learning to admire the beauty, grandeur, and awesome peacefulness of God’s creative hand.
We didn’t grow up admiring beautiful skyscrapers built by the hand of man. We grew up admiring majestic mountains created by the hand of God himself. We weren’t privileged to visit neighborhood museums where we could be awed by paintings of world renown artists. We were awed by the beauty of creeks, and rivers rushing over rocks, soothing us with stress relieving sounds more beautiful than any orchestra. We didn’t admire paintings of flowers, we were awed by wildflowers growing on a mountainside or prairie. We had the real thing. God said of flowers in the field, ” Even Solomon in all his glory, was not dressed like one of these!”
I was raised to love nature. I was raised to love the country, and the nation in which I lived. I was taught to admire our flag. It is not the physical flag itself that I honor, but what it stands for.
Today is our son’s birthday. He is 45. I don’t know how that happened so quickly. He is a grown man with a family of his own. Two of his children are grown and on their own. The other two will be a freshman and junior in high school this coming fall.
I have watched them all grow. It seemed to be a gradual sort of thing at the time. But now….our son is 45! And it seems that happened overnight!
In the picture above he was about a year old. He was such a blessing to us! He made my husband and I a family. His name is Dustin, but back then we called him Dusty. What a bubbly, mischievous little guy he was! Come to think of it…he still is!
Today I am looking back on your journey of youth, Dusty. I am looking back to your first day of school, and how torn I was to turn you over to “the world” where I could not watch over you every second. Your toothless little smile was filled with excitement. Mine was filled with pride, hope, and fear.
I am remembering your first bike, your first pony, and your first 4-H year. Blacky (your ewe) was with you almost through high school. She moved with us from Nevada to Montana.
4-H was a big part of your youth and one of the highlights was winning Reserve Champion with your steer! The Elko County 4-H Fair….what wonderful memories were made there!
High school days flew by so fast. I remember all the basketball, football, FFA activities, and band concerts.
Your life was filled with so many activities, and ours was filled with you and your sisters.
Your graduation day was even more emotional for me than your first day of school. I woke up to tears and they flowed all day long. The thought of you leaving home and not being part of my day-to-day life panicked me. But I survived…your Dad survived.
High school passed, college passed, youth passed.
Now you have a family of your own. And what a wonderful family it is!
I hope today brings you laughter and love, and is full of warm memories. I hope your new family adventure brings lots of sunny days, happiness, and dreams that come true for you all. Happy birthday son!!
So very sweet and dear to me are my childhood memories of this place. Several generations of my family called Bruneau, Idaho home; from my great-great-grandparents to myself. I called Bruneau home only for the first five years of my life, but it still pulls at my heart.
Although we moved away, we still visited Bruneau quite often through the years.
Being only five when we moved away, a lot of my memories from here are fleeting, and not very vivid. Sometimes I am not sure if I really remember incidents my family talks about, or I just remember their stories, so often repeated.
But my memories of the Legion Hall…they are mine! I wish my children and grandchildren could have shared memories like this place has given me.
What do I remember about the Legion Hall? Dances! They were family, community dances, and I can’t begin to tell you as a kid how much fun they were! There just aren’t many places in today’s world where people can bring the whole family together and share the love of dancing like we did back then. The adults danced with each other, kids danced with each other, adults danced with kids. Sometime during the evening when everyone was tired and needed a break, we were served a dinner (provided by everyone).
After dinner….more dancing! Most of us younger kids would wear out before the night was over. I remember blankets folded up in the corners and along the walls where we would crash. Sometimes it was just a little nap, and then we would be back on the floor, untill we could take no more. We were packed to the car when Mom and Dad finally called it a night also.
When I was reading the book, “Bruneau; Then and Now”, I learned some things about the Legion Hall I did not know. The building that is now the Legion Hall was formerly a country store called The Valley Merc. It had several different owners down through the years, some of them were Noble’s. My great Aunt Nellie, (granddad Ed Craig’s sister), married Roy Noble, so I am assuming that was his family. I have a wall thermometer Dad gave me many years ago. It has a picture of Bruneau Valley on it and the name “The Valley Merc.” It has always been very special to me. Now that I know it’s connection to the Legion Hall, where so many happy memories were formed, it will be treasured even more.
Also from the book, “Bruneau; Then and Now,” I learned that The American Legion bought the building in 1930 from the Bruneau State Bank for $3500, to be paid back by donations and having dances! How wonderful to know all those dances I loved as a kid, actually helped to pay for this special place!
My father, James E. Craig, has his name on an Honor Roll plaque inside the hall, honoring those of Bruneau who served our country in times of war. Below Dad’s name are the names of two of the Colyer brothers, who were always like uncles to me. Their brother, Marvin, was my uncle, married to my mother’s sister, Leah.
The Legion Hall is the Community Center for Bruneau. It is used for many occasions, not all of them happy ones.
If you notice the dates on these pictures you will see they were taken on May 30, 2009. This was my Grandfather Ed Craig’s, Memorial. He was just over 101. This picture is of my Dad, standing at the display. There were many pictures of Granddad through the years. If you look closely, you can see his boots, hat, and some of the many belts, chaps, and leather carved boxes and crafts he produced through the years.
Below is the poem I wrote for Granddad’s Memorial.
The home place at Bruneau
still holds his memory.
It’s there his life began,
it’s where his resting place shall be.
His saddle now is empty
but it remembers too,
the cowboy who gave rodeo
to Bruneau, for me and you.
His cowboy hat, his boots and chaps,
the rope held in his hand,
were all a part of this man we loved,
so gentle, kind, and grand.
He could sit a horse in cowboy style,
not much he couldn’t ride.
And now Ed… ride in style once more,
in grace, to the other side.
Sheryl Craig Russell
I have wanted to do a post on the Legion Hall for a long time. With Granddad’s Memorial being held here on Memorial Day weekend 2009, and 2018’s Memorial Day weekend just ending, it seemed the right time. I think Granddad would have liked this one.
It has been a year since Vice President Mike Pence visited our little church in Nye, Montana. I have to share this post again in honor of his visit. This was a day I don’t think any present will ever forget! What a polite and humble man he is…….and by the way Happy Mother’s Day!
Today is Mother’s Day. We went up to Nye, Montana to attend their little country church, as we sometimes do. As we were pulling into one end of their circular driveway, lo and behold, the Motorcade with Vice President Pence, was pulling into the opposite end!
What a thrill! Not a sight you see every day! Secret Service agents in black jackets, some with bullet proof vests, helicopter overhead, being “wanded” before entering church, and seeing the Vice President of the United States of America and his wife, sitting just a few pews away from us! Unbelievable!
You have to understand. Nye is not really even a town. It is a small rural ranching community up in the mountains where we used to live.
It was a very special and humbling day. I feel so honored. I was able to worship the Lord…
I never really thought much about the saying, “my better half.” Everyone knows that is in reference to one’s spouse. But there is a biblical truth to that phrase. God tells us that when we marry, ” the two shall become one.” I am no longer wholly me. I am half my husband. He is half me. That man above is truly my better half.
We have been married 45 years; 46 this coming June. We have shared a life that I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. Our life has not always been easy, but it has always been good. It has been good because even in the most trying and painful times, we have always had each other. God has blessed us so much, and I pray neither one of us ever forget that.
Mike has a part of him that forever is the spirit of a kid. He is a mischievous, teasing, prankster.
I remember once in the early years of our marriage, being close to the end of my 2nd pregnancy, I was chopping up veggies on a cutting board for supper. It was dark outside, Mike had been doing evening chores. He came up to the kitchen window, smashed his face upon it, sporting a big smile, holding a flashlight under his chin. I screamed hysterically, dancing a little jig with knife in hand. We both laughed till we were crying! It is a wonder I didn’t go into labor!
These are the kind of little things he is always doing that keeps our life light. He has another favorite thing to do that drives me crazy. We can be in a small country diner or an expensive, “sophisticated” restaurant, it matters not to him. We will be sitting opposite of each other. When no one is watching him, he will make goofy faces at me. He’ll keep it up until I am laughing, and crying, and can’t stop. Of course “HE” can stop, and then will act like he is trying to make me stop, because “I’m embarrassing him!”
This man….how I love him!
I wrote this poem for my husband’s birthday many years ago.
My Better Half
What blessings your love gives me,
what joys you bring my way.
I thank God you’re in my life,
Each and every day.
My memory is a special thing
where time somehow stands still.
I see your face aglow with light,
pressed against the window sill.
You took delight as I danced my jig,
and tears and laughter rolled.
It’s little things like this you do,
that mean more to me than gold.
Your hands are strong and callused,
yet soft as a touch can be.
When reaching out in hard times,
you can’t know how they comfort me.
You are my knight in shining armor.
You’re my friend, my better half,
my hero with a roping hand
the one they call to catch the calf.
My world is full because of you.
Thanks for all you bring my life.
There’s nothing more I need to be,
than this cowboy’s wife.
Mike, thank you for being my better half for all these years. Happy birthday!
This post is connected to two older posts, the first, “Down Memory Lane….The Homestead, and my last post, “Sheep Camp.” I mentioned in Sheep Camp, that my great-great-grandparents lived in a nice home in Bruneau. This is a picture of that house; “the home place.” This picture was probably taken in the late 1800’s. That is Gran Holverson standing in the pasture. Directly behind the pasture fence you can see the large orchard I mentioned.
I was told my great-great- Grandmother usually went by Gran. I found a couple of pictures written on the back identifying her as Suzie, and Missouri Suzie. Her obituary has her name as Missouri Catherine Harris Holverson. That is a pretty long name. She was married once before to a F.E. Thompson, so I’m assuming the Harris is a family name. I don’t have any information about Mr. Thompson, so again family or Bruneau friends, if you know anything about him please write a note on my post. The only thing I do know is that he died when he was only 34 years old.
Ed came to Bruneau when he was 21 years old. His obituary said he became involved with the stock industry (livestock) shortly after and his achievement was “substantial.”
I was asking my dad about their large orchard, and if they used it all for their own use or if they sold some of the produce. He wasn’t sure but said it was common back then to trade extra home “commodities”, like produce, eggs etc., to the local store for credit against other things they might need.
This picture stirs a lot of emotions in me. When I look at this picture I see where I came from, and the people from whom I came. I wish I would have known my great-great-grandparents. I was lucky enough to know their daughters (Ed’s step-daughters) Edna, my great-grandmother and Effie, my great-aunt. I loved them both dearly.
The ranch was later handed down to or sold to my grandfather, Ed Craig. This is where my father, Jim Craig, was born and raised, and where I spent the first five years of my life. Because of my young age when I left Bruneau, my memories are not plentiful, but the ones I have are precious.
Many of those memories are of dances at the Legion Hall, which will be the subject of my next post.