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Bound Like Grass

What a GREAT name for a book. As we continue reading Ruth McLaughlin’s book during Montana History at the Marias Heritage Center, the title is starting to resonate more and more with me. Ruth grew up in Eastern Montana and in my opinion, both her parents and her grandparents, along with many of the homesteaders, had one tough miserable life. Homesteading up here in Montana wasn’t  “Little House on the Prairie”. It was more like “Hell on the High Plains”. The title, “bound Like Grass” comes from the fact that Ruth kept returning to her former home in Eastern Montana (now a-days a burned out farmhouse) several times a year. She truly was “bound like grass” to those eastern prairies where one could grow rocks easier than one could grow wheat. The soil was hard and so were the times. I don’t have to tell you about the weather. This “Memoir from the Western High Plains” is a fascinating read and I can see why Ruth won the Montana Book Award with it. I’ve mentioned before that Ruth did escape those prairies, went to college in Missoula, and these days teaches literacy and writing in Great Falls. She’s married to an old classmate of mine and Ruth and her husband, Mike, are former residents of Shelby where Mike spent some of his career with the Center for Mental Health. I think Ruth McLaughlin is a really good writer and although I haven’t discussed it with her, I feel that the late F. Scott Fitzgerald had some influence on her. I am a big time Scott Fitzgerald fan and in reading “Bound Like Grass”, some of her descriptions of life remind me of the way Fitzgerald wrote. I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than reading Fitzgerald and listening to some Dylan.  I think I can speak for the residents of the Heritage who are in my Montana History reading group, that we are all enjoying Ruth’s tome. I’m more than looking forward to going back up to the Marias Heritage Center next Tuesday to continue with this saga of sorrow. Do you like that, “Saga of Sorrow”. I’m trying my hand at being a writer myself.

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