by Valerie Leckey Halla
Our tour group had to wake up at 6:00 am in order to get ready, pack up, and get breakfast in the lobby of Range Country. We had met some lovely friends, relatives and acquaintances there over the past three days. One gentleman always came there for breakfast but first he would stand for a minute and say, “It’s a beautiful day!”
Many others would chat about who they had seen at the school reunion and where did so and so used to live, who did his sister marry, why does that guy look familiar, where do you live now?
Mick Penticoff loved to strike up a conversation with anyone. He couldn’t see well so he’d ask nearby folks to get him some breakfast or help him get a seat at a table. Our group enjoyed talking with him and he is an old friend of Billy, our driver and guide. Mick didn’t watch TV, but he listened to it. He swore that the weather man on one station predicted today there will be high “humdidity” in the forecast. “I am sure he said that and then I heard him say it again!” Mick said.
Mick also relayed that a news reporter said many people who can’t afford houses now live in “condoms”. Mick was a kick. He could keep us entertained just telling us his life story.
People felt comfortable sitting in the rocking chairs and on the big sofa looking up at the high platforms and ceiling which displayed stuffed birds and all sorts of sadly hunted wildlife.
We were fortunate enough to have the three Lindquist Girls come by to visit our last evening in Murdo. Mary used to baby sit them and their Dad Dean had employed many young teenagers at his gas station over the years. The girls told stories, joked around and reminisced. A few more people joined us as the Ranch Rodeo in town wound down. We had about 10 people sitting in a circle chiming in and I guess things got too noisy because a motel employee came over and asked us to leave, we were too noisy, so we broke up our wonderful group. Karen said they only do that with rowdy rock bands not Murdo school reunion visitors! It was sad to say goodbye.
You could feel the magic was all coming to a close. I am sure everyone in our group was
sad to say goodbye. But we will be back in 4 more years…if we’re able.
Video by Mary Francis McNinch