Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Looking Back, and Looking Forward

RH McKay with his camera and tripod,
date and location unknown.
Started watching "Deadwood" with the spouse tonight. After the episode he posted on Facebook and compared me to Calamity Jane. I take that as a high compliment. As I was reading through the Wikipedia entry on her tonight, my attention was caught by this paragraph:

"Calamity Jane was a frequent visitor to and sometimes resident of Livingston, Montana and towns in the Paradise Valley, Montana.

She came up from a very hardscrabble life, unacquainted with bourgeois notions of decorum; she probably never knew financial security, but even in poverty she was known for her helpfulness, generosity, and willingness to undertake demanding and even dangerous tasks to help others. She was afflicted with alcoholism and wanderlust (and, perhaps, promiscuity) but, as someone remembered her, "Her vices were the wide-open sins of a wide-open country – the sort that never carried a hurt". "

How could I not be flattered by the comparison?

My wanderings into the history of Calamity Jane that I was able to find on the Internet brought me to looking up my own illustrious ancestor, my great grandfather RH McKay who was the preeminent photographer in Missoula and western Montana in the first half of the 20th century. His photos--most of which are in the archives at the University of Montana are showing up in many more places on the net than they did when last I looked. I was thrilled to find a couple of good ones of him (I never met him--he died the year before I was born) and someone who has access to some of the photos and uses his name as a twitter handle! There are pictures on that page of my dad--and maybe even one or two of my mom in McKay Studio employee photos.

It was a lovely, sad, nostalgic, wishes-were-horses perambulation, but now I need to do my post, upload my photo and get to bed so I can be well-rested when the solar inspector shows up. I will be in Montana again soon enough, and this year I'm going to see if I can see the photos myself in the archive.

Today was a wonderful day of being feted for me (notice I said feted, not fetid). Zaga took me to lunch and then for super facials, and she gave me early birthday presents--a cookbook, a bee journal, and a Kate Spade beehive purse!!!! She'll be gone for the actual day (not for a a couple of weeks yet) and she wanted to get a jump on celebrating. After all of our pamperings I toddled (there has been a lot of toddling lately... really) home and was finally able to eat again about 8:30 when Dave and I shared the caked she got me from the local Korean bakery. I am still beached.

John Swann of Wicked Bee Apiary also delivered my TopBar hive today so I can paint it in prep for getting the bees (fingers crossed) Friday. I'll be off to Home Depot or Sherwin Williams for some of their mistake or partial or whatever they call their super cheap paints tomorrow.

1 comment:

Bill said...

It's very cool being able to see your ancestry in that way!