Every summer for as long as I can remember, my parents have gone up to Montana to visit the ranch where my dad grew up. Some of my fondest childhood memories are connected to the trips we took to Montana. I learned how to milk cows and goats, how to chase chickens and collect their eggs (and sadly I learned how they are a part of the food chain when it came time to slaughter them), also how to bridle, saddle and ride a horse. Swimming was in creeks and lakes, and exploring took all day to do, mud pies were actually made of mud and everything was "old fashioned"! This is truly a place where a kid can be a kid! For the last several years Brenda, Jana and I have taken our families up there to join our parents. There is now a pond close to my parents cabin that we swim, canoe and fish in, but the main place we like to cool off in the summer heat is Lake Como. This is a beautiful lake about 6 miles up the road. It provides all sorts of recreation, whether it's swimming, boating, riding our 4-wheelers, or hiking the 3 miles back to see the spectacular waterfall that feeds the lake. Trips into Hamilton provide fun for the kiddies who love to browse the thrift stores in search of treasures! There is always something fun for the kids to do and the adults just enjoy the leisure time together.
But going to Montana is no fun without the ones you love, and since my parents couldn't go this year due to my dad's cancer treatment we all stayed home to be with them. We enjoyed a fun family get together over the 4th of July holiday and decided it's not where you are, but who you are with. My dad's sister, Connie came up from Arizona to visit as well. She is writing about my dad's childhood on the ranch and it was so fun to sit and listen to all of the stories! The kids played and swam at Brenda and Chris' house almost the entire time. My camera battery died after the first day so I didn't get many pictures! I will have to be better prepared next time!
My dad is doing really well. He had one bad day while we were there (doing too, TOO much!). Most days he is able to go for a bike ride up the canyon early in the morning and putter around his office and workshop in the backyard. It is wonderful to see him look so much better - and he is still so handsome even without hair! Next week he will begin phase 2 of his treatment. He will be given a massive dose of chemo that will knock his white count down to zero again. Then the doctors will give him an infusion of his stem cells. This whole process will take a couple of weeks, but his recovery should be quick as long as the transplant goes well. He will then get about a 2 month break before he goes back up to Huntsman to do it all again for the 2nd transplant.
I thought that I would post some pictures from last years trip to Montana
Shopping for treasures with the kids
Visiting with the family
The old Ranch House
4-Wheeling trip up above Lake Como
Looking up towards the top of Lake Como
Chris fishing on the Bitteroot River
My dad's brother and sisters
Connie, Arlo, Blaine, Irene and Eunice
Dad and Grandma Furniss
Afton, Grandma Furniss and Aunt Eunice
Ellie and Madi making mud pies