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Thanksgiving thoughts

Permit me a brief follow-up to what I said yesterday about Yellowstone. Deb’s into season four now, and she often remarks that it feels strangely familiar to her, owing to time we spent in Montana last August and September. She hears the show’s characters talk about places we’ve been or seen or driven by.

The setting of the series is an actual place — Chief Joseph Ranch, south of Darby in the Bitterroot Valley, 75 miles due west of Butte. We came within 65 miles of it on our journey.

From an overnight stop at Missoula we turned north on US 93, bound for Polson. Taking that road the same distance south would’ve brought us to Darby.

On that day — September 2nd, 2021 — we rolled through terrain and culture quite similar to the setting for the TV series. The scenery around St. Ignatius in the Flathead Valley is equally striking, the Mission Mountains rising to the east taking the place of the Bitterroot Range west of Darby. Ranch roads spur off the highway all along that stretch.

I went back to our archive of photos (most of them Deb’s) from the day, picking out a couple for this post. The images were breathtaking, the memories indelible. Damn, I thought, we went some some cool places.

All the same — and a couple of years ago I couldn’t’ve imagined ever saying this — I like The Ozarks better than the Rockies.

In the run-up to Thanksgiving Day I noticed a disturbing trend that I mean to nip in the bud. Lots of folks, it seems, are using this holiday to peddle shame. It often comes under the guise of “social justice,” false humility hijacking the holiday.

Let me be clear: This is a day for gratitude, not guilt. Abundance is never cause for shame.

Perspective is essential, of course. Just don’t use it as punishment — of yourself or others.

Give thanks. Celebrate.

Rain last night, some of it heavy, lingered into this morning and produced surprisingly foggy conditions. We drove toward Yellville through a landscape altered by mist and vapor, clouds hugging mountains and wisps rising from hollers.

We arrived to find The Mountain completely socked in. Far from grim or gloomy, to us it was cozy and close. The thick fog felt like an embrace. It made a quiet place seem even quieter.

Just like last year, we enjoyed Thanksgiving Day at Deb’s cousin’s cabin. He and his girlfriend whipped up a great meal that was traditional, simple and tasty. Deb contributed her trademark (and amazing) sweet-potato casserole.

“This was the perfect Thanksgiving Day,” Deb said as we drove through persistent fog and rain back to Harrison. And indeed it was.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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