By JIM “PAPPY” MOORE
Our long summer trip started in Lufkin, then time in Lubbock, and on to Durango. We would leave Uncle Fred and Aunt Shirley to head north to Wyoming, our eyes set on Yellowstone Park. Daddy would drive as long as possible. We might drive from daylight to beyond dusk, getting in six hundred miles. We kids always wanted a motel with a pool, but we got one with the truckers.
The interstate highway system did not exist yet. Highways were not the easy drive they tend to be today. You never knew road construction was going on until you went over a hill and saw traffic backed up.
On the night before Yellowstone, we drove and drove and drove. All were begging Daddy to find some place and pull over. When he finally did, it was a dusty little motel too cramped for a family of our size. I slept on a throw rug. It was cold in mid-summer. We made do.
Our day would start with all getting up, then Mama making coffee with the handy in the room coffee pot. She’d fill the big gray thermos with the red top. She and Daddy would perk up with coffee, and we would hit the road. Breakfast was a donut on the road.
Daddy stocked up on store brand sodas from Safeway for the trip. We would stop early to get some ice. He would put colas for lunch on ice. These were all in cans. We would stop at a store and buy some lunch meat, bread and Miracle Whip to make sandwiches. We would find a roadside park or a real park along the way and have our lunch of sandwiches and sodas. Every day while traveling that was lunch.
With a short drive to Yellowstone Park because Daddy pushed us the day before, we were able to enjoy its scenery. The bears. The hot pools of water. The buffaloes. Old Faithful and the other geysers! It was a big hit with everyone!
On we would go the next day to finish the journey to Lewiston, Idaho. Our trip would take us north into Montana, where we would pass through Butte. When we stopped at a little country store to get some ice, Daddy put the canned colas into the little cooler we had and covered them with ice. An old man observing said “well, would you look at!” He had never seen colas in a can before.
The last leg of the trip up to Grandma’s house had us traversing some mountains. As we came down out of those, we entered Lewiston, Idaho – our destination. It sits on the border of Washington, across the Snake River Bridge to Clarkston, Idaho. The twin cities were named for the famous explorers of the Northwest – Lewis & Clark. We first learned of their able guide, an Indian woman named Sacajawea in those trips. Historical markers told their tale.
We soon settled in with Grandma and Grandpa Linscott at their small home. Quarters were tight but we managed. We would stay over two weeks. Our biggest entertainment came playing games with Grandpa Linscott. He taught us how to play croque, and we played and played. Wooden mallets were used to strike wooden balls, targeting wickets placed about the yard in a distinct pattern which required great skill to traverse. Grandpa was very good at it.
Grandpa Linscott also taught us carom, a game with a wooden board about two feet by two feet, with net pockets in the four corners. The object was to use your shooter carom by flicking it with your index or middle finger and causing the target carom to land in the net. Poor man’s pool, sort of. We loved playing those games with Grandpa.
Grandma was an upright, somewhat stern woman. Born in 1891, she stood tall and erect. She was a frontier woman, having left Kentucky in the early 20th century for Montana – then a territory. The United States had a program to encourage settlers. Each settler could get a grant of 320 acres, which was half a section of land. She first got a job teaching school. She rode a horse to school. Before long she met my grandfather at church services and they became a couple. The two of them each took a half section 320 acre grant from the USA, agreeing to each build a small cabin on their property. They did so, and held the property for the required time. Then they pushed the two small cabins together, got married, and made that 640 acres their new home. That was a mile square of range property.
Like many, when the Depression Era hit, they lost everything and survived with Grandpa working for WPA, and FDR program to give out of work men jobs. Eventually they moved to Lewiston and settled there, raising their family of six.
Next week the story continues in Lewiston, with the Moore family staying with Grandma and Grandpa Linscott. Remember that the times of which I write were far closer to World War I in time than they are to our lives today.
Copyright 2022, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.