Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dec31, 2020: A Look Way Back!

We're pretty much snowed in this last day of 2020, a kind of double quarantine because we're not going anywhere anyway. We tried a neighborhood walk yesterday, the cold snow biting into our faces, reminding us of the rest of winter ahead, no escape to a warmer climate with friends this spring.

As I look around my cozy and warm office, favorite books nearby, quilting project midway with blocks partly assembled, hubby nearby, immersed in college football, I have much to be grateful for this year. We are still here. Hubby's not using a cane. Family is nearby. We are geezers, that is true, but we are happy geezers. Our true needs are simple.

Yet that sense of isolation lingers. Reminding me of my grandmother, her sweetness and her strength. For when she was young, she fell in love with a young Frenchman who was killed in the trenches of World War I. Her father, an affluent doctor in Chicago, sent her to visit cousins in the West to recover. There, she met my grandfather, a handsome cowboy, and, as they say, the rest was destiny.

My grandfather tried to enlist in the army but was rejected because his eyesight was not good enough. Instead, he became one of the first forest rangers, still a government employee. He and my grandmother lived in a remote cabin near Elk Mountain in Wyoming. I don't know how she adapted. 

He taught her to ride horses and how to shoot a gun. That came in handy the day he was out on patrol in the forest, and a bear tried to come into their little cabin. Their two little girls (one my mother) played with the teddy bear that somehow appeared on their front porch.

My grandmother cooked on a wood burning stove, endured long rides to town despite frail health, and loved her family. Later after my grandfather retired, they took to the road, hauling their RV everywhere, camping across country. Maybe that's where I got my wanderlust. One time, deep in the woods, grandad spotted a deer. He stopped their rig in the middle of the road and got his gun out. Just as he was ready to shoot, my grandmother popped up out of her side, right in front of the gun and shouted, "Don't shoot Bambi!" 

2021 doesn't promise to start easy for anyone. We still have dark days ahead, but we also have family and friends, close by or via Zoom. 

We all have family stories that remind us: We will survive this. Choose good memories, love and laughter, and cherish each day. May the coming year bring you joy, good health, and happiness. 

Here's a video of my two granddaughters, Leda and Ruth, 'sharing' their favorite home-made milkshakes!


  1. Lovely memories, Beth. You do remember a lot! I am confused about the bear story... Did your mom and aunt actually played with the bear that tried to get into the cabin of your grandparents? I certainly see where you got your wanderlust. What a great and adventurous life your grandad and grandma had!

    1. Ah,, Liesbet, we should have been there! The bear tried to come into the cabin where my grandmother was baking bread. She shot it, and the little girls in the picture (my mother and my aunt) climbed all over the new 'teddy' bear, now 'asleep'! That's the sight that greeted my grandfather when he came home from work. I think he nearly had a heart attack. Good memories.

    2. Wow! Now it all makes more sense! A serious adventure! I would have missed that bear, not knowing how to shoot at all!