Hope Ness, early spring, 1908

Part 1 of 4:

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All that remains

Spring had arrived at last after a long, hard winter. The boy was sitting on the front steps of the small, wood-frame farm house. He turned his face toward the morning sun and, closing his eyes, gave himself to the pleasure of its warmth. The family wagon taking his parents to the village for the day had just disappeared around a bend in the road. It was wonderful to feel the warm glow of the sun again. But it was deceptive. There was still a chill in the air. His mother had reminded him to “take good care of your little sister, and make sure she stays buttoned up.” But he had allowed his mind to wander and he was thinking of other things, the sharp knife and the partially carved piece of fresh pine wood in his hands, and especially the splendid hawk circling high over the field at the edge of the woods.

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Saving Hemingway’s life

I must have spent the night of July 1-2, 1961 in Salt Lake City, in a bed in a small YMCA on a downtown side street. That makes sense. I remember getting up early in the morning there, reaching the outskirts of the city by about 8 a.m. and picking up a ride, and then another fairly quickly. I look at the map of that area now and I figure I could have made it to that highway crossroads in southern Idaho by noon.

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An ash tree reaches for the sky in the Hope Bay Forest

I remember being hung up there unable to get a ride for maybe two hours. There were no trees and the junction of the two highways was at the top of a plateau from which the highways fell away in several directions. And after a while it was too hot standing under the sun so I walked over to a truck stop about 100 yards away. There was a counter with bar chairs and some tables. A clean-cut, casually dressed man who looked to be in his mid-30s was eating his lunch at the far end of the counter. A couple of truckers sat talking at a table. I noticed there was a sign on the wall above the counter that said “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” I was just 18 at the time, so what did I know, and when the large man in a white apron behind the counter asked me what I wanted I ordered a coffee and inquired about the sign. Continue reading