Last Thursday we drove to Ekalaka, Montana for a wedding reception for my cousin, Autumn, and her new husband, Nic. They got married in Alaska a couple months ago, where she's from and they live, but his family wanted to throw a special party down here. We had an absolute hoot meeting and hanging out with his family. I especially loved the couple days we were there before the crowds arrived, when we got to be part of their immediate family, playing cards, eating meals around the table, and exploring the countryside.
the nearby Medicine Rocks
Jason and Nic posing for a rock album (pun intended, sadly)
The sunset turned everything and everyone bright red.
big farm stuff of Nic's best friend, Jason
getting a handful of grain out of the combine to chew on
Nic's family is comprised mostly of proud Norwegians, so we got to hear Norwegian folktales of witches who hide and wait for passing children, as well as the family stories of growing up in farm country. My favorite family story was told by Nic's uncle, Smoke, and he had a slew of them. When Smoke was a boy (everybody has nick names, including Smoke, who arrived at his by yet another story), one of the school's administrators had a speech impediment in which it took her awhile to get words out. Smoke asked his father about it, and his father said that on the way to the outhouse when this woman was young, a mountain lion jumped into the path and scared the voice right out of her. Smoke says all the kids in the school assumed this to be true for many years. What I love is that his dad was pretty dang sly. I'm guessing the kids were less apt to make fun of her knowing she'd arrived at this impediment by surviving a hairy ordeal.
Nic, his sister, Valorie, and Autumn
The shindig itself
Ekalaka is in the southeast corner of the state, and it was trippy having family and friends arrive from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, knowing they all actually live relatively close to each other.
Autumn with a bunny in her pocket
Norwegian wedding cake
This was a great trip not only for seeing a little town on the exact opposite end of the state from us, but for getting to know Nic better, seeing him in his original context. We'd only had a few months with him in Alaska this spring. Though he is a grown man and has been away from home for some time, I still enjoyed seeing the interactions of his family members with each other and their influences on each other. Families are cool. We are so happy for Autumn and Nic. They are dreamers and life-seekers and they're good to each other, and we're anxious to see what adventures they embark upon together.
(these two shots were taken by Autumn)
bean bag games