On the Road: Memories, Mormons, and Mountains

Grandmother headed to visit with Glenna about 9:45, and Tim went to check out the Moss Mansion while I worked. I was bummed to miss out on both activities!

After I finished my work day, Tim and I headed over to visit with Tom and Glenna. Glenna said she had been so afraid she’d never see Grandmother again, and was so happy that we had come. She had a whole stock of food for us, including enough sandwiches to feed a small army, chips, a giant bag of M&Ms, and a gallon of lemonade for us to take on the road.

It was so nice to spend time with Glenna and Tom. They are both such sweet people. One of my favorite stories they told us was how they first met. They prefaced the story by saying it was an unusual story–and it was! When Glenna was in the air force, her cousin sent her a pair of roller skates so she could go skate at the rink near the base. Not having ever been on a pair of skates before in her life, Glenna was undeterred, and took the base bus by herself down to the rink. She said it was trouble from the start, and she clung to the rail that went around the floor for the first little bit. Then, she said she noticed a curly headed guy with a beautiful white wool sweater on. He was a pretty skilled skater, and Glenna watched as he spun and whirled around the floor. At one point, he came close enough for her to notice a string hanging from his sweater. Thinking she would help, she grabbed the string, only to find that the string kept pulling. As he continued to skate around, Glenna said the bundle of string was growing. Tom said he looked down and realized half his sweater was missing! Glenna was so embarrassed, she skated over as fast as she could (which you can imagine wasn’t very fast) and handed him the wool. To make her mortification complete, a conga line formed and she was pulled in at the end. She lost her balance and hit the floor. And who was the first face she saw over her? Tom. He told her he was taking her off the floor because she was a disaster. 😉

Tim said he could immediately see Grandfather in Glenna, and I agreed, which Grandmother thought was funny. She didn’t see it, but I saw it in the eyes. Grandmother said she was astonished at how much Glenna looked like Grandma Darby sitting in the chair while they were talking. She definitely looked more like Grandma Darby than Grandfather, but of course, they both looked a little like their mama.

Glenna and Grandmother having a good chat.
Glenna and Grandmother having a good chat.

I sat for a while with Glenna and she told me about some of her experiences growing up. She talked about moving to Big Mountain and how the house had been open to the elements and had housed the occasional pig, chicken, cow, and horse, so you can imagine the filth in the house. Glenna said that Grandma Darby got a mop, rags, a bucket, and some lye soap, and with everyone’s help, she had the house sparkling within two weeks.

Glenna spoke so fondly of the house there, and how Grandma Darby had so much canned in the A-frame cellar that the shelves groaned under the weight (despite Grandpa Darby’s efforts to support the shelves with actual tree trunks). She said that she had asked her mother once if it would make her sad to leave the house at Big Mountain after all the work she had done and how beautiful she made it. She said that Grandma Darby said that when it was time to go, it would be time to go, and the place would no longer be beautiful when they left. Glenna asked how that could be; Grandma Darby said that once they left, they took their souls with them, and without their souls in the place, the beauty would go. What made the place beautiful were the people, not the site. I think we can all appreciate this sentiment.

She also made me laugh telling me about how she got into the Air Force by jumping through silly hoops like getting ten written references and breathing very deeply so she went from under 5 feet tall to over 5 feet tall to pass the physical. She said that Grandpa Darby cussed up a storm when she came home with the papers for him to sign (sound familiar?), but she said he could either sign the papers, or she would marry some no-good guy from around there, have seven babies, and then come back and have to live with her dad. He told her to get a pen.


Glenna and Grandmother clearly were moved upon parting. The emotion was thick in their voices, and it made me so glad that we had come. Glenna kept thanking us for bringing Grandmother, but seeing their exchange was thanks enough.


Post-visit, there was quite a discussion about the Mormon faith, the rapture, and many other religious topics in our car. After my early morning, I found this an opportune time for a nap. The topic was still being discussed when I woke up (and thus accounts for the lack of car stories today). 😉

Oh, Montana! The beauty of this state is indescribable. I told Tim and Grandmother that I wished I could eat the views, drink the views, absorb the views into me somehow. I felt like there was a breathtaking view around each curve of the road.


Tim and I got out once just to hear the rushing rapid waters and smell the air. Grandmother was content to roll down the window and breath it in from the car. I just kept thinking, “How great Thou art!”


After a comparatively short drive today, we arrived at the Yellowstone National Park sign that signaled our arrival at our next destination. We headed straight to the hotel, and have just finished enjoying the sandwiches Glenna provided. I plan on hopping in bed and reading a bit about Yellowstone to Tim and Grandmother before hitting the hay.

Grandmother as photographer cracked me up. She couldn't figure out the iPad, and the pictures all looked initially like she had cut Tim's head off. Obviously, I couldn't stop laughing at her efforts!
Grandmother as photographer cracked me up. She couldn’t figure out the iPad, and the pictures all looked initially like she had cut Tim’s head off. Obviously, I couldn’t stop laughing at her efforts!


Tomorrow is my last day of work (!) and our first day in Yellowstone!


3 thoughts on “On the Road: Memories, Mormons, and Mountains

  1. Oh wow!!! This has to be my favorite post to date!!! I too think Glenna looks like Grandma!!!
    So sweet of her to send you on your way with all those goodies!!! I am so glad you went to visit as well!!
    I can almost see the scenery from your description. It is certainly encouraging me to plan a trip sooner rather than later!
    I love the picture of you and Tim in front of the river!!!
    Love you, thanks for sharing the journey with us!!


  2. Glenna looks more like Grandma than ever. The way she sits, her elbow on the arm of the chair, one finger to her lips hand slightly curled… makes me think we should just relax into who we are and accept. Genetics play such a big role. Mother looks so happy. Like a kid on an adventure. That’s the best thing about grandchildren: with them, you get to be your best kid self again. XOXOXO


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s