A Generations-Long Family Connection

By Carmen Magart

Last December was the coldest in recent memory, the temperature hovering around zero at our Owyhee County residence. My husband Paul threw the final ties over the snowmobiles and lashed down the load on the long trailer. I had the food packed, including the requisite chicken noodle soup and some thick homemade chili—belly-warming comfort food for a long family weekend at snowy Burgdorf Hot Springs. But I wasn’t thrilled. Earlier in the week, I had called my youngest daughter, Liz, to ask if there was any way we could wimp out. The conversation went something like this:

“Hey, hon. Nice weather, huh?”

“Yeah, totally.” 

“So, because it’s going to be below zero, do you think we ought to postpone our trip?”

“No. Hell, no.”  She was not one to mince words.

“It’s . . . it is really cold,” I managed to stutter.

“Mom, we’ve been planning this trip for a year and it’s our special Christmas treat for the kids. We are going. Period.”

“Umm . . .” I stalled, trying to think of something profound or insightful to say.

“Momma, pull up your big-girl panties. We’re going!” She always called me Momma to chip the sharp edges off her indelicate directives.

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Carmen Magart

About Carmen Magart

Carmen Carlson Magart left the sheep ranch on Salmon River at age forty to pursue an MA in education. She taught literacy at Boise State University and art and English in public schools. Carmen recently published a short series of memoir-based volumes titled Celebration of a Country Life (available from Amazon). She has resided on an Owyhee County cattle ranch with her husband Paul since 2003.

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