Pretty Darn Friendly
By Geraldine Mathias
A large brass sign installed by the Boy Scouts some years ago that welcomes visitors to Goshen declares it to be the “Most Friendliest Place on Earth.” The scouts’ grammar notwithstanding, it just might be true, once you get to know the people.
I first became acquainted with Goshen because my quilter friend, Shirley Wilson, lives a couple of miles away from the cluster of homes and the church that would make up the townsite, if it were a town. It is not and never has been incorporated, although it once had a post office. It’s not exactly on the beaten path, but that’s okay with the area’s four hundred or so residents.
Six miles northeast of Firth off Highway 91 on Goshen Road, this primarily farming area huddles against the foothills of the Blackfoot Mountains. Most of that range is private property, including the range’s tallest peak, Taylor Mountain, which is why a forty-unit wind farm is going up near Goshen—because on private land, it can.
When I decided to explore Goshen, Shirley gave me a list of phone numbers of folks who have longevity in the area. I called and called and called. But like many people in this day and age, including me, the area’s residents apparently are cautious about strangers who leave phone messages. No one called back except Bart (Barlow) Cook, who was busy with haying at the time, but he responded to my message right off. Bart said he’d be happy to talk when hay and spuds were done.
One bright October Saturday, I drove there from my home in Blackfoot to take photos, in case the weather turned before I was able to schedule in-person interviews. On the lookout for older homes and buildings, maybe from early settler days, I stopped at one interesting house and asked if I could take a picture. The woman who answered the door was congenial and helpful. She said I was at the home of Bart and Merralee Cook and invited me in.