Author Archives: Gary Oberbillig

About Gary Oberbillig

Gary Oberbillig was born and raised in southern Idaho. He has been a college art teacher, photographer and writer. He says, “I’ve lived on Puget Sound for many years, but to re-establish my birthright, I go east of the mountains and take a good long whiff of sagebrush after a rain.”

House in the Air

I was to be a roustabout, as my father Ernie described it, doing whatever roll-up-your-sleeves, muscle jobs were needed in the family mining operations in Valley County that summer of 1961.

Part of the job would be to act as a watchman at the old mercury mine at Cinnabar, and to keep busy with preliminary salvage work on the collapsed roof of the main mill building. Continue reading

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Up O’er the Wire

From the cockpit of Rusty Larkin’s crop-dusting plane, the fields of Idaho’s farming country spread out like a crazy-quilt of muted morning colors, the soft gray fringe of sagebrush marking where the irrigation ends.

He spots his pick-up alongside the alfalfa field, the tiny figure of his son Conrad waving next to it, as he waits to flag each of Rusty’s spray passes down the field rows. Rusty makes a swift instrument check, reflecting with a wry grin that, while the altimeter is quite useful now, it doesn’t mean too much when his plane is riding the ground cushion of buoyant air, a scant five feet off the ground. Continue reading

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