Ihad been back in the States nearly a year. School had been hard for me and with spring turning the fields blue and green, it was all the more difficult for me to sit at a desk and work tedious Algebra problems. I counted the months of captivity that stretched before and wondered whether or not I’d require a keeper before vacation.

     The long counted upon Vigilante Day had arrived. Although I did not know it, it was a period as far as school was concerned.

     The parade came in the morning on that fourth of May. All Helena turned out to watch the cowboys and cavalrymen, clowns and floats file up Main St. And what characters there were. Old Henry Plummer, George Ives, Piano Jim, Custer, Jake Hoover, all were to be noted.

     The three girls and three boys who constituted my crowd were “Old Meg,” “Betsy,” “Darlin’,” Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd and Captain Blood. Pirates! Of the Spanish Main, armed to the teeth and flaunting a challenge in the faces of the vigilantes.

     The gayety of the day died down at last. The girls were escorted home in my mighty Ford (vintage, 1914) and my two friends were going home with me. As we sailed along, a baseball nearly bashed in my brains. I started out to chastise the offender and netted four broken metacarpals in my right hand.

     That was the beginning and the end. I couldn’t write and school faded from the picture. My hand was reset four times and life lost its joy. I sold the Ford and went West, taking Horace Greeley’s advice.

     I felt better in Seattle. Summer had already come although it was only May. I have a scout record in Seattle and took advantage of it by going to Camp Parsons on the Sound where the first period had begun.

Montana Diaries continued...

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