Sitting, cross legged on a small grassy knoll in the center of town, I lean back allowing my mind to wander. In my mind’s eye, I see the town as it once was, proud and prosperous. A mining town, Garnet’s residents knew the value of hard work and big dreams. Perhaps, if I keep still and listen carefully, I might be able to hear some of their stories as they are kicked up from the dirt and carried along on the wind.
As morning breaks along the valley, Matthew bids his young bride farewell as he heads off to the mines. Living in a cabin on the edge of town, Matthew and Amy came to Garnet with dreams of unearthing a better life than the one they would’ve had back east. It was only by chance that they came to settle in this flourishing Montana mining town. They’d been heading to California, but had changed direction when they had heard about a miner by the name of Sam Ritchey hitting it big in the Nancy Hanks mine.
Amy had been hesitant to move out west. She didn’t want to raise a family in a lawless shanty town, but knew there was nothing left for them in Iowa. While Matthew was excited to move, he had his own worries. He worried he’d have a hard time finding a safe and suitable home for Amy. He worried that while he was off working the mine something would happen to his young wife at home. Reaching Garnet, they were relieved to find a flourishing town with a small community of families. This would work nicely.
Quickly settling into their new home, they began building a life for themselves. Matthew spent his days working the mines while Amy’s days were busy keeping the house tidy, preparing for the coming of Montana’s harsh winter, and taking in the mending of Garnet’s unattached men.
It wasn’t an easy life, but nothing worth having ever is.
Glancing up at the fading sun, I realize time has gotten away from me. If I’m going to make the trek back to Missoula before night falls then I have to get going. Glancing around one last time, I see Amy and Matthew standing beside the cabin I imagine to be theirs, arm in arm waving and wishing me a safe journey.