A postcard ticket back home

Published 8:03 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

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Without my glasses, it was rather hard to read the Valentine cards that covered the walls of the fifth- and sixth-grade building at Pike Liberal Arts School.

I was looking for a Valentine card from Montana.

The Big Sky Country is where I was born and I still feel a strong connection to that faraway place.

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When I was 17-years-old, I boarded the train at Union Station in Montgomery to journey to Montana, the place where my heart is.

I could feel the rumble of the train as it pulled away from Union Station. I could hear the clanking of the train wheels and see the world, as I knew it, become an ever-increasing blur as the train picked up speed. I could taste the salty tears that ran down my cheeks.

But I kept my eyes straight ahead. If I had looked back, I would have jumped off the train and run home to Mama.

But, I had a strong longing to be there in that place 2,000 miles from home. In my heart, Montana felt like home.

It was Daddy’s Air Corps picture in a  wonder album that kept Montana pulling at my heart.

When I was growing up, I would sit on the floor and look at the pictures in that album. And, I would look at pictures of high mountains, slow-moving rivers and big lakes. Pictures of buffalo, elk, bears, deer and Indians and teepees.

And, I would look at pictures of Daddy in his pilot suit, Mama in her wool, hooded coat and me shivering cold there in Montana, the place where I was born.

“Here’s one! Here’s a Valentine card from Montana,” one of the students called out and held it up for me to see.

It was card from “home.”

So, all day Friday, I was a little homesick for that place where I was born. That faraway place that holds such a special place in my heart.

Throughout the day, I wondered if one of those many Valentines would make its way into the heart of one those young students. If one of the cards would be the inspiration for one of them to take wings and fly.

I just think it might.