Monday evening, April 4

Hi Greg,

   I have some studying I need to do, but I remembered something I forgot to talk to you about when you were here. The local Chamber of Commerce has been sponsoring an eight-week program called “The Action Course in Practical Politics.” It started in February, so it’s just about over now. Similar courses take place across the country each year, sponsored by some local group. It’s been going on since 1959, I think. According to the local paper, 838 people were enrolled in 72 Pocatello discussion groups, a national record for a community of any size.  That kind of surprised me. I didn’t picture Pocatello – or Idaho – for that kind of participation.

    I didn’t hear about it when first announced. It was semester break, and we were involved in our letter about the draft. Anyway, I asked my Government professor about it. He had taken the course in California a year or so ago, and said it was “good.” However, he didn’t think it would be of too much interest to me right now because – although the publicity made it sound like it was about learning how the Government works, so you can deal more effectively with it – it was really about how to get involved in political party activities. My professor loaned me his work books from when he took the course, and he’s right. It covers things like how to start up a local political group,  how to select candidates to run for office, how to run an election campaign, etc., etc. Probably interesting, but not for me, right now.

    One thing that struck me was that the course just seems to assume that people are getting accurate information about issues, and that they know enough about how Government works that they know how to make their political campaign fit with that knowledge. Both seem like pretty shaky suppositions! I was thinking about what Dr. Obermayr told me about information on the proposed voting rights act that Southern-based groups flooded Idaho with. It was all either distortions of what the bill actually said, or outright lies. If that’s what you end up basing your campaign on…

     Anyway, although I didn’t see much use in this particular course for us, I kind of liked the concept of having multiple work sessions to cover a topic. Looking ahead to what you and I might do some day, I was thinking that we might develop our own training sessions. It seems like no matter what we got involved in – civil rights, the war, the draft, abortion, some of your environmental issues, whatever – we could develop three programs. One would be to help people figure out how to get the right information about issues. A second would be to explain enough about the actual workings of the Government for people to know who to approach to either give or get information. Then, a third would be to discuss the best techniques for getting action on a program or project. You know, I’m thinking that marches and sign-carrying may not be the best tools, and the often suggested ‘write your congressman’ may be just as useless. We could direct people to techniques more likely to work for them.

    I know I’m getting ahead of myself here – by a number of years, probably! – because we don’t know this stuff, either. I’m just thinking it may be a way to plan our own research approaches.

    Well, I just wanted to share some of that while it was on my mind. We can talk about when we get together again. That will be soon, but not soon enough!!!!

I love you.


   April in Idaho continued to be mostly sunny and slightly warmer than average. There were occasional periods of light rain, all of which were welcome, particularly because snow surveys were showing snow packs well below normal depths. It looked like a dry summer was in store. Farmers and ranchers looked on that with alarm. Fire fighters were of mixed opinions. A dry summer was obviously one prone to range fires, but a dry spring might mean less dense vegetation to carry any fires that got started.

   Tim started back to work on Monday, and Greg had a chance to talk to him before Chuck arrived from town. “You didn’t work the sugar campaign at all?” Greg asked.

   “No. I’m going to miss the extra money before fall, but Dad really needed me, no matter what he says. He did admit it, though, and we got a lot done around the farm.”

   “What’s the word on Rusty?”

   “He left San Diego a couple weeks ago, and moved to another base. That’s usually the last step before deployment, I think. I haven’t talked to him in person in quite a while, but his letters sound upbeat – like he’s doing fine.”

   Greg didn’t feel he wanted to comment on that. “I assume Chuck has talked to you about the winter caretaker job?”

   “Yeah. I haven’t given him my answer yet. It would be some income for me, but not like working the sugar. Maybe I could do both. I don’t know. On the other hand, Dad may need me even more by next winter than he did this time, so the campaign may be out of the question, anyway. I don’t know. I’m still pondering, but I like the caretaker idea.

   “Tell me how you see it going. Chuck just said that it would involve checking the area a couple times each week, making sure the gates were locked, that there was no vandalism, and there wasn’t any weather damage that needed to be fixed.”

   “That’s pretty much the idea. We haven’t worked out the details. It sounds like you would officially start around Thanksgiving, when the manager left for the winter. It hasn’t been decided for sure, but it looks like that manager might be me. Mac asked if I’d be willing to stay around that long, if it fit in with other plans. I said yes.”

   “Then, what would happen to you?”

   “Again, not decided for sure, but I think it’s looking pretty good that I would transfer up to the refuge above Idaho Falls. That would be great, keeping me close to Vic while she’s in school.

   “Now, if you took the job, you could either work straight through from now, or you could take a break of a month or so. Staying on would mean your full salary would keep coming in for a while, but you might want to do something else with that time. I think that would be up to you.

   “The job, as I see it, would be pretty much as Chuck said. The one thing I’d add is that Fish and Game will be running the duck hunt for part of that time, probably not closing down completely until the refuge is iced over. I’d probably have you check in on them a time or two each week, make sure they have whatever they need, and help them close up when they leave.”

   “Yeah, that wouldn’t be any extra burden. After you – or whoever takes your place – leaves, who is my contact? Who does my time report, and who do I contact if there are any problems?”

   “I’m guessing that the contact will be with the Idaho Falls refuge, which may mean me.”

   “Well, thanks for the extra info. I think I’m going to say yes, but I need to do a little more thinking.”

   “That’s fine. I don’t think there’s any real hurry. Now, on a related but entirely different matter, Vic and I are looking at mid-July for our wedding. I’m wondering if you’d be my best man?”

   Tim just stared at him a moment. “You’re asking me to be best man at your wedding?”

   “Sure. I like you. You love Vic. You tolerate me. It seems like a match made in heaven.”

   “You’re serious?” Greg nodded. Tim was recovering from the surprise. “But what if your best man – when it came to that part of the ceremony where they ask if there are any objections to the marriage – was the one who yelled out, ‘You can’t marry him, Vic. He can’t even build a fence?’”

   “I guess I’m willing to risk that. Besides, I can build a fence. If you did it by yourself, it might take a week. If I helped, it might take a year. But I could do it!”

   Tim laughed, but then got serious. “I’d love to do it, Greg, but are you sure there isn’t somebody else you’d rather have?”

   “No, there isn’t. Vic suggested my brother – although she strongly endorsed you when I mentioned it to her. I hope my brother will be able to come but, if he does, I think it will be a pretty quick in and out. He probably wouldn’t have the time to be around for the planning. Besides, I like the idea of keeping it in our refuge ‘family’.”

   “Okay, then, I’m in – and honored to be part of it.”


   The refuge was fully ice-free, and Tim and Greg spent considerable time in the next couple of weeks checking dikes and water control structures for any problems. Only a few minor issues were found, and they began preparing to raise water levels with whatever runoff they might get.

    More ducks were arriving every day. The Canada geese that had been so obvious the day he drove through the refuge on his way to Pocatello had almost vanished from sight. He saw why he had been so surprised the previous spring by the many goose broods that had suddenly appeared. By arriving late in 1965, he had missed the conspicuous early pairing of the birds, and they had already moved quietly into their nesting activities when he made his first observations.

   He saw (and heard) the first yellow-headed blackbirds on April 4, although only a few males were practicing their rusty hinge “song,” so far. In the woods, there was no sign of spring migration yet, but he did walk far enough along the side trail to note the two horned owls perched near last year’s nest. He retreated without disturbing them, and marked the entrance to the trail with orange surveyor’s tape. Few people besides himself were ever around there, but he still felt it was important to delineate the “aggressive owl”  territory.



Sunday evening, April 10

   Happy Easter, Vic! I spent a quiet weekend here alone – lonesome for you, but at least I can be lonesome outside, rather than indoors in the cold and dark. It’s much more fun when you’re here with me (especially the indoor parts).

   Tim reported for duty last Monday, and we spent much of the week checking dikes and water structures for damage. None to speak of. Your dad had offered him the caretaker job, and we talked more about that. He’s pretty sure he’ll say yes, but he worries about the money he could make working the sugar campaign. I guess it was pretty tight this past winter, with no money coming in. Of course, he’s also feeling the need to help his parents, so he might not do the campaign, anyway. Decisions, decisions.

   He said that Rusty has moved on to another army base, probably the one from which he’ll leave for the war. I hate it, but apparently he’s very happy.

   I asked Tim to be my best man. He said yes, but only after warning me that it might be pretty embarrassing if it was my best man who yelled to stop the wedding because I wasn’t right for you. I think he was kidding. We’ll see.

   Speaking of Viet Nam – which I hate to do – it was reported in the paper that 95 Americans were killed in the past seven days. Apparently, that’s the first time during the war that we’ve lost more men in a week than all of our other allies, combined. That doesn’t worry me much, anymore. It does make me very angry, particularly when I think about that statement from LBJ, when he said that he wasn’t really trying to win some big war. He was just trying to keep the Communists north of some imaginary line in the jungle!

    You remember that story your dad and I were following about the hydrogen bomb lost in the Mediterranean? The reason we couldn’t find a report on the conclusion is that it didn’t actually conclude until last Thursday! The plane crash occurred back in mid-January, and they have been searching for the missing bomb most of that time. They finally located it a couple weeks ago, but were having trouble hauling it to the surface. It was in water almost 3,000 feet deep! They finally had to ship some kind of torpedo recovery vehicle from California, and that’s how they finally were able to recover the bomb. Apparently, it was okay, but there was some problem with the recovery apparatus getting tangled with the bomb on the way up. The paper said it could have been “disastrous,” but they didn’t say why or how.

   They are finally releasing a few more details of the actual plane crash. Seven airmen were killed, then another eight died when a support plane crashed, later. They haven’t said anything about Spanish civilian casualties, but it seems like there almost had to be some.

   The three bombs that ended up on land didn’t explode – apparently, they were not “armed” – but two were damaged and leaked radiation. A cleanup crew had to fill nearly 5,000 steel drums with contaminated soil and vegetation. I don’t know how they dispose of that – probably we don’t want to know!

   I have a lot of questions about why American planes loaded with H-bombs were flying over Europe during “peace time.” I suspect we’ll never know. We probably wouldn’t even know as much as we do if the plane hadn’t crashed.

   Oh, I got your letter about the politics classes. Interesting, but you and your professor are right that it isn’t anything we want to get involved with right now. I do like your idea about building our own courses. It does seem a long way off before we would use them, but we have a lot of research and development to do, so we should get started. For instance, I have absolutely no idea how people – including me – are supposed to be able to figure out how to find the best information about something. If we’re going to tell other people, then….

   So, my lovely Victoria, I guess that’s it for now. I’ll give this to Mike to mail tomorrow, but you may see me before you see it. My plan is to be at your door at the usual time Friday, to begin doing the usual things we do during a weekend together in Pocatello. If by any chance you don’t want to see me then, I think I’ll come along, anyway. You might change your mind.

   I love you, Vic.


   Greg didn’t have to worry about whether Vic would want to see him. She did, and they spent a typical weekend in their motel room. The weather was clear and warm on Saturday, but they found they had enough to talk about that they didn’t venture out. When he was leaving on Sunday, he surprised her by saying that he intended to see her in two weeks, not three. She asked him why (the schedule just looks better, he said), and she didn’t object.

   As Greg drove back to the refuge, it began to rain lightly, but it was still mild. Therefore, it surprised him to learn later that Pocatello received an inch of snow on Monday. It only snowed the one day, but clearing skies allowed the temperature to fall into the low 20s, only warming to about 40 degrees for the next several days. Although not that many miles away, and not a lot of difference in elevation, Magic Valley remained unseasonably warm during that spell.

   Greg and Tim spent much of the next two weeks in general “spring cleaning,” getting supplies and equipment ready for the summer. In addition to her classes, Vic had a number of extracurricular activities. August 18 – the snow day – was Governor’s Day at school, and Governor Smylie performed a number of duties. Despite the cold and snow, he reviewed the ROTC troops, threw out the first football for the start of Bengals’ spring training, and dedicated the new Fine Arts Building. At a student assembly, he announced a plan currently before the State Legislature to provide college scholarships for the top male and female students in every Idaho high school. He emphasized that these would be based entirely on scholarship, and not on need or student activities.

   Governor Smylie returned to ISU later in the week to participate in the 17th Annual Institute of Government, arranged each year by the students in the Government/Political Science curriculum. Vic attended all three days of panel discussions, that addressed the question “Have the traditional relations between units of government in the United States become outmoded in the Twentieth Century?” Somewhat surprisingly, she thought, the general consensus seemed to be that more federal aid was good, as states and municipalities seemed overrun with problems without the money or resources to handle them. However, there were concerns expressed about the dangers of “big government” taking over.

   On April 27, James Farmer, former director of the Congress of Racial Equality, spoke at a student assembly. When Vic heard that he was coming, she did a little research on him at the school library, and was excited to hear his talk. She wasn’t disappointed, and was eager to share with Greg when he arrived, which he did, on schedule, two days later.

   The afternoon started out like previous Friday visits to Pocatello – an embrace, a kiss, a hamburger and fries, and relaxing on the couch. But this time, instead of napping on Greg’s shoulder, she leaned over, kissed him on the cheek, and whispered.

   “Greg, I know why you came back to see me so quickly this time…”

   “You mean, other than my unquenchable desire to be with you every moment that I can?”

   “Well, that’s a given. No, I figured out what your surprise is, and I love you for it, and for caring so much about me that you’re doing this.”

   “So, you want to get married this weekend, rather than waiting for July?”

   She was too fast for him. “Oh, sure, but can we do that tomorrow? I’d kind of like to go see ‘My Fair Lady’ tonight.”

   He laughed. “I knew the chances of you not finding out were pretty slim. You said you don’t usually see the local newspapers, but it was unlikely that somebody in your dorm wouldn’t have seen the movie already, and talked about it.”

   That’s exactly what happened.”

   “You know, I’ve been scouring the Idaho papers ever since your parents got back from Boise. I don’t think they’ve shown it in any other town In the state, and it doesn’t look like they intend to, at least any time soon.”

   “Well, thank you for trying so hard. I’m sure I am going to love it!”


   She did. They both agreed that the filming, the acting, the music – everything about “My Fair Lady” was even better than they hoped for, or expected. They left the theater with Vic singing “I could have danced all night.”

   Next morning in bed, she was still humming it. “I can’t get it out of my head.”

   “Well, I’m just glad that it was the song that stuck with you, not “Just you wait, Gregory Cleveland, just you wait,” or “I can do without you.”

   She cuddled a little closer. “I would never think such things about you, Greg. Even if the tides don’t need you to pull them in and out, and the clouds don’t need you to push them past, I personally cannot do without you, Ducky!.”

   “That’s nice to hear.

   “But, Greg, wasn’t it wonderful! I mean I wanted it to be, because I love the music so much, but I guess I didn’t expect it would be so well done.”

   “And to have a double feature – we seldom get that, anymore – and to have the second event as good as the first…”

   “Double feature? Oh, that! Yes, that was a very nice way to complete the evening. Parts of it I think were even better than the movie. Of course, there wasn’t any music…”

   “You didn’t hear music? Well, none of it had a Cockney accent, but I swear I heard some Rachmaninoff, and a little bit of Debussy. And, of course, right at the climax of the second performance, there were all the bombs, cannons, rockets and fireworks of ‘The 1812 Overture’.”

   She giggled. “Come to think of it, I did hear all those – particularly the last.”


   They eventually got out of bed, had breakfast, and sat down to plan the day. “So,” asked Vic, “Are we getting married, today?”

   “I was thinking that, if we did, we could sleep together tonight.”

   She gave him a look. “As I recall, we slept together last night – well, slept part of the time – and there was no wedding license sitting on the night stand, then.”

   He seemed to ponder. “That’s true, so maybe that isn’t the best reason to speed up the marriage. Also, it would seem a shame to deprive our families and friends of the chance to share in the special moment.”

   “I think it would also be a shame if I couldn’t observe your open-mouthed, goggle-eyed reaction to my first appearance coming toward you in all my bridal finery.”

   “You don’t paint a very flattering picture of my reaction, but it’s true that I would really miss that moment, too. I will be pixilated, that’s for sure.”


   “Pixilated. You know, intoxicated by the vision of you. Seeming maybe a little crazy, acting like…. I don’t know. Maybe like the best thing that has ever happened to me is personified in that moment, seeing you walking down the aisle toward me.”

   She looked a little teary-eyed, but the moment didn’t last. “Unfortunately, the next thing that happens is that Tim yells out that you can’t possibly marry me.”

   She just shook her head. “If that happens, it happens. I had been thinking that I’d probably go ahead and marry you, anyway, but after you spoiled that description of your pixilated self, looking at me… Maybe, maybe not.”

   A little later, after an appropriate pause in the conversation, it seemed like she had forgiven him. “So, Greg, if we’re not getting married today, what are we going to do?”

   “How about some planning – at least, preliminary planning – of the next couple of months. Time seems to be passing rather quickly. I have started to mark up a calendar, if you’re interested.”

   She was. “Okay, starting with today. Would you like to see ‘My Fair Lady’ again tonight, or is it too soon?”

   “Yes, please. I would love to see it again.”

   “Maybe make it another double feature?”

   “We can talk about that, later. What’s next on your calendar?”

  “I think it will be sad if Mandy is the only one in the family who doesn’t get to see the movie.”

  “Mandy, huh? Should I be jealous that you always seem to be doing nice things for my sister?”

   “Not unless you’re a lot less secure about you and me than I think you are.”

   “You’re not wrong. I’m joking. I love that you love Mandy. What did you have in mind?”

   “The show runs through next weekend. I was thinking that I could bring her with me Friday, see the show that night, stay overnight, and then put her on a bus home Saturday. Or, here’s another possibility. How important has Mother’s Day been in your family?”

   “We’ve always tried to be together, and have done something nice – gone out to dinner, or something. Why?”

   “I was just thinking, rather than sending Mandy home on the bus, we could all drive back on Saturday afternoon, stay overnight, and all be together on Sunday. Then, Sunday evening, I could drive you back up here, and we’d have our second night together. Monday morning, we could get you to your classes on time, and I’d drive back to the refuge. How does that sound?”

   “It sounds nice, but it sounds like an awful lot of driving for you.”

   “Certainly more than usual, but it’s not a hard drive, the weather will be good, and it doesn’t get dark until about nine o’clock. Plus, getting to spend one more night with you is worth a little trouble for me.”

     “Okay, then, let’s plan it that way. On a related subject, do you know that Mandy's senior prom is the Friday after Mother's Day?”

   "No, I didn't know that. I haven't heard anybody mention it, but I haven't seen Mandy or your mom to talk to in a while."

   "Well, you may recall you didn't know about mine, until I told you. She's going with the same boy who took her last year - no, he's not long-term boyfriend material! - and she has some girlfriends to be with, but she won't have me. I don't want to make more work for you, but could you possibly be at the house to give her a hug, and maybe take a few pictures? She'd love that."

   “Sure, I'll be glad to do that. About the movie, let’s not tell Mandy what the surprise will be. She’ll suspect something is up, but that’ll just be gravy if she’s seeing you, anyway. Okay, next, Mandy’s graduation. I could come and get you as usual on Friday. I could take you home Saturday night, go to Mandy’s graduation Sunday, then drive with you back here on Sunday night.”

  “Why don’t I take a bus home on Saturday, then finish off as you suggest?”

 “Would that be okay with you? Okay, then, moving into June. ISU commencement is Sunday, June 5, so I assume your finals will be the week before that. Either you and Nancy will get a ride home, or I’ll come and get you. Okay?”

   “Okay. Greg, I think I’m with you on everything so far, but my brain is getting fuzzy. Can we go for a walk or something before we continue? I know the next couple of dates are pretty important, and I want to be fresh to discuss them.”

   “Sure. Let’s go for a walk”

   They left the motel, and just walked randomly for an hour or so. It had been below freezing overnight, and with a fairly strong breeze, still felt pretty chilly. Temperatures were still well below average for that late in the year, but were gradually warming. Later in the day, 60 degrees were predicted, but it was only about 45 as they walked. They kept moving briskly along.

   “You know, Greg, you refer to Mandy as my “little’ or ‘kid’ sister. You do remember that she’s only a year younger than me?”

   “Sure, but somebody has to be the little sister, don’t they?”

   “But, besides her age, she is as tall as me, pretty smart, and just as comely as I am.”

   “Comely? Vic, I am prepared to grant the minor difference in age, the comparative cleverness (for her age, of course), and the similarities in body configuration and attractiveness. But there I have to stop. When I look in my magic mirror, and say ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ the face it shows me is not Mandy, or Snow White…”

   Vic giggled, and linked her arm with his. “Well, if it was just your opinion, I might think a little fiancé bias was involved, but who can argue with a magic mirror?”

   “My point, exactly. By the way, despite your warm body close to mine, this fiancé is getting pretty cold. Are you ready to go back, yet?”

   She was. Back in the motel, he asked if she was hungry. “Not yet. That was a pretty big breakfast. If you don’t need anything for a while, why don’t we have a combination late lunch-early dinner about 5 o’clock? That should sustain us through the show.”

   “Is it a double feature night?”

   She gave him a sideways glance. “Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.”


   Back in their room, Greg picked up his calendar, again. “Well, the big things in June and July are our ‘honeymoon’ trip, and our wedding. It now seems pretty certain, doesn’t it, that we’ll all still be in Magic Valley through July?”

   “I think so. It’s getting pretty late, and I don’t think Daddy has any strong leads on anything. From what we learned, if the move is here in Idaho, rather than to North Dakota, August seems most likely.”

   “So, using that as our general guide, I thought we might do the California trip between June 13 and 23. I don’t know how much time we’d actually take – I need to check which part of that period would be best for visiting my family – but that would give us at least three weeks before our wedding, if we shot for, say, the weekend of July 16-17. There’s nothing magic about that date. I just suggest it because it would probably be a month after we saw my parents. That would kind of separate the meeting and the wedding.”

    Vic studied the calendar. “I think those are pretty good dates to start planning around. It seems to space things out, and give time for getting all the preliminaries done. Let’s start with those dates, anyway.”

   “Okay. Now, one other thing that I’d like to squeeze in is to invite Dr. Fichter and Matt down for the dicky bird migration. There’s no way to be sure when the best time will be – and probably there won’t be a major congregation, like we had last year – but the weekend of June 11-12 should be about the peak. That would be a week after school was out, and just before we leave for California. They could stay in the bunkhouse, and you and Mandy would both be home, so we could have a fun bird-watching weekend.”

   “That does sound like fun, if they can do it. Do you want me to ask them?”

   “Sure, why don’t you see if it’s possible. If it is, then we can work on the details.”

   Vic stretched and yawned. “I feel like we’ve accomplished quite a bit, today, but I feel exhausted. Can I take a little nap?”

   Greg got up off the couch. “Sure. Let me get you a pillow, and you can stretch out right here.” He brought the pillow and a blanket, and kissed her on the forehead. “Sweet dreams, my lovely Vic.”

   “You’re so good to me.”

   “I am, aren’t I?” He sat in the armchair and watched her sleep, until he nodded off to dream his own dreams.

   When they awoke, there was a little time before dinner, and Vic had a couple of items she wanted to discuss.

   “I did get the letter you sent Monday, and I’m glad you like my idea about training courses. I know it will be a long, long time before we do anything really serious about it, but I had an idea about how we can at least get started toward some future goal. We could each get three notebooks – or better yet, maybe three large Manila envelopes, and label them ‘how to get proper information,’ ‘how the Government works,’ and ‘what methods work best.' Every time we read something, or see something in a newspaper, or hear something that relates, we could put it in the appropriate envelope.  In a year or two, between us we will probably have accumulated quite a few notes to start analyzing, and figuring out what more information we need to fill the gaps in what we have.”

   “That’s a great idea, Vic. Even though our realizing our dreams may be far in the future, we’ll be committing ourselves to think about them all the time. Let’s do it.”

   “Okay, good. The other thing I wanted to tell you about was going to hear James Farmer speak last Wednesday. You know who he is, right? The former director of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality. Now, he’s with some group pushing community action – I didn’t get the actual name. Anyway, our ISU student association asked him to speak on civil rights, and about 300 people showed up to hear him.

   “He is fascinating. He helped form the first chapter of CORE in Chicago in 1942. He led ‘freedom rides’ in the early civil rights movement, and he was jailed twice, once in Mississippi and once in  Louisiana. As I said, his new job has to do with citizen action and education.

   “In his speech, he said there has been a lot of progress on things like integration of restaurants, hotels and motels, and public transportation. At the same time, Negroes are falling far behind getting good jobs and being able to find unsegregated housing. For instance, in New York City’s Negro ghetto area,  70% of men between 16 and 21 are out of work and out of school. Apparently, this isn’t an unusual situation.

   “Among specific issues he mentioned, he is disappointed that Mormons refuse to let Negros have leadership roles in their church. He thinks the Negro vote is going to become more and more important, and there needs to be a real national effort to make that happen. He isn’t against civil disobedience, as he calls it – strikes, sit-ins, and such – but believes they should always be peaceful.” She paused. “Now, what else? Oh, I know. He doesn’t like it when civil rights demonstrations and Viet Nam demonstrations get all mixed up together. He thinks the messages are so different from one another that it just confuses and waters down both efforts. He’d like to see them kept really separate.

   “It really was an interesting, worthwhile meeting, I thought.

   “It sounds like it. I bet it provokes a few letters to the editor, and complaints to the college president.”


   They had a good, but not great, lunch/dinner, and saw the movie for the second time. If anything, they liked it even better, because they could concentrate more on the little side actions, and the words to the songs. They returned to their motel happy, and soon went to bed.

   It was a double feature night.

   Sunday morning, they woke up early, and took a few moments to acknowledge one another’s presence.  “I’m still marveling at the movie,” Vic exclaimed. “The music, the acting – the whole production. I’ve never seen a movie that good!”

   “What song do you like the best?”

   “Oh, no question: ‘I Could Have Danced All Night.’”

   “I guessed that one. I was going to say that my favorite is ‘On the Street Where You Live,’ but it isn’t, really. I like it a lot, but I don’t think Freddy should sing it.”

   “But that’s the story! Freddy has to sing it.”

   “Oh, I know that. It still seems wasted on him. Anyway, it really isn’t my favorite. Can you guess what is?”

   “Let me see. Well, knowing what you’re usually thinking about when you see me, maybe ‘Show Me.’”

   “No, that would be your song, not mine. If you had thought of it at the time, that would have been your song when you first started to seduce me…”

   “Seduce you?”

   “Yes, indeed. We’d been talking about ‘Pajama Game’ recently, so you went for the softer approach, with ‘Small Talk.’ ‘I’ve got something better for your lips to do.’” He moved his face closer to hers, as he sang. She moved her head away.

   “Oh, no, you don’t.”

   “Vic, I’m just explaining that’s what eventually drove me into your lovely web of love, from which I cannot escape. But you could have possibly achieved the same thing with the harder sell, ‘Show Me.’ ‘Haven’t your lips hungered for mine? Please don’t expline, show me!”

   She gave him an assessing look. “So, I drove you into my web of love with ‘Small Talk,’ but ‘Show Me’ might have worked just as well.”

   “We can’t know, now. The deed is done.”

   She ignored that. “And you can’t escape from my web of love?”

   “Well, to tell the truth, I’ve never tried. Since that first day, when you accosted me in the woods while I was surveying the bird life, and unexpectedly and very soundly kissed me, I’ve had no interest in going anywhere that you weren’t.”

   She leaned back toward him, and let her lips lightly brush his. “That’s a very nice way to put it. Thank you. However, you still haven’t told me your favorite song.”

   “Oh, that. Well, you remember near the end of the movie, Henry is fussing and fuming about how irrational women are – meaning especially Eliza - and how much they upset a man’s life. He rambles on and on, until suddenly something comes to him. You remember what he said? Well, actually, first he said ‘damn, damn, damn, damn’ But, then he said – kind of in amazement – ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face.’”

   Greg sat up in bed so he could look down on her, then put his hands on both sides of her face. He sang quietly to her. “I’ve grown accustomed to her face She almost makes the day begin. I’ve grown accustomed to the tune she whistles night and noon. Her smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs are second nature to me now, like breathing out and breathing in…  It’s lovely when Henry sings it about Eliza, but I love it because that’s how I feel about you, Victoria Anderson.”


   Later, at her dorm, Vic did a little school work, then gossiped with Nancy and some of the other women. Greg drove back to the refuge, stopping for a burger and a chat with Cora and Jackson. At home, he took a little time to straighten up the place, as he pondered a lot of good memories from the weekend. Just after the sun set, he drove out to his and Vic’s parking spot, rolled down his window, and watched and listened as the skies darkened into real night. He couldn’t see anything clearly on the water, but he could hear low gabbling sounds, as ducks settled down to wait for morning.

   Up on the north rimrock, a pack of coyotes burst into spontaneous song, then stopped as quickly as they had started. Greg waited for more, but all was still. Then, as he started to roll up the window, another pack sounded off back toward the “narrows.” It was a fairly bright night, and the white surface of the road shown clearly, so – thinking that he might surprise that group - he decided to drive home without lights. He was rewarded with two jackrabbits barely getting off the road before he hit them, one hopping north and the other south. As he approached the ‘narrows,’ he thought he saw movement, and quickly switched on his headlights. There was nothing there, now.  He drove on to headquarters, parked the truck, and walked home.

  A great ending to a great weekend.


Monday morning, Greg asked Chuck if they could get Mandy excused from school on Friday, so he could take her to see Vic. "I don't see why not. She says school is just 'Seniors running wild,' anyway. What's up?"

    "Sister stuff," Greg replied. "Vic has something lined up." (Well, that was only a slight variation on the facts!) "I'd get her back home on Saturday. And, speaking of that, do you and Alice have anything special going on for Mother's Day."

   "We'll go out to eat somewhere, but nothing beyond that. Why do you ask?"

   "Vic would really like to be with you guys on Sunday. I could bring her down when I deliver Mandy, then get her back to Pocatello in time for her Monday classes."

   Chuck gave a big smile. "Allie would love that. I would love that! You can do that?"

   "Sure. We'll plan to be here by Saturday evening, and the girls can be around all of Sunday."


   The short work/school week went by quickly. The "girls" in the dorm staged a (more or less) non-alcoholic Cinco de Mayo celebration. Greg surveyed the increasing numbers of waterfowl. Mandy impatiently wondered what the "real" surprise was going to be on Friday. (Obviously, she thought, there was more going on than just her visiting with her sister.)

   Friday morning, Greg picked up Mandy at home, and they drove to Pocatello. Mandy was excited, and badgered Greg the whole way about the "secret." Greg remained frustratingly stoic. They stopped for the obligatory burgers and fries - with shakes, not colas, for a change - then collected Vic from her dorm. At the motel, Greg introduced Mandy to David - two beauties at one time seemed close to too much for him to take, but he obviously liked it.

   Mandy didn't guess the "surprise" - in fact, was shocked when the theater marquee overhead announced the movie title. She sat entranced, not saying a word until the final credits had rolled past. Then, she couldn't stop talking. Starting at the car, and continuing in the motel, she gave both Greg and Vic a dozen hugs.

   "I love 'Carousel,' partly because I'd never experienced anything like that in my whole life. But 'My Fair Lady' is just super amazing. I love Eliza. I was pretty mad at Henry for treating her so mean, but he was going in the right direction by the end.  Thank you, my darling sister and brother-in-law!"

   "Do you have a favorite part?" Greg asked.

   "I didn't like Eliza's father, and that's maybe why I didn't like his songs very much. Everything else was great. My favorite song will probably change, as I think more about them, but right now I pick 'Wouldn't it be lover-ly' - just daydreaming about something you never had, and probably never will have, but that seems like it would be fantastic. That was really nice."


   When, on Saturday morning, they told Mandy that Vic was returning home with them, she was ecstatic all over again. At the car, she paused at the front door, and announced that she was riding beside Greg. Vic opened the rear door, and pointed at Mandy. "Sisters-in-law-to-be ride in the back seat. Wives-to-be ride next to husbands-to-be."

   Mandy climbed in, but before she did, she stood with hands on hips, and stuck out her tongue at Vic. "You are a very mean sister!" Vic returned the gesture, and climbed in next to Greg. Greg just smiled, and thought how lucky he was to be acquiring this nutty, amazing extended family.


   Saturday evening and Sunday, they celebrated Mother's Day with Alice and Chuck. Alice loved the surprise appearance of both her daughters. Late Sunday afternoon, Greg and Vic started back toward Pocatello. However, they changed their plans about Sunday's destination, and went to the refuge, where there were no motel charges and where Vic's big, comfortable bed awaited them. They snacked on leftovers in the refrigerator. Then, just as the sun was setting, they drove out onto the refuge to their parking spot. There were just enough clouds to give them a little color in the sunset, then the quiet darkness settled in They stayed almost an hour, and were treated to several different coyote choruses. On their drive home, they saw two jackrabbits (the same that Greg had seen?), and one very slow porcupine. Their night was fairly short, as they had to leave very early to get Vic to her morning class on time. They thoroughly enjoyed the time they had, and they did make it to Pocatello on time. Greg was back to work before noon.

   On Friday after work, he drove to town, did some shopping, then surprised Mandy by showing up at her door, with one white rose. She was wearing a gown similar to the one that Vic had worn the previous year, but in baby blue rather than yellow. Greg told her she looked beautiful - which she did. She gave him a generous hug, he kissed her on the forehead, then took a few photos. He waited until her date came to get her, visited with Alice and Chuck for a while, then returned to the refuge in the dark.

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