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The Puffman is hooked

I was at the Marias Heritage Center last evening (Tuesday) reading “Montana History” and I am really getting “hooked” on my friend, Lenore McKelvey Puhek’s (it rhymes with Buick but her Yugo’s in the shop and she’s driving a Rambler loaner car this week) tome, “Forever Friends-The journey of two families from Civil War Virginia to Montana Territory 1860-1868″. I’ve blogged about this book before but I’m getting more and more hooked on it as the story goes along. This is Lenore’s third book in a series featuring pioneer women. We wrapped up chapter 21 last evening, Amelia’s now done two years at medical school in Boston, her servant/friend/companion Beulah has learned to read and write, thanks to the Quakers (with Amelia’s blessing), and Jeremiah and his friend, Joseph are still “on the lam” from the Confederate Army. I noted several references to Jeremiah’s new friend and “partner in crime”, Joseph in previous chapters. I recall reading that Jeremiah’s brother Frank said that Joseph “came down the ladder like a “city boy” or something and there was another part that caused me to think that Joseph may turn out to be “light in the loafers”. Then I read that Joseph didn’t have any facial hair and I am now suspecting that Joseph was one of the many women, who in a period of American history that will never be fully understood, went to the battle fields. Lenore tells me that women had no place to go and they were left with no husband, brother, uncle, etc., and so to pack up and go to the war site was a common occurrence. If they survived the Civil War, they were given a pension for the rest of their lives of $25.00 a month. For some women, that was all they had to keep them sustained. I am fully engaged in this story…it’s a page turner…and I am learning a great deal about the Civil War. Makes me wish I would have paid more attention when I was a young student in school. For instance, did you know that our country suffered a million or more casualties during the Civil War? Having grown up in the 60′s, I’ve always been familiar with the 50,000 casualty count from our Viet Nam war and I’ve always thought that was a lot. Of course, in my opinion, ONE is too many but here we’re talking a MILLION. It’s appears that the mindset of the south was that they were NEVER go to give in and the mindset of the north was that they wouldn’t quit until the country was once again united. Sad that throughout history, killing and bloodshed has been used so often by so many to settle differences. Not much has changed since Biblical times. Many lives have been destroyed and any more, we’re not even sure whom the victor is after we’re done. The Civil War really was about brother-fighting-brother and that is very, very sad. Hopefully Lenore’s book will have a happy ending, things can’t get much worse at this point…or can they? Looking forward to commencing chapter 22 (we’re about a third through this saga) next Tuesday evening at the Heritage. In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to go out and get this book. I guarantee you that you won’t want to put it down.

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