Thursday, May 21, 2009

The best cow country ...

Today's quote is from an essay written by William Kittredge for the reprint edition of the old WPA guide to Montana -- still the best guidebook about the state that's ever been written. In the essay, Kittredge is recalling his youth in Oregon, and a day when his father and grandfather had returned from a cattle-buying trip to Montana:
My grandfather took his breakfast at the head of a cookhouse table where enamelware pots of coffee and platters of pounded steak were passed. One of the ranch hands asked him about Montana. "It's the best cow country you'd ever see," he said. His eyes shone with the glory of it, or maybe grief. Until that time he'd always said ours was the finest ranch in the West.


  1. Wasn't the WPA amazing? It's remarkable how much cultural info it created and preserved.

  2. Oh, absolutely! So much good stuff ... so much of which is still relevant and useful and beautiful today.

    I would dearly love to have a complete set of all their state guidebooks, for example -- they're still the best travelers' reference out there.