Monday, July 20, 2009

Every trip has to end ...

When I was a kid, the person I most wanted to be like was Charles Kuralt, the CBS newsman. Back then, he and his camera crew were wandering around the country in a motor home, doing human-interest stories for Walter Cronkite's evening newscast. It sounded like the most wonderful life imaginable to me, and my fondness for Kuralt never wavered ... even after his death, when it was discovered that he'd lived a double life for decades, keeping a mistress squirreled away in a rural Montana valley. If anything, that revelation made him seem cooler to me than ever.

Kuralt published an autobiography in 1990 called A Life on the Road, which of course completely failed to mention the paramour -- but that did include a final chapter called "A Place to Come Home To." The ending fondly described the Montana acreage he had purchased for her, and where the two spent their shared time. (The spot is a few miles from Twin Bridges, not far from the Beaverhead River.) It's an evocative and elegiac piece, and here are its last couple of paragraphs:
The sun will be going down soon, and the big brown trout will soon be swimming out from beneath the logjam on the river to sip their supper. A male pheasant in full plumage just strutted past the window without his harem. A white-tailed doe and her two fawns have been passing every evening, and I expect them shortly.

I hear an owl hooting from the top of a not-yet-fallen beaver-girdled cottonwood. A coyote is moaning somewhere in the dry hills that look down on this small, green, river-bottom Eden. The moon is rising.

I love this place. When I am here, I think I would be happy never to leave it. Every trip has to end.


  1. I'd never heard this revelation about Kuralt; wonder what I was engrossed in to not catch it.

    Doesn't diminish the guy at all too me...I still think he was a sweetheart, despite his private life. I'm glad he loved MT too.

  2. Of course the story of Kuralt's paramour was huge news here in Bozeman ... and there was a protracted court case here over whether she was entitled to the Montana place after Kuralt died. It went all the way to the Montana Supreme Court and she eventually prevailed, and I was glad for that.

    And as I said, the revealed story of Kuralt's private life actually made me love him more ... in a weird way, it was further proof that he loved life. And everyone who really experiences life has something in their past that is bound to horrify certain folks. :)

  3. Oh yea ,,,,,like marching in a 4th of July gay logger parade,,,,,,ha,,,,ok sorry but I couldn't help myself,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  4. Ha! You're making me think I need to come up even weirder to do in the future! It's just too much fun to tease people ... :)

  5. *S* Pat's case was no doubt helped a bit by my own mother's similar battle in Helena in 1973. The Montana Supreme Court ruled in her favor too, striking a resounding blow for the Common Law spousal survivor.