Big Muddy, Ralph Bloom is the husband of my dad's cousin, Dorothy.
It would be fun to look you up the next time we get up into that country, but that doesn't happen too often. The last time I was there was almost six years ago, and the time before that was in 1961, so don't hold your breath.
I really like the geography around Wood Mountain, and can see why my relatives chose to homestead in that area. Gurley Oakes and his brother drove a team and wagon up there from Nebraska, so it undoubtedly took them at least a couple months. Gurley's wife (my grandmother's sister) rode up on the train, but I think it was a roundabout route that even took quite awhile by that modern way of traveling. Aren't we a spoiled bunch today, compared to living the life of hardships that our ancestors did?
When our family visited Canada in 1961, my dad bought a couple horses from Ralph and Dorothy Bloom. They and their son, Darrell, who was a couple years older than me, delivered the horses to Nebraska a couple weeks later. At the time, the "fad" in this country for trimming up a horse, was roached mane and a long foretop. These Canadian horses arrived with long mane and roached foretops. Different strokes for different folks.
The spring of 1962, a wild young cowboy took a ranch job with my dad. This dapper cowboy, "Jim", was enthralled with one of the Canadian horses, a sorrel gelding named "Red". Dad traded him the horse for wages, and every Saturday night, Jim rode the horse the eight miles into town. The song "Wolverton Mountain" by Claude King was popular at the time. A several-week summer tradition was for Jim and his girlfriend to ride ol' Red double down mainstreet of Merriman, singing "Wolverton Mountain" at the stroke of midnight. Jim was a teetotaler when he came to work right before calving, but got to liking the taste of beer at all the brandings. By summertime, he was nearly a full-fledged alcoholic, and he had beer stashed in every water tank between our ranch and town.
Jim left Dad's employment before the summer was over, and worked on quite a few different cow outfits through the years. On one of his moves, he was carrying a suitcase down a flight of stairs in a bunkhouse, and dropped the suitcase. When it hit the stairway, a loaded pistol inside went off, and the speeding bullet put out Jim's eye. He wore a glass eye for awhile, and before he'd get in the wild horse race at the local rodeo, he'd take out his eye and give it to his girlfriend for safekeeping. Evidently that was too much of a hassle, because he discontinued the glass eye and has ever since worn a patch.
Sorry my rambling got so long, but that is the way it was.