Meikle, Lyndel

Lyndel was born in Helena, "in the first half of the last century," as she tells the high school students to whom she teaches basic blacksmithing at Powell County High School.  She finds it's worth the price of divulging her antiquity as she watches the students work this out, their eyes widening in alarm. Charmingly, they then offer to lift heavy coal sacks for her until the horror fades and all returns to normal.

Over the years, Lyndel had three main ambitions: to be a cowgirl, a ranger, and go back to Montana. The circuitous path she followed to achieve all three of those goals is described in this book. But, as she explains, it is really the story of "hands, hooves, claws, and paws." Her teachers ranged from several ants and caterpillars to university professors, curious children, and liars.

Her career took her from Vietnam in 1957 to Yosemite National Park, Fort Point, Alcatraz in San Francisco, and finally  Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge, Montana. Along the way, she discovered that a job could have many dimensions, and there was always something new to learn and challenge.