Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chapter 38: Norbeck's Cabin (North of Helena)

Five decades later, I remember this day with a bold, striking clarity, as if it happened yesterday.  It was the first time in my life when I felt as though my family and I, along with our hosts, had suddenly found ourselves on the only inhabited place on Earth.  I have only  vague memories of the drive from Great Falls and back.  The Norbeck cabin was located an indeterminate (at least it was to me in 1955) number of miles north of Helena, not within view of  U.S. Highway 91. But the visit itself had a most powerful and lasting effect on me.

From a Google search, I assume our hosts were Rev. Nels Norbeck, pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Great Falls, and his family.  I suspect the Norbecks also spent time at the Bible camp on Whitefish Lake.  I don't remember spending any time inside the cabin, and, considering the breath-taking scenery on a perfect summer day, we had little interest in doing so.

It was my first time on a horse -- and bareback, no less.  I look quite confident, surprisingly so, considering how tentative I usually was around animals -- dogs in particular.  Wish my legs could get as tan now as they were then.

Larry appears to have just a hint of a question on his face, as though wondering if the horse might turn into a bucking bronco.  The girl holding the reins, the Norbecks daughter, I assume, looks to be about 10 years old.  She exudes the aura of an old hand at this sort of hospitality.

Not having brought her swimsuit along, Mom is content to sit on a low log bench, enjoying the God's-country setting and engaging Nels in conversation while Dad takes a picture of a very contented group.  The boy holding the innertube looks to be a couple of years older than his sister.  Barb must be inside the cabin taking a nap.  She doesn't appear in any of this series of slides.

Many years after the fact, the pond water doesn't look very inviting.  And from the way I've parked myself on the little dock, I might having been thinking the same thing.


  1. Thank you for posting these pictures. The girl holding the reigns of the pony would be my mother, Nelsine Christine (Norbeck) Rasmussen. If you have any other photos of the Norbeck family, it would mean a great deal to us if you could make them available. Thanks again.
    - Eric Rasmussen

  2. Eric, there are the only photos I have of the Norbeck family.