Home on the Range

by Karen Hamilton

Where are you from? An innocent enough question, and for many an easy answer. Perhaps they spent their whole life in Ely, only leaving for a few years for college. When I was in the Army and asked, my answer was Minnesota. That pretty well covered it when meeting people from all over the U.S. Maybe adding the detail of “grew up in Northern Minnesota” if they were at all familiar.
Born at Ely Bloomenson Hospital, raised in Ely, graduated from Ely Memorial High School… but graduation was 20 years ago. Living in Murphy City, between Finland and Isabella now, but there are way more than 50 miles between Ely and here, and memories too numerous to count.
Central Minnesota, a few months in South Carolina for basic training. Back to Minnesota, out to Montana, then California and Oregon, only to return to Montana. Then, probably the biggest shock to all who know me, I return with my growing family to Minnesota.
If you would have asked me, even five years ago, if I thought I’d ever “move home,” I’d have told you, “I am home, it’s Montana.”
Most are familiar with the song “Home on the Range” and my heart has always dreamt of “Out West.” As a kid I would spread the Sunday paper out to read the ads.
“2 year old mare, grade, $600”
“MOM! I have $600! We could keep her in the backyard! I could ride her to school!”
A child’s logic sees no flaws in this plan. Parents know better.
Grow up, or at least age a bit, life becomes an adventure and you head to Montana. Working on ranches, both Guest and Cattle, and loving life. But then, starting a family, and priorities shifted.
What’s important? Chasing dreams or knowing my children are surrounded by those who love them, those who watched me grow up, and were instrumental in making me who I am.
The Hamilton Homestead is the former Kuehl residence. Our hens lay eggs in laying boxes my grandma built. We kept the horses in the backyard the first winter, no worries. We have a few more acres now.
We are making our Home on the Range. It just happens to be the Iron Range.