Woody Packard

Words + Pictures


934 West Pine Street
Once Judy was accepted, our time in Missoula suddenly seemed short. Our imagined departure date was somewhere between September 1–15. We gave notice to our landlord. We began shifting unused items into boxes, sold them on ebay, (Judy) or dumped them into the trash (me). Part of every day was spent distilling things down so that when the call came, we would each be able to close two suitcases on everything we would need for the coming year.

At first this effort had little effect on our daily routine. In August Judy travelled to Washington DC for her orientation. I went to Ohio to help a sister with a new knee. I was working on several web sites and Judy's classes did not end until August 28. By August 31 we had to be out of our apartment, so by the last week of August we were in full moving mode again. Ready or not, computers and printers, work table and books. We were moving boxes that had not been unpacked since the last move in November, boxes of things we used at breakfast. It seemed that we should get rid of more, but there was not time. Chairs and dishes were stored along with the canoe and table saw. Somewhere in there were things that we would regret packing, but there was no going back. We closed the overhead door on our storage unit and locked it, paying our bill in advance for the coming year.

We would take our remaining things to Flathead Lake and stay with Judy's father for the time it would take to process our visas—a week, maybe two. As two weeks turned into three and then four, life continued to take its turns. Two different neighbors had serious car accidents, one requiring a two-week hospital stay. Web sites that I had started still needed some work, so I continued to work on those. Day to day, we walked with Judy's father, John. We cooked dinners. We unpacked clothes to wear, and then washed and repacked them. For five days we travelled with Judy's sister and brother in law, to Eureka, to Libby. We fished Grave Creek and the Yaak and watched deer wander through our campsite.

Back at Flathead Lake, it was time for John to rack this year's batch of cherry wine with his brother Jim. The water level in the lake was starting to go down for the winter, as was the temperature of the water. As five weeks edged toward six, Judy and I explored the hills across the highway, which, because of time, we had never had the opportunity to do before. Then an email from Mongolia saying that all the agencies responsible for signing off on Judy's visa had done so. Word would be sent to Mongolia's embassy in Washington. Judy's passport would be processed and sent back to Montana. A copy of the visa would be sent back to Washington, and a travel agent there would book our tickets. Even this did not happen as quickly as expected.

Close Story—Back to Pictures


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Dinner at Ninepipes

Storage Unit


John Emerson and Bees



Four Wheeler

Camping, Eureka

Jamie and Roy


Camp Libby



Wild Horse Island

Racking Wine