Several years ago a university professor gave an assignment to his class to write a poem and turn it in the next week. One disgruntled young man said, “I’m not going to do that. I’m no poet.” The professor replied, “How do you know what you are? You’re not finished yet.”
Last year 81-year-old Duane Clatworthy decided he was not finished yet. He sat at his computer and typed a 90,000-word-plus novel (with two fingers). It took a year for him and his wife, Leona, to correct everything and edit it, but they are pleased with the results. The title is “Always Looking West”, and is available on line at amazon.com and Barnes and Noble on-line bookstore. It is also available on kindle at amazon.com.
This is Book One of the Clausen Family Series. Book two, “Growing Up On The KC Ranch,” is at the publisher and will be available soon.
The novel takes place from 1861 to 1872. Nearing the end of the War Between the States, young Ken Clausen is on a journey from Virginia to Nevada. He is traveling with his two mules, Charlie and Molly, to find a ranch to call home. With the help of many people, including a young red-headed girl named Fannie Magee, who captures his heart; Ken grows into a man, and learns “home” is created by family.
This is a tale of happiness, sorrow, intrigue, adventure and love, a story for families to read together. It is written to entertain and, for some, to bring back memories.
Old-timers in the valley will remember Duane as a logger, outfitter and guide, hydroponic greenhouse grower and an avid hunter and fisherman. He, his wife, and three of their four daughters, graduated from Stevensville High School. The eldest daughter graduated from Hamilton High School. His father, Don Clatworthy, was a Darby, then Hamilton, City Judge and wrote a weekly article for the Ravalli Republic for several years.
They hope to meet many of their old friends and relatives in May when they travel back to the valley from Oregon. Duane will be available to sign copies of his book and he will also have copies available for purchase at autographing parties planned for Friday, May 24 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the Bitterroot Public Library in Hamilton and Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Valley Public Library in Stevensville.
About the author:
D.K. Clatworthy was born Duane Kent Clatworthy in 1931 on a farm outside of the small town of Milledgeville, Illinois. He grew, from childhood, on a farm southeast of the smaller town of Stevensville, Montana. He lived in the Bitterroot Valley for fifty years.
He shot his first elk when he was 12 years old. His father had a hunting camp on Fish Creek in the Lolo Forest of Montana. Every year for many years, he filled his big game tags with elk, deer, and bear. He fished the streams for brook trout and Flathead Lake for sockeye salmon.
Duane began working away from home when he was nine years old. He drove a team of horses, pulling the overshot hay stacker for neighbors. Soon he was driving a buck rake and stacking hay. By the time he was 15 years old, he was shoeing horses and mules. At sixteen he worked for the Forest Service in the Libby, Montana Ranger District. He had charge of a string of mules and horses carrying cargo for lookouts and trail building crews. Some of that cargo was dynamite and its caps. He also cargoed mules for forest fires.
In 1950, when he was 18, he married his high school sweetheart, who was 16. He bought mustang horses, broke them to ride and resold them. In 1952 they, with his parents, bought a lodge and dude ranch on the East Fork of the Bitterroot. They named it the D Bar 2 Lodge. He became a licensed outfitter and guide while also teaching hunter’s training to young people. He guided many hunters and fishermen into the Pintlar Primitive area, as well as to the many lakes in the East Fork drainage. When he went out to get meat for his family, he would take his 30-30 or 308 rifle, put four shells in his pocket and come back with three shells and his meat.
He worked in sawmills and learned to operate all of the machines. In 1963 his wife and youngest daughter were badly burned in a house fire. He decided he had to work where he made more money, so he learned to fall timber. He did that for many years, still hunting in the fall and fishing when the temperature dropped -20 and was too cold to run his big saw.
For more than 20 years he went to Alaska for 10 days, fishing for halibut. He worked hard to get the first hundred pounder.
He is truly a jack-of-all-trades who can fix nearly everything. He loves to garden and watch things grow. He has built a new house and remodeled several others. He has made furniture, from doll beds to beautiful china hutches. He loves animals and continues to raise steers for the family freezer.
The Clatworthys’ four daughters are: Susan, Dawn, Diane, and Melanie. There are 19 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren with more on the way.
At eighty years old, he still loves to fish even though two artificial hips hinder him some from climbing up and down the riverbanks in Oregon, where he now lives.
Duane says this book has been running around in his head for months. He finally had to get it out of his head and on paper.