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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 2 months ago



128 aberrant Departing from the right, normal, or usual course.

"The citizens of the community tolerated all kinds of behavior, from the eccentic to the unusual to the abberant.


150 absolutism the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles in political, philosophical, ethical, or theological matters.

"My mother now represented practicality and expediency; my father stood for moral absolutism."


49 affable Friendly, good natured, or easy to talk to.

"Charming, affable Uncle Frank was gone for good."


110 afoul in conflict with, difficulty.

"My Brother-your uncle-has run afoul of the law."


144 alluding to refer casually or indirectly; make an allusion.

"..and who's crimes they kept alluding to but now did no specifically mention in deference...."


25 amplitude Dreadth, range, or magnitude

"She was close to six feet tall and though she wasn't exactly fat she had a flashy amplitude about her thatmade her seem simultaneously soft and strong."


117 apparatus  a piece of machinery, a tool, or a device used for a specific purpose

"When he wasnt talking he continued to make noise, a sound like a combination of throat-clearing and humming, as though he was keeping himself ready to talk, keeping the apparatus oiled and ready to go."


15 arable used or suitable for growing crops

"On the western edge of the county and extending into two other counties was the Fort Warren Indian Reservation, the rockiet, sandiest, least arable parcel of land in the region."


79 arsenala place of storage or a magazine containing arms and military equipment for land or naval service

"Like almost every kid in Montana I had my own little arsenal -a .22 for plinking at parie dogs and snakes; a .410-gauge shotgun for hunting pheasant, grouse, ducks, and geese; and a 30-30 for hunting deer."


147autopsy a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of a disease

"There should have been an autopsy."


80 barrage  A heavy barrier of artillery fire to protect one's own advancing or retreating troops or to stop the advance of enemy troops

"There was so much gunfire out there that afternoon that the ground glittered with my casings and Nutty became so accustomed to the shots that he grazed right through the barrage."


83 beeseechingly To address an earnest or urgent request to; implore

"Frank's arms were spread wide, beseechingly, yet his movement was so quick it seemed threatening."


101 benign gentle; kindly

"Objects of the most patronizing and debilitating prejudice, the Indians in and around our community were nonetheless a largely passive and benign presence."


34bigot a person who is racist, sexist, homophobe, dogmatist, jingoist

"He was not a hate-filled bigot - he probably thought he was free of prejudice!- and he could treat Indians with generosity, kindness, and respect (as he could treat every human being)."


brassy brazen, bold, or loud

"Daisy's usually loud, brassy voice was lowered, but I heard her say, 'The word is he never does anything on the up-and-up.'"


160 briny relating to, containing, or tasting like sea water

"Then my father's tears broke loose, one more briny fluid to mingle on the basement floor."



155brogans a coarse, stout leather shoe reaching to the ankle

"He was barefoot, but his heavy black brogans were under the table."


77browbeating To intimidate or subjugate by an overbearing manner or domineering speech; bully

"That was another of my grandfather’s specialties- turning casual remarks so they became opportunities for him to pass on his judgements or browbeating opinions."


70 bursitis  inflammation of a fluid-filled sac bursa of the body, particularly at the elbow, knee, or shoulder joint

"He's in there poking and twisting your mother's shoulders.  Trying to figure out if she's got bursitis."


133 butte a hill that rises abruptly from a flat area of land, with steep sides and a flat top

"He was struck by lightning on a butte west of town."


21 catechism  instruction in the principles of Christianity using set questions and answers

"My mother was a Lutheran of boundless devotion; my father was irreligious, a path I eventually found and followed after wandering through those early years of church, Sunday School, and catechism classes."


59 censorious  inclined or eager to criticize people or things

"Mr. Young Bear, as my father insisted I call him, was a stern, censorious man."


171 cerebral of or relating to the brain or cerebrum

"Len lived on a number of years after his stroke, but ironically, less than a year after Len's cerebral hemorrhage my grandfather had one too."


159chasm a deep cleft or crack in the earth's surface

"Yet what i heard signalled such a breach in our lives, a chasm permanetly dividing what we were from what we could never be again, that it seems some commensurate unit of time should be involved."


161 chastised to discipline, esp. by corporal punishment

“No pressure on anyone to come forward bear witness, no reputations damaged, no one embarrassed, no one chastised...”


159 commesurate having the same measure; of equal extent or duration

"Yet what i heard signalled such a breach in our lives, a chasm permanetly dividing what we were from what we could never be again, that it seems some commensurate unit of time should be involved."


106 consequent Following as a result or effect

“Naturally the consequent community feeling was, “Well, if Sheriff Hayden says it’s so, it must be so.”


53 convictions a belief or opinion that is held firmly

"My father believed in proof, in evidence, and he held off on his own convictions until he had suficcient evidence to support them.


44cordial warm and friendly

"Yet her comportment toward Frank had always been cordial if a little reserved."


140 cordite  a smokeless explosive, usually made of gunpowder and nitroglycerin

"It smelled of gun powder and cordite."


22cusp A point between two different situations or states, when a person of thing is poised between the two of just about to more from one to another

" I wasn't particularly interested, on the cusp of adolesence, in driving fast cars(pickup trucks, more accurately in Bentrock), smoking (sir Walter Raleigh roll-your owns the cigarette of choice), drinking (home-brewed beer was so prevalent in Mercer County that boys always had to access to it), or chasing girls (for some reason, the girls from farms-not town or ranch or reservation-had the reputation of being easy)."


101 debilitating reducing somebody's strength or energy

"Objects of the most patronizing and debilitating prejudice, the Indians in and around our community were nonethelessa largely passive and benign presence."


144 deference humble submission and respect

"During this conversation two things struck me: first, that the man they were discussing (and whose crimes they kept alluding to but now did not specifically mention in deference to my supposed innocence) was not some outsider, some Kalispell cowboy or Billings tough who got in trouble up here in my father's jurisdiction, but was my uncle..."


44 deficit a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap

"She believed its purpose was to conceal some personal deficit or lack of substance."


135definite Clearly defined

"One of the other cowboys laughed about something, and Dale Paris shut him up with a word and a scowl as quick and definite as a coyote's snarl."


82 degradation The act of degrading. Which is to lower in dignity or estimation; bring into contempt.

"sex and death, lust and violence, desire and degradation."


51 discreet careful and circumspect in one's speech or actions, esp. in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage

"Both my parents were discreet about their investigations."


68 disparaging Regard or represent as being of little worth

"One of the few times I heard my father say anything disparaging about his parents was in reference to their home."



92 doilies an ornamental mat placed under decorative objects

"In the room's dimness Daisy's white lace doilies on the sofa and chairs glowed white, as if they were hoarding all available light."


135 doted to be very fond of somebody or something

"In truth, she was kind, gentle woman - unmarried and childless - who had doted on me since she baby-sat me as an infant."


127 dungarees Blue jeans or overalls

"She was a strong, stout, cheerful woman who always dressed in boots, dungarees, a bandana-print shirt, and a sweat-stained short-brimmed cowboy hat."


59 enclave a portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct


"When I was in Castle's Alley I felt, no matter how many women or children might also be there, as though I had gained admittance to a men's enclave, as though I had arrived."


150 expediency a means of attaining an end, esp. one that is convenient but considered improper or immoral

"My mother now represented practicality and expediency; my father stood for moral absolutism."


53 fealty fidelity to a lord

"If he could not sufficiently fear, love, trust, obey, and honor God-as we were told in catechism class we must-it was becausehe had nothing left for his Heavenly Father after declaring absolute fealtyto his earthly one."


93 feigning pretend to be affected by

"I wanted more than ever to get away, but there was somthing tightly wounded even in Lens casal posture-slumped shoulders and long legs extended that made me think he was feigning response and inattention, and as soon as I made a move to leave, his booted foot would suddently trip me up or a long fingered hand would pull me down."


19 fervently 

"My mother fervently believed that my father- indeed, all of us- would be happier if he practiced law and if we did not live in Montana, and her reasons had little to do wiht the potetially hazardous nature of a sheriff's work compared to an attorney's or the pay scale along which those professions positioned themselves."


89 fluctuateTo vary irregularly

"A fever can fluctuate dramatically."


123 frantic wild or distraught with fear, anxiety, or other emotion

"Overhead, insectsflewfrantic circles around the kitchen light."


31 frugality sparing or economical with regard to money or food

"Marie's frugality was legendary."


futility ineffectiveness or uselessness

"My mother didn't care for guns of any kind but she had long ago seen the futility of trying to keep them out of the hands of a Montana boy."


24 gabble to speak or converse rapidly and unintelligently

"I could sit for an hour in the rocks above the Knife River, asking for no more discourse than the water's monotonous gabble."


63 gallant (of a man or his behavior) giving special attention and respect to women; chivalrous 

"Was he being gallant-- sparing his wife from hearing the particulars of his brother's alleged crimes?"


gauge: To determine the exact dimensions, capacity, quantity, or force of; measure - Quote p. 79 "Like almost every kid in Montana I had my own little arsenal- a .22 for plinking at prairie dogs and snakes; a .410 gauge shotgun for hunting pheasant, grouse, ducks, and geese; and a 30-30 for hunting deer."


50 gaunt -Lean and Hagard; grim or desolate in apperance.-Quote.p.50 "He was tall, gaunt, stoop- shouldered, shy, and soft spoken."


106 gregarious fond of company; sociable


25 gulled-"Then as soon as she saw she had you GULLED, she would say,"Not so,not so!"" a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of


70 Grant

92 hassock - A Thick, Thin Cushion used as a footstool or for kneeling.

                                     "Len Kicked Their old Horsehair Hassock."


45 hysterical: deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion "She was practically hysterical about having me stay in the room."


45 illusion-an erroneous perception of reality Quote: "I would have lived out my life with an illusion about my family and perhaps even the human community."


69 impassivelyQuote: “While we got out of the car he watched us as impassively as he would strangers”

Definition: without emotion; apathetic; unmoved


146 inelligiblenot eligible; not permitted or suitable. Quote p. 146: "Didn't he know- I was a child and ineligible to vote?"


102 jauntily


57 jurisdictionRight and power to imterpret and apply the law. “He had no jurisdiction there, and the reservation police hadn't called them in on a case, so he could be going, there for only one reason:to look into the accusations Marie had made.”


128 kleptomaniac "From Miss Schott and her palominos to Mrs. Russell, who was a kleptomaniac, to Arne Olsen, a farmer, who never bathed and was proud of the fact" -->a recurrent urge to steal, lie


**160 larynx- Definition: Anatomy. A muscular and cartilaginous structure at the upper part of the trachea in humans, in which the vocal cords are located.**** "I must have made a sound-a little gasp that cracked against my larynx-because my father turned toward me."


lateraled- of, at, toward, or from the side or sides- Quote pg 173 "Once he got close enough, he lateraled the ball to me."


46 liberties


49 lurid very vivid in color, esp. so as to create an unpleasantly harsh or unnatural effect


165 macabre - gruesome and horrifying; ghastly; horrible. " And I knew it was not the macabre discomfort of living in the same rooms that two people had recently died"


136 manila-"She was counting manila envelopes and whispering numbers to herself so she wouldn't lose count." --> a banana like plant


139 marauders To roam or go around in quest of plunder; make a raid for booty. "Maybe it was the sight of that skinny bird-chested old man suddenly apperaing in our backyards with a gun in his hand, ready to save us from __marauders__."


27 meek-quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive  "She feared nothing more than disease, but she was not cowardly or meek in its presence."


23 myriad A countless or extremely great number. "A perfectly shaped cottonwood leaf the size of a man's hand, and a myraid of river rocks chosen for their beauty or odd shape."


33 naïve- Quote: How naive I was! Definition: showing lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment


36 ostensibly: Outwordly appearing as such; professed, pretended.

"Obstensibly the occasion was to honor all returning verterans,  but really is was for Uncle Frank." p.36



    • Pretentious and vulgar display, esp. of wealth and luxury, intended to impress or attract notice. Quote from page 68: "My mother who dislike ostentation of any sort, was especially offended by the house's log construction. "


57 overture


22 pabulum: "Even our small town - really, in 1948 still a frontier town in many respects - tasted to me like pabulum." bland or insipid intellectual fare, entertainment, etc.; trademark a soft breakfast cereal for infants.


127 palominos: a horse with a golden coat, a white mane and tail, and often white markings on the face and legs, developed chiefly in the southwestern U.S.. Quote p. 127:"On my way out I almost ran into Miss Schott, riding down the street on one of her big palominos."


16 perpetually-never needing to changing Quote- when he was sixteen a horse kicked him, breaking his lef so severly that he walked with a permanent limp, and eventually a cane, his eigh V-ed in, his right knee perpetually pointing at the lefttoting-** carry,wield, or convey (something heavy or substantial)- Quote pg 90 " To this day I cannot hear the phrase- "Pending notification of next of kin"- without thinking that someone out there, someone like my father, is toting around a bascket of grief, looking for a doorstep to deposit on."


51 perturbation: Mental disquiet, disturbance, or agitation.

Neither came right out and repeated Marie's story about Uncle Frank, yet they used the same strategy: to mention Marie's perturbation and then to pretend mystification-"I don't know why she would act that way," my mother said, while my father shook his head in puzzlement.


166 postmortem: Occurring or done after death.

As a consequence of these postmortem cover-ups, it was possible for Frank Hayden to be buried without scandal and to be eulogized in the usual bland reverent way.


49 prelude – an action or event serving as an introduction to something more important Quote – My father clapped his hands, his usual prelude to action – time to put up the storm windows, to rake the leaves, to shovel the walk, to shake the rugs.


36 prosaic: having the style or diction of prose; lacking poetic beauty

Quote: "Alongside his brother my father soon seemed somewhat prosiac."


realm: the region, sphere, or domain within which anything occurs, prevails, or dominates Quote -- "And since there was nothing in the realm of logic or rational thought to explain his being here, the illogic of drunkenness seemed as ready as anything."


150 remorse deep and painful regret for wrongdoing


"He'd show more rmorse over a dog."



93 repose- temporary rest from activity, excitement, or exertion, esp. sleep or the rest given by sleep

"I wanted more than ever to get away, but there was somethign tightly wound even in Len's casual posture-- slumped shoulders and long legs extended-- that made me think he was feigning repose and inattention, and as soon as i made a move to leave, his booted foot would suddenly trip me up or a long-fingered hand would pull me down."


157 resignation-A formal statement, document, etc., stating that one gives up an office, position, etc. " He shrugged, a gesture full of resignation and fatigue."


131 respective- belonging or relating seperately to each of two or more people or things. Quote-"Each of us at our respective posts--I in front and she in back--we kept careful watch on the circling truck.


99 reverie - a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream


86 ruddy- "Her eyes had lost that unfocused,feaverish gleam,and her cheaks no longer looked inflamed but mearly RUDDY." Having a healthy,reddish color.


67 scoria - A Cinderlike Basic Cellular Lava


" ...Loose gravel and scoria began to clatter under the car."


149 siege:any prolonged or persistent effort to overcome resistance. "We had been under siege."


157 slough-the dead outer skin shed by a snake or amphibian Quote: "Said that slough was part of the territory they watched over those were the words they used so anything we found was their property."


65 sordid Definition: involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt

Quote: “a temporary escape from the sordid drama that was playing itself out”


131 speculateto engage in thought or reflection; meditate. Quote p. 131: "I didn't care to speculate that far."


20 statute - A written law passed by a legislative body. Quote, “My grandfather kept the ranch and had it worked by hands while he was in office, and since Mercer County had a statute that a sheriff could serve only three consecutive terms, he was able to return to the ranch every six years.


20 sustenance-Supporting of life or health:maintenance. “He was a dominating man who drew sustenance and strength from controlling others”


16 synapse "For those of you who automatically think of Montana and snow-capped mountains in the same synapse," --> a junction between two nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter


58 testimony-Definition: evidence in support of a fact or statement;proof. "My father liked to say of Ollie Young Bear, "He's a testimony to what hard work will get you.""



68 trestle


24 unmalleable - difficult or impossible to shape or work


154 vigor - healthy physical or mental energy or power; vitality. "Birds do not sing at a blue sky with the same vigor as at a gray one, so thier songs were not shaking me awake."


75 woolly- "probably afraid of these wild and woolly cowboys from Montana"--> rough




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