Moving to Paradise Montana

Moving to Paradise, Montana. Rube Wrightsman shares his philosphy of who will best be able to adjust to life in rural Montana.

| November/December 1988

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    "Paradise philosopher" Rube Wrightsman at his "hobbit house" with his fine homemade mead.

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Rube Wrightsman tells readers what to expect when moving to Paradise, Montana.

Moving to Montana: Paradise Philosophy

LIKE DARK BEER AND SQUARE dancing, moving to Paradise, Montana, isn't for everyone. At one time, I worried that the eastern hordes would someday discover this place and turn it into a slice of Manhattan, but that possibility doesn't bother me anymore. Every year, about a dozen people move in and about a dozen move out, often the same ones.

The reason for leaving is always the same: no jobs. It's possible to make a living around Paradise, but not a good one. Most jobs are seasonal, low paying, physically wretched and still hard to find.

In Paradise, people live on their wits and their valor instead of working for "The Man." Being eternally semi employed creates occasional anxieties, but it also brings an elegant sense of freedom. Every day offers the chance of adventure, and those who stay aren't so much the ones who can accept uncertainty as the ones who thrive on it.

Accordingly, the folks around Paradise tend to be a tad different from mainstream Americans. Nestled among these craggy draws and gulches lives a motlev collection of the most independent-minded bunch of merry misfits you're likely to find anywhere in the Galaxy. To say that no two of them are alike is to commit a felonious understatement. It's as if Beethoven, the Sex Pistols, and Homer and Jethro were on the same record album.

In spite of this melange, or perhaps because of it, Paradise lacks the rowdiness and cosmic energy that characterize other parts of the West. No particular bizarreness prevails, because each person has his or her own, and the resulting balance creates a genial amicability. Trolls live in Wyoming, Oregon has elves, and California is overrun with wizards. Paradise is populated by hobbits: sturdy, unassuming folks with furry toes, who cheerily go about their daily business with a modicum of indifference toward the rest of the world, but who can always be counted on in a pinch.

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