A Walk to The State Capital Building and Down Memory Lane

I walk/run marathons for a hobby. many of my training workouts are in the evening. I like the solitude, and cool of the night air. As I approached the Montana State Capital building I remembered the first time I thought of the artistry of a building. At least three generations before me were home builders on my fathers side. Homes and buildings had always been just work accomplished in my eyes.

I dated a woman named Beverly for a short time, not short enough I say. We had gone out a few weeks when I decided I needed control of my life. I told her it was over, been real, thanks, see you later.

It was not that simple. She called my mother and attended church with her the next 2 weeks. My mother was not impressed and made a remark about not wanting to be in the chapel during the lightning strike.

Next Beverly called my friend Carl, cried, begged and started dating him. I had once told her a friend commented to me that she was a woman I should hold onto at all costs. Beverly mistakenly thought Carl had made this comment. Carl is more savvy than I in these things. He grew weary of her company after a few days. He suggested I ask her out to set him free, as she may have mentioned me occasionally, OK constantly, while they were together.

I asked her out the next night. Beverly called Carl to apologize, she wouldn’t be seeing him again. I am certain she believed her plan worked, dating my best friend to make me jealous. She didn’t know I was taking her out to say “No, this is really goodbye, and Carl is dating someone else now too.” You would think after I put the boot to her the first time she would have seen it coming. No, she seemed just as surprised the second time around.

Now to the part about the Capital Building. Beverly was not quite cooked yet. Time to turn up the heat. I lived in Great Falls, she lived in Black Eagle, 89 miles from the capital. She had a house in Helena, but needed some help with repairs. Would I go with her to look it over? Sure, no problem. She picked me up early evening, not the normal time to go estimate remodeling jobs. We got to Helena and visited friends of hers. I never knew what that stop was about.

Then we went to the Capital Building. She remarked how beautiful it was. I did agree, and still marvel at the magnificence of the structure built when stone was still a hand craft. That moment changed the way I viewed the work done by true craftsmen. I had never appreciated the things my dad knew, and did. I never did get on well with him, even after this.

We ventured over to Beverly’s place. I say place because the trailers built in those days were not houses, by any means. She started carrying on about moving there with me. We could live there rent free, get state jobs etc…. I still lived at my parents house, at no cost, had worked construction at age 13, never dreamed of living in a trailer in my worst nightmare. I was away from home, in her car, and stuck that way until she decided different. It was winter in Montana, without heat in the trailer. Thankfully, we only stayed long enough to verify that her ex-husband had left the place intact. On the ride home I came up with a new plan. Enable her to find someone else on her own.

The next morning I called the Air National Guard recruiter, MSG. Tim McCann. Everybody I knew that had a decent steady income worked at the guard. I went up to The Hill and took a test. I have always been good at tests. He handed me a book about four inches thick and said pick any job in there, you qualified. I still had ditching Beverly on my mind. The longer I was at guard school the more likely she would find a new muse. There it was, Electronic Communication Cryptographic Equipment Systems Repairman, 35 weeks. Some people struggle and strain, read books, visit colleges, talk to friends and family before making a career choice. I was going lower on the hierarchy. I just wanted freedom from the lynch mob that was tightening a noose on my neck, Beverly.

As predicted she was long gone by the time I returned from basic training and technical school. By chance, I was successful at communications repair. I have been making a living at it since 1979, including my current pension.

Tester Getting Mileage on a Harley

John Tester rides a Harley in the Butte 4th of July parade. This is pandering to the crowd, no doubt. He is a politician.  What strikes me in the photos of this event is how comfortable he looks on the bike. John waves to the crowd, smiles, poses with people for pictures. All the while he looks as comfortable as Jay Leno telling a joke.

What has Denny Rehberg done in Washington?

I have been on the internet quite a bit the past few days. I keep getting this advertisement for Denny Rehberg. It carries on about his independent thinking. I am all for independent thinking, but using the phrase “toe the party line” is going too independent. Please tow the line for the English speaking world. It mentions a truckload of programs he has voted against. After I had seen the ad several times I realized every one of them passed.

Montanans take pride in dealing with the adversities we endure  to live in big sky country. Failure in the face of adversity is not considered admirable. Bragging about the fight you lost seven years ago borders on whining.

Rice and Okra

This is a dish my mom used to make.  I never asked how she made it. I just made my own recipe. Let’s see, she called it rice and okra. OK, I’ll put rice in there, and maybe some Okra. I remember it had a tomato sauce of some sort in it. OK I’ll throw in a few cans of diced tomato. The diced chili tomatoes with green peppers in seem closest to the taste I remember. Here is the recipe:

3 cups rice, Rival cooker, easy

2 15 Oz cans Hunt’s diced tomatoes

2 15 Oz cans Hunt’s chili diced tomatoes

1 16 Oz frozen bag PictSweet cut Okra

Put the tomatoes in a microwave safe container. Cut a bit of the top of the Okra bag, add a little water. Put these in the microwave until the bag starts to steam. Move the rice from the cooker to the container you plan to transport the food in (crock pot, roaster). Drain the okra. Put most of the okra on top of the rice. Cover with tomatoes. Add remaining okra for style.

My Malibu Story

I was eleven years old the first time I saw this car. My sister Charolotte was at college in Logan, Utah. Her boyfriend Dave had just returned from basic training with the national guard. He came to live at our house in Montana. He showed up at the house in this 1966 Chevy Malibu Convertible. I just found out (4 July 2012) this purchase was destined to be a good thing. The purchase was sealed with a Kiss. Dave’s mom, June Kiss, co-signed the loan for him to buy the car. I remember riding to Morony dam east of Great Falls. His friends had a swimming pool at their house. My younger sister Cori (5 years old then) has the same memory, as Dave let her steer the car on the dam road.

Dave and Charolotte eventually married. My dad lost a daughter, but I gained a new Chevy. Just kidding Dave, love ya.  As their family grew the convertible just wasn’t practical. Run the heater all you want at -15 with that canvas top you are not warming up. They upgraded to an Olds Toronado and sold the car to Cassie, my next older sister.

Cassie also has children and lived in Montana, but is more a free spirit than Charolotte and carried a few extra blankets and coats on family trips. Cassie’s free spirit lifestyle led to me purchasing the car at a deeply discounted price ($125). The catch was I had to retrieve it from a ditch before the county hauled it away. No problem, I was an old hand at getting cars out of ditches. I had put plenty of them in the ditch on my own account.

A friend, Tom, and I took my dads truck to the crash site. We soon had all 4 wheels of the Chevelle on the blacktop. After an adventurous drive home, Tom drove the truck, we disassembled the brakes and put them back together. Driving was much more comfortable with all wheels slowing at the same rate. Sure the body now had quite a few dents, dings and scrapes but I got it on the road same day I brought it home. Some guys might have given it a thorough inspection, but I had an A&W Root Beer calling my name.

A few months after buying the car the transmission started what my mom called “acting up”. It was slipping if you drove very long, but was OK for short trips. the OK trips got shorter and shorter. Finally the car would not go at all. I bought another car to drive while I “fix up” the Chevelle. I still own that Mustang.

After buying the Mustang, the Chevelle sat behind my parents house until I also trashed the Mustang transmission. I bought a parts car 67 Fairlane. After putting the transmission in the Mustang I traded the Fairlane for a powerglide to put in the Chevelle. While installing the Chevelle transmission I found that the trip through the ditch had crushed the transmission coolant lines. I had driven the car the entire time I owned it without the transmission ever being cooled. Those powerglide transmissions are tough. Having decided to attend college I tried to sell the Chevelle for college money. My mother bought it from me ($600). I just realized after all these years that she also gave me the $125 to buy it in the first place. I am a putz. My dad didn’t want that junker in front of his house, so it went in the back yard to serve as a parts car for local thieves.

After about 8 years in the back yard my mom begged Dennis Woolsey to rescue the convertible. Having been on an automotive rescue mission his entire life (427-57 Chevy, 55 Nomad, Buick Riviera, 55 Chevy Gasser), he brought a trailer and took it to his home in Salt Lake City. Dennis spent many years and a few parts cars completing the restoration. Shortly after completing the Chevelle project he decided to retire and move to smaller house. Having a needs a garage always, occasional driver did not fit that plan. He offered to sell Dave and Charolotte the car, but they had just purchased a Model A from a neighbor so they didn’t have room for it.

At the same time I was retiring early from my full time job. My wife and I had not been getting along. I was living in a friends camp trailer on a piece of property Charolotte owns. On a phone call to see how I was doing she mentioned Dennis was looking to sell the old car. Immediately I called to get a price. Being the more practical type, he suggested it might not be the best thing to do with my life up in the air and all. Oddly enough my wife gave me the same response.  I indicated if that is what it hinged on the marriage was probably over anyway. The next day I called Dennis, got a number, wrote him a check, mailed it. He called a few days later “Maybe I should send this check back, I don’t know.” I said, ” Well I am already being charged interest on the loan you better stick that thing in the bank.” I went to Salt Lake City a couple months later and picked up the car. I have driven it almost five thousand miles since 2008 and don’t have a bit of regret over the purchase. My grandson, Aiden, loves going for A&W Root Beer with the top down. The circle of life goes ’round.

Note on the picture above you can see the 68 GT/CS Mustang I bought on 2 July 1976, 2007 Prius (recently sold), 1990 Chevy K3500.

Blast From the Past Friday Night Lineup 2012 Helena Montana

Steffano’s and Nickel’s hosted the Friday night activities. The DJ of course was playing all the cruising music. Hot Rod Lincoln at my request, even though he had played it just before I arrived. Nobody complained. Photobucket

Roush Mustang 2012 Blast from the Past Helena Montana

A young college student in Great Falls, he drove 3 days straight to get to a Jack Roush autograph event in Indianapolis then back in time for Blast from the Past. Erik I am checking the relationship with my genealogy team. We must be related.

This is his second Roush Mustang. A girlfriend “borrowed” his first one without his knowledge. When he called to report it missing the GFPD said it was not missing. They had a reported incident with his car involved. He was allowed to retrieve his personal effects. It now rests in a boneyard in Helena.

He has done most of the modifications to the car. Supercharging the engine was left to a shop. The 100mph tape supplied with the side scoops is not rated for 140mph, note lack of side scoops.