livestorytelling

Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “It’s the Little Things”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on December 15, 2022 at The Wilma in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : It's the Little Things - Part 2

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tele Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss . We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is the first time. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is February 20th.

I look forward to hearing from you this week on the podcast,

Jim Harte: when we came into the Dark room, he had already had this projector and the roll up screen set. And as we sat there on our folding chairs, we started up the projector with that wonderful sound,

Abigail Gilbert: and she’s screaming, I’m looking around like, she, she can’t be screaming at me. I, uh, I just

Regina O’Brien: got here. I no longer felt the cold. There was no moon that night and there were so many stars. My mind went numb and the sky was so incredibly, absolutely unforgivably. Black.

Jeremy N. Smith: She says, what’s going on? And Josh says, he’s going around your desk a thousand times.

She’s like, okay, Einsteins this. I want to see

Marc Moss: four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme. It’s the little things. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of a sold out crowd on December 15th, 2020. At the Wilma in Missoula, Montana, our first storyteller is Jim Harte. Jim has always loved film ever since he was a boy.

When the distributors forget to send the second reel of Wild in the Streets, Jim gets creative in the way that he avoids giving refunds. Jim calls his story more than a movie. Thanks for listening.

Jim Harte: This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken to an audience in a movie theater, which the Wilma was. It’s the first time I’ve talked about talking about it in a movie theater

So before I moved to Missoula, the home of the Great Roxy Theater, I was film projectionist at George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theater, where I projected everything from silent movies to modern independence to flammable nitrate. And before every film, somebody walked up to a podium at the front of the sta uh, stage and gave an introduction to the film.

And when they were done, I slowly faded out their spotlight and started raising the curtain to the screen and slowly fading out the lights to the theater. And then I started the projector at just the right moment. So the movie hit the. When the curtain was up and the lights were down, and it was just one of the little things that movie theaters do to give more than a movie, and one time between Christmas and New Year, I had to introduce the film and project the film.

I told the audience this was because our fundraising goal had not reached its goal and we could only afford one person. There was still time to make a donation, so this doesn’t happen next year. ? Well, my first movie theater was our New Jersey living room. Dad was really serious about his home movies, how he filmed them, edited them, and presented them.

When we came into the Dark Room, he had already had this projector and the roll up screen set up, and as we sat there on our folding chair, He started up the projector with that wonderful sound. Oh, and his homemade title came up on the screen, ocean City, 1964, and we laughed as we saw ourselves dancing and splashing in the waves.

There were no mistakes. Dad cut that all out. These were real movies starring. Dad helped me make my first film, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I played the doctor, my brother and my friends played the other parts. Dad filmed it and did his wonderful narration. I showed it at the Boy Scout Hobby Show in the little room they gave me that I turned into my own movie theater and I won first prize.

Thanks, dad.

Our hometown movie theater was The Strand, like the Wilma movie Palace built in the twenties. It as a great theater, had really expensive popcorn . Now there’s an old saying in the movie business movies for Yucks, popcorn for Bucks, movies. Get the audience in the prophet. Is it the concession? So to avoid paying the high strand popcorn price, I walked down to the Woolworth store and bought a gigantic bag of popcorn for 10 cents and smuggled it in.

And I probably was responsible for the STR strand Closing 20 years later, . Now, back then, the only way to see a new movie was at a theater, and the only way to see an old movie was on tv. My mom and dad were really strict about what we were allowed to see, but fortunately there was the four 30 movie Monday through Friday.

Channel seven showed old films in series weeks. Science Fiction Week, monster Week, Western Week. and mom and dad figured what’s the problem? They’re old movies after school. Well, little did they know that they also had Crazy Lady Week with whatever happened to Baby Jane, which was definitely not a kid’s film and got an x-ray in England when it opened.

So I was learning about film and I was learning about life

And when I moved to New York City in the seventies to go to NYU film school, there were all these movie theaters that showed old films and they were called repertory theaters, and they were great. And after college, one of my first jobs was managing one of them, the Cinema Village, which is still. Down there in Greenwich Village and still owned by my boss, Nick Olou, the hero of independent theaters who is in the 2019 documentary, the Projectionist, which you should all see

It was a cash business. The customers paid their money, went through a turns style, and saw two films that changed every two days, and the beginning of one double feature on the first day. The first film was a 1968 film I’d seen on the four 30 movie Wild in the Streets. The plot was what would happen if 18 year olds got the vote, and what happened was a rockstar becomes president after his band dumps L s D into the Potomac River

And the Congress tripping their brains out passes a law that 14 year olds can vote, and the president sends all the old people over 30, including his parents, to concentration camps where they have to wear purple robes and drink acid and trip all day.

So about two thirds of the way into wildness streets. The projectionist calls me says, yeah, I thought you should know the film’s gonna end in 10 minutes. So I looked at the screen, I said, it’s supposed to end in 30 minutes. Goes, yeah, I know they didn’t send the last reel

Well, unlike today with digital projection where you press a button, it shows the movie straight beginning to end. With film projection, you had 20 minute reels, which you switched back and forth between two projectors to give the illusion of a continuing movie. So I told him, this is what I want you to do.

Before the reel runs out, close the lens to the projector so we don’t see white light on the screen, and mute the sound so we don’t hear snap, crackle. And raise the lights. I’m gonna talk to the audience. So I said, ladies and gentlemen, I’m Jim Harte, manager of the Cinema Village. I’m very sorry to tell you, they didn’t send us the end to the movie

So if you would like a refund, we’d be glad to give it to you as you exit the theater. If you like to find out how the film ends, you can stay, and I’ll tell you,

So they stayed and I told them the president stoned out of his mind as usual, is driving his Rolls Royce until he comes to a park and he gets out and he’s playing imagination games like a little boy until he comes to a pond with a small dock and he lies down on the dock and he sees a string going down into the water and he pulls the string.

There’s a crayfish on it. He holds it up to his face, and as he’s going to touch it, it bites him, , and he stands up and he stops on it. Three boys run up and say, what did you do? He was our friend, he was our pet. And the president scales down at them. It says, I killed it. What are you gonna do about it?

You’re not old enough to.

And as the president SAS off, one of the boys looks right in the camera and says, we’re gonna put everybody over 10 out of business. And the audience applauded and they were happy, and I was happy I had given them something more than a movie. Enjoy the show.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Jim. Jim Harte has worked in the film business for 45 years. He was raised in New Jersey and majored in drama at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York before moving to Manhattan where he received a BFA in film and television at New York. Jim lived in Manhattan in the 1970s and eighties before moving to Rochester, New York, where he was a filmed editor for Eastman Kodak Company and an archival projectionist at George Eastman Museum.

Since moving to Missoula, Montana in 2021, he has acted in several films produced in Montana. His favorite storyteller is Jean Shepherd. Next up is Abigail Gilbert. Abigail has to borrow a car when she’s traveling for her job in a super small town in Nebraska. She ends up accidentally stealing a car in the process.

Abigail calls her story, the Keys to success. Thanks for listening.

Abigail Gilbert: It’s the middle of March and I am in Sterling Nebraska, population 482. I am here because I am on tour with the Missoula Children’s Theater, and I have a wonderful tour partner named Michael. So our job as tour actor directors was to travel from town to town each week all across the country in a Ford F-150, and teach children a musical.

We would arrive in each town on Sunday, and on Monday we would cast the students in the musical Pinocchio. We would cast 52 60 of them. Then we would start rehearsal. We would teach them the show all week, and then by Friday or Saturday, they had a one hour long musical ready to perform for their community and their family and friends.

Michael and I would travel with all of the little pieces needed to put on this musical. In the back of our truck. We had the props, the set, the costumes, the lights, and then on Sunday we would pack it all up and drive to the next town and do it. This particular week in Sterling Nebraska, we were staying with a lovely woman named DeAnn who opened her home to us for the week.

It was Monday morning and we had a meeting at the school in town where we were going to meet the principal who was our point of contact for the week. Now, Michael and I had been on tour together at this point for about two months. So naturally I had already lost my set of. So to get into our Ford F-150, we would have to unlock the driver’s side door, and we didn’t have any automatic buttons to unlock or lock.

So we’d unlock the driver’s side door, reach across the cab, and then unlock the passenger door. So on this particular Monday morning, standing in deanne’s driveway, I decided that I was going to unlock the driver’s side door and throw the keys over the top of the car to. The moment the keys left my hands, I knew that they weren’t going to make it over the top of the truck.

Michael and I watched them fall between the cab and the topper, nowhere to be found. Uh, they didn’t fall through onto the ground. You couldn’t peer over the top of the car and see them. You couldn’t, uh, stick your hand in the grooves of the truck. They were lost. Deanne graciously offered for us to use her car to get into.

She drove a little black standard looking car with a push to start. Uh, so we headed into town and the town of Sterling was small. It was a restaurant, a few shops, the school we were working at for the week and a mechanic. Uh, we had just a little bit of time before our meeting, so I headed down to the mechanic to ask for help.

I walk in and the air is filled with smoke and there are two. Sitting in the back, dirty white tank tops, chain smoking. I walk in and I explain to them that I have stranded our truck in deanne’s driveway and can you help us? Uh, they said, oh, we know Deanne will head down there right now and get your car.

I thanked them profusely and headed back to the school. When Michael and I’s meeting concluded, I had a text on my phone from Deanne that said, Hey, they were able to rescue the keys. Is there any way that you can get my car back to me and come pick up your truck? She also shared with me that they were able to rescue the keys by laying on top of the truck and sticking a fishing line, uh, with a magnet on the end to get the keys.

Uh, I looked at the clock. I had just enough time to drive the 20 minutes back to Deanne’s house, get her her car back, get back in the truck, drive to the school, and be on time for the audition. So I told her I’d be on the way. I get out to the front of the school where we had left Dion’s car and I start driving back to her house.

When I arrive, I park in the garage. I meet her there, hand her her keys, she gives me the rescued truck keys, get in the truck, start my way back to the school, 20 minutes there and back. as I pull up back to the school, there is a woman standing on the sidewalk outside of the school and she is pointing at what appears to be me in my branded Missoula Children’s Theater, bright Red Truck.

And she’s screaming, I’m looking around like she’s, she can’t be screaming at me. I, uh, I just got here. I’m going through the list of everything I’ve ever done wrong in my entire life. And none of it involves Sterling Nebraska. I’ve only been here for 24 hours, , so I quickly parked the truck. I jump out and I, I can finally hear her and she’s screaming, you stole my car, stole my car.

And I’m still looking around. What does she mean? I stole her car? No, I drove deanne’s car here. And then I drove Deanne’s car back and DeAnn met me in her garage. I gave her the keys. She saw the car. What does she mean? I stole her car. I say, ma’am, I am so sorry, but I do not know what you are talking about.

And she said, my keys. My keys. They were in the cup holder and I have a push to start.

Mm-hmm. .

And then I realized that when I got into deanne’s little black Push to Start Car, I actually got into this woman. Janet’s pushed to start little black car parked in front of the school and drove it away. I stole her car,

I said, ma’am, um, if you just wait right here, I’m just gonna go get your car.

I race back to the truck race, back to Deanne’s house, 20 minutes, the longest 20 minutes of my entire life. I don’t cry very often in life, but when I say that I sobbed the entire way back to deanne’s house. I mean it, the Missoula Children’s Theater has been touring for 50 years. We’re celebrating our 50th year of touring.

Yes. Thank you. Across the world and the country. And the reason, one of the many reasons why people love to bring Missoula Children’s Theater back to their community over and over again year after year, is because of our incredible reputation.

And they hire tour actors who represent that image and represent that, uh, organization that’s bigger than themselves. Um, they hire people who are professional and kind and friendly and care about the mission of teaching life skills to children through the performing arts. Stealing a vehicle is not a part of that.

So I, uh, finally get back to Deanne’s house and I race into the garage and she meets me there cuz she hears me coming. And then she says, Abigail, why are you back here and why are you sobbing? I said, Dan and I pointed to the stolen car in the garage. I said, Deanne, this is not your car. And she took a long, hard look at the car and she said, you know what, Abigail?

Now that I take a closer look , that is not my vehicle, and Sweet Deanne, she put her arms out and I just melted into her, in, into her and, and she said, Abigail, I think you just need a hug. This woman that I just met 24 hours ago, just holding me in her garage next to a stolen car, . And I said, finally, I said, Deanne, I have to get this car back to the school.

I get in the stolen car, of course it pushes to start right away because sure enough, the keys are right in the cup holder drive back to the school. 20 minutes. I am white knuckling the entire way back because I’m in a stolen car and it’s icy and snowing Nebraska in March. Uh, when I finally arrive back at the school, Janet is sure enough waiting right where I left her and I hand her her keys and I said, I am so sorry that I stole your car.

And she said, I am so sorry that I yelled at you, and I am rethinking leaving my keys in the car . Now, at this point, I am very late for the audition that I’m supposed to be at. So, um, I at some point texted Michael who’s running the audition by himself because he’s amazing. Hey, uh, so I’ve had a little situation.

I’m okay. Everything’s fine. Uh, but I’m gonna be a little. I get back in Dion’s car, 20 minutes back to her house. I get back in the truck, 20 minutes back to the school. At this point, hours later, I have just barely stopped sobbing and uh, I get ready to go back in the school. I’ve got the truck, I’ve got the keys.

And I pace a smile on my face. And sure enough, I walk into the gym and Michael is perfectly beautifully running an audition with all of these children who are hoping to be a part of our cast of Pinocchio. And I look at Michael and I give him a nod that says, Hey, everything’s okay. Um, but wow. Do I have a great story for you later?

It’s the little things. Losing the keys. Throwing the keys, the push to start not recognizing the wrong car in the garage. Sometimes the little things have really big consequences. Thank you.

Thanks,

Marc Moss: Abigail. Abigail Gilbert is a professional actor, educator and director who originally hails from Duluth m. She is proud to work at the Missoula Children’s Theater as the tour marketing associate and social media specialist, and at Studio M as a teacher and vocal instructor on stage. She was most recently seen as Columbia in the Rocky Horror Picture Show and as Little Red Riding Hood in into the Woods at Missoula Community Theater.

She was recently voted Missoula’s. Best actor in the Mozillians. Best of Missoula, 2022 contest. Next up is Regina O’. Regina was unable to afford housing and was living in a tepe in the desert. Living in a tepe causes one to notice so many little things that others might miss. Regina calls her story.

Little things aren’t little. Thanks for listening.

Regina O’Brien: Thank you, . I lived in a Tepe for a year and a half in the Hammus Mountains in North Central New Mexico. . I had gotten a job in one of the little villages there, and housing was really tight and the tepee was a good alternative to nothing. and, uh, living a life like that, you’ll learn a few things now.

Most people know what a tepee looks like and what they know is the skin, and that is essentially a big umbrella. It keeps the rain off, but it’s really drafty. What makes it work is the canvas liner on the inside. It is connected to the tepee poles at about chest high, and it goes all the way to the ground.

This liner, basically, it keeps the draft from going into the living area and funnels it up to the smoke. It does not do a good job at keeping out the neighbors . The, you know, the, the ones who, who were there first? The mice, the rock squirrels. , the tarantulas , and knowing that I could have surprise visitors at any time, I learned to pay a lot of attention to my surroundings.

It’s one of the benefits of tarantulas, , tvb TVs have no windows, and I couldn’t look outside, and I found that, well, I don’t know if my senses became more acute or if I just paid more attention to. Or probably both, but I found that I could identify the birds flying overhead by the cadence and the sound of their wing beats.

I learned that the wind going through a pinon pine sound is different than the wind going through a ponderosa where a juniper. What I didn’t realize until I left the tepee was how integrated my senses were to my awareness. When I left the hammus and wound up in a real house, I felt safe. I had real walls.

I had windows I could look out of. I had a door I could lock, but when I went to bed that first night and I started going to sleep, , I had this strong sense that something was wrong, something something was wrong, something something was wrong. And I wound up going from room to room to room, trying to figure out what was wrong.

And I realized I was looking out of all of the windows. It was night, it was dark. I couldn’t see anything. And what was wrong was I didn’t know what was going on outside in the tepee, you have this constant flow of. Going through and that airflow let me know what the weather was doing. I could feel the temperature change, the, the moisture in the air.

I could smell the pinon pine. I could taste the dust. I could hear the coyotes in the cars from miles away and in the house. All of a sudden, my senses were confined to the inside of the house and I learned, I had to reassess what safety meant to.

When I first moved into the tepee, it was late summer, but I was at over 6,000 feet elevation, and I knew winter was coming pretty soon. So I went to talk to my landlady, Ariana, who lived like 50 yards away in a two room dirt floor shack. She was upscale. She had a wood stove, and I said, how much firewood do I need?

You know, how, how cold does it get? And she goes, you know, I got rid of my thermometer years ago. I, I did not need to know it was minus 20 inside my house.

Good to know. , I got some cinder blocks and I raised my sleeping platform. I had two rugs. My insulated, uh, sleeping pad, a winter weight sleeping bag, a queen size alpaca wool blanket folded in half on top of the sleeping bag, another blanket on top of that, and my coat, which doubled as my robe. My sleeping attire consisted of thermal under.

Heavy duty sweatpants and hoodie, at least one pair of socks, a knit cap and roll gloves, fingerless. So I could find and use the zipper in my sleeping bag in the long evening, hours between sunset and bed, I usually had a cup of tea On one particularly cold evening, I made the mistake of having two cups of tea,

And even though I used the chamber pot after I went to bed, nature called, and it was really nasty because I had to do more than Pee . I had to go outside and use the pit underneath my special tree.

The fire was out. It was dark, it was freaking cold, and I knew if I procrastinated, it would only get worse. So I unzipped my sleeping bag and I found my flashlight turned it on, and you have to bear in mind that this next part, I was trying to keep as much heat inside the sleeping bag as possible. So I pulled my coat up to myself, put it on, and I could feel my body heat going into the coat.

I checked my shoes to make sure that I was the only one in them . Got outta the sleeping bag, put my shoes on, and I could feel the cold seeping through my socks. I got up, picked up the, the flashlight, and was headed towards the door and something made me check my chamber pot and the clear fluid that was in it was now opaque and kind of slushy.

I realized that Ariana was right. There was some things you really did not need to know, . So I went to the door. I untied the Fong that kept the liner in front of the door, pulled that back, took a breath, ducked down because the opening was like this tall, pushed the drape outside, went outside, and I was transfixed.

I no longer felt the cold. There was no moon that night and there were so many stars. My mind went numb and the sky was so incredibly absolutely unforgivably black that it looked solid. The night sky. It was, it was. It didn’t just look, it was a black, solid dome, about 20 feet over my. The stars were not little orbs in the sky.

They were pinpricks. They were perforations in this solid black sky. And I remember thinking that if I had a ladder, I could climb up there and I would could push against the sky. And I, I was wondering what it would feel like.

I don’t know how long I stood there. I know that I visited my pits and made my tree happy, but I don’t remember doing that. And I remember beginning to shiver because even though I wasn’t aware of the cold, it was still affecting me and my brain kicked in and I know I needed to go back to my bag, but I don’t remember doing that either.

All I really remember is a phrase that I heard from a Celtic storyteller years ago, and at the time I didn’t understand it. He was describing something as having a terrible beauty. And when I looked at that sky, I was so intimidated and so amazed that sky it unfolded it like it. I was immersed in that sky.

I would just could just feel myself expand. And that sounds stupid even to me. I mean just, but all I could think of, I could feel that incredible beauty to my bones

later on. It was, it was my second, my second winter. It was February 1st, seven. I was doing my morning routine. The fire was burning well. My coffee was, was brewing. I was fixing breakfast and overhead. I heard this weird sound. It was a staccato, warbly, shrieky, mony, Rony sound. That lasted all of three seconds.

No idea what it was. I shrugged it off. Took care of my breakfast. I still had to make lunch and I’d get ready for. . And when I got to work a little while later, the ladies at the front desk were talking about the morning news and I said, that’s what that sound was. And they looked at me, they didn’t hear anything.

They were inside their house. And another woman who was standing there and goes, I heard it too. She was outside feeding her chickens. And that sound that I shrugged off so I wouldn’t burn my own meal was the sound of seven people dying. As the space shuttle Columbia broke up apart and its pieces and the bodies tumbled across the sky over my head

in a month and a half, that’ll be 20 years ago, and I can still hear that sound.

Little things that make a difference in your life. , the things that you ignore, you don’t acknowledge, uh, a piece of information you hear the, the movement of air against your cheek, a three second sound bite. Those kinds of things will change your perspective. Open your world, nail an instant to your heart for the rest of your life.

Those little things are not.

Thank you.

Thank you. Thanks, Regina.

Marc Moss: Regina O’Brien put herself through college, working a montage of odd jobs for 11 years. She graduated with two bachelor degrees and eventually got a career with a federal government. After years of seeing people staying in positions they hated so that they could have a secure retirement, having their security blood out by illness, death, or catastrophe, and feeling stressed out and ineffective in her own job, she quit.

She got rid of everything that did not fit into her mid-size pickup and started driving. Regina has been living around the edges of mainstream society ever since. Regina is a relative newcomer to Montana and currently lives in Potomac and works in Missoula as a massage therapist. Closing out this episode of the podcast, Jeremy and Smith in seventh grade, walks around his teacher’s desk all.

The lessons he learned that day have lasted 30 plus years. Jeremy, tell us his story 1000 times. Thanks for listening.

Jeremy N. Smith: 1990, mid-December middle school, it’s lunch period and my fellow nerd, Josh Engleman and I are hold up in our social studies. Teacher, Mrs. Fisher’s classroom, working on an extra credit project on if and where to locate a third airport for the city of Chicago. . The discussion is so intense I start pacing around Mrs.

Fisher’s wooden desk. Josh thinks this is funny, so he grabs a piece of chalk. And starts tallying my laps on the blackboard. 1, 2, 3, with a big X when I get to 10, because Josh thinks it’s funny. I think it’s funny, and I say, I’m gonna go around this desk 1000 times and 20 minutes later. When the bell rings lunch over, there’s already about a hundred marks on the board at this point.

Mrs. Fisher enters. She is a stern white-haired woman wearing her customary shapeless, sort of moomoo style polka dot print dress. I, we have never seen her smile, much less laugh, but she must have had a couple extra shots of something in the teacher’s lounge. retirement is on the horizon. It is winter break next week.

And so when she says What’s going on, and Josh says he’s going around your desk a thousand times, she’s like, okay, Einstein’s this. I want to see our classmates roll in. A few seconds after that, they say, what’s going on? And Mrs. Fisher points to Josh. Josh points to me, and he says he’s going around her desk a thousand times.

And they’re like, yeah. And so for the next 45 minutes, in 25, perfectly healthy, intelligent students. Instead of learning social studies, watch me go around in circles. 1 50, 200, 2 5300 times. And then the bell rings and people laugh and they clap and they leave. And we have science now. Josh and I, and I looked to him like, what are we going to do?

Right? We’re we’re extra credit kids. We don’t ditch class. We like stand at lunch to make an extra one . But then the next social studies class rolls in and they say, what’s going on? And Mrs. Fisher points at Josh and Josh points at me and he says he’s going around her desk 1000 times. And they laugh and they clap and they cheer and like I forget about the airport.

And extra credit. And for credit. And for the next 45 minutes, we ditch science and 25 more perfectly healthy, intelligent students. Instead of learning social studies, watch me go round a desk. 3 50, 400, 4 5500 times. Next is math class. Oh, well, we ditched that and then finally, fittingly, final period. We miss Jim

At this point, I have been walking with purpose for like two to three hours. I’m a chubby kid with glasses and my like ankles are, and calves are throbbing. My chest is hollowed out. My glasses are like coming off my sweaty head. I don’t know how this started like, but this is like, this isn’t just what I do.

This is like who I am now. Okay. I’m like, uh uh, like a marathon, desk circling machine and like the whole school knows about it. I’m legendary in progress, and I said that Josh was my fellow nerd, but. Josh actually doesn’t have glasses, and Josh is a relatively more athletic roller Blader and Josh has twice experienced something that I haven’t even dreamed of, which is having a girlfriend.

So this is it. This is my moment in the social spotlight. I can’t keep going, but I have to keep going and so I power on. I stumble forward and finally the whole class stands and they chant together the final steps of my journey. 9 97, 9 98. 9 99 a thousand just as the bell rings. Last class, last period, schools out.

I did it

and everyone’s the cheers, the applause. High fives louder than ever. And then, They shrug and they gather their stuff and they go , and then j Mrs. Fisher’s shrugs and gets her stuff, maybe goes back to the teacher’s lounge and goes, and then Josh shrugs and gets his stuff and goes to meet his girlfriend.

And it’s just me in the classroom with the blackboard with a thousand marks and the carpet I’ve worn circles in and like my great white whale of this desk. And I shrugged too and I get my stuff and I limp home. and I have had 20, no 32 years. To figure out what happened. and I’ve come up with these three lessons.

First, there is a reasonable debate people can have about whether 1000 of something is a little or a lot. It is more than 10 and a hundred. On the one hand, it is less than a million or a billion on the other. And I’m just here to tell you, I know , okay? I, I lived, I have the experience. If you do anything at all 1000 times, even walk around a desk, you will know that a thousand of anything is a lot

Number two, if you marry repetition to ambition, you can accomplish. Great things,

I have, uh, spent the last 20 years lurking as a writer. That means I’m basically professionally a desk. Circler. . And so I know intimately well that if you write one page in a day, that’s not very much. But if you write one page a day for a thousand days, wow. You have just written a whole book.

Third last, and most important, the reverse is true too. Even if you have done something a thousand times in a. Even if it’s how everybody knows you, for better or for worse, , if even if it’s not just what you do, it’s who you are. If it’s not serving you anymore, you can stop

I went to school the next day and I got a very stern talking to in science. I got a makeup test in math and limping, wincing. I was made to run laps for 45 minutes in gym, but before that, I went into social studies and there was the blackboard, fresh, clean, newly erased. There was the. Vacuumed carpet, not a trace in it.

And there was the desk eye, me saying, want to go again?

And I just shook my head and I stumbled forward and I went right to my seat, and it was just a little thing. But let me tell you something. So little has rarely.

So good.

Marc Moss: Thanks Jeremy. Jeremy N. Smith is a journalist, podcaster, and author. He has written for the Atlantic Discover Slate and the New York Times among other outlets, and he and his work have been featured by cnn, npr, R N NBC Nightly News, the Today Show and Wired. Jeremy is from Evanston, Illinois and has lived the last 20 years in Missoula, except for last year when he spent a family year abroad with his wife Chrissy and their daughter Raa in Puo, Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.

His latest interest is in skateboarding and he is looking for someone to help teach him how to Ali. Learn more and make [email protected] Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn [email protected] Thanks to our storyteller sponsor Viga Pizza. You can find them and place an [email protected]

And thanks to our accessibility sponsor, grizzly Grocery, learn more at grizzly grocery dot. Thank you to our media sponsors, Missoula events.net, Missoula Broadcasting Company, and Gecko Designs. Thanks as well to our in-kind sponsors, Joyce of Tile and Float Missoula. Remember that the next tell us something event is March 30th at the Denison Theater.

You can learn more about how to pitch your story on theme the first time and get your tickets at tellussomething.org.

Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “It’s the Little Things”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on December 15, 2022 at The Wilma in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : It's the Little Things - Part 1

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tele Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss . We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is the first time. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is February 20th.

I look forward to hearing from you

this week on the podcast.

Ean M. Kessler: Do you love your mailman?

Do you love the guy who changes the oil in your car, the fella you hired to fix the dishwasher when it breaks?

Hannah Harvey: The first frog I ever met was at Park Lake. On a camping trip with my parents when I was 10 years old, my dad had scooped it out of the water and placed it in my little cupped hands, and then, and there I fell in love.

Lori Chase: It’s been the next few days getting my application together and I get the application in and then I keep calling. Is it accepted? Is it accepted? You know,

Marc Moss: when you were in grade school or middle school and high school and you lean back in your chair? Braced against the desk. That’s sometimes how tall something feels like.

We’re just about to fall over. Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme. It’s the little things. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of a sold out crowd on December 15th, 2022 at the Wilma in Missoula. Our first story comes to us from Ian Kessler. Ian Wrestles with himself and his relationship to his father, whom he barely knows.

Ian calls his story shaken ground. Thanks for listening.

Ean M. Kessler: One of my earliest memories is when the dishwasher broke and the guy my mom hired to come fix it. This big burly guy comes to the door. Uh, he’s got a t-shirt, work jeans. He smells like cigarettes and coffee. He lays out his wrenches and he gets started.

I’m like three or four and I’m standing in the kitchen doorway and I’m just transfixed. I mean, I cannot peel myself away. When I was a kid, I always liked watching men work. My parents, um, they were never. Uh, they both wanted a kid. They each need the other to do it. But I was raised by my mother on the East coast entirely.

Uh, that was always the deal. So the memories that I have of my father are really scanned, but really deeply imprinted. Um, when I was really little, he’d send me postcards from the Great Plains, the Black Hills. Uh, you know, this part of the world, he’s seen and hiked and camped the back country, uh, more than maybe I ever will.

I have them, those postcards in a, uh, old shoebox and they’re dull things. Pretty tame stuff like, um, hi Ian, how are you? Or, uh, happy birthday, or Tell your mother I said hello. and all of them are signed the same. Sincerely, your father . It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I’ve never not known how to spell that word sincerely.

It was like it got imprinted in the back of my mind when I was 10. I spoke to him on the phone for the first time and that was my choice. Uh, my mom made it really clear that I always. . It just had to be something that I wanted, and it’s gonna sound funny, but turning 10 really sorta spun me for a loop. Um, I didn’t, I didn’t feel like a little kid anymore.

You know, I felt like a kid, but it did feel like some part of my childhood had shifted. It wasn’t something I could hide behind, you know? Uh, I had to talk to this man. I had to handle this thing. So my mom calls him sets. Uh, I’m sitting in the dining room and the light’s coming in from the kitchen, and I got the phone pressed up to my ear, and my mom told me years later that it was really, really, really clear to her that I was really, really, really nervous.

But the truth is I don’t remember any of it. I couldn’t tell you what was said, what we talked about. What I do remember is hearing his voice on the other end of the line for the very first time. , I’ve always loved my father’s voice. It sounds carved, you know, cured. I’ve always coveted his voice. I’ve always wished it was mine.

When I was, uh, 14, I went out to spend time with him alone for the first time. Uh, that was his idea. He was remodeling a house out in shaman Nebraska. Uh, he said I could go up. Work for him. I’d learned a few skills. He’d pay me be a good deal all around. My mom was really anxious, of course. I mean, I’d never spent time with him alone before, but I jumped at the chance.

You know, I, I, I mean, I was 14 years old even then. I didn’t think something was gonna shift between us or change, but what you have to understand, Is that my father comes from a farm in rural Wisconsin, right? He comes from a time and a place where if you work like a man, you get treated like one. And this just felt like my shot, a chance to stand alongside him.

It was summertime and we worked outside and my father works without a shirt on and he is so brutally thin. I mean, this man does not eat. He’s so skinny. There’s something almost. It feels diseased to look at him. You know, I remember looking at him and I felt like I could see every line of bone, every vein, every ligament.

Like I could see the insides churning in his belly, you know, that kind of skinny. I’m standing there and I’m watching him work in the yard. You know, he’s tearing out drywall or puttering with the car, and I can see the line of his back where he’d broken it when he was 15 and fell out of a hay. Or his sternum that was chipped years and years ago were the veins that just poured down his forearms.

It was the first time I’d ever seen his body up close. Now the truth is I was not very good at the work that he gave me. I did not take to it. No, not at all. Uh, my father has a temper and he’s not a man with patience for children. So mostly I just learned to keep quiet. Two weeks came and two weeks went.

There was no big moment between us. When it was over, he drove me to the airport and he shook my hand and I went home. I didn’t know him any better. We hadn’t talked much. I just sort of seen him up close. now. It’s funny to me at least because uh, I’ve told that story to people. Lots of people, people that I know and love and people that I don’t know as well, and without a shadow of a doubt, they always say some version of the same thing.

Well, he’s your dad and he loves you, and I’m sure that you love him.

Do you love your mailman?

Do you love the guy who changes the oil in your car, the fella you hire to fix the dishwasher when it breaks you don’t love men that you don’t know? I wish there was more that I could say, uh, about it. I wish there was some sort of finality I could put to it, but the truth is, as I stand here on this stage today, I’m 34 and I’ve met that man face-to-face maybe 20 times, and there’s far too much there and just not enough all at.

And if I’m honest, I don’t really know what to make of all that. We still talk and we’re still not close. Man, that’s probably not gonna change. But the older I get, the deeper those similarities seem to run. Mm-hmm. ain’t that growing up for you? We’re both reserved men and, uh, we both worked really hard and we both got more pride than we know what to do with.

And looking back. To borrow a phrase, it really is it, it is those little things, those bits and pieces that you don’t realize, that you don’t know. You know, the sound of your father’s voice or the cursive of his handwriting, or the way that his body catches sunlight and shadow when he works in the yard.

And the thing that I’m starting to realize, that I didn’t know when I was little with the postcards or or 10 on the phone or 14 out in Chadron, Nebraska, is that slowly you turn into a man that you don’t know, and that is really scary. That feels like I’m walking on shaken ground because still the same question rattles in my head.

How do you love a man that you don’t know? And the answer is, is I’m not.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Ean. Ean Miles. Kessler is a playwright, theater artist and storyteller. Originally hailing from the East coast, a recent transplant to Montana. Ian relocated to Missoula to enroll in a Wild to Ride Academy, a Mustang ranch and equine program. Where he learned the process of Gling wild horses. He’s proud to be a Level six graduate of that program and thrilled to be sharing his story with you.

Currently Ian is working on a debut novel. Our next storyteller is Hannah Harvey. Hannah finds herself with more than she bargained for when she moves in with her then boyfriend and the rest of his family ends up moving in with them. A big storm washes an injured frog into the yard and everything begins to.

Hannah calls her story, ""Frog Rescue" . Thanks for listening.

Hannah Harvey: The first frog I ever met was at Park Lake on a camping trip with my parents. When I was 10 years old, my dad had scooped it out of the water and placed it in my little cupped hands, and then in there I fell in love. I loved its smooth, soft. I loved Its tiny hands with fingers that looked just like mine, and I loved that when you looked at its chest, its thin, white papery skin showed the tiny rapidly beating heart inside.

It was like a little hummingbird heart. I remember holding that frog and thinking about how nice it felt to take care of it. To hold it to care about it. I let the frog go and watched it swim away, and while I don’t condone handling frogs because it is not particularly safe for the frog or the human, I will say that that experience stuck with me for a very long time.

I remembered that frog again many years later. In 2019, when I was living in Virginia, the house that I lived in was right by a little salt water inlet, and there were lots of water, reeds and grass that frogs like to hide in. And when I was falling asleep at night, I would hear the chorus of frogs singing.

Some people who I met in Virginia said that they found this sound annoying, but I loved it. To me, it was like white noise, except it was frog noise, , and hearing all those little voices singing often made me feel less lonely as I was falling asleep. And loneliness was a feeling that I had a lot when I was living in Virginia.

I had lived in Montana my whole life until moving. And I, like many others, moved across the country with no rhyme or reason except for the fact that I was in love with a boy. I had met this boy in Missoula at college, and when he returned to live back in his home state of Virginia, I went with him. I was so excited because he had this little quaint house there.

I was going to move in. We had it all planned out. We were gonna have our lives together. We were gonna do all those fun things that couples do when they first move in together. We were gonna build our relationship. We were gonna get married and have kids. It was all planned out. It was perfect. And then his family decided to move in

his parents and his brother. , myself and my boyfriend were all packed into this tiny house, and I grew up with a very demure, quiet family. We do not talk about our problems because we were all raised Catholic, so no problems here, no problems here. But my boyfriend’s family, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in some cases, was not this way.

They were loud and rowdy and rambunctious. They took up a lot of space. They had fights at the dinner table, and I just could do nothing but sit there and watch, and I wanted to be the one calm presence in their lives. I dedicated myself to being the best girlfriend possible, to make them proud that their son had a partner like me.

I was quiet. I didn’t argue. My boyfriend’s mom even called me Mr. Rogers because I was so goddamn agreeable.

But the thing about being agreeable all the time is that you lose yourself, and I started to feel parts of myself slipping away. I stopped doing the things that I loved. I didn’t sing as loudly. I didn’t paint as large. I didn’t talk as much, and I slept all the time. When I wasn’t at work, when I was at home, the only things I wanted to wear were comfortable clothes, and the only comfortable clothes at my disposal were my boyfriend’s old pajamas from seventh grade.

I would put them on the sad plaid, ratty, tattered pants, and a shirt from an event that he participated in long before I came into the picture, and I would look in the mirror and see myself dressed as somebody else. My depression got worse and worse, and with it, so did the weather, the spring in Virginia.

Pretty tough. It rains a lot. It’s always dreary. And one night in particular, it poured, it was windy, it was rainy. There was thunder lightning. It was like a big storm from a movie. And in the morning while my boyfriend and I were sleeping in bed, his mother busts into our bedroom because that’s what happens when you live with your boyfriend’s family.

Family. Um, and she says, There is the biggest frog I have ever seen in our yard, and I don’t know what to do about it. That was the fastest I have ever gotten out of bed in my entire life. I put on my boyfriend’s crocs because of course, and I ran outside and I saw this giant frog by our dumpster. It was also the biggest frog I had ever seen about as large as my hand.

And I could tell immediately that it had a hurt leg and that it was missing one of its eyes. Perhaps it got caught up in the storm or got in a fight with a wayward cat, but the moment I saw that frog, something in my brain woke up, and that frog became my mission. I couldn’t care for myself. Some nights I couldn’t brush my teeth because I was so sad, but god damn it, this frog was worth saving.

when I would go to work in the day and when my boyfriend had the days off, he would be home, and the frog didn’t move. It was still alive. I could tell by that same tiny beating heart in its. , but it, it seemed just incapable of moving. It would look around with its eyes. It would shift slightly, but it didn’t move.

So when it was, when I was away at work, I would make my boyfriend water the frogs because I know that frogs need water. It’s kind of like oxygen to them in a way. It’s where they get all their nutrients, they breathe through their skin, and their skin needs to stay moist. So every day I made my boyfriend water the frog.

I would text him and say, okay, did you water the frog? And he’d say, yes, blah, blah. But after a few days of this, I tried feeding the frog. I tried doing everything, and it wouldn’t move. It was still alive, it was still breathing, still looking around, but it wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t move, wouldn’t do anything.

And finally, when I got home from work one day and I saw it sitting there, sadly, I went inside. I got a plastic salad container. I poked holes in it. I put a little bit of water in the. I put the frog in there, closed the lid. I called a wildlife rehabilitator and said, I have a frog. I’m bringing it to you,

She said, well, we don’t usually take frogs, but fine. And then I set off on my journey. The wildlife Rehabilitators place was in Chesapeake, which was about 45 mi minutes away from, um, where I lived. And it was another rainy night. It was stormy, it was pouring, it was thundering, it was lightning. And I am not a good driver, , but I put that frog in its little box in my passenger seat.

I buckled it in as tight as I. And then I just drove and I was driving like a maniac. It was insane. I felt like I was in fast and furious. I’ve never driven that fast. People were honking. I was doing stupid things probably. I was like, I don’t honk at me right now. This is an ambulance. There’s a baby in here.

I drove. I drove. I finally made it to the wildlife rehabilitated TA’s place. I unclipped the seatbelt. I picked up the box, I brought it into her. I said, here, here’s this rug. He has a herd eye. He has a broken leg. I named him Uno because he only has one eye. And I gave it to her and she went, okay.

And then I got in my car and I left. I asked her to text me to tell me what became of the frog, whether good or bad, but I never heard back from her. It’s possible that Uno just passed away. It’s also possible that the Rehabilitator gave him to one of her other creatures as food, which I guess either way somebody benefited from that.

So, but I moved away from Virginia shortly after that. I came back home. I had friends again. I had family again. I felt whole again. I was sad to end that relationship, but I was withering away in it. I like to think that Uno is out there. I like to think that he’s had lots of frog babies with lots of frog ladies

and I like to think that he’s happy now and that he’s better now. because I am.

Marc Moss: Thanks Hannah. Hannah Harvey is an artist and person living in Missoula, Montana, originally from Helena. Hannah is a University of Montana graduate. If you’ve ever visited the Missoula Art Museum, you may recognize her as the face behind the front desk. When she’s not at work, she can be found painting, drinking hot cocoa at.

And looking for creepy crawlies. In our next story, Lori Chase wins the housing lottery when she is selected as someone who can place an offer on a house. Now she has to navigate all of the twists and turns involving financing a house in Missoula, Montana. Lori calls her story Adventures in home buying.

Thanks for listening.

Lori Chase: In December of 2015, I moved out of the home that I owned with my husband and into the gold dust departments, a low income housing unit on Missoula’s North. The first night that I spent in that apartment, I had a mattress on the floor and it echoed, it was so empty. It was the first time in over 20 years that I’d actually lived alone.

I fell asleep that night to the sound of the train rumbling, clank. Whining and the sound of people honking their horns in the Orange Street underpass, please don’t do this. People live there,

In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of a huge boom that rattled the entire building. That I later found out was the coupling of the trains, and I wondered how I would ever get used to that sound, but I did get used to it. I also got used to the thin black layer of cold dust that settled on everything, the North side spice.

Then later my kids came to stay. We borrowed more furniture. We settled. . When the kids were with me, the place was crowded. It was a very small apartment, but when they went to their dad’s, I was lonely. I really wanted to have a pet. But there were all these rules there. No incense, no candles, no smoking, no noise.

After 10:00 PM no pets, no nails in the wall. So I got lots of plants and I named them all . Always knowing that eventually I was gonna buy my own house as soon as the divorce was final, but when the divorce was final in August of 2016, I went to a lender. Who told me that I couldn’t buy a house because my debt to income ratio due to my student loan.

That didn’t work out. And also, I didn’t have the longevity of employment because before this time, I had been a part-time yoga teacher and a full-time stay-at-home mom. So that didn’t really count. So I went home disappointed, visualizing a bigger apartment where I could get a. and three years went by.

The kids kept getting bigger and the apartment kept getting smaller, . And then one day I went into work to the office where I sh that I share with my boss Molly. And Molly was sitting at her desk working and I sat down and I started looking through some mail and out fell this flyer and it was all about this affordable housing.

That was going up, brand new town homes, and it was everything that we wanted. It was two bedrooms, two baths, a garage close to downtown, our own laundry. I could get a pet. I was super excited. It was perfect for me and I was perfect for it. And the application deadline was in two days, and I had to get pre-qualified for a loan.

I had to get all these little things. and I looked at Molly and I said, there’s no way I can do this in two days. I have all this work to do. And she said, no, you have to do this. Forget about the work. I know a lender and she starts like writing down names and like all this stuff, getting to work. Okay, fine.

So I do it and spend the next few days getting my application together and I get the application in and then I keep calling. Is it accepted? Is it accepted? Finally it’s accepted. And then they say, but you know, actually, out of all the people who pre-qualified and got accepted, it’s a lottery. And so we’re basically gonna pick names out of a hat to see who gets to buy one of these seven lucky people get to buy one.

And so I waited, I had to wait like two weeks. It felt like a really long time. and then I got the call. I won the lottery. I was able to buy this place. Yes, but wait, this was only the beginning. I was able to, I had the opportunity to buy this place for a hundred thousand dollars less than what it was worth.

Amazing. And so I started jumping through all the hoops, like I had to take some classes and go to a lawyer and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I’m doing all the things. And then my lender calls me one day and she says, well, you know, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but we just found out, you know, we figured out the HOA fees and you just don’t have a big enough of a down payment.

And I had already tapped out all my resources. My mom, my dad, my friends, like everybody. And I said, well, how much is it? Maybe I can still come up with it. And she said, $10,000. And it was like $10,000 . Like, where am I gonna come up with $10,000? I don’t know. But I was, I was thinking about it. True story. I went to the mailbox and I got a check in the mail from my dad for 10,000.

And he knew what I was going through, but he didn’t know this particular thing. And he said, I just had a feeling that you might need some more money for, you know, closing costs and moving and that sort of thing. And I was like, whew. I’m back in the games. I called the lender and I said, I got the $10,000.

She’s like, A little skeptical like , where did you come up with $10,000? No, no, no. Seriously. My dad gave it to me and she said, okay, but still you cannot spend any money. Your debt can’t go up, your savings can’t go down. You can’t spend any money at all for the next few months. This was in January of 2019, and so I was like, fine, I’m just gonna work as much as possible and not spend any money.

So I’m doing it. I’m doing all the. And then she calls and she says, you know what, I’m sorry. I just, they just figured out the taxes and you actually just don’t make enough money. And it was like, I’m working as much as I can. I don’t know what I can do. And, and I was distraught. I had already done all the little things.

And so I went into the office to work that day and my boss, Molly was there and she, Hey, how you doing? And. You know when somebody asks you how you’re doing, I just broke down and I explained the whole thing to her and she said, well, would it make a difference if I gave you a raise? And I said, well, probably, I don’t know.

And she said, how much? So I called the lender, found out, and she said, I’m so sorry. I should have given you a raise years ago. I’ve been meaning to do it. I’m just gonna give you a raise for that amount and then you can buy. And so she did. And so I was back in the running for the place and I was holding my breath, just waiting for the day that I could sign the papers and just waiting for something else to go wrong.

And then finally the day came and I signed the papers, and I moved into my place. soon after I got a cat, and that was great. And soon after, another one of the places where I worked the yoga fitness center closed. And I was sad mostly because that’s where I practiced. Uh, and then more time went by and I found out a couple years later, Katie, who owned the yoga fitness center, passed away.

She had. . And it wasn’t until after that that I found out that they knew what I was going through to get my place, and they waited to close their business until I signed the papers on my home.

So this morning I woke up. In my home, greeted by my cats, um, feeling, oh, so grateful for my home and all the little things that came together so that I could buy my place, but also, and most especially, so thankful for my friends and my family and the community that believed in. And helped me to buy my home, so thank you.

Thank you, Missoula.

Marc Moss: Thanks Lori. Lori Chase has two almost adult children, two cats and two jobs. She teaches yoga and works for Gather Board, aka missoula events.net, the best community events calendar in Missoula and also a longtime sponsor of Tell Us Something In her free time. She likes to do all the outdoor things and dance.

Argentine Tango. I shared a story. Next, I am the executive director of Tell Us something, a 5 0 1 organization and the podcast that you’re currently listening to, I Call My Story Journey. Thanks for listening. I am gonna tell you a story tonight about my journey with Tell Us Something, and it’s more than that.

It’s also a story about gratitude and joy and depression and teamwork and beauty and community.

I was sitting in the dark at the top. listening to a woman on the stage tell the story of when she was a little girl going with her mom to Belt Montana and she wasn’t allowed to come into the house because her mom and her grandmother were going up to belt to, and she didn’t know this yet. Brush her great-grandmother’s hair.

And her great-grandmother lived in a, basically a, a, a shack. And one afternoon she had to go into the shack for whatever reason, and now she learns why her mom and grandmother are there, because her great-grandmother, Anna’s hair is so long that it pools on the floor. While they, they’re brushing her hair and it’s white and it’s August, which is important because the shack is occupied by a, a hive of honeybees and there are so many of them that the walls bleed honey in the heat and.

She’s describing all of this and I’m looking around the room and everyone is transfixed and she did such a beautiful job of honoring her ancestors and the care that four generations of women were taking care of one another. And I. So honored to be in that room with some of you who were there, I’m sure, and that she was, her voice was shaking and she was there to honor her family.

Later, I’m sitting in that same dark room at the top hat listening to a member of the Crow tribe. Describe leaving the reservation and what a r. That drew between him and his father, and he would go back to visit occasionally, but never leave, never come back, you know, for good until his father got sick and he moved back for two years and took care of his dad.

After his dad passed, one of his dad’s friends said, your dad wanted me to give you this war bonnet, which is one of the highest honors to bestow on his. And I was again, humbled and honored to be learning about this part of the culture, and I was just floored. I’m telling you all of this to show that I fell in love with the stories and the storytellers, and I’m sitting in this dark room and I’m listening to a woman share her story about.

Sexually assaulted the United States Marine Corps and surviving that. And now she’s an attorney in town and she provides justice for survivors. And a woman that I don’t know is standing out on the sidewalk, another, another, tell us something, and, and. The show was sold out and she asks, do you have any tickets?

I said, I, I don’t have any extra tickets. And she handed me two envelopes and said, give one of these to Victoria, the storyteller from the Marine Corps. And I said, I will. And the other one was addressed to me. It was seven o’clock, so I had to come in and start working. She ended up somehow getting a ticket, uh, and was there, but.

Um, after I introduced the first storyteller, I go backstage and I start crying reading this letter because the letter said that she had been so depressed for years that every time she went over the Clark, uh, over the bridge, she wanted to jerk the wheel into the Clark Fork. And she said when she heard Victoria’s story about surviving that in the Marine Corps, She went home and wrote in her journal and sobbed and had an emergency appointment with her psychologist the next day, and she says that, tell us something saved her life.

And she gave me permission to tell you that when I first started tell us something. I had a job at a bank and when I worked at the bank, every minute I was spending there, I was thinking about how I. Make tell something better. And I got my first smartphone because I didn’t want to use bank equipment to do tell something work when I was on my breaks.

So I’m like doing like updating the website on this little Android phone.

And I’ve struggled with depression my entire life. So much to the point that I have a lot of coping strategies and I know when. See when an episode is coming and I can prepare for it and maybe shorten the duration of it. In 2015, I missed all the cues and I felt like a guy hit by a freight train with depression.

I couldn’t get out of bed. I was just feeling so sad, and I’m standing at the kitchen. in the kitchen at the stove with Joyce behind me, just bracing myself on the stove sobbing. I couldn’t stop crying and she was just, she didn’t say, it’s okay. She didn’t tell me to stop. And that night in the dark in bed, she said, what would make you happy?

And I said, Doing, tell us something full-time because it is a full-time job. And she said, then you should do that. And I said, what if it fails? And she said, what if it succeeds? And it was that little way to think about it that gave me the courage to quit my job. and I quit my job and I’ve been doing, tell us something full-time ever since.

And sometimes we hear stories like, I don’t know if anybody was in this room when Mike Colucci had told the story about sucking the crown up from his tooth up into his sinus cavity. It was a comedy, I mean, oh my. Or, or the guy who told the story, uh, about being the person who has to quarantine the losers from the amazing race

or the woman who just ran outta gas at Costco and how the community came together to help her. And you’ve been with me on this journey the entire time. You thank. , you have told your stories. You have come to support the storytellers, and for that, I am so grateful and full of joy. Tell us something. The entire thing is an act of trust.

I trust that when I put out in the call for stories, storytellers are gonna show up. I trust that when I put tickets on sale, y’all are gonna buy tickets and you’re trusting. To provide you with entertainment sadness, like ugly crying, and then huge laughter.

You are trusting the storytellers to share of themselves. Most of you know I don’t introduce the storytellers ahead of time because I want you to come together as a community and support one another as a community. You know when you were in grade school or middle school and high school and you leaned back in your.

braced against the desk. That’s sometimes how tall something feels like We’re just about to fall over and you, and you come and you support each other, and I’m just so grateful to you for that. It may seem like a little thing, but it to me is a big thing. The biggest part of the tell us something journey recently is that we became a nonprofit

and that is a big thing. I built out a board, I wrote the bylaws, I got an attorney, and he filed the paperwork in August of, of 2021, and we just got our nonprofit status in July of this.

I’m Mark Moss, executive director of Tele something, a 5 0 1 nonprofit organization. I live on Missoula’s historic North Side with my wife Joyce Gibbs, and our perpetual kitten, Ziggy.

Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn [email protected] Thanks to our storyteller sponsor Viga Pizza. You can find them and place an [email protected] And thanks to our accessibility sponsor, grizzly Grocery, learn more at grizzly grocery dot. Thank you to our media sponsors, Missoula events.net, Missoula Broadcasting Company, and Gecko Designs.

Thanks as well to our in-kind sponsors, joys of Tile and Float Missoula. Remember that the next tell us something event is March 30th at the Denison Theater. You can learn more about how to pitch your story on the theme the first time and get your tickets at tellussomething.org.

Four storytellers share their stories on the theme "Letting Go". We hear stories about the love of timber framing, about working third shift at a copy shop, about mistaken identities and letting loose at a Russian ballet in NYC.

Transcript : Letting Go Part 2

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss. We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is, it’s the Little Things. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is November 7th. I look forward to hearing from you this week on the podcast.

Kate Wilburn: You would be also able to see, I think, how much I like the quality of things. It’s small and simple, this house, but everything is well done. She goes,

Marc Moss: Can we do it again? I was like, Yeah.

Amy McAllister: We meet Matthew, our mortician and Matthew.

Looks like or reminds me of Lurch from the Adams family.

Rachel Gooen: Bow ties and tuxedos and crushed velvet dresses, and we are in jeans and

Amy McAllister: t-shirts.

Marc Moss: Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme letting go. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of over 900 listeners on September 27th, 2020.

At the Denison in Missoula, Montana, we wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor The Good Food Store. We are so grateful to the team at the Good Food Store for their support. Learn more about the Good Food [email protected] Tell us something acknowledges that we are on the Aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispell people.

You hear this at events all the time. What does it mean? Who cares? Right? . I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Why do we say it? Most of the time it’s white folks that are saying it. Are we trying to make ourselves feel better? What are we doing here? When I came to Montana, to the west from Ohio, which Ohio is the land of the Cas and Erie tribes, at least the part where I lived, I wore a Cleveland Indians hat.

Some of you know this former name of this baseball team and, uh, the mascot allegedly was to celebrate the native peoples. It’s pretty racist mascot if you haven’t seen it. And I was traveling out with a, a traveling companion who was admonishing me about my hat, and I dismissed her out of hand. I was wrong to do that, and I started thinking more about that as I started thinking about land acknowledgements.

And why I do them is not just to honor the people whose land we stole. Not us particularly, but everyone in here who’s white. Our ancestors stole the land. We can’t do anything about that, but we can admit it. Honor the people who live with us and work with us and recreate with us who are native to this land.

So again,

again, I say we are on Salish and Cooney. Let me take this moment to honor them and the stories that they share with us.

Our first story comes to us from Kate Wilburn. Kate loves wood and woodworking. She learned the craft of timber framing 40 years ago. Collected materials for a timber frame house, hauled them around for 30 years and is now ready to let them. Kate calls her story Dovetail a love story. Thanks for listening.

Kate Wilburn: Okay, so step into my kitchen with me on the cherry countertops. There are two jars of beans. Every morning I take a bean from the jar labeled 10 years. , 10 good years, days left, and I move it to the other jar labeled 10 good years. Days past. I’ve been doing this for three years with my friend Joseph. It’s an amazing thing to watch the days of one’s life.

Pass a bean at a time. Am.

Here we are in my small old house in Missoula. It was pretty sad until I remodeled it and now it’s cozy and beautiful looking around, you’ll see right away how much I love would the hemlock. fur trim, the raised panel fur doors, those cherry countertops, the maple kitchen cabinets, the old growth Douglas fur floor underneath that’s original and that I didn’t know was there until I unearthed it from layers and layers of goop.

So, You would be also able to see, I think, how much I like the quality of things. It’s small and simple, this house, but everything is well done. And if you looked out to the back side of my lot and saw the old ugly shed, you would wonder and be mystified. Why the heck has she let that thing stand? It’s a love story, not with the shed , but with the small timber frame that’s sheltering inside.

I learned the art of timber framing as a young woman, and I love it as much as I love wood, because it’s like creating a beautiful. , large piece of furniture that is going to become a home or another building. Timber frames use big, massive pieces of wood polished and carefully cut with strong joints that hold them together like dovetails.

you might have seen a dovetail if you’ve ever pulled the drawer out of an old well made dresser. The front is attached to the side with these amazing triangular joints. Those are the dovetails, and they’re not only beautiful, but they’re strong. So let’s go back to the shed and the tiny timber frame.

It’s the sixth one I’ve cut and designed in my life, and that was 30 years ago. Back then, I was married to an auctioneer and our home was pretty chaotic, so I imagined a quiet refuge back behind the house. Unfortunately, the marriage ended before I got the timber frame finished and standing. By then, not only had I invested, uh, cash and an incredible amount of careful painstaking work, but also a fair amount of fondness, and I chose to move it with me.

The next place that found us was a small home in North Carolina, and I thought it would be a perfect screen porch, unfortunately, the tiny timber frame. And I ran a mock of the HOA rules. . Oh, well the. When I became a nomad, I thought that was the perfect ending at last because it’s only eight feet by 12 feet, this tiny timber frame, and it fits really super well on a trailer to pull down the road.

The deal though is that the rafters are 14 feet. Uh, and that’s to make good overhangs on either side to shade the walls, but it’s way too wide for highway safety. It means that all this pile of lovely wood with intricate joints has been so far is a little building waiting to be a. , every time I moved, I, I checked in with myself.

Do I still have hopes for this little critter in me? Yeah, I do. So I’ve moved it from Idaho to Virginia to North Carolina, to California, to Idaho again, and finally to Montana. Is the year finally. Um, I’ve got the plans. I’ve got the permits. There’s some 220 volt electrical work involved, and it’s a little bit dangerous, but it’s simple.

And my friend Mike and I are going to do. Then he calls his master electrician Brother has a sudden emergency and he’s not going to be available in case something goes wrong. It’s a catalyst. It’s actually one of several, but I don’t have time to tell you the rest of them. So I ask myself, Is it time to throw in the towel on this?

I don’t want to. I can so clearly see it nestled in my backyard. These hand carved knee braces arching around windows where beautiful patchwork curtains hang. That mom and I stitched together

so many years ago, and I’ve saved them all this time for this building.

But other possibilities, whisper. There are other big dreams that I’ve held forever. I feel the preciousness of time and I know that when I get real, this project is at least a nine month project to bring to completion.

So, Here tonight with you. I’m gonna take a deep breath.

I might cry a little bit. . I think it’s time for me to stop building things. It’s time to leap into the unknown of these other dreams. It’s time to look for a new owner for this small building and for a different ending to the love story.

I don’t have any clue how. This will unfold, and I don’t have any idea how many beans of strong, healthy life remain to me. My friend Ruth just died,

so I’m ready to leap into the unknown. of other dreams and I’m letting this one go.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Kate. Kate Wilburn, church’s, wildland, and is keenly aware of legacy across Generat. Her life’s terrain is diverse from engineering and carpentry to single parenting, permacultural design and teaching. She’s found in Missoula, a place to show the beauty and practicality of living simply of creating an urban yard that is a vibrant ecosystem of perennial food for people, birds, bees, and other wild things all at the same time.

She seeks green wildness in a neighborhood like a village, even in the. You can see a photo of the jars of beans on Kate’s kitchen counter and learn more about [email protected] Our next storyteller is Marc Moss. Hi there. Working third shift at a late night coffee shop. I met all sorts of people.

I generally made a connection with most of them until a regular customer. Very grumpy, presented a challenge for me. I call my story third shift. Thanks for listening.

I learned how to drink coffee when I was 17, working midnight shift at a grocery store in Ohio, much like the Orange Street Food farm. Working third shift became something that I really enjoyed. The crew, I can’t, I don’t have the time to tell you how awesome they were and how weird they are still. But in those days, there were no 24 hour grocery stores.

And so at nine o’clock we’d all shuffle in, lock the doors, and they would put coffee on, and I would drink Coca-Cola or water because I hate the taste of coffee at 17. And eventually I got injured on the job and I, I had to start drinking coffee. That’s another story that I’m not telling you tonight.

tonight I’m telling you about my love affair. We’re third shift, and when I moved to Bozeman, Montana, I got another third shift job at a little coffee shop called Kinko’s. Kinko’s doesn’t exist anymore, right? I got bought out by some other company, so I can use the name. It’s not product placement. And third shift at the Bozeman.

Kinkos was great because like every Kinkos, it was located on or near a university campus. And when I was working there, I would meet all sorts of folks and the architecture students were like frantic, like outside chain smoking, waiting for their copies to be done, coming in, building these intricate models at a foam.

And, and I was like, You know, that’s gonna be really expensive. I’m thinking in my mind they come up and they, and they come to pay and the bill’s like 250 bucks. And I know that there’s students and I ask ’em like, Are you a student? And they’re like, Yeah, I’m great. And so like, ring ’em up for $75. And they’re like, What?

And I’m like, Student discount. And they’re like, Okay. Thank you.

When I worked third shift at the Kinkos in Akron, I met a lot of interesting folks also in the university campus. But the, the urban environment of the University of Akron was much different than the university or the, the Bozeman campus, whatever they’re called,

Go Grass, I guess. So, uh, I’d, I’d meet all kinds of folks, homeless folks coming in to stay out of the cold. There was a strip club about four blocks away, and so the, the strippers would come in and one of them would like sit up on the machine and copy her ass. And I’m like, Hey, that’s great. You know, clean the glass and if you break it, you bought it.

And she’s like, Don’t worry, honey. Big Wayne would show up and Big Wayne ran the strip club and he’d like make these little coupons to get in for free. So, you know, really interesting folks. But at the Bozeman Kinkos, the architecture students weren’t the only interesting folks coming in. There was a woman that came in all the time and she sort of shuffled in older woman in her fifties, Right.

Mousey looking woman, really grumpy. She’s like five foot two, sort of disheveled looking, super grumpy. And she’d come in. And in those days when you came into the, the copy shop, there was a like a little key counter. Remember those blue key counters and plug it in the machine and it counts off ICU nodding counts off how many cops?

And she’d make like four. She’d make like four copies and coming in to pay. And I did everything I could think of to try to reach her and like, and talk to her. And she was ignore. She would never say a word to me. And I’m, I’m trying to think of whatever I can think of to, to try to make a connection with her.

And I say, Hey, sweetheart, and I start flirting with her. She doesn’t want that. She doesn’t, nobody does

so then I’m mean to her, right? She like walks up to pay and I walk. Ignore her. She doesn’t care. She like slams that thing on the counter like

then I’m like overly nice to her. Is everything to your liking this evening? You know, nothing. When I was a kid, you know Michael was telling that story about penny learning to ride a bike. I remember learning to ride a bike at a blazing. A huffy with a little banana seat and you know, the lightning bolt down the side and his sissy bar in the back.

And I didn’t have the cool backpack that Penny has. And, uh, my dad would like hang onto the back and, and, you know, just like Michael let go without me knowing. And, and I wrecked a lot. And because like, who needs training wheels? Like I’m a boy and. But I also like to cry and scream and yell when I got hurt.

And you know, my dad was like, Boys don’t cry. Suck it up. You know? And I would cry louder. And my aunt, the cool aunt, was like, That really must hurt. And I’m like, Yeah, it does. But I would stop crying. And I was thinking of that moment when this woman came in. Again, super grum. And I said, You seem kind of grumpy.

She goes, What? I said, Are you grumpy? She starts looking around, She’s just hurting me. You know, the machines are buzzing and you know, like, so I’m like, I gotta let go of that work. And now I’m, I’m in it like I’m committed to this. And I start to think about the bike, you know, and my aunt validating me and like acknowledging like, that must suck.

And so I said, You know what I do when I’m grumpy? I copy my face. And she’s like, What? And I’ve never done that before. And so like, take a right of hand, uh, put your head on the glass, close your eyes. Don’t go blind.

And she’s like, Hey. And she like pulls the thing up, grabs it, and I’m like, and she starts laughing. I’m like, This is great. She goes, Can we do it again? I was like, Yeah. She goes, We should make a bigger one. So I changed the size 11 by 17. She’s like, You should have one too. So we make. She’s like, I’m gonna do this some more.

I’m like, Great. I gotta go back to work. The machines back there aren’t running anymore, and if the machines aren’t running, I’m gonna get in trouble. So knock yourself out. Um, I’ll see you in a few minutes. So she’s like there for five minutes. I’m making copies of her face, enlarging, making ’em really small, different sizes of paper.

She comes back, she comes to pay, and she’s laughing. And I’m like, What’s your name? And she goes, My name’s Ruby. I said, Ruby, I’m Marc. Why are you so grumpy? And, and the copies are on me. Like, Put your purse away. She worked at the airport, third shift, second shift I guess, cuz she would always come in around two or three.

This was before nine 11, so no tsa. So I don’t know what she did at the airport, but apparently whatever it was at the end of. Was pretty slow. And so she was writing letters to her son every night and he wasn’t returning her letters and he wasn’t returning her phone calls and there was no texting in 2000 and she’s grumpy.

And I said, That sounds really lonely. And she goes, It sucks.

And she stopped coming in. I don’t know why. And what I’m hoping is, oh, because she said I’m gonna use these face copies as stationary to send to my son

And I didn’t say this, but I thought, Are you Catholic? Cause that’s a classic guilt trip, . But I didn’t say that something my mom would pull. She didn’t come back in. And what I’m, what I’m hoping is the reason she didn’t come back in is because she was writing those letters to her son and he was seeing her and he was remembering her, and he called her and he wrote her back.

And that’s all we all, all of us want is to be seen and heard and validated.

Thanks me, I’m the executive director of the non-profit organization. Tell us something. I recently hosted a tell us something event at Burning Man, where I’ve literally walked through fire with my life partner Joyce. And the cool thing is you can search the Tellis something website for Burning Man and listen to that.

Without walking through the fire yourself. We live together on Missoula’s historic North Side with a perpetual kitten. Ziggy to see one of the face copies that I made with Ruby visit tell us something.org. In our next story, Amy McAllister’s Dad dies two weeks after her mother dies. Amy visits his body in the funeral home.

And the funeral director assures her that the body he has prepared for her is indeed her father’s in a story that we call, that’s not my dad. Thanks for listening.

Amy McAllister: Both my parents passed away about, um, a few years ago, and they were both 93 when they passed away and actually doing really well until they hit about 91. Um, my mom was still going to jazzer size classes and my dad was playing golf and meeting up with his friends. Um, but at 91 it seemed like everything kind of started to fall apart and my brother and sister and I all lived in Missoula and my parents lived in Billings and it seemed like every other week, um, one of us was going down there for something.

There was broken shoulder, broken ribs, sepsis. Uh, some minor surgeries, furnace going out. So we tried everything we could to get my parents to move to Missoula and they absolutely would not do it. They insisted on living in their own home and they wanted to stay there, so they converted their basement into a, um, apartment and hired a full-time caretaker.

And then they had, um, hospice and some other organizations. And so they were able to stay in their own home and pass away. So it was about mid-November of, um, 2018, and we got a call from the hospice nurse that my mom wasn’t doing very well, and they said, If you wanna see her before she passes away, you need to come down to Billings.

So it actually took about four days for all of us to get to Billings, but we did, and we were able to spend Wednesday with my mom and then that night she passed. So my dad at that time was doing pretty well. Um, we spent Thanksgiving with him and he actually came up to Missoula for Christmas. But um, I think when he, he got back to, um, Billings in January, he just was done.

And I think what happens a lot of time. People have been together, spouses have been together for so long. My parents were married for over 70 years. Um, when one passes away, the other one passes away soon after. So this was, um, the middle of January now, and we get the same call. It’s a Friday afternoon and we get the call from the hospice people that say, Your dad is not doing very well.

And if you wanna see him, you should. To Billings when you can. And they said, but his vitals are pretty good. So he should be okay for a few days. Well, this time my sister Jane and I decide we’re gonna go the next day. It’s Friday afternoon, we’re gonna leave on Saturday. My brother’s outta the country. Um, but that night about eight 30, we got a call and my dad had died.

So the next day we leave for billings and I am super upset why my mom had the whole family around when she passed away. My dad had nobody there. So we’re talking on the way down to Billings and I say, I just feel like I need to say goodbye to dad. And Jane. My sister says, I wanna remember him how he was at Christmas and I don’t wanna see him, but I said, I think I, at the funeral home, maybe I should go in and say, So we get to billings and go over to the funeral home, and the first we meet Matthew, our mortician, and Matthew looks like, or reminds me of Lurch from the Adams family.

He’s tall, thin, kind of gaunt looking, but as most distinctive attribute is that the way he talks like lurch real low and slow. So he leads us into the office and we go over all the cremation, um, arrangements. And I asked Matthew, I said, Matthew, where’s my dad now? And he goes, He’s in the back room. Do you want us.

See him and I said, Well, Matthew, I don’t know. I said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a body in a funeral home before. Is it gonna look like my dad? And he said, Oh yeah, he’ll be a little pale, and his cheeks will be a little sunken, but it’ll look like your dad. So I said, Okay, if you’re sure. He goes, Oh, it’ll, it’ll be fine.

It’ll look like your dad. So my sister leaves and Matthew says, Can you give me about 30 minutes to get him ready? So I go out into the lobby, the waiting room, and there’s, I’m upset, but there’s two things to distract you. There are two things to read. These big giant brochures that have funeral packages and caskets.

Or the Penny Saver . So I grab the penny saver cuz I want nothing to do with the funeral stuff. And I start reading the jokes and doing the trivia. You know who played Laura Petre on Dick Van Dyke show. Oh, I know that one. You know, and Matthew comes to get me and he takes me back to this big, long, dark, creepy hallway with these three giant doors about the size.

Like let’s make a deal. And he leads me into the, into the room and quietly backs out and closes the door and I go up. To the bed, and I freak out because this guy looks nothing like my dad, . And I run out and I say, Matthew, that’s not my dad. And he looks at me real sadly, and goes, That’s your dad. And I said, Well, it doesn’t look anything.

Look like my dad. And again, he goes, That’s your dad. So, Okay. My friends keep telling me how un observant I am, and so I go back into the room and I go up to the bed and nothing. Now I really start studying my dad. Now, this man is shorter than my dad. He’s thinner than my dad. He has different coloring, and now I’m doing 360 s around the bed trying to find something familiar, age spots I’ve never seen before, a bump in his nose.

And I go to the top of his head and my dad had a pretty full head of hair. And this guy has a couple strands of hair. I’m thinking, can you lose, uh, body, lose all its hair in 18 hours? So now I’m convinced and I go back out and I find Matthew and I say, Matthew, that is not my dad. And again, he looks at me real sad, That’s your dad.

And I said, You’re telling me that man in there is Bill McAllister? And I see him go, uh, just a second and he goes into the back room and he comes back out and he. Uh, That’s not your dad. I said, I know. That is what I’ve been trying to tell you. So I said, Can you give me about 20 more minutes? So I go back out in the lobby, finish I dream a genie and Dick Van Dyke trivia.

And he comes to get me and he says, I’m really sorry about this. This has never happened before. This is really your dad. I can prove it. There’s a tag on his toe. So I say, No, just let me in and go see my dad. So I went into the door number two for the third time, and I go up to the bed and there’s my dad.

He’s looking a little pale, and his cheeks are a little sunken, but it’s definitely my dad. So I say my goodbyes to him, how much I love him and appreciated everything he did for us. And I walk home from the funeral home and about halfway home, I just start burst out laughing, thinking this could only happen to me.

So I get home and my sister and some other relatives are there, and some friends of my dad’s and my sister Jane comes up to me and says, all concerned, Oh, how did it go? And I just start laughing and she goes, What happened? So I tell them all the story of what happened in the funeral home, and especially my dad’s friends were just livid.

And I said, Really? It’s okay. It brought a little levity to this really, really hard situation for me, and it’s okay. So the next morning I have the Billings Gazette, the morning paper, and I’m going through the paper and I open up to the obituaries and who’s in there? My other dad. So I yell for Jane. I go, Jane, come here.

This is the guy they were trying to pass off his dad. So she comes in and looks at his picture. We read all about him. His name I think was Mr. Santori. It sounded like he had a really nice life, really nice family, which we were happy to read about. So I’ve told this story multiple times to a lot of different people, and some people think it’s funny, some.

Or appalled, but I really do believe that the person that would’ve gotten the biggest kick out of this story and would’ve laughed the hardest would’ve been my dad.

Marc Moss: Thanks Amy. Amy McAllister comes from a strong and loving family and has lived in Missoula for 45. She loves the variety of events offered in Missoula and was a school teacher for 32 years. To see a photo of Amy’s dad visit, tell us something. Dot org bringing us home in this episode of the Tell Us Something Podcast.

Rachel Goen on a trip to New York City with her family. And some of their international friends visits a fancy ballet at the Met after eating pizza. Rachel calls her story when letting go. Stops the show. Thanks for listening.

Great.

Rachel Gooen: All right, so it’s in 1983. I’m 13 years old and my family has a lot of international friends, and I’m not gonna get into how we have these international friends, but we do. So we have three Israeli boys staying with us and another family. Persian friends who just came from Iran. It was 1983. There was a lot of escaping from the ia.

Tolo. Coman. So my mom decides we are gonna hit New York City. And so the ages of the three Israeli boys are 10 to 16, and of this lovely Iranian family, it’s nine to 16 with their lovely mother Mary, and I’m going, and my sister Jane, who is 16, and my mom. So we hit New York City. And New York City for my mom is all about shopping.

Yeah. And so we go and we like, we’re down on the Lower East side going to all the really funky, cool places, and then we hit Midtown. We of course go to like Bloomingdale’s and FAO Schwartz, and that was kind of around when the movie Big came out and they had like the piano on the floor. So we’re all playing on the piano was super, super.

and um, we go to this amazing store called Fuchs, which back then was like the bomb in New York City. And we are like shopping bag and shopping bag and shopping bag. And my mom decides for some reason what would really top this day is if we go to a ballet at Lincoln Center. So we go in, it’s Saturday night.

She goes in and she gets tickets, and the only seats that are left are in the ninth row in Lincoln Center in the orchestra. So I don’t know if any of you have been to Lincoln Center and where the ballet is. It’s actually kind of like this. Except instead of 900 people, it has 2,500 people and it has six layers of balconies all around red velvet seated super fancy, super plush.

And so the woman looks at us, you know, and she says, Well, okay, well there are these ninth row seats if you want them. Yeah, sure. Cuz you know cash is cash. So my mom says they’re our. We decide to go across the street to a restaurant is the coolest restaurant ever. It was really known in New York City because all the waiters and waitresses roller skate.

So for us kids, it was awesome to like have them rollers skating by and have their pizza coming, and it was very, very cool. Now, this is about the time when I think I started realizing that I couldn’t eat certain foods. And I think pizza was one of them. And so we, you know, finished with our meal and we go back into Lincoln Center and, um, the lobby is just filled with.

Lovely, lovely people dripping with pearls and diamonds and Chanel is over there and Eve St. Loran is over there and Gucci is there. I mean there is bow ties and tuxedos and crushed velvet dresses and we are in jeans and t-shirts with big brown bag and FAO shorts bag and there’s 10 of us and we are just like this ragtag bunch kind of coming.

and uh, we go to the, you know, top of the theater and the usher looks at us as if like, we must be going to the wrong seats. And he says, uh, yes you are in the ninth row orchestra. So he walks us in and we like really fumble to get into all our seats cuz we have bags and people around us are just like, hmm.

Hmm. You know, looking and, you know, we’re kids and whatever. So we start to, we kind of fumble all and get in there and I start to feel this grumbling in my stomach and I’m like, , I really gotta go to the bathroom. And, uh, so you gotta remember it, 1983 in New York City. It was not a safe town, uh, at all. My mother had the fear of God.

Put into us whenever we went into New York City, you did not wear jewelry, you looked straight ahead. She marched really, really fast. And we traced after that Mama duck, as if we were all little baby ducks, afraid to get lost. And so, you know, I start whispering down the seats, you know, Um, Hey, anyone have to go to the bathroom?

um, anyone wanna go to the bathroom and no one wants to go to the bathroom with me. The line is really, really long. And, but remember, my mother, we weren’t allowed to go in elevators alone. You weren’t allowed to go to the bathroom alone, You weren’t allowed to do anything alone in New York City. And why we would go in to this glorious place to be scared shitless was always a mystery.

So, you know, I’m sitting there and I’m like, Okay, we’re not gonna be able to go to the bathroom. And you know, the Israeli boys are sitting next to me, saw Meet Elda Tie, and then on this side is Rachel, Roy, Rebecca, and Mary are Persian friends. And then my mother and my sister Jane. So, um, you know, we got Hebrew over here, we got Farsi over here, and all of a sudden, Mary and Roy and Rachel are like talking about the person in front of them and they’re like speaking in Farsi, and all of a sudden the man turns around and says in Farsi, you know, if you’re gonna talk about someone in front of them, you really should make sure they don’t know your language.

And what they were saying was, Ooh, look at the egghead in front of you. His head is so perfectly round and you know, here we come in this ragtag bunch and so we’re insulting the other patrons and everything. So the um, you know, the place that play the ballet starts and. . I, of course, more and more have to go to the bathroom.

Like I am grumbling. There’s grumbling and I’m like, Oh God, okay. I’m just gonna sit here. Just gonna sit here. It’s gonna be okay. The ballet starts. This ballet, by the way, it was not just any Saturday night, it was, um, George Bellen Sheen, who was the father of American Ballet. He had passed in April of 1983, and this was his big production, um, Bug Goku, which was a Japanese ballet, not just any Japanese ballet.

It was so perfect for a bunch of pre pubescent children to be seeing because it was an erotic sexual fantasy

So as if we weren’t really at a place already, um, the curtain rises and on either side of the stage are these big sumu wrestler men in diapers playing these flutes, which were kind of like didy dues, but they weren’t. They were just these big flutes. And the ballet is a very atonal ballet. Very uncomfortable sounding.

But what was even more uncomfortable is they started blowing the, the flutes and their cheeks would shake in their boobs, would shake in their bellies, shook in their legs, shook. And boy, we just ripped out with laughter. I mean, this was just too much for like pre pubescent or pu, you know, puberty full children, right?

The next thing that happens, Okay. It’s an erotic fantasy. I just want you to remember that with which, you know, the, um, costumes were minimal. And the next thing that happens is, is like, you know, the ballerina comes out and the first scene is about like the man and the woman meeting each other. And you know, yeah, we’ve seen female figures.

We’re used to that in America culture, no big deal. Um, but then the man comes out. And he has no shirt on and he has these really tight white tights and you can see his perfectly firm buttocks and his male package. And we just start like absolutely laughing hysterically, like ridiculously hysterical and people.

Poking my mother saying, Can you please control your children? Can you please control your children? This is not appropriate. And so we’re laughing so hard that a meet sitting next to me. Lets out a little toot. And I started laughing hysterical, and I slipped down in my seat and I let out the biggest fart ever.

This was like a base tube of fart. It was so loud. If you can imagine that when I let this fart out, every seat in Lincoln Center, all six rows, the balcony. Leaned forward like this sound lit went who? And everybody is looking and they’re like looking at me. And not only that, the conductor went like this

and I shrink into my seat and I am like, You did it in your sleep. You did it in your sleep, you did it in your sleep. And people are like, I think it was the little girl that bared . I think it was the little girl that bared. And I am just melting. I’m 13 years old, you just don’t even wanna be seen when you’re 13 and here.

2,500 people in Lincoln Center heard me. The conductor goes on. He continues with the ballet. Um, I’m not quite sure any ballet in Lincoln Center has ever been stopped by a fart before. So it’s intermission and. You know, kind of are walking out with all our bags, and I’m telling you, everyone is like, Yeah, it was definitely the little girl.

That little girl, that little girl fared. And we, we roll out the pathway of the auditorium and we are dying. And I’m dying. And we just collapse in the lobby. All of us with our bags laughing hysterically. And my sister Jane, who’s very mature, 16 years old, comes up to me and she says, If you’re gonna make it in high school,

she really said this, If you’re gonna make it in high school, you are gonna have to learn how to squeeze your buttocks tighter.

That’s what happens when you let it go at Lincoln Center

Marc Moss: Thanks, Rachel. Rachel, go Inhales from a gorgeous, lush state of New Jersey in a county where there were more cows than people. This is perhaps why it took her so long to learn the art of being cultured. She’s lived in Missoula for 25 years and loves playing in the mountains and rivers of Montana with her partner Jeremy and their pups, along with all of her dear friends in Missoula, she socializes for a living because she is a social worker.

Next week, tune in for Tell Us Something. Live from BlackRock City in 2022.

Jack Butler: The artist, the writers, the creatives, those were other people. That’s what other people did.

Sasquatch: My wife and I had spent 42 grand in cash on in vitro. That didn’t work.

Katie Condon: And

I wasn’t

just surprised.

I was

shocked.

Like there wasn’t enough room in

Kate Wilburn: my body for the blood.

It was amazing.

Tune in for those stories. On the next tell us something. Podcast.

Taylor Burbey: Hi

everyone. My name is Taylor Beby. I’m a tell us something volunteer. And I’m here to thank our sponsors. Thanks again to our title sponsor The Good Food Store. Learn more about the Good Food [email protected] Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Missoula Electric Cooperative.

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To learn more about, tell us something, please visit tell us something.org.

Some bad decisions on a New Years Even lead to a wrongful conviction, a young woman joins a cabaret show in Hamburg, Germany, and must escape once she learns that she may be working for Nazis and a 3rd grader learns an important life lesson from an inmate in the Montana State Prison.

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming Part 2

[Marc Moss] Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

We are currently looking for storytellers for the next Tell Us Something storytelling event. The theme, is “Letting Go” If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please, call 406-203-4683. You have 3 minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is August 7. I look forward to hearing from you.

[music]

He’s like, “I want that gun.” He’s like, “and I want you to go take me to get it.” And of course I’m in love. So why, like, why wouldn’t I, so I said, “yes”. I took him to go steal the gun.

[Marc Moss] This week on the podcast…

[Linda Grinde]
I step out into the hall. And the first thing I see is a six foot, two blonde Swedish goddess in nothing but high heels. , you know, I it’s a cabaret. I figured strip shows burlesque, you know, but in Europe they do the real thing. it’s live sex on stage artfully done.

[Marc Moss] …three storytellers, share their true personal story on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming!”.

[Raymond Ansotegui] And as we come in, he says, “We’re gonna make the trade for fishing, but have this one other trade.

If you wanna make it, it’s one of the greatest life lessons, but I can’t share it with you unless. You eat my vegetables and your vegetables, both meals a day for the whole time you’re here.”

We wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. We are so grateful to the team at Blackfoot for their support. Learn more about Blackfoot Communications over at blackfoot.com.

[insert land ack from live event here]

Our first story, comes to us from Katie Garding. Some bad decisions on a New Years Even lead to a wrongful conviction and 10 years in prison for Katie Garding. Katie calls her story “The Paths We Take”. Thanks for listening.

[Katie Garding] Do any of you remember what it’s like to fall in love at a young age? And maybe a lot of you are going through that right now, but when it feels like nothing else matters, except for that person and that you guys would be together forever. That’s how it felt. The night that I met James, he had walked into the store that I was working at on a night that I should have never been working.

So that’s, that’s how I knew it was meant to be. Um, he was a smooth talker. He always knew what to say. And he made me feel wanted by, from the moment we met, we went out new year’s Eve night. And at this point we’d been going strong for about four weeks. And honestly, how well can you really know somebody in four weeks?

If you would’ve asked me, then I would’ve said, oh, I know everything about this guy. You couldn’t tell me any different. I was in love. I was dumb. Um, if you would ask me now, I’d obviously tell you, you know, nothing about a person in, in four weeks. Um, so pretty typical new year’s Eve night, we’re out drinking.

It’s Missoula. I had just turned 21 we’re bar hopping, having a good time. Um, at some point throughout the night, um, a guy had approached us looking for a party. He was new in town and didn’t really know anybody. And so of course we invited him along. yeah. Um, so yeah, we, we wound up partying with him all night long.

We close the bars down and at this point we’re, we’re pretty wasted. And James and I live out in Bonner and there’s no way we’re driving home. So this guy offers us his couch to stay out with a stipulation. We’d be up the next morning at like 6, 6 30. He was going skiing with his buddies. So we stayed the night on his couch and the next morning.

He took us back to my truck and we parted ways a little while later, James and I were having a very lovely breakfast at McDonald’s and, uh, he goes, Hey, you know that house we just left. And I was like, well, yeah, I mean, we literally just left it. So it’s pretty, um, he goes, yeah, that guy, he, uh, he left a 3 57 Magnum sitting on his counter and me at the time, knowing nothing about guns was like, oh nice.

he’s like, yeah. He’s like, I want that gun. He’s like, and I want you to go take me to get it. And of course I’m in love. So why, like, why wouldn’t I, so if I said yes, I took him to go steal the gun later on James and I are driving around Missoula and we get pulled over. Um, you would think it would was because we had stolen a gun, but it was because I had a cracked windshield.

And, um, the, the night before there was a fatality and they were looking for a vehicle that was involved in a hit and. and so that’s why they had stopped us. And during this traffic stop, James had actually wound up going to jail surprise . Uh, he was up here on the run for 12 felonies outta Missouri, um, went to jail and, uh, that was the first time he had deceived me.

So shortly after his incarceration, um, we had lost contact. We had kind of quit talking to each other and about a year and a half later, I got a random phone call from a lawyer. And I don’t know if any of you have ever been in trouble, but when you get in trouble, the state plays this game called well, let’s make a deal.

If you testify, I’ll give you this. If you plead guilty, we’ll give you that. And this lawyer says to me, he’s like, Hey, the state wants to charge you. And, um, I was a little shocked and confused and didn’t really know what was going on. And he said, the state’s looking to charge you with negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with evidence.

And I’m stunned at this point. And, uh, I didn’t really know how to respond. And he said, this is a really good deal. And I think you should take it. And I immediately said, no. I said, I’m not gonna take this deal. Um, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Um, I’m not gonna plead guilty to a crime. I didn’t commit.

And he says to me, you’re never gonna get an offer like this again. Um, and you know, when we make life changing decisions, we never really realize in the moment how life changing. They are looking back. Now, I always wonder what it would be like if I would’ve taken that deal. Um, but instead I said no, and before I get too ahead of myself, um, I wanna tell you why this lawyer called me.

So the day that James had went to jail, he knew that they were looking for a hit and run suspect. And because he was on the run from Missouri, we’d also been charged with the burglary charge. And so he was looking at ti doing time in Montana as well. He was looking at being charged with a persistent felony offender, which could land him up to a hundred years in prison.

So while he was in jail, he had concocted a story to get himself out and put me in. Um, I trusted and believed it believed in our justice system. And I believed that everything was gonna turn out normal and fine. You know, I was like, the state has nothing to prove. I’m not gonna be found guilty. Like if you would’ve asked me now, I was like, people don’t go to prison that didn’t commit crimes.

Like everybody in jail is guilty. That’s what, that’s what they’re there for. And, um, I realize now how naive I was. And, um, after five days of trial, I was found guilty by a jury of my peers. And shortly after I was sentenced to 40 years in the Montana women’s prison, if I would’ve taken that deal, I would’ve only spent five years in prison maybe.

Um, and I don’t know if you guys know how often. Innocent people are incarcerated, but in the United States, over 3000 people have been exonerated. And 15% of those people that were incarcerated were incarcerated under false testimony, just like I was. Um, and I know we gave a shout out to the innocence project, but the Montana innocence project here in town had heard about my case, um, about a year into my incarceration and they had done some investigating and they had done some research and they decided to take me on as a client, um, their amazing group of people that spend their lives saving others.

And they’ve been fighting for my freedom for the past 12 years.

And I know that I’m standing here in front of you guys today, but I want you to know that I’m still not free. Um, I had to ask permission to be here tonight with you all cuz after. So they’ve been fighting for my freedom for the past 12 years and 10 of that was spent in prison before I was paroled out.

So I’ve been out for almost two years now. Um, and I would never say that I’m thankful for this kind of an experience. I would never wish this upon anybody, but I have gained so much from this experience and so much knowledge. And I understand now what’s important to me and how I wanna live my life and how I wanna honor those that have fought for my freedom and that have stuck by me this entire time.

Thank you.

[Marc Moss]

Thanks, Katie. Katie Garding is a humanitarian at heart. She believes in the connection of all things. Katie is a lover of art and the simple beautiful things this life has to offer. To get links to video interviews with Katie, updates about her case and to learn more about the Montana Innocience Project, visit tellussomething.org.
Next up is Linda Grinde. Linda Grinde joins a caberet show in Hamburg, Germany and must escape once she learns that she may be working for Nazis. Linda calls her story “Last Can-Can in Hamburg”. Thanks for listening.

[Linda Grinde]
It’s 1975 late summer. And I am in a, a cabaret in Hamburg, Germany. No, no, no, not, not the musical cabaret. I am in a real honest to God, German cabaret theater performing at, uh, the Salam theater actually, which is where the Beatles supposedly got their international start. I am with a company of 30 performers that were hired in New York city to come and join this theater.

We’ve been in rehearsal for three weeks and we have a Broadway choreographer. Who’s putting a, a, um, a full modern ballet to Gershwin’s American in Paris on us. We are learning the, the authentic CanCan with cartwheels and hitch kicks and drop to the floor splits. They’ve hired a specialist from Paris to come and teach us this.

It, it has been wonderful. I mean, the experience has been as sunny as the weather, we all have been given our own apartment in a building that’s within walking distance of the theater. They’ve hired a costume to build the costumes for us, not just pull them out of storage. We have all gotten special shoes for the CanCan because when you do a drop to the floor from a, from a Cartwheel, those heels will just fly off unless they’re reinforced.

So we’ve been taken care of

the, the shows are so fun. Um, there’s a Judy Garland impersonator, and I’m one of the three Andrew sisters, you know, The trio from world war II. It’s been fabulous. It’s the night before opening and our producer, Ms. Duran has invited us all to dinner and it is extravagant. We step out of the apartment building and there is a line of Mercedes-Benz waiting to take us to the Argent, the Argentine steakhouse, which he has reserved the whole thing just for us.

He says, order whatever you want. Then after the dinner, he stands up. Now, miss your Duran is German, but he uses his French name. He is a cross between a young Salvador Dolly with a little mustache and GOE, and one of the three Musketeers he’s got long black curly hair in my memory, he’s wearing a big hat with a plume, but that’s just my imagination.

And he tells us. Our show is going to be added to the show that’s already there. And he is effusive with his praise, how wonderful we are. He knows how to win over a room of actors. So the next night is opening night and I’m in a small dressing room with a five other performers. I, I mean, small, if somebody has to get up to pee, we all have to pull our chairs in, so you can open the door.

I step out into the hall. And the first thing I see is a six foot, two blonde Swedish goddess in nothing but high heels. , you know, I it’s a cabaret. I figured strip shows burlesque, you know, but in Europe they do the real thing. it’s live sex on stage artfully done, but so it turns out. Our cute little song and dance numbers are gonna be sandwiched in between live porn.

you know, in reality, it’s goofy. It’s actually comic. Imagine the Andrew sisters waiting off stage while the S and M guy still in his mask and leather thong is scrambling around the floor, picking up his whips and chains and leather straps. We pick our way to the front of the stage and begin our number who’s love and daddy with the beautiful eyes.

What a pair lips. It, I could try emphasize, right.

Well, it turns out with the new material. Each show runs about two and half hours and we do three shows a night with a break in between. That means we get to the theater between six or seven and we don’t get out till three or four in the morning. and we do this six nights a week by now. It’s late October.

So that means if you get some sleep, by the time you wake up, you may have two hours, a daylight, all thoughts of traveling around Europe on my time off forgotten on Saturday on Sunday, I barely have enough time to buy groceries and do my laundry. Well days roll into weeks. We are, we are into the routine.

My best friends are the other Andrew sisters, um, Elizabeth and Claire in their other life. They are Showgirls from Las Vegas, but out of costume, they are as down home as farm girls. One night we’re, we’re sitting in the dressing room and somebody says, is this the second or the third show? Nobody knows we’re living in this like murky blur well, by late November, the Americans are kind of homesick it’s it’s Thanksgiving back home.

And this year Duran invites us all to his house for dinner. We’re so excited for a change, a break in the routine. We get dressed up and I remember standing in the entryway, taking off our coats and talking, and then somebody swings the front door shut. And that’s when I see it right behind the door in a prominent place, a portrait of ADLF Hitler,

my brain freezes. I mean, I, I really can’t recall anything else about that dinner, but I do know that a. The Andrew sisters came to my apartment and we sat down, we started putting the pieces together. We’d been so busy working. We hadn’t really thought about it. You know, miss you, Duran has always seen with a couple of big beefy guys around him.

They’ve decided to pay us in cash because that would be easier. This extravagant lifestyle that, that he’s been showing us, can’t be paid for by this little theater. You know, I’m from Northern New Jersey and these girls have worked in Vegas. You know, we’ve rubbed elbows with organized crime. We don’t know what’s going on, but we gotta get out.

So so, um, you’ve seen the movies, right? You don’t walk away from the mafia. So, um, we, we have to come up with a plan and, and we have to keep it secret because we don’t wanna start a stampede. If the rest of the company knows we’re going. And we also don’t wanna. Have them make us stay . So our plan is this first we have to get our passports back.

Oh, they’d taken our passports about a month ago and we hadn’t heard anything about them. It was no concern until we realized we have to get them back. So we decided something close to the truth would be best. And we said to the front office that we wanna go to Copenhagen on our day off and we pass her and we pastor and we pass her.

It takes them days. But finally we get our passports. Now in those days to buy a ticket to New York, you had to go downtown to a travel agent. So we have to carve out some time in this crazy schedule to go down there and buy a ticket. We get that done. Finally, we have to figure out how do we get our baggage out of the building?

I mean, you can’t walk out the front door, you know, so. I live on the first floor. So there there’s a little balcony in the back that goes, drops down onto a street. The girls bring their luggage down to my apartment, and while they go get a cab, I take those suitcases and throw them over the balcony one at a time.

So they can take them in the suit, in the, in the cab. And I’m wondering if anybody back there, they probably see this all the time. so they take the suitcases down to the bus station and they put them in a locker. Now we’re ready. It’s into December. And we decide that we’re gonna go on a Saturday night because no one is gonna miss us until Monday call.

So we go through the first. We go through the second show. We’re excited, but nobody knows anything. We go finish our CanCan kick drop to the floor. We jump up, run to the dressing room, change into street clothes. While the rest of the company is taking the final bow. We dash out the back door into a cab to the bus station, grab our suitcases from the bus station to the train, the train to the airport.

And I don’t exhale until we are on that flight off the tarmac, headed back to New York city. My friends go back to Las Vegas, that Christmas, I got a postcard from my friend, Elizabeth in full showgirl attire, feathers, and all, but I never heard from any of those people again, you’ve heard of the last. The last tango in Paris.

Well, this is the last CanCan in Hamburg.

[Marc Moss]
Thanks, Linda. Linda Grinde is an amateur philosopher and a professional garden beautifier. She leads nature rituals and wild women camping retreats. Linda learned to swim this winter and just last week she competed in the backstroke event at the Senior Olympics. She also competed in the putting and cornhole events. Her team won the gold in the cornhole event. She will be playing Maureen for the Missoula Backyard Theater production of “Rent or Die” this September.

Rounding out this episode of the Tell Us Something podcast is Raymond Ansotegui.

Raymond learns an important life lesson when he’s in 3rd grade from an inmate in the Montana State Prison. Raymond calls his story “Fruit for Vegetables. (A Fair Trade)”. Thanks for listening.

[Raymond Ansotegui]

I had just finished my second year of formal education and it was tough. Math was okay. Phonics. They’re great. Sitting still being quiet, not so good for this kid. I still had the ability to focus and I did really good. I got the grades in second grade, but I got the good grades. And in return, my parents offered that I could do one thing.

I wanted to do anything for a day.

Definitely the biggest life choice I had made at this point. And without the slightest hesitation, I said fishing, my parents knew I wasn’t a Disney world kid, so I’m ready. I’m gonna get my day to fish. Two hours later, my dad comes in and says, Hey, I’ll trade you. If you do a little cowboy in, you could go fishing for five days.

Oh lottery, but he said, we’re gonna, so we’re gonna go to deer lodge if you’re up for going. Yes. And by dear lodge, he means we’re going to Montana state prison. You see my father’s a professor at Montana state and taught animal science. And in the process of his PhD, because MSU is a land grant school, the prison is also a state run facility.

They can work together. And for most people don’t know the prison has their entire cattle herd. They have their own dairy and it surrounds the entire tight incarceration area. So, but where we’re specifically going is a place that Thomas Quain wrote about some young actors. Jeff Sam slim made very famous in a 1974 film called Rancho deluxe.

Rancho deluxe is the Premo housing facility for inmates at the prison. It’s several log cabins. It’s outside the main secure area. And these guys are Cowboys. They could get on their horses and ride off at any point, but they don’t. So we’re gonna go there. I can’t wait. The truck is loaded. The canned ham can, we’re pulling behind and I’d spent enough of my childhood.

I was potty trained at the prison, but in this phase, I don’t remember the gate. I know there was a gate. I remember guards, but I do remember that crossing over the hill and dropping down into Rancho deluxe. There’s these cabins, this huge roundabout corrals barns. And as we pull in I’m in my fishing heaven and right out comes a gentleman.

Blue pants, blue shirt, blue vest. And he’s coming quick with a smile from ear to ear. And this man’s skin is the perfect tone of mahogany, but blended in our scars all over his face and not acne pop marts. These are cuts blades wounds, but as he approaches and he’s saying hi to my father, whose name is also Ray, the spaces between his teeth are as beautiful as the teeth that he’s carrying.

And this love is coming from this man. He says, hello to my father and gets his head inside the truck and says, hello, sir, who are you? And I’m Raymond. And he shakes my hand and he says, you must be the fisherman. And he looks back over his shoulder and he’s like, whose bike is that? In the back of the truck?

I was like, that’s my huffy Wrangler, dark brown, tan stitching chopper bars, banana seat. Third grader’s dream. He says, well, if you’re here to fish, I’d probably be willing to make a trade with you, cuz I’d really like to learn how to ride a bike. I just finished second grade. I haven’t been riding a bike long, so I’m probably gonna be pretty good at teaching him how to ride a bike.

So we haul the bike out. My dad leaves to go do adult things, Chico and I start and I’m telling you, I must have been the best bike coach ever. Cuz this guy rode a bike. Like he’s probably ridden a bike a few years in the past, but he’s wobbling it. He’s doing the show. We’re out there for hours. And as we come in, he says, we’re gonna make the trade for fishing, but have this one other trade.

If you wanna make it, it’s one of the greatest life lessons, but I can’t share it with you unless. You eat my, my vegetables and your vegetables, both meals a day for the whole time you’re here.

that’s big, but it is the greatest life lesson, but I have to do it before dinner. He reminds me after dinner tonight. No go can’t start and do a five, four and a half day. I’m pretty good at taking my fork at home and I can stab almost all the vegetables in one round and get ’em in sometimes two. So what’s four.

I could do four of those for this life lesson about then the truck pulls over with the food and we shake cuz it’s a deal. And we go in and sit down.

He quickly puts his vegetables on my plate and it’s this big, but I know we’ve all seen it. It was the Lima bean, kidney bean green bean chop. That’s held together with like the end of a really good lung cold when you really get the, and that’s like there, and they’re all watching cuz every one of these inmates is loving this one other problem.

If you heard my reference of how I like to get vegetables on my fork, you can stab other things with a fork. So forks are gone. No knives. I got a shitty little spoon. I gotta wel these things in. So my for fork plan went to a lot. We get through Chico grabs this big apple reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pocket knife.

which confuses me a little and he sits down and Chico with these scarred face. And these kind eyes just started whittling the Michelangelo, marble Chico, apple. This guy carved a face. So beautiful. So intense. The eyes looked at you. The nose was so strong. The lips were perfectly pursed and this hair tied it on a string.

Hung it up.

That was the end of the evening. I don’t think I slept a lot. The next day we went and did cowboy stuff. Chico wrote up and said, Hey, come here, pulled out a can old empty can of peanuts showed me the best spot to get these big fat worms. We finished doing cowboy stuff. Came back, ate lunch. Oh, looked at this apple not much changed.

Beautiful that afternoon. I fish. I fish every day for the next four days, pretty much minus riding for a couple hours in the morning. I had peas that were holding shape beyond physics because when they touched your mouth, they just stopped and went creamy and they tasted horrible. And then I looked at this apple and there were some lines by the eye and little lines were shown by the mouth and the apple wasn’t that same perfect color of an apple.

It was starting to change. He wouldn’t say a word, go through more projects, eat more bad vegetables. Julian carrot should have texture and not just appearance. And I watch, and this apple, the nose is starting to curl back and sink, and it’s really shriveling. It’s physically changing its size and, and the presence that it was holding.

I got some awesome fish. I also gotta spend a ton of great time with my father. but I kept my eye on Chico cuz these vegetables were bad.

so we get to the end of the, this process, which is our last lunch. I choke down another round of veggies and I look at this beautiful wrinkly face. I’m standing by my dad. No one says a word. Everyone says goodbye. And I’m crushed. Like I can’t imagine what my third year old face was and we got ready to leave and Chico was like, Hey, we made a trade.

Do you wanna know what your life lesson is? I would also like to know what that face looked like, cuz I’m sure it was pretty, pretty good. Chico comes up and he takes the apple down and he just hands it puts it right in front of me says remember, no matter how beautiful or handsome anyone is. In the end, they’re gonna get old wrinkly and ugly.

What the, and in my third grade, lexicon fart, knocker, jerk. I don’t know, but I was pissed, but I was silent. I got in the car with my father. And as you can imagine, I’m a talker. I didn’t say a word from dear lodge to Livingston, but in that time I chose not to take Chico’s words. I didn’t know what a sacred clown was.

Then I still wonder today, but I chose not to take that. And now I look at wrinkles. I look at blemishes, I look at noses changing ears growing, and I remember that lesson, but the lesson I take from it is that no matter what. As we go, those are our stories. That’s what we carry. And our last day on this planet in this form is our most beautiful day.

Thank you.

[Marc Moss]
Thanks, Raymond. Raymond Ansotegui was born and raised in Montana. He is a reclamation scientist and spent a decade as a rodeo bullfighter. His wife is a world-renowned artist that shares her life with him on their piece of paradise overlooking the Yellowstone River and the Crazy Mountains. He loves people and the bond of storytelling that holds us all together.

I am so glad to be back in-person sharing stories with you all. I’ll bet you have a story to share, right? I’ll bet you do! We’ve all got a “Leting Go” story, right? The next Tell Us Something live event is scheduled for September 27. You can pitch your story on the theme “Letting Go” by calling 406-203-4683. The pitch deadline is August 7. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch.

Thanks again to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Thanks to our Accessability Sponsor, Garden Mother, who subsidized the American Sign Language interpreters at this event, allowing us to support our friends in the Deaf community.

Garden Mother is devoted to the love and health of our community through holistic education and resources. All plants are grown with healthy soils that you can taste and feel. Learn more at Gardenmother.com

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of Tile. If you need tile work done, give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my work at joyceoftile.com.

Marc Moss: Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits, U104.5

Gabriel Silverman: Hey, this is Gabe from Gecko Designs. We’re proud to sponsor Tell Us Something, learn more at geckodesigns.com.

Marc Moss: True Food Missoula. Farm to table food delivery. Check them out at truefoodcsa.com

Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits, U104.5

True Food Missoula. Farm to table food delivery. Check them out at truefoodcsa.com

Float Missoula – learn more at floatmsla.com, and MissoulaEvents.net!

Next week, we’ll hear the from Missoula author Rick White…[Rick White: It’s way back there, in the heart of the Selway Bitterrroot National Forest. So, yeah, we were at the end of the road and off grid for three weeks. Looked like me, scribbling, furiously, in a yellow legal pad. And then transcribing on to a hundred dollar typewriter that I’ve got at the antique mall beforehand, so that I could kind of translate it into print.].

[Marc Moss] Tune in for that conversation, and the story that Rick shared live on the Tell Us Something stage, on the next Tell Us Something podcast.

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

To learn more about Tell Us Something and to hear stories from the past 11 years, please visit tellussomething.org.

A young human takes us on a hike up Waterworks Hill in Missoula, MT, where they finally find the mother they’ve always wanted, a middle-aged woman is loaded into a cargo plane for a life flight to Seattle, to get a new liver, A man from Togo sees a cute girl across campus and is persistent in his pursuit of her, a lesbian woman goes on a hike to Hope Lake, in Montana, with her best friend, a straight girl, who has listened to Katy Perry one too many times.

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming - Part 1

[Marc Moss] Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

We are currently looking for storytellers for the next Tell Us Something storytelling event. The theme, is “Letting Go” If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please, call 406-203-4683. You have 3 minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is August 7. I look forward to hearing from you.

[music]

[intro clip – x2]

[Marc Moss] This week on the podcast…

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[Marc Moss] …four storytellers, share their true personal story on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming!”. Their stories, were recorded live in-person, in front of a sold-out crowd on June 27, 2022 in Bonner Park, in Missoula, MT.

We wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. We are so grateful to the team at Blackfoot for their support. Learn more about Blackfoot Communications over at blackfoot.com.

[insert land ack from live event here]

Our first story, comes to us from Rae Scott
Rae takes us on a hike up Waterworks Hill in Missoula, MT, where they finally find the mother they’ve always wanted. Rae calls their story “Good Mom Hunting”. Thanks for listening.

[Rae Scott]

Okay. I think that every good love story begins with a heartbreak. The end of my eighth grade year, my biological mother. Kind of went a little crazy. , she ended up leaving with my three siblings and I had no idea where she went and I had no idea if she was coming back. I was really scared and disappointed, but I think I knew that that was coming a few months later driving to the China buffet.

I saw her Subaru or her suburban. I could tell because the back window was busted out in the suburban was there. She sat, my siblings were playing around at little Caesars. I haven’t seen them for months. And I was so absolutely happy to see them. And when I saw my mom, she didn’t even get out the car to say hi to me.

I was about five years ago. I was 13 I’m 18 now. And I still haven’t seen her since about a little while after that. Um, my dad had gotten divorced for the second time and we were all really numb at that point. Women were coming in and out of our lives and we were all kind of defeated. My dad ended up coming home one day and saying that he had met a very lovely woman on match.com, not sponsored

, and he said her name was Angela. And I was really excited, but I was really, really nervous. Ugh. I had sad with myself for hours and hours and asking myself what was wrong with me. Why, why won’t women stay in my life? Why won’t women stay and love me for the person that I am

feels like maybe two weeks, but it was definitely longer than that, but she had ended up moving in with her two lovely boys, Alex and Aaron. and it was a bit of a rough start. , my older brother Connor and I, it had been a while since we started a new family, met new people. So we were all a little bit nervous after a long, long while of bonding, not bonding, fighting buckets, being thrown at younger siblings, I had hit a stopping point with Angie.

When you have similar trauma to somebody, you know exactly where to hit when it comes to fighting, he would always jab each other. And sometimes we meant it. Sometimes we didn’t, but nevertheless, it always really hurt.

once again, I had to sit down with myself and ask what is wrong with me? why won’t women love me? Why won’t women stay? Why don’t I have a mom? Why won’t this new mom love me? So I was ready to give up. I didn’t wanna keep trying, I didn’t wanna keep pushing for something that I didn’t think I was gonna get.

I was out and about downtown, , with some friends and I came across the artist workshop and there were the peace sign stickers, and I was like, oh, Angie would love this. Angie would love this. So I got her some and the cashier was like, oh, this is happening. There’s there’s um, a hike. That’s going up at waterworks.

For those of you who don’t know waterworks hill is a hiking path, , where the old peace sign used to be. There’s a huge peace sign, um, that when you drove into Missoula, you could see, , and they had a hike that was going on. And I was like, Ugh. And she would love that this is like my final chance to reconnect with this person, my final chance to, to really convince her that, that she should stay, that, that I am a good person.

And so that night I asked her, I was like, let’s go for this hike. You know, it’s mother’s day weekend. I would, I would love to do this with you. And she said, yeah. Okay. So the night before I’m laying in my bed, I’m like, okay, here’s all the stupid shit you don’t say to your mom. Okay. Okay. Okay. I’m prepping myself for this day.

It needs to go. Perfect. This is my last chance. It has to be perfect that morning. I wake up. Unbelievably nervous. And I’m like, okay, let’s go. Let’s go. We’re really excited. So we’re talking, we, we start driving up to the hill and a lot of people are there. And, um, I got to meet the previous, uh, I think she’s the founder of the JRP C anyway, very lovely people.

, but I remember it being so cold. We got, we were at the bottom, it was nice and toasty. It was warm. We hike up this hill, I’m wearing converse, which is a very poor foot choice. to go hiking. And, but I did it anyway because I have no fear. I walking up this hit with Angie and we were just talking, talking about anything in our lives.

Anything that we could grasp onto, I wasn’t trying hard to start a conversation. Didn’t wanna make it obvious. I was trying hard, but. So we finally get up to the top of the hill and they’re, they’re doing a presentation about the old peace sign and the people that were painting the peace sign. And, oh my God, it was stupidly windy.

It was so cold. It was so cold up there. And I had only brought in a, like a hoodie, a zip hoodie and nothing else, maybe a beanie, but I was so cold. Angie is really smart. She has a really good job of thinking ahead. And so she had ended up making us some bone broth wasn’t the best, but it was really warm and it was really lovely.

And she had also made me a cup of tea beforehand. It’s like, she knew it was gonna be freezing so amazing. So we’re out there, we’re listening to these stories. She’s listening to these stories. I’m trying to make this moment stay in my life. And I look at her and she’s paying attention so thoughtfully and so beautifully.

And I look at her and it’s so hard not to cry. Because at that moment, I realized how much I truly love this woman and how much I desperately needed her to stay in my life. So I look at her and I say, Angie, it’s so cold. And she unzips her hoodie, wraps it around me and just stands there with me. And she keeps me warm.

We go down that hill and I’m so relieved. I didn’t have to speak a single word to this woman. And she was my mom. I had never gotten prom dress shopping before no one had ever braided my hair or went on drives with me to talk about boys and eat ice cream. But Angela took me from dress shopping, Angela braided my hair.

She still does. And Angela takes me on car rides and talks to me about boys and eats chocolate with me.

Thank you, mom.

[Marc Moss] Thanks, Rae.

Rae Scott is a theatre nerd through and through. They enjoy animals, music, and is pretty sure that gingers will ruin their life. With an incredibly large family who puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional”, they have a lot of love to give. Rae looks life directly in the eye and observes before responding, with ferocious truth. Rae is an old soul, ready to share their truth on the stage, and in a variety of other to be discovered art forms.

Our next story comes to us from Ann Peacock. Ann is loaded into a cargo plane for a life flight to Seattle, to get a new liver. Ann calls her story “An Unexpected Plane Ride”. Thanks for listening.

[Ann Peacock] In the beginning of October of 2019, I woke up and I was exhausted. I was also a little nauseous and I had some slight tremors, but I just put it down to growing old. So then I found out that a friend of mine had been diagnosed with mono and she and I had been cheering a mic.

Well, let me rephrase that cuz my husband’s name is Mike. So , we, we had actually been sharing a microphone and, and so I went to get tested. So. No demo mono, but my liver function was off so two weeks and there are more tests and there’s more nausea and more Netflix. And I wake up and I am in the hospital with an IV in my arm.

It is nighttime. It is dark and peaceful and quiet. And I have no idea how I got there. So it turns out that my husband had come home from work and found me still in bed. And I was incoherent and slurring my words. So he rushed me to the ER, where I was diagnosed with dehydration and ammonia on the brain.

So the next day we’re in the hospital, the doctor comes in and he tells us that, um, I probably have acute liver failure and that I most likely will need a liver transplant. And he wants to life flight me over to the transplant center at the university of Washington in Seattle. didn’t see that coming.

really look, I was a 57 year old, healthy woman, you know, I tried to eat right. And exercise. And I had literally spent my life trying to avoid alcohol because my dad was an alcoholic and he died from his disease. I mean, I didn’t even like to take over the counter medication. So the leap from dehydration to liver transplant was pretty shocking.

So, so then the doctor tells us that, um, he sees that we’re kind of like deer in the headlights. And so he starts to try to dial it back a little bit and he sort of emphasizes, well, the might need a liver could possibly. And just in case, he is insisting that I get life flighted out to UDub. So my husband and I are like, well, can’t we drive?

I mean, life flight is incredibly expensive. I mean, we think it’s like around a hundred thousand dollars and our insurance. We’re not sure if it covers it. And it’s only eight hours and the doctor’s like, well, you, you might survive the drive over there, but you might not. And really, I mean, when you think about it, what’s your life worth?

It’s just a hundred thousand dollars. So I am life flighted out to UW about, get there about 11 o’clock at night. And I am in the UCU and I am immediately inside an episode of Grey’s anatomy, every single person in the room, except for me is a very attractive 30 something professional . And there’s like all this clever dialogue and snappy banner back and forth between the nurse.

So the ICU doctor is gorgeous. he has these soft, warm hands and these deep blue eyes, and this really. Great jawline. So my girlfriend nicknames him, doctor M dreamy . So he is also though caring and kind and reassuring and every single doctor and nurse and support staff that I meet in that hospital. The entire time I stay there is the same and I feel seen and I feel taken care of and I feel safe.

So, which is a wonderful feeling. And I am laying in the bed and I am overcome with this sensation, surrounded by all these wonderful people that I am so blessed and humble. And I have never really used that term before. I think of it as sort of like have a nice day, but. In that moment. I understood what being blessed and humble really felt like.

And it was incredible and it was not just the doctors and the nurses and the support staff. I mean, it was everyone, it was my family and my friends who all stepped up to the plate and did what ever needed to be done. And I was astonished by the amount of love and support that people gave me. And I told my husband later, I said, you.

I really need to work on being the person that all these people seem to think. I am so, which I’m, I’m still trying to do. So my husband and my best friend who are driving over from Missoula, get there about one o’clock. And by that time, I am deep into the process of getting registered on the, on the transplant transplant registry, hard to say.

So, because there are so many more people who need transplants, then there are organs available. You have to meet a certain criteria for them to accept you as an organ recipient. So, um, which is a little like standing before the Pearl gates. I have to admit , but everyone is very encouraging. And basically what you need to do is you just need to survive the operation and be able to take care of this amazing gift that they are giving you.

So we’re almost done. I’m like, oh, thank God. And then they say, we need to check your teeth. I’m like what? And they’re like, sure. So apparently if you have tooth decay, certain operations, you will release a flood of bacteria into your bloodstream and you can get a life threatening infection. So I am thinking, oh no, because I’m thinking of all the years that I haven’t flossed and I am thinking, oh my God, not flossing will kill me.

And, and my dentist is right. So again, they’re very encouraging. And obviously I, I manage to, you know, make it through and I get put on the registry. So now the ICU’s job is to keep me alive for as long. As they can until I find a match and I am so lucky because I have magical blood. It is a B positive, and I can match a, I can match B.

I can match a, B and O positive blood. I am a universal receiver. One of the things though, about three days in, they’re worried about as fluid building up on the brain. So they, to combat that they insert a catheter kind of through my neck and get it as close to my heart as they can. And then they pump this high sodium solution into me.

I’m not allowed to eat because I could go into surgery at any moment. I’m not allowed to drink because they’re really watching my fluids. So I am incredibly thirsty. So, and to make matters worse. Every time I try to trick the nurses or doctors into getting me ice chips, my husband, and my best friend who stay with me the entire time in the room, leap up and go, no, she can’t have them.

But then my back starts to hurt and the nurse offers me a cold pack and I have a choice between ice or gel and I choose the ice. So late at night, when everyone is asleep, I pride this ice bag open. And then I think, you know, really how sterile is the inside of a reusable ice bag at a hospital? So I compromise, I say, I’ll only drink half a.

Which I do, and it is the nectar of the gods. And then I immediately call the nurse in and have her take it away. So I am not tempted. And from then on, I only used gel packs, but one of the other things about being on the liver registry is that you have to let them know what level of liver you were willing to take.

So I found out that there are actually three tiers of, of organ donors. And that one of is the first tier is perfect. The second tier has some slight medical anomaly that they can fix with a minor surgery. And the third level is, uh, hepatitis C. So hepatitis C is now curable. And it’s really easy. You just take this one pill every day for 30 days, but it’s this hepatitis C group that is.

So tragic because most of the people in this group are young people who have died of a drug overdose and, and there is no way around it that I, I have to face that I am benefiting from someone else’s tragedy. So you’re not allowed to contact your donor family directly, but you can write them a letter.

And the social worker at the hospital will pass it on. And it has been two and a half years. And I have not found the right words to say because how do I thank someone for giving me back my future when they’ve just lost theirs, the bears. So spoiler alert, I got the transplant. It went well. I am here.

Thank you. and, and I wake up in the recovery room and it is nighttime and it is dark and quiet. And peaceful. I’m a little disoriented, but I look over and I see my husband’s bright orange water bottle just there on the table. And I immediately relax because I know that he is in the room with me. And then I think I’m also relaxed because I realize that I can have a drink of water whenever I want.

Thank you.

[Marc Moss] Thanks,Ann.

Ann Peacock escaped the enticement of Madame LaVoux in New Orleans, Ann honored her calling of embodiig truth via the alleged fiction of theatre. Ann has been a resident of Missoula since the late 80’s ( which she swears was just three weeks ago) She now calls Polson, MT her home, and is gradually adjusting to life outside of the big city.

Our next storyteller is Ablamvi Agboyibo. Ablamvi sees a cute girl across campus and is persistent in his pursuit of her. Ablamvi calls his story “Love Concretes Everything. Never Give Up”. Thanks for listening.

[Ablamvi Agboyibo] Thank you. Hi, uh, I think it is, uh, a privilege and an honor for me to be here and, uh, you know, to tell my story. Thank you so much for inviting me. Actually, it was one Friday afternoon, uh, after, uh, study at university, I was so tired and hungry as well. So I decided to walk out out of the campus to find a taxi and go back home busy with my telephone.

I was writing and reading messages

and suddenly a smell of a perfume drew my attention. Oh, it was the best smell over. The perfumed smell like a lilac. I was obliged to raise my hand and see who was passing by. Fortunately for me, I saw a young, beautiful lady passing by with a, a big bottle walking.

Hi lady, where are you going? and she say, go home. What is your name? Jane. She replied me. Oh, Jane, you are so beautiful. I love your body building. The sun used to see beauties, but the sun has never seen a girl beauty for like you definitely. I would like you to become my girlfriend so she pause for a minute for some seconds and say, I will think over it and let, let you know, after all, uh, can you give me your telephone number?

Uh, she said no problem. And she gave me her business card. Definitely. I told myself that the battle was half worn. If she gave me her, her number, it means that she will accept the offer. So when I went back home at night, I tried her number to make sure that she reached the home safe and sound, but I tried invent the number was not working.

I was frustrated. I was asking myself so many questions. Did she give me a wrong number? What happened with the, her telephone or I, myself, I didn’t write the number. Well, I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep that night until midnight. I was standing right and left on the bed. So AF AF after midnight, I decided to try the number again.

And this time the telephone started to ring. I was half satisfied because for me, she will pick the. It kept on ringing, but she didn’t pick the call. Finally, I sent her a message and I went back to, to my bed this time I slept because you know, there is hope now that the number is working. the next morning she called me apologizing for the fact that she was not with her telephone.

And I told her, no, you never, you shouldn’t worry about that. There is no problem with that, but can you meet, can we meet together in the evening for dinner? She said, no problem. I was so excited to meet her in the evening because I would like to see the same beautiful girl I saw the, the night, the, the, the evening before.

And when we met during our, uh, over the dinner, she let me know that she welcome my idea of becoming my friend. I say, wow. And from that time I used to call her three times a day in the morning, honey, how are you? Did you have a good. At 12 o’clock I used to call her, what are you going to eat for lunch?

And then in the evening, did you have a good day? So sleep with a lot of love. This is how we started. After nine months of relationship, we decided to get married, have as many children as possible and people the whole world. And it was from there that I decided to know her parents, actually, her parents were divorced and both were they, they were living in their different villages.

I decided to meet her mother first because in my community, if your, your mother-in-law accept you, it means that the father in-law will accept you. That’s why I decided to meet the mother first. So we had two hours and half trip to visit the mother. When we went there after self greeting and self introduction.

She offers us a delicious meal. Even when I was at the gates, the smell of the, the, the meal made my mouth water. Wow. I say, what kind of meal is this? It was rice and taken. It was such a delicious meal after eating the meal. I thank her very profusely for the owner because the meal she offered to us was in fact, great.

And after that, after the meat, after eating the meal, we continue the discussion and she asked me, tell me, where are you from? And I told her, I am from Vogan village situated in the south of Togo. Are your parent also living in the same place? And I say, yes, she stood up and said, no, You cannot be with my girl.

Actually. I told her that in fact, I would like to get married with her daughter. That’s why I have come to see her. No, you cannot get, get married with my daughter. That one is not possible. And she left, quit the house and the room and left Jane and I in the room. Actually, the problem is that the highest personality of the country are from the north Jane and her parents are from the north.

And then I am from the south and then the, the highest personalities of the north, most of them consider that those from the south as inferior to them. So Jane’s mother cannot imagine that her daughter can bring somebody from the south to her that she would like to marry with that person. And we were in the room for some minutes.

The mother was not coming back and suddenly. Jane started to cry.

if you don’t want me to, to marry Ablamvi, I’m gonna kill myself. I felt very sorry for her. I tried to console her, but she was uncontrollable. She kept on crying. And finally, I decided that we should leave, but the mother was not coming. When we went out of the room, the mother sat at the gates of the house.

I went to her and made her a firewall. In fact, before going, I brought her a nice gift. It was a nice, a nice necklace that I brought it to her. In fact, I would like to let her know that by that gift, I will take good care of her daughter in fact, but she refuse. No, I don’t want your gift go away with your gift.

I don’t want you to be with my doctor anymore. I felt very frustrated and I was sorry, but Jane kept on crying at that. And we drove back on our way back home. She kept on crying. I tried my best to, to convince her not to cry, but she kept on crying. I even told her that I didn’t take credit for what her mother told me that I continue to love her.

She has to believe in me. We, we have to continue tell the, when the, the, the end, but she didn’t believe me back home. The next morning, she felt very sick. When I called the people with whom she’s in the same room, they told me that she was very sick and she was brought to hospital. Wow. I went to visit her in the hospital.

And she told me that even if she died, I have to be convinced that she loves me and I have to keep it in my mind that there is a girl called Jane who loved me and who died for me. So I told her she shouldn’t say things like that, that she has to recover. And together we get married. She was there until she stayed in the hospital for a week.

And after that she recovered and she was sent back home. And from that time, she suggested to me that we should go now and see her father. I hesitated at the beginning because I was afraid that what happened with the mother may happen to me again, I didn’t intercept at the beginning, but she convinced me that we should go and we take two hours drive to visit his father.

And when we arrived at the gate, I told her to be in front. I would like to hide at. And then she was in. And we went into the room, the father welcomed us and offers us a drink. In fact, in my community, if you visit somebo some somebody, the first thing, the best gonna offer you is water. So he offered us water and we drink and he asked me what to win, blows me there.

It means the purpose of my visit. And I told him that, in fact, I love her do his daughter a lot. And I would like to get married here. And actually I have come to know him so that I see what I can bring as a do to him. And he said, great ideas. Oh, if you come to see me, it means that you love my daughter. I like your idea.

You should not worry. I was really surprised and I was happy and Jane was happy as well. She stood from her chair and comment and hugged me. And that day we even wanted to kiss each other in front of the father that is not allow. And, and then finally he gave me the list and then I went back after two months, I tried to buy everything that I need.

And then we went back, I invited my parents. We were together. We paid a Dory and we celebrated the traditional marriage. That day. Jane was too happy. I was too happy. The father was so happy. And as well as the whole members, they gave us some pieces of advice. Like Ablan, you have to love your wife. You have to take care of your wife.

And they told the Jane Jane, you have to be submissive to your husband. If there is a problem you have to discuss with, with him. And this is how we got married and we have two kids love, concrete, everything we should not give up. Thank you so much.

[Marc Moss] Thanks, Ablamvi. Ablamvi Agboyibo is an English Teacher at Blitta High School in Blitta, Togo, which is in Western Africa. Ablamvi is one of the participants of the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Global Scholars, or SUSI, which is a U.S. Department of State sponsored program for mid-career foreign scholars and educators designed to improve the teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad. SUSI is a program of the Mansfield Center, part of The University of Montana.

Our final story in this episode comes to us from Cathy Scholtens. Cathy goes on a hike with her best friend to Hope Lake in Montana. They work out their complicated feelings for each other overnight and are now celebrating 25 years married! Cathay calls her story “Friendship, Hope and Wisdom”. Thanks for listening.

[Cathy Scholtens] As with any great adventure. There’s often complications. They can be logistical physical, and sometimes there matters of the heart. My best friend, Becky and I were hiking in the big hole to hope lake. We’d never been, we wanted to go, it was late. September weather was terrible, but we started up the map, said seven miles.

We could do that. What the map didn’t say we figured out about the 30th switch back was it was six miles straight up to the continental divide over the top and down another mile to the lake. So we’re making promises to God to just get up there. She’s my best friend. And we’re just talking like best friends.

Do we have a third companion, Katie? The wonder dog. She was a retarded three year old, uh, golden retriever. And, uh, she was, uh, didn’t belong to us, but we had her with us. Well, We were talking about everything except what we needed to talk about because I’d met Becky about seven years before that. And we immediately became best friends.

She was smart and funny. She was a tomboy and I was a tomboy go figure. And so, uh, we did all kinds of fun stuff together. She was the most caring and kind person I’d ever met. As a matter of fact, whenever we had to go into Missoula and we went together, I made sure I drove. Why? Because if you were in the passenger seat, every corner that a guy had a sign, she’d go, Kathy, Kathy hand, that guy, 10 bucks hand that guy 20 bucks and it come outta my wallet.

Right. I’m like, so I drove, saved myself a lot of money

so we were talking about all kinds of stuff except what we needed to talk about. And that was. Recently, our relationship had kind of shifted a little bit. Okay. It shifted a whole lot. We’d become lovers and we didn’t know how that happened, but there we were in the middle of a mad, passionate affair. And, uh, we didn’t know what to do with that.

Becky was gung ho. Becky had said, come be with me, let’s spend the rest of our lives together. And I was like, mm . I don’t know. Cuz there was some major complications. Okay. First we were both already in relationships. Wasn’t fair to them. And we were feeling pretty crappy about that. Two Becky is a straight girl and any lesbians out here, you know what trouble straight girls are?

they’ve listened to one too many Teddy Perry songs. They just wanna kiss a girl and they’ll kiss you, but then they’ll break your heart. And I was well aware of that, but the biggest complication was. I am a relationship loser. Okay. I had left every relationship I was ever in. I think I was in love and pretty soon I wasn’t in love and I was gone.

Okay, well, Vicky wants to have a relationship and I’m thinking, how can I do that? I’m no good at this. I’m gonna hurt her. And I’m gonna lose my best friend and I didn’t wanna do it. And so we had a lot of discussion to do, to figure out what we were gonna do. Neither of neither. One of us was very keen on that though.

So we’d like ignored it on the top of the continental divide. You can see forever. And it was gorgeous and we had made it to the top, but what we could see was thunderstorms, snowstorms, and most importantly, The sun was going down there. We on the top of the continental divide, sun’s going down. So we know we’re not gonna make the lake.

We’re not gonna make the lake. We can’t because we’re responsible. And we don’t wanna be caught on a mountain in September, in the dark. Okay. But we take a few minutes to look around and we watch this Hawk flying along the Ridge, just on the air. Current’s beautiful. And the next thing you know, that Hawk comes and she’s hovering right in front of us.

And I swear to God, you guys, if I had reached up, I could have touched her. Okay. And she’s looking at us and we’re like looking at her and you know, I’m not one of those bitter ho Getty, boogey. Woo. Mystical girls. I’m just not, you know, I’m pretty cut and dry, but. Something mystical happened with that Hawk.

Can’t explain it. She’s talking to us. And just as I turn my head to Becky to see if she’s hearing the same bullshit, I’m hearing the bird flies up over the other side of the Ridge and down towards where we think hope lake is, there was no discussion. We had gotten a message and the message was go to the lake.

So against everything we knew to be smart, we checked our bags and said, what do you got? What do you got? Well, I had a water filtration pump. We had a fishing pole. Becky had a nine millimeter Glock on her hip. So butchy, um,

We had a pound of trail mix that I was already sick of. I hated it. we had some matches and a pen light and we decided let’s go . So I don’t know. We go, and by the time we get down to that stupid ugly lake, um, it’s dark. Okay. So Becky starts fishing right away because guess what? Katie can’t eat trail mix

And I start looking around for something dry to start a fire with, because I know we’re gonna freeze our asses off and, and I’m watching Becky and every time she gets a fish on, of course she’s big cheater uses worms and Bob her, um, that Bob would go down and Katie be like all fun and she’d jump in after it.

And Becky would lose his fish. So, uh, I wasn’t doing as well either because. There’s everything’s wet and I can’t get anything started. And I was quite the pyromaniac as a child. I could burn down anything, but I was striking out, well, just then Becky’s coming up. She’s got couple fish that she saved and she sees my dilemma and I’m almost outta matches.

Okay. I’m starting to freak. And she says, huh, I got something for you. And she reaches deep inside her jacket and pulls out a handful of love letters that I’d written to her in the past couple months score we’re gonna live. So we take the time to read these letters cuz we’re in love. You know, we, we read these letters out loud to each other and they’re full of how much I think she’s great.

I think she’s fabulous. And what a shit I am and how terrible I am and how I’m gonna ruin the relationship, you know? And uh, I didn’t wanna do that. Lots of doubts and fears. And as we’re reading them, she’s shaking her head and she’s, crumping ’em up and putting ’em in the fire. And pretty soon we got that fire going and it’s ripped roaring now.

Right. And she’s cooking the fish for Katie, not for me. And, um, she, uh, says, oh, look at that, look at that smoke, going up, all your doubts, all your fears, all your misgivings up in smoke, Shelton’s all gone. I’m like, oh yeah. Well, what about the, uh, love that’s in those letters? She said, oh, the love goes to the universe and the universe that’s listening and we’re gonna be okay.

I just nodding my head. And we spent the rest of the night trying to stay warm, freezing our butts off. And every once in a while, Katie would make things interesting. By looking off into the woods, growling this growl that I’ve never heard of golden retriever it’s do. And I would shit my pants every time.

Right. Not Becky Becky like whipped that Glock off. They wanna just commando crouch. Right. Jim, ready to shoot up anything in the woods. I’m like, woo she’s badass. I love her. So we spend that night freezing and talking, freezing and talking, freezing and talking, and it starts snowing first light of Dawn, the snow’s coming.

So we get the hell out of there. Right. But I take one last look at that little campsite. And I think to myself, you know, what did we just do? We did something outrageously stupid, dangerous, something we’d really should have done, but we trusted each other. And we worked together really well and we made it happen.

And is that much different than what Becky’s asking me to do with her to lean out of my comfort zone to trust? And I figured if I trusted a bird I’d never met before, I could surely trust my best friend. so on the way down, I tell her yes, and we are on cloud nine. We run down that mountain. We don’t even stop at the camper.

We jump in the truck cuz we have to find a payphone, nearest payphone wisdom, Montana . So we go to wisdom and we call the people that need to know that we’re not coming back. And we tell ’em because that’s not home anymore. Home, home is in my Becky’s arms and that’s where I wanted to be. Well, I’m happy to tell you guys that trip that September, this next September, that will be 25 years ago.

I’m still madly in love with her. And she’s still my best friend. Thank you.

[Marc Moss] Thanks, Cathy. Cathy Scholtens is an escapee from southern Florida, who has been living in and loving Montana since 1975. She and her wife are die-hard Eastsiders down in the Bitterroot Valley along with their two rescue dogs; Pepe le Pew and Jack Hammer. Recently retired after 32 years as a Pediatric Nurse, Cathy can now often be found strolling down mountain trails, taking an excessive number of photographs along the way.

I am so glad to be back in-person sharing stories with you all. I’ll bet you have a story to share, right? I’ll bet you do! We’ve all got a “Leting Go” story, right? The next Tell Us Something live event is scheduled for September 27. You can pitch your story on the theme “Letting Go” by calling 406-203-4683. The pitch deadline is August 7. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch.

Thanks again to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Thanks to our Accessability Sponsor, Garden Mother, who subsidized the American Sign Language interpreters at this event, allowing us to support our friends in the Deaf community.

Garden Mother is a liscenced Medical Marijauana dispensary and is devoted to the love and health of our community through holistic education and resources. All plants are grown with healthy soils that you can taste and feel. Learn more at Gardenmother.com

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of Tile. If you need tile work done, give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my work at joyceoftile.com.

Marc Moss: Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits, U104.5

Gabriel Silverman: Hey, this is Gabe from Gecko Designs. We’re proud to sponsor Tell Us Something, learn more at geckodesigns.com.

Marc Moss: True Food Missoula. Farm to table food delivery. Check them out at truefoodcsa.com

Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits, U104.5

True Food Missoula. Farm to table food delivery. Check them out at truefoodcsa.com

Float Missoula – learn more at floatmsla.com, and MissoulaEvents.net!

Next week, we’ll hear the remaining stories form the “Didn’t See That Coming” live storytelling event in Bonner Park.

[Katie Garding] He’s like, “I want that gun.” He’s like, “and I want you to go take me to get it.” And of course I’m in love. So why, like, why wouldn’t I, so I said, “yes”. I took him to go steal the gun.

[Linda Grinde]
I step out into the hall. And the first thing I see is a six foot, two blonde Swedish goddess in nothing but high heels. , you know, I it’s a cabaret. I figured strip shows burlesque, you know, but in Europe they do the real thing. it’s live sex on stage artfully done.

[Raymond Ansotegui] And as we come in, he says, “We’re gonna make the trade for fishing, but have this one other trade.

If you wanna make it, it’s one of the greatest life lessons, but I can’t share it with you unless. You eat my vegetables and your vegetables, both meals a day for the whole time you’re here.”

Marc Moss: Tune in for those stories on the next Tell Us Something podcast.

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

To learn more about Tell Us Something and to hear stories from the past 11 years, please visit tellussomething.org.

[Marc Moss] Hey there, storytelling fans, it’s Marc Moss from Tell Us Something. [Rae Scott] And so that night I asked her, I was like, “Let’s go for this hike. You know, it’s Mother’s Day weekend. I would, I would love to do this with you.” And she said, “Yeah. Okay.” So the night before I’m laying in my bed, I’m like, okay, here’s all the stupid shit you don’t say to your mom. Okay. Okay. Okay. I’m prepping myself for this day.”
On this episode of the podcast [Ann Peacock]

we hear from four storytellers

{Ablamvi Agboyibo] Hi lady, where are you going? And she say, “go home.” “What is your name?” “Jane,” She replied me. “Oh, Jane, you are so beautiful. The sun used to see beauties, but the sun has never seen a girl beauty for like you…” [Marc Moss] that shared their true personal stories on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming!”.

[Cathy Scholtens] Becky is a straight girl and any lesbians out here, you know what trouble straight girls are!?

They’ve listened to one too many Katy Perry songs. They just wanna kiss a girl. And they’ll kiss you, but then they’ll break your heart. And I was well aware of that. But the biggest complication was. I am a relationship loser. Okay. I had left every relationship I was ever in.

[Marc Moss] Listen at tellussomething dot org or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Four storytellers share their true personal stories live without notes on the theme "Stone Soup". A young woman visits New York City with her Papa, a Polish track athlete reflects on defecting from Poland in the 1980s, A woman runs out of gas in front of Costco on a busy Missoula street and an adventure guide with a dying cell phone, no water, and only a thin poncho is charged by a wild boar and end up drinking his own urine before his dramatic rescue.

Transcript : "Stone Soup" Part 2

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

We are currently looking for storytellers for the next Tell Us Something storytelling event. The theme is “Didn’t See That Coming!” If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 406-203-4683. You have 3 minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is May 27. I look forward to hearing from you.

Please remember to save the date for Missoula Gives May 5th through the sixth. Missoula Gives is a 24 hour online giving event. Remember to support Tell Us Something. During Missoula Gives, May 5th through the sixth. Learn more at missoulagives.org.

Tell Us Something acknowledges that we are in the aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispel people. The land we walk on, recreate on, grow our food on and live on is sacred land.Being mindful is a practice. We may not always be mindful of the gift that the land gives us and the wisdom that it has.We take this moment to honor the land and its Native people and the stories that they share with us.

This week on the podcast…

Rachel Bemis: I just wanted to let you know that I told Ruth about your trip. And I let her know that your travel companion canceled and that you didn’t feel comfortable traveling alone.

Darius Janczewski: when I defect in 1984 in Italy, I don’t remember worrying about consequences of my, uh, of my defection. No desertion. I don’t worry about, don’t remember worrying about my family and my friends or seeing my country.

Katrina Farnum: I’m like busy. Right. I got stuff to do. I got places to be. And all of a sudden, like, that’s it, there’s no more fuel and I’m coming to a stop, like at the worst spot.

Jeff Ducklow: Little yellow markers are everywhere. I don’t know what the hell is going on. And I see maybe a thousand feet away what could be a trail, but it’s super steep embankment. And I start going down and it’s ridiculously steep.

Marc Moss:…four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Stone Soup”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on March 30, 2022 at The Wilma in Missoula, MT.

We wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. We are so grateful to the team at Blackfoot for their support. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Our first story comes to us from Rachel Bemis. Rachel Bemis visits New York City with her Poppa, who sleeps through much of the trip. She sees her Top Chef favorite and yells out the tour bus window, “I’m not your b*tch, b*tch!” at him and no one reacts. Rachel calls her story Sleepy New York” or “An Adventure with Papa”. Thanks for listening.

Rachel Bemis: It was the summer of 2007. I was 27 years old living in Missoula. I worked as a real estate lender and also served on a nonprofit board and I had a dirty little secret. I loved reality shows and my standards were very low

flavor

of love. Rock of love, project runway. We’re getting up there top chef, little better.

But after a long day, I absolutely loved watching a good show and reality stars became the new celebrities of our time. I had an upcoming trip planned. I had a work conference in Washington, DC, and I had traveled, you know, before, but I had never spent any time on the east coast. And I decided if I was going to be there for work for a week, I might as well add New York to the list.

Why not spend a few days in New York city checking out all of the sites. But the number one thing that was on my list is I wanted to meet a celebrity. And when I say celebrity, I mean a reality star. So the trip was planned. The tickets were purchased. Of course, I was going to go see the Lincoln Memorial Lincoln Memorial Lincoln monument, big priority.

I was certainly going to see the things that my mom told me I needed to see purchase the tickets. But of course, I also wanted to see a reality star. So like many of my trips, one of my weekly phone calls was to my wonderful grandfather. Papa Papa was 77 years old. We were 50 years and four days apart, he lived in Sacramento, California.

He loved hearing about my adventures. So I gave him a call, let him know what my plans were. I’m going to go to Washington DC. I’m going to jump on the Greyhound bus. I’m going to spend three days in New York and this was my plan. Okay, great. Super supportive. I felt very confident traveling on my own. A couple of days after I got off the phone with Papa, Papa gave me a call and said, I just want to let you know that I spoke with Ruth.

Ruth was his wife of six years. Not my grandmother. They were having some marital problems. And he said, I just wanted to let you know that I told Ruth about your trip. And I let her know that your travel companion canceled and that you didn’t feel comfortable traveling alone.

And

that I’m going to fly to New York to be with you.

And again, he lives in Sacramento, California, and I live in Missoula, Montana. And I said, okay, well, you’re more than welcome Papa, but you do know that I never had a travel companion. I feel completely comfortable, confident traveling on my own. And he said, Rachel, I need a break.

Okay.

I will meet you in New York city.

So the trip is

becoming very different. So first of all, I definitely checked some things off the bucket list spent the week in Washington, DC learned a lot. Did the work conferences did the sight? Seeing did all of the things my mom told me I should do. Then I went to art and soul, which has art Smith.

Oprah’s personal chef. I went to his new restaurant. I saw spike from season one or his restaurant top chef his burger joint, but I still had not seen a celebrity. So this is very much on my mind. And of course I knew I was going to New York, but a very different trip than I had planned as a 27 year old solo traveler.

Now my elderly grandfather is coming with me.

I get on the Greyhound bus on Friday afternoon from Washington DC to New York. Of course I had that trip planned as well. That’s who I am. I was going to be staying, or we were going to be staying at my cousin’s apartment in Harlem that my mom arranged. I’ve never met him and he wasn’t going to be staying there.

So I had the whole trip plan, very excited. So I get to New York city. My grandfather has been traveling all day. Of course, I’ve been in a conference all day and now I’m on the bus. And I arrived to see my 77 year old grandfather who loved every shade of green. And he wore them all at once. He was never too full for ice cream and he had beautiful salt and pepper hair.

We arrived and were exhausted. So we immediately went to the apartment in Harlem, which was great. It’s vibrant. We’re excited where these country bumpkins he’s from the suburbs. I’m in quiet, sleepy, Missoula. I’m in the big city and I’m going to see a celebrity I’m used to the magazines. You know, photographers are getting people walking out of restaurants with their dogs or, you know, something I’m going to, I’m definitely going to see somebody.

That was my focus. Of course, I’m enjoying my time seeing the sites, but that was my focus spent the night in Harlem. Wake up the next morning. How did you sleep? Papa? Terrible. We both slept horrible. It was loud. We weren’t used to it. It was great. It was vibrant. It was the city, but we were tired. Well, we had to push through.

We only have three days, so of course we had everything or I had everything planned and uh, we went on a boat tour, exhausted, pushed through. We said, we have got to go see a show. We’re in New York city. It’s sweltering. It’s 95 degrees. It would be really nice to go see a show and just sit into the suit, the air conditioning for a few hours.

So he said, let’s see Phantom of the opera. Okay. So we walk in air conditioning, we sit down and we woke up three hours later.

We slept through the entire thing.

And I don’t mean that peaceful, you know, with our head down on each other’s shoulders. I mean, you know, waking up snorting, you know, did anybody hear me?

Did anybody see, you know, head-nodding uncontrollably embarrassed and I’m still like, okay, we slept through it. It’s fine. We laughed about it for years. It was the best snap we’ve ever had. It was, it was the most expensive nap we’ve ever had. And I was like, okay, maybe this is the time I’m going to see someone.

I’m going to see a celebrity. Someone’s going to come to a matinee in the summer, right? No, nothing. Okay, fine. Continue on with the trip. We are walking central park. Not that big, by the way, if you haven’t been there, thought it was huge. It’s not times square, not that big, super shocked, but it was great. We had a wonderful, wonderful time still looking for that reality star.

So through our marital conversations and Papa’s venting and me trying to give advice to my 77 year old grandfather about marriage, when I’m not married,

we

decided on our last day, we’re going to go on one of those touristy bus tours where you drive by all of the sites. We drive by serendipity with the hot chocolate. We go by where the Macy’s parade is Rockefeller center, all these great things. So first of all, we get onto the bus. Again, air conditioning was our best friend.

At this point, it was so hot and he’s 77. He needs a break. He needs to sit down. We enter the bus, the air conditioning just blows on us. I sit on the window and he sits to the right of me with an aisle. The bus was fairly empty, which was kind of nice. I could comment on the, oh my gosh, serendipity. We should go there for hot chocolate.

You know, all of the things without worrying about other people judging or listening to our stories. So as we’re going along, we’re enjoying our time pointing to different things and the bus is moving. And then I

see him

walking the opposite direction of the bus. I see this platinum blonde hair. I knew immediately

who it was.

Okay. So pause.

So it’s season one of top chef. Okay. And there’s this feisty platinum blonde chef named Dave. And he is cooking with this fiery ginger red head named Tiffany. And she is assertive, not bossy. I don’t like that word because I relate to it very much. She is fierce and she is assertive. And he doesn’t like it.

Okay. And he says something to her, mind you, this is racing through my brain. As I see the platinum blonde. This is like two seconds of my life. Okay. I don’t really remember his name. I don’t really remember how I know him, but I remembered what he said to her

without a beat

I’m on the bus and I start panicking. Oh my God. Oh my God.

I’m not bitch. I’m not here. Batch batch. , I’m screaming this on the bus with my 77 year old grandfather next to me.

Okay.

Why? I didn’t yell. Dave. Don’t know why I didn’t yell top chef don’t know big fan. I’ve no idea. I just start screaming. Luckily the window was up and I looked to my right to explain why I have this outburst. And my grandfather is asleep.

I

had my grandfather for 13 more years. We shared many trips together, road trips, many memories. And I lost him in 2020. And that is the trip. I’ll never forget. That was the time that I screamed at a reality star on a bus and my grandfather slept

through the whole thing.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Tess.

Tess Sneeringer grew up escaping the suits and the stress of Washington, DC by following her older brother down the current of the Potomac River every summer. She is now settled in Missoula and works for Parks and Recreation.

Our next storyteller is a Tell Us Something storyteller alumni. You can listen to all of the stories that she’s shared on the Tell Us Something website: tellussomething.org. Joyce Gibbs has some very special hunting bullets confiscated at TSA, she resolves to get them back. “Only in Missoula. Only on Christmas.” or “If You Don’t Ask, You Can’t Hear Yes.”

Thanks for listening.

Joyce Gibbs: On December 25th, 2019, I was at TSA in the Missoula international airport. It was very early in the morning. And so mark and I were the only people at TSA. We clocked in with the clerk at the front, and then we went to the conveyor belt where we put our, took off our shoes and put our jackets down and put our backpacks down and took out the computer and then walked through the tunnel and assume the position.

And I walk out of the tunnel and the TSA officer says, is this your backpack? And I say, yes, it’s mine. This is my lucky backpack. I had had it for several years and. The best part. So far of this backpack was the day that we had already gone through TSA and the backpack contained a smell, a smell that had been ruminating in our house for several weeks.

I couldn’t find it. And we were at the gate of our plane and I realized this smell is attached to me. So I’m digging through, I’m taking things out of the backpack and I take out a box knife. I have already been through TSA and I show it to mark. And he says, you should put that away. And I said, yes, I should.

And put my hand into three rotten oranges. So thankfully the rotten oranges went into the garbage and, uh, I continued on that trip with my box knife. I actually made it through TSA again, and I still use that box knife every day. So I tell the TSA officer, yes, that is my backpack. Do you think you might have some bullets in here?

And I think, and I say, well, yes. Yeah, I probably do have bullets. They’re probably in that little pocket on the belt that I didn’t think to look in. And he opens up the pocket and he pulls out three pieces of ammunition for a 3 38, 6, actually improved hunting rifle. If you don’t happen to know what a 3 38 up six actually improved is it’s okay.

Because my father built this gun. It is a beautiful gun. It’s my hunting rifle. It also is something that you can not buy in a store, which means he also built that ammunition, which is something you cannot buy in a store.

He looks at me, the TSA officer, and he says, I’m going to have to confiscate this. And I said, yes, yes, please do. Yes, take it. Do your job. That’s awesome. Thank you. Thank you. I’m going to put my shoes on. I’m going to put my coat on. I’m going to go upstairs. We go upstairs and there’s my sister. I know she would be there.

My sister has come in on an early flight from Portland and she is. There to meet us to say hi to surprise later, to drive out to my parents’ house and surprise them for Christmas visits. So we get together at the gates they’re upstairs and she gives me the things that Santa Claus left at her house for me.

And I give her the things that Santa claw have left my house for her. And we sit and have a little chat for awhile because, you know, we had gotten there two and a half hours early. And as she’s about to leave, I start thinking like, okay, mark, stay here with the baggage. I’m going to go with Nessa. And we walk out to TSA and we walked to the clerk and I say earlier today, I got some bullets confiscated.

I’m wondering if I could have those back. And the clerk says, I’m going to have to ask my, my manager. And I’m like, okay, that’s fine. And there’s a couple people in TSA. So it weighed about five minutes. And, and, it’s the same gentleman who confiscated my bullets. And I tell him those are very precious bullets.

Those are. Bullets for a gun that my father made. And, he has to make all these bullets. And I don’t know if you know, , about reloading ammunition, but it is a, a very long process. First, you have to fire a cartridge, you have to fire the ammunition so you can get the brass casing that the bullet comes in, and then you collect a whole bunch of those.

And then you take out the primer from the brass casing, and then you tumble them in a rock tumbler to clean the brass of any residue that might be on them. And then you use calipers and very specifically, , find the measurements of the bullet to make sure that it will still be safe to have the cartridge to make sure it will safe, be safe to once again, pack with powder and put a new bullet in.

And so then you can then again, fire it, hopefully on a day that’s not too hot or not too humid because it might misfire if it was an extreme heat process, all these things, all this that my father has studied that he has perfected as a science for the last 60 years. And the TSA officer looks at me and he says, well, those already went to the safety office and I say, oh, okay.

He says, well, you go down to baggage claim and you take a right and you go to a glass door and knock on the glass door. And so my sister and I go down to baggage claim and there’s a glass, I promise there’s a glass door. You’ve never seen it. And you knock on the door. And this young Jew, this young woman comes out in her brown and tan Sheriff’s uniform with her pistol on her hip.

And she looks at me and she looks at my sister and she says, can I help you? And I say, this is my sister. And she’s leaving to go to my parents’ house. And you have some bullets that were confiscated from me that she might be able to take away to give to the person who actually made them today. And I’m going to go through TSA again and I’ll fly out of here if that’s all right.

If that’s okay. And she looks at me and she looks at my sister and she said,

She goes to, uh, the desk and she pulls out a number 10, 10 coffee can, and she kinda sticks her hands in it and does this swirl and, and there’s lots of clinking and it sounds like there’s like four box knives in there. And, and she pulls out three bullets for a 3 30, 8, 6 actually improved. And she says, are these them?

And I say, yeah, that looks like them. And I step away and she hands them to my sister and I say, thank you. And she says, Merry Christmas.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Rachel.

Rachel Bemis marks her 20th year in Montana! She is a 4th grade teacher in the Bitterroot Valley where 1/3 of her students tower over her. She shares her home with her best friend of 21 years and 5 year old St Bernard Lorelai. She spends her free time binging Gilmore Girls, The Great British baking show, 90 day fiancé or any trashy reality show she can stomach. You can find her getting Biga pizza takeout, walking with friends, at the library or at her favorite consignment shop. She loves Discussing any book except science fiction with her monthly book club.

Our next storyteller is Darius Janczewski (Yonchevsky) Darius reflects on defecting from Poland in the 1980’s and realizes that most things we remember are about departures. Darius calls his story “Departures”.

Thanks for listening.
Darius Janczewski: Hello, good evening. I want to apologize to is making her work harder.

Um, since we’re kids, children, we’re always told to finish what we started, but I’m here to tell you something else. Don’t worry about finishing what you started. Start something it’s about

starting. I love movies and you might be surprised. They’ll tell you I have many favorite movies, but I often don’t finish watching them.

Not because they’re bad movies, but, uh, and sometimes they have terrible endings, you know, but I just enjoy the departure, the beginning of the movies. That’s what I want. One of my favorites recently is Shackleton. It was Kenneth broth and BBC production. You might be familiar with the insurance story, but if you’re not, I will just summarize it quickly that it’s about British Explorer or in a shuttle who is attempting to cross Antarctic on food.

Jess was dogs. They supposed to get to Antarctic, cross, get to the south pole and then continue to the other side of the continent and then be picked up by another ship. And some of you might know that never happens. He is stranded near the Antarctic. After few months of drifting, his ship is crushed by the eyes and sings his cruise survives.

They take three boats, safety, boats, then get to safety. It’s one of the best survival story ever. And some of you might know that they just found the ship recently after a hundred, six years of searching for it.

How many of you are runners? I can see you anyway. I used to be a very, very, very good runner. I used to run sub formula. And I are presented my country.

Thank you. Um,

but what I remember from my best races is the beginning, the start, not the finish or the metal ceremonies and stuff. I remember starting, I remember the first starter gone, taking off, seeing the muscular bodies of my friends in front of me.

I was not that good.

You know,

sweaty backs their hair, where I was working. That’s what I remember most from my best races. Not the finish.

Yeah,

because it’s all about the purchase, not about destinations.

So one of my best stories about the parties is my defection. I was a, deserter the difference between desertion and defection is slide the different, the dessert, or if he comes back or she comes back, he’s gonna go to long-term jail or even under the oil and be executed. That’s the difference. And the factors usually leave because of politics or religion or hardship.

So when I defect in 1984 in Italy, I don’t remember worrying about consequences of my, uh, of my defection. No desertion. I don’t worry about, don’t remember worrying about my family and my friends or seeing my country. I don’t remember saying goodbye to my mother, but she didn’t know I was leaving anyway for good.

She knew I was just leaving to another competition, but what I remember the most from my defection is that is in Italy. When I was in Italy. I remember leaving, I remember taking my bag, my shoes, four o’clock in the morning, making sure everybody’s asleep coaches and my teammates and tiptoeing from their room down there, tow and leaving the hotel.

And I scouted where the train station was the day before. So I knew where it was. I had my pocket money enough to guide, get the tickets to the city that I heard refugee camp was in. And so I got on the train, had about 10 minutes to go and I was thinking, hopefully nobody woke up and find out I’m not there, but no, I was fine.

The train took off. I remember opening the windows, seeing the countryside, Mediterranean, Italy, beautiful Italy, uh, smelling the sea, the Italians laughing. Um, they’re a friendly, long story. Short. Got to the refugee come. And then I forgot to tell you one important reason why I defected.

I defected because I fell in love in Samba with somebody who left for America, and I decided to follow her,

wait,

it’s not the end of the story of it. So long story short, I went to refugee comes. Then I came to America and I found out that the love was not there anymore. There was no love

anymore.

And so, you know, it’s all about the purchase.

Well, let’s get back to the current issues. Um,

and thinking about Ukraine, of course, in the soldiers who are sitting around the campfire, having a very small meal and thinking and hearing the explosions and, and I’m thinking the world will be over one day. I’m sure they will be overweight. They all the wars and one day, and I’m wondering. What will this soldiers remember from this war?

Will they remember the explosions, the killing, the violence? Um, no, I don’t think so. I think they were a member saying goodbye that departure.

And I also think this never for me is what I remember it too. Uh, and I’m going to quit it here and say, please remember it’s about the partners who care, not about destinations. Thank you.

///
Marc Moss: Thanks, Darius.

Darius Janczewski is an author, graphic designer, runner, and a refugee who arrived in the United States in 1984 and in Missoula in 1999. Darius deserted from the Polish communist army in 1984 when he represented his country as a runner in Italy. He was preparing for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when he decided to defect, not knowing that the Olympiad would be boycotted by most of the communist countries, including Poland. Darius is a published author and is currently working on his collection of short stories titled Minotaur or the Art of Running. Learn more about Darius and see examples of his work at dariuszjanczewski.com That’s d a r i u s z j a n c z e w s k i.com

In our next story, Katrina Farnum runs out of gas in front of Costco on a busy Missoula street and is helped by strangers. She pays it forward when she sees a fellow human in need. Katrina calls her story “When Push Comes To Shove”. Thanks for listening.

Katrina Farnum: Joyce said you don’t like it if people hold the microphone. So I won’t do it. She said that people pace, but I love pacing when I talk. That’s the thing. So if there are two kinds of people, when it comes to roadkill, there are definitely two kinds of people. When it comes to filling up your car with gasoline, there are some of us that, or you that let it get halfway down and you pull into the gas station and you fill your car.

And there are other of us that let it run all the way out. Thank you. Glad we have a group and then we fill it back up. So yes, this is a story of me running out of gas in my car. And, I am going to just avoid telling you how many times in my life that I have run out of gas in my car, , in there probably some psychologists in the room they’re evaluating me right now.

And you probably have good reason because I’ve actually never run out of gas in winter, not one time. And, , Mr. Nichols, if you are by chance in the audience tonight, this is not the time that I ran out of gas on Brook street, but I did make it to the title company in time to sign papers. Thank you very much for that to get me a ride.

Now, this is the time that I ran out of gas on reserved street, the other awesome street in Missoula to run out of gas on, and I was southbound, , heading down reserved street. So Costco is approaching on my left and I don’t know, sorry for not giving you the shout out, whatever the Boxster is on the other side. Like to be fair here, the car that I was driving at the time had a faulty tire, like get age, , gauge sensor for the air theme, whatever the, you go head mechanics. And, , it would do this like, and like any good parent, you just learn how to block out certain sounds, which I did. And it’s the same sound for the gas.

So I’m driving it being, I’m not listening. I’m like busy. Right. I got stuff to do. I got places to be. And all of a sudden, like, that’s it, there’s no more fuel and I’m coming to a stop, like at the worst spot. And if I had just been like 15 or 20 feet further, I could have just scooted into the turn lane.

And I would have been far enough back in it that people could have still gotten around me. And I would have been out of the way of traffic, but that’s not happening. And it was a shoulder season like it is right now. So you’ve got like chunks of snow and it’s gritty and it’s starting to melt and kind of run down these old puddles.

And I just spring too. I’m like, holy shit. I need to get a gas can like right now. And as I’m getting out of the car to do this are literally people who are basically doing the like Gudo room, but whatever the equivalent of car running out of gas that you say to people. And so I like run into Costco because it’s the closest place.

And I like do this thing and I run to the service counter. I’m like, Hey, do you guys sell gas cans here? And she’s like, no, we do not sell gas cans here. And then I’m like, okay. And so I run across the street right in Lowe’s and I get into Lowe’s and have all the dumb luck. I know they sell gas cans there, but not this day.

They’re out of gas. I’m like, oh my God, how long has my car sitting in traffic? And I like run. I’m thinking like Costco has a service center, right. They have to have a gas can in there and it run as fast as I can. And I bust through the door of the service center and there’s a couple of guys working.

There’s a guy at the little Kiosky whatever. And I say, okay. So my car is really like right out there. It’s not very far and stranded and really need a gas can. And it, whatever you guys have, you have empty one. I can just fill it up and, you know, have you, I had that thing happen when you are in a hurry or a really big hurry.

And then the person or the people you’re dealing with are definitely not in a hurry. And so the guy like takes a sip of his coffee and then like, thinks about it and he sets it down and I could like feel myself coming out of my skin, like a little bit. And he like saunters over to this cabinet and it’s big and it’s kind of rusty.

And he like opens the drawers and inside is this weird smattering of gas cans. And like, whatever else is in there. And he might be saying something, but it’s like, the adrenaline maybe has tuned him out and it’s become this, like the Charlie brown teacher. And so he’s like, mom, mom, mom, mom. And I’m like, yes, Ken’s yes.

We’re talking to language. I don’t know what you’re saying, but there give me a gas can and the guy’s reluctant and he pulls out one that’s. All the good style, right? The kind we like, and he kind of shakes it and it’s like half full fuel and he’s like, all right, I think it’s probably good fuel. And he hands it to me.

And I run back to my car as fast as I can. Now, normally when you run out of gas, you would hopefully be on the shoulder, but I’m not. So I’m in traffic, right? My body and my trying to suck it up against my car as much as I can. And I realized that the spout for this old gas can, is really short. So it doesn’t quite get far enough down there that it’s pushing the little tab aside.

And there’s like fuel Gooding kind of in, but mostly out. And it’s running down the car and splashing on my feet and it is mixing with the gross stuff on the road. And I’m feeling like just happy if I get enough in there. And then I had like a little hoodie on it. And in my pocket I had this little leather pouch that was my wallet, and it’s got all the cards and it drops out of my pocket and it lands in the puddle with the gasoline and all the awesome.

So I Huck it inside my car and I’m like, all right, I think there’s enough fuel in here. So I just jump in my car, throw the gas can in there and I try to start it and try to start it and the definitely bad fuel. So. I’m like, all right. Uh, what am I going to do? And I, and I go to get out of my car. I’m going to bring the gas can back in, figure out it probably dump it out or whatnot.

And this guy pulls up. He had like parked his truck off the way. And he said, how can I help you? And I’m like, well, yeah, let’s push it. We’ll just, and my thought is, we’re just going to push it far enough into that turn lane where I had wanted to be in the first place where people can still get around me so they can turn.

And as we’re going, I can see we have two different ideas and we’re pushing and it’s a little bit of a hill. So we’re picking up speed and we’re approaching the intersection and the guy yells at me, go, go, go. And I look, and I mean, there’s four lanes of traffic in coming at us is a semi-truck. And you know, I’m not a professional gap reader, but I have done a lot of mountain biking and boating and snowmobiling and snowboarding that I think I have a decent perception when it comes to like speed and timing and distance.

And I know we are not making that. And I yelled back to him and I jumped inside the car and I have to Jack my foot on the brake and we are in the dead middle of the intersection. Now there’s definitely not any part of me that is having that because I’ve already just been over there behind this space that was inconvenient.

This one is way less convenient. And I can see like this moment happening, where I can see, okay, semis going to pass. There are three cars, there’s a gap. It’s not huge. We can make it. I don’t know this guy, but we’re about to build a trusting relationship together. And I say to him, okay, bud, are you ready?

We’re going to push and go. And we’re pushing, pushing, pushing. And we get through this intersection and you don’t actually know if a road has any sort of incline at all until you’re pushing a dead car. And then like an inch is more, it’s like measured in feet. So there, you don’t know if you’ve ever turned, you’re going to check next time.

But when you go into Costco, like there’s a slight incline right there. And so we just came to a peaceful stop and the guy’s like, what else can I do? And I’m like, nothing, dude, thank you so much. This is great. You’ve been huge help. And I like grabbed the yucky gas. Can, uh, run it back over to Costco. And I’m like saying like, I’m like, do you have any, can I just dump the fuel out of this can somewhere.

And I got this big talking to about the EPA and you can’t just dump gas out and I’m like, you definitely did not just see what happened on the side of the road, but I, okay. So here’s your can back. I shouldn’t have asked. The guy working there says, Hey, I drove my daughter’s car to work today. And in the back seat, she has a gas can.

So he walks me out across the parking lot, probably again, slower than I would have normally walked by myself and we get the gas can, and he, and I’m like, thanks. And it’s like empty, but I unscrew it. And I look inside the gas can, and there’s like just this little, teeny, NC bit of fuel in there, but like lots of dead flies.

And I cannot confirm nor deny what happened to said fuel or flies, but it was empty when I got to the pumps. So I walk up there and I realized like my yucky wallet I had thrown in the back seat is still in the back seat. And I’m standing at the gas pump and this guy is just finishing fuel and he’s like, Hey, put your gas can over here.

And I’ll just, I’ll fill it up for you. He doesn’t know, I don’t even have a wallet. He’s just being a nice guy. And so he fills it up and I go over and I put gas in my car. I’m feeling pretty good. Cause now I’m in home stretch. But you know, I had to deal with that shitty new gas can, which even though it’s long enough to reach it, the little push tab.

And so half the time you’re fighting with that thing, but it works out and I pull in and uh, fill my car up with gas. And I’m like at that moment where I’m like, all right, I have no idea what I was probably doing something important before this huge saga. Right. As I’m in, like done, you know, I’m wrapping up, I’m ready to leave.

And I see the guys who had pulled in behind me and he’s at the pumps and he’s doing the pat down. And then he gets inside of his rig and his little legs are kind of outweighs reaching across the seat and he gets back out and I see the pat down and I’m like, ha, you don’t have a wall lit. And it’s rare that you get to pay it forward so quickly.

Like a lot of times you do a good deed or someone does a good deed. And it just, you know, it’s like into the ether for awhile. And I just said, Hey man, pull your car up here. I’m going to throw fuel in it for you. And he’s missed like the whole awesome thing that just happened. He just thinks I’m being nice for all.

I know the guy who did that for me with the gas can just went through what I did. So there I am. I’m able to fill them up and I’m off

Marc Moss: Thanks, Katrina.

Katrina Farnum is a local dirt-loving herbalist, mother, and educator. She is the developer and owner of Garden Mother, a holistic herb shop and dispensary with locations in Missoula and Kalispell.
Katrina is passionate about healthy food, community, continual self improvement. She spends much of her time creating and engineering things to help others live better lives.
Her spirit animal is the Incredible Hulk and her alter ego is a mixture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Butch Cassidy (played by Paul Newman). Katrina leads the team of herbalists and educators with an emphasis on nutrition over at Garden M+*other Herbs. Learn more about her work at gardenmotherherbs.com

Bringing us home in this episode of the Tell Us Something podcast, Jeff Ducklow finds himself with a dying cell phone, no water and only a thin poncho, He is charged by a wild boar and more before his dramatic rescue.- Jeff calls his story “Lost in Kauai”

Thanks for listening.
Jeff Ducklow: Whew. It’s times like this, when I wish I had prepared. Even though I believe that the only thing worse than public humiliation is voluntarily doing it to yourself. I feel compelled to tell you my story for years, I thought my inner compass was damaged until I finally realized I didn’t have one.

What possessed me to become a adventure guide is still confusing. It’s sorta like a teacher of a second language teaching without actually knowing a second language I’ve been lost in the Andes. I have been lost in the Sierra Nevadas. I have been lost in the Alaskan wilderness. I’ve been displaced in the bitter roots and I’ve been completely lost in many, a malls parking

lot. So I don’t know why I thought a jungle on an island in the middle of Pacific would be any different. It was supposed to be a simple journey from point a to point B, but I got deep into the alphabet this day. My friends. so a few years back, I went to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai with my then girlfriend who incidentally I lost.

I mean, she, she knows where she is. Uh, we had a, w we’d gone to a wedding of, one of her friend’s wedding was over and she went back home. She had to work. I was in between seasons and stayed a few extra days. And so I did the typical touristy things I laid on the beach, played into serve, had a few mojitos.

And then I decided I need to kick the adventure level up a few notches. So I, I found a Hawaiian guy on the beach and I said, Hey, if you only had three days left and on this beautiful island, what would you do? And without hesitation, he said, lost trail, man, lost that. That sounds really hard to find. He said, no problem.

I’m going to draw you a map. And he sketched out a little map of dirt roads with no names and said, you’ll see a small break in the jungle.

And if you, if you walk down the trail and you find a little footbridge, that’s

not it go back and find another break in the. And that’s exactly what happened. So, uh, I got going the next day in the morning, actually it was the afternoon about three o’clock and I got in my rental car and started going down the roads and it was about an hour and a half drive down these unnamed roads.

And sure enough, I, I found a small break in the jungle and I thought this has to be it because I don’t see anything else. So I got out, sun’s getting a little lower and I packed a few essentials in my backpack and I took off and it’s supposed to be a loop, just a, this little journey, a couple of miles in, I got to an amazing place along.

Why may a canyon, which is spectacular. It’s 10 miles long, 3000 feet, deep waterfalls everywhere. The lava has turned red over time. Spectacular. I walked out on this little strip of land. It went out into the canyon, sheer drops in each side, spectacular, amazing. I took some pictures and that should have been enough, but I wanted more with the sun hang, hanging, even lower.

I took off down the trail and it was maybe a mile and I thought I can do this. And then I came to a branch in the trail and I took out my map and I’m looking at it there, no branch. And I start rotating it. And you know, when you start doing that with a map.

But I stood and I looked down one path and then another, and I thought of Robert Frost

who wants, stood in the yellow wood and could not travel both. And he took the one less traveled by night and made all the difference. I’m here to tell you it really does make a big difference.

so I choose a path that looks actually a little more traveled and it quickly becomes the trail that has probably never been taken. And I end up on a rock shoot, probably 1500 feet down, really lose boulders. And I’m, I know it’s a bad idea, but I, I see that the trail looks like it continues over there. So I really carefully get to the start going across and I get to the middle and I think this is stupid.

That doesn’t always stop me, but I had the thought I should go back. And then I looked at what had just traversed said no way. I am not doing that again. And I’m not going that way either. So I decided to go up clinging to the mountain, like Velcro, hands, and I got to the top. And then I see the jungle again and there’s little yellow ribbon hanging frames and trees.

And I thought Eureka trail markers. So I entered the jungle, which is quite a bit darker and I’m looking around and I, I see the. Little yellow markers are everywhere. I don’t know what the hell is going on. And I see maybe a thousand feet away what could be a trail, but it’s super steep embankment. And I start going down and it’s ridiculously steep. And I said no way. And so that, by the time I got to the top, it was dark. I was screwed.

I was spending the night in the jungle. So I took a quick inventory of what I had. I reached into the bag. And I had an empty Nalgene bottle, which I quickly began to fill with my urine. I had read this somewhere. You can, you can recycle and reuse. So I did what I kid with a bottle. And then I also saw I had a nine or a 2012 flip phone who had an touristy short battery life.

So in the dark I started crawling around because of course there’s cell coverage in the jungle. There didn’t seem to be any, but miraculously I found a one inch by one inch parcel that had one bar. So of course I called my girlfriend and not 9 1 1. And I said, I got on this trail called lost trail. I’m not sure how to tell you how I got there.

I’m not sure how to get back. I believe on spending the night in the jungle. And then she said, if you’re happy with this message, please press one.

So hung up the phone, brace myself for a rough night. The thing is, I’d heard plenty of stories of the Hawaiian jungle that it ran feral with wild boar. That’s what was on my mind. They had tests so sharp. They could tear Amanda to in seconds. So I sat there on the ground pretty. And I don’t know how long it was, maybe two hours.

I S I H I heard branches starting to snap from the hill above me, and it was getting closer and louder. And I sprung up with a burst of adrenaline. And by the beard of Zeus, I got about 10 feet up into the tree for about 10 seconds until the bank, the branch broke. I ended up on the canopy floor again, and now with only half as much adrenaline, I got about four feet off the.

And I sat on this branch for hours, not one wanting any bore contact, but my ass got so sore. I didn’t care about getting bored. I got back down on the ground fearing. Also what I were told were Sandy paeds, as long as the man’s boot shoe laces. So I was sitting there thinking this is pretty bad, but then it got worse.

Uh, cold, cold fog started creeping up the hill. I was on the mountain and also remember, this is actually the wettest place on earth, where may a canyon, so it could be worse, but a cold, cold fog. And then I remembered I had the emergency poncho. I took that out. It’s thickness could be measured in terms of Adams.

It was actually in my wallet, filed with the credit cards. And I put it on and I sheltered in the cold. I started shivering. I realized it’s not wild boar. That’s going to get me it’s hypothermia. And somehow I made it through the night alive and the sunset, it was the most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen, just gorgeous.

And so this time, a little wiser, I called 9 1 1, they picked up, but then I got put on hold and I see my battery icon. And a couple of minutes later, it was the fire captain. He said, where are you? And I was thinking if I knew that I probably would not be calling you, I said, lost trail. And he said, I’ve never heard of that.

I said, well, it’s in the canyon somewhere. He goes, okay, we’re going to get a GPS signal on you. He goes, and I told him, you know, the phone’s dying. He said, well, turn it off. We’re going to GPS signal. It doesn’t matter if your phone’s on or off. So he’s doing that and I’m thinking, oh no, this is going to be really expensive.

So, and told me once to be rescued cost $10,000. And that had been about a decade earlier. So adjusting for inflation, that can be around 13 grand and you have to know something. I grew up with a mother who equated personal injury with the cost of medical. If your injury was going to be really, really expensive, then you weren’t really hurt.

I remember coming in once after a bad bicycle accident, I was bleeding. I said, mom, look, and in compassion. She said, oh, she yet she always added an extra valve. So it wasn’t swearing.

And then she asked, I’m not sure if this is a rhetorical. Do you know how much that’s going to cost? I don’t know a mom I’m eight years old. I’m I’m bleeding profusely. I don’t know if I can make that calculation right now. All right. Get me my sewing kit, please. Ma no, I can see my femur. All right. Get in the car, but there goes your allowance.

So this is all my. So I get back on the phone with the, with the police or the fire captain, he says, we’re going to send you a helicopter. I said, oh no, that’s okay. That’s okay. Do you have mules or something like that? I said, I think I can walk out. There’s plenty of light. I have all day. He went, no, no, no, no.

Stay where you are. The jungle. It all looks the same. You’ll get turned around. We’re coming for you. So I said, okay. So I turned the phone off again and I’m waiting. And about half hour later, I hear, I hear the chopper. It was coming up the canyon, but it’s on the wrong side. So I get back on the phone. I said, I hear you, but it’s the wrong side.

He said, okay, we’re coming over. And then he said, he asked, is there a break in the canopy? And I said, no, it’s just like a roof up there. I can’t see the sky. He said, okay, just don’t go anywhere. Helicopter came over. The phone dies it’s over. And then the helicopter leaves just, just goes away. I was in shock.

I remember saying, ah, she yet,

and I sat there. I didn’t know what to do, but I, I did. And then sure enough, the chopper comes back and this time it’s right over the canopy. And I remember the old now tattered yellow poncho, and I took it out and just started swinging it around. And the next thing I know, there’s a paratrooper breaking through the canopy.

It’s it’s incredible sound. It’s like there’s centipedes and scorpions and wild boar flying all over the place. This I comes down, he hooks me into harness. Our phases are like this. Had it been COVID time. This wouldn’t have been good. And I got hooked in, he put a helmet on me and we went break into the canopy breaking branches, and then we were suspended by the, from the helicopter.

And I thought we were going to be retracted inside, but we just dangle there. And then we start going and I’m looking at the cable thinking is this half inch five eight is, uh, is this galvanized it’s pretty.

And then I looked down and it is spectacular. The Kanye’s it’s incredible view. And I’m thinking if this is $10,000 or 13, it’s worth every penny.

So I get the right of my life until we get to a clearing where the other rescue workers, there’s a fire. And then came the descent of shame from the heavens I was lowered.

And when I landed there, wasn’t a lot sad. I, I apologized, we got in the truck and started down the dirt road and they said, they’re going to take me to my car. And I thought, thank God, because I have no idea what that thing is. And then what I feared the question I feared it came, it came from the captain himself who was driving.

He looked over his shoulder. I was in the back and he said, by the way, what do you do for a living?

there was a long pause, just like this one. And I knew there are two answers. I could, I could tell them I’m a massage therapist, which is. But the other half of the year, I’m an adventure guide. And I thought they’d done so much for me. I owe them something. So I said, I’m a venture guide. He said, what?

The whole crew started laughing. He goes, you’re kidding me. Right. I said, I wish I was. Then he got on the radio.

he said, get this guys, the guy, the guy we rescued, he’s an adventure guide. And so I was thank you.

Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Duck-low is no stranger to adventure. With Portuguese blood coursing through his veins, he inherited all of the wanderlust of his Mediterranean forebears, however, unfortunately, without the accompanying and essential navigational acumen. Simply put, Jeff was born without a sense of direction, so naturally he chose to become a professional Adventure Guide, guiding men, women and children oblivious to his affliction, on hikes over mountain passes, rafting down raging rivers, and leading sea kayaking adventures in Alaska in whale infested waters, at times in heavy fog. He is often quoted as saying, “Is it really an adventure if getting back is a certainty?”Having almost died unnecessarily on numerous occasions, Jeff is now a full-time massage therapist in Missoula who rides his unicycle to work in order to keep an element of danger in his day. He still loves the outdoors and enjoys recounting his exploits to anyone willing to listen.

I am so glad to be back in-person sharing stories with you all. I’ll bet you have a story to share, right. I’ll bet you do! We’ve all got a “Didn’t See That Coming!” story, right? The next Tell Us Something live event is scheduled for June 27. It is an outdoor show and is guaranteed to be a lot of fun. You know what would make it really fun? Your participation. Pitch your story on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming” by calling 406-203-4683. The pitch deadline is May 27. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch.

Please remember to save the date for Missoula Gibbs May 5th through the sixth. Missoula gives is a 24 hour online giving event. Remember to support? Tell us something. During Missoula Gibbs, May 5th through the sixth. Learn more at Missoula. gives.org.

Thanks again to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of Tile. If you need tile work done, give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my work at joyceoftile.com.

Marc Moss: Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits, U104.5

Gabriel Silverman: Hey, this is Gabe from Gecko Designs. We’re proud to sponsor Tell Us Something, learn more at geckodesigns.com.

Marc Moss: True Food Missoula. Farm to table food delivery. Check them out at truefoodcsa.com

Rockin Rudys The go to place for everything you never knew you needed! Visit them online at rockinrudys.com

Float Missoula – learn more at floatmsla.com, and MissoulaEvents.net!

Next week I catch up with Neil McMahon…

Neil McMahon: Go into some kind of line of work. That’s would give you much more material, you know, whether it’s, uh, like Michael Connolly was a journalist, obviously physicians, lawyers, whatever, , something besides swinging a hammer.

Marc Moss: Tune in for his story, and our conversation, on the next Tell Us Something podcast.

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. If you’re in Missoula, you can catch them playing live at The Union Club on May 14. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

To learn more about Tell Us Something, please visit tellussomething.org.

Four storytellers share their true personal stories live without notes on the theme "Stone Soup". A dramatic river rescue, bullets confiscated at TSA, a middle-aged woman cookin up an incredible stew and a man, a porcupine, a jar of pickles, and a little birdie.

Transcript : "Stone Soup" Part 1

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

We are currently looking for storytellers for the next Tell Us Something storytelling event. The theme is “Didn’t See That Coming!” If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 406-203-4683. You have 3 minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is May 27. I look forward to hearing from you.

Please remember to save the date for Missoula Gives May 5th through the sixth. Missoula Gives is a 24 hour online giving event. Remember to support Tell Us Something. During Missoula Gives, May 5th through the sixth. Learn more at missoulagives.org.

Tell Us Something acknowledges that we are in the aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispel people. The land we walk on, recreate on, grow our food on and live on is sacred land.Being mindful is a practice. We may not always be mindful of the gift that the land gives us and the wisdom that it has.We take this moment to honor the land and its Native people and the stories that they share with us.

This week on the podcast…

Tess Sneeringer: this big chunk of sandstone had broken out from under her and she’d fallen about 10 feet and she was standing and she was limping and complaining about her knee.

Joyce Gibbs: He looks at me, the TSA officer, and he says, I’m going to have to confiscate this. And I said, yes, yes, please do. Yes, take it. Do your job.

…four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Stone Soup”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on March 30, 2022 at The Wilma in Missoula, MT.

Lizzi Juda: Am I arrive at this place where I’m greeted by this beautiful man with a short lime green Tutu and these antenna and another man who’s wearing nothing but a tool belt.

Brent Ruby: There’s two camps when it comes to picking up hitchhikers, those that my wife and most of my coworkers are in and dammit, I just made eye contact with her. I have to stop. I have to. So I pulled over

Marc Moss: We wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. We are so grateful to the team at Blackfoot for their support. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Our first story comes to us from Tess Sneeringer. After her friend falls down a hill on a rock scree, Tess Sneeringer puts her training to work. She, along with several of her friends, paddle through the night to bring their injured friend to safety. Tess calls her story “All Aboard the River Ambulance ”. Thanks for listening.

Tess Sneeringer: So four of us were floating down the green river in Utah in two different canoes and they were tied together. And two of us were paddling. One of us was taking a power nap and the fourth person was managing some extreme pain with a substance that is now illegal in Montana. And it was two o’clock in the morning.

This trip had started earlier that day as the long awaited personal trip. After a grilling summer spent backpacking with teenagers in the woods and spirits were high when we launched earlier that day. And I remember when we pulled over for lunch on this beach, on the side of the river, I pulled up the canoe was sitting on the bow and was dipping crackers into hummus.

When I heard my friend Erica Yelp behind me and I look over and she’s about 20 yards downstream on the bank. And all I see is this cloud of sand stone dust. And she’s over there with our friend Christina. So I wander over, I guess what had happened is she had been climbing up this little bluff to get a picnic spot.

And this big chunk of sandstone had broken out from under her and she’d fallen about 10 feet and she was standing and she was limping and complaining about her knee and of the four of us, three of us, our wilderness first responders. And the fourth is an EMT. So we kind of dove into our knee assessment situation.

But at some point she looked up at me and she goes test. I think my back is bleeding and she was wearing a white sun shirt. So we hadn’t seen any blood, but I lift up her shirt and sure enough, I see a five inch long centimeter wide, just gaping wound as if someone had cut her with a knife. And it was sure enough slowly bleeding down her back.

So I put her shirt down and it takes every ounce of me to tell her, yes, your back is bleeding. I’m going to get the first aid kit. I’ll be right back. And I tried so hard not to sprint to the canoe and instead use that time to calm my own nerves down, get the first aid kit, come back. By that point, we had her laying face down.

Everybody had seen the cut at this point and Jack, the other trip mate and Christina had made a plan to try to go get cell phone service. And they’d put me in charge of first aid. And there I am standing over her with my desert rat, sun dress and my big floppy hat. And now two blue nitrile gloves thinking.

Okay. It is time to put you back together. And as I said, it was, uh, it looked like someone cut her with a knife and granted, we never found. Like slicer, but the first aid was relatively simple. So we were still waiting for Jack and Christina to get back. When she asked me, she goes test, why is everybody freaking out?

And I was just like, without trying to make her freak out, even more explained like, Hey, your cut is big enough that we’re worried about infection and your knee is enough in enough pain that we can’t be here for five days, which was the plan. So we got to go. And the way that this river works is we’re on the green river paddling towards the confluence with the Colorado river and the green river is Flatwater and the Colorado river is whitewater.

So you can’t just paddle out. You schedule a motor boat to pick you up at the beach. That’s the intersection of the two rivers. And we had scheduled a boat for five days from then. It was about a 50 mile trip. That’s a really relaxed river trip, 10 miles a day, plenty of time for side hikes, relaxing. So we had scheduled it for five days from then, but as we were looking through our paperwork from our outfitter and the permits, we saw that they’d given us a schedule of all the other boats that were coming. While we were on our trip, there was two boats, one, which was ours five days from now and the only other one scheduled was the very next morning at 10 o’clock. So we had to cover about 45 miles by 10 o’clock in the morning. But if you remember those teenage trips, one of the ones that I led the most often involved a canoe trip, and to make our mileage on the last day, we had a routine of waking the kids up at three o’clock in the morning, putting them in boats, tying the boats together and paddling this flotilla of canoes down a very similar desert river.

So I knew, I knew it could be done and doing some quick rough math. I thought we had just enough hours if we paddled through the night. So Jack and Christina get back from their short-lived attempt to find cell phone service. I pitched this plan to them, suggest that we paddle until dinner time, pull over, eat food.

Can’t forget to eat food. paddles, pull over sleep for a couple hours and launch again around midnight and paddle until we hopefully get to the boat. And as we were paddling that evening, they said yes to the plan as we were paddling, you know, we were booking it. So everybody we passed could tell we are in a situation where our boats are tied together.

And we’re paddling with like 80% effort. And everyone we passed, as soon as they learned what our situation was, they had something to give us. Someone had extra Vicodin from an old wisdom to surgery. I’m not kidding. They gave us new first aid supplies to change her dressing. And an older gentleman even offered us his paddling chocolate, which was weed chocolate for, for his arthritis, which was very, very generous.

And so we paddled, we executed that plan, just how I lined it out. And we launched again at midnight, after a horrible anxiety written hour of sleep. And we made it about two hours until Jack who’s in the front of my canoe, turns around and he’s like, Tess, I don’t know if this is going to work. I’m falling asleep.

I don’t know if we’re going to make it. And so we came up with new plan involving maps, , so that every 20 minutes, one of the three, paddler’s got to take a nap and cause we had tied the boat together, right? So there’s three paddlers. And we tried to make Erica as comfortable as we could. That’s a tall order when you have a bum knee, a huge gash in your back and it’s a metal boat, but we tried our best.

And when it was my turn to nap, I was out cold. I put my sleeping bag in my feet, I’d pull it over. Me and people had to shake me awake when it was my turn to paddle again. But we kept that rotation going all night long until finally the sun came up and we were tasked with figuring out where the heck we were, because all night I’d been trying to estimate like, how fast are we going?

How many hours have we been paddling? Continually trying to answer the question. Like, are we going to make it? And so when the sun came up, I had to use all that mental math to be like, okay, I think we’re about 15 miles away from the takeout and how the map works. River miles are labeled on the map. And in this case they were counting down to the confluence, but sure.

There’s a line on the map that says 15, but that doesn’t mean there’s like a steak on the side of the river that says 15. So instead it’s a topographical map and I’m having a lineup, natural features to what I’m seeing. And so, you know, I’d be like, okay, I think if we’re here, there should be two canyons on the right and a tributary on the left.

And then there’d be three canyons on the right. And I’m like, shit, I have no idea where we are. And I was probably trying to struggle with that for almost an hour, just constantly trying to line up reality to my map somewhere within the range of where I thought we were until finally we saw some folks breaking down a campsite and we knew that the campsites are kind of also labeled according to the river mile.

So if we knew what camp they were at, we would know how far away we were. So we shouted over and they shouted back that they are at camp four. So we weren’t 15 miles away. We are four miles away and we had plenty of hours to go. And at that moment we threw down our paddles. Erica shoots this like drugged out fist into the air.

We eat something. That’s not this stay on granola bar that we’ve been eating all night because at that point we knew we were going to make it. And sure enough, we pulled into the beach. There was a whole crowd waiting for their scheduled boat. But as soon as we. You know, they learned of our situation news spread fast.

And again, people had something for us. We got someone cooked bacon for us, the made coffee, someone set up a shade umbrella so that Erica could sit under the shade. It was like a super sunny beach. And there was even a surgeon there who had this beefy first aid kit and volunteered to clean out her wound again, which was super nauseating to watch.

But we got on the boat, we got her to the hospital. She ended up needing a lot of stitches and she had a torn ACL, which explains the knee pain. So after that moment, we split up to our respective fall seasonal gigs. But every time I think of this trip in many trips, since, you know, the reason I go on these trips often is to connect more intentionally with myself or the people I’m going with.

And explicitly not all the other people who are out there, the point is to get away. But in this situation, it was all those other people that made our evacuation safer, easier, smoother, and already I’ve been on another trip or I was approached in an evacuation for help. And I take great comfort knowing that that give and take will be a lifelong exchange among perfect strangers, as long as we continue to recreate in these wild places.

Thank you.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Tess.

Tess Sneeringer grew up escaping the suits and the stress of Washington, DC by following her older brother down the current of the Potomac River every summer. She is now settled in Missoula and works for Parks and Recreation.

Our next storyteller is a Tell Us Something storyteller alumni. You can listen to all of the stories that she’s shared on the Tell Us Something website: tellussomething.org. Joyce Gibbs has some very special hunting bullets confiscated at TSA, she resolves to get them back. “Only in Missoula. Only on Christmas.” or “If You Don’t Ask, You Can’t Hear Yes.”

Thanks for listening.

Joyce Gibbs: On December 25th, 2019, I was at TSA in the Missoula international airport. It was very early in the morning. And so mark and I were the only people at TSA. We clocked in with the clerk at the front, and then we went to the conveyor belt where we put our, took off our shoes and put our jackets down and put our backpacks down and took out the computer and then walked through the tunnel and assume the position.

And I walk out of the tunnel and the TSA officer says, is this your backpack? And I say, yes, it’s mine. This is my lucky backpack. I had had it for several years and. The best part. So far of this backpack was the day that we had already gone through TSA and the backpack contained a smell, a smell that had been ruminating in our house for several weeks.

I couldn’t find it. And we were at the gate of our plane and I realized this smell is attached to me. So I’m digging through, I’m taking things out of the backpack and I take out a box knife. I have already been through TSA and I show it to mark. And he says, you should put that away. And I said, yes, I should.

And put my hand into three rotten oranges. So thankfully the rotten oranges went into the garbage and, uh, I continued on that trip with my box knife. I actually made it through TSA again, and I still use that box knife every day. So I tell the TSA officer, yes, that is my backpack. Do you think you might have some bullets in here?

And I think, and I say, well, yes. Yeah, I probably do have bullets. They’re probably in that little pocket on the belt that I didn’t think to look in. And he opens up the pocket and he pulls out three pieces of ammunition for a 3 38, 6, actually improved hunting rifle. If you don’t happen to know what a 3 38 up six actually improved is it’s okay.

Because my father built this gun. It is a beautiful gun. It’s my hunting rifle. It also is something that you can not buy in a store, which means he also built that ammunition, which is something you cannot buy in a store.

He looks at me, the TSA officer, and he says, I’m going to have to confiscate this. And I said, yes, yes, please do. Yes, take it. Do your job. That’s awesome. Thank you. Thank you. I’m going to put my shoes on. I’m going to put my coat on. I’m going to go upstairs. We go upstairs and there’s my sister. I know she would be there.

My sister has come in on an early flight from Portland and she is. There to meet us to say hi to surprise later, to drive out to my parents’ house and surprise them for Christmas visits. So we get together at the gates they’re upstairs and she gives me the things that Santa Claus left at her house for me.

And I give her the things that Santa claw have left my house for her. And we sit and have a little chat for awhile because, you know, we had gotten there two and a half hours early. And as she’s about to leave, I start thinking like, okay, mark, stay here with the baggage. I’m going to go with Nessa. And we walk out to TSA and we walked to the clerk and I say earlier today, I got some bullets confiscated.

I’m wondering if I could have those back. And the clerk says, I’m going to have to ask my, my manager. And I’m like, okay, that’s fine. And there’s a couple people in TSA. So it weighed about five minutes. And, and, it’s the same gentleman who confiscated my bullets. And I tell him those are very precious bullets.

Those are. Bullets for a gun that my father made. And, he has to make all these bullets. And I don’t know if you know, , about reloading ammunition, but it is a, a very long process. First, you have to fire a cartridge, you have to fire the ammunition so you can get the brass casing that the bullet comes in, and then you collect a whole bunch of those.

And then you take out the primer from the brass casing, and then you tumble them in a rock tumbler to clean the brass of any residue that might be on them. And then you use calipers and very specifically, , find the measurements of the bullet to make sure that it will still be safe to have the cartridge to make sure it will safe, be safe to once again, pack with powder and put a new bullet in.

And so then you can then again, fire it, hopefully on a day that’s not too hot or not too humid because it might misfire if it was an extreme heat process, all these things, all this that my father has studied that he has perfected as a science for the last 60 years. And the TSA officer looks at me and he says, well, those already went to the safety office and I say, oh, okay.

He says, well, you go down to baggage claim and you take a right and you go to a glass door and knock on the glass door. And so my sister and I go down to baggage claim and there’s a glass, I promise there’s a glass door. You’ve never seen it. And you knock on the door. And this young Jew, this young woman comes out in her brown and tan Sheriff’s uniform with her pistol on her hip.

And she looks at me and she looks at my sister and she says, can I help you? And I say, this is my sister. And she’s leaving to go to my parents’ house. And you have some bullets that were confiscated from me that she might be able to take away to give to the person who actually made them today. And I’m going to go through TSA again and I’ll fly out of here if that’s all right.

If that’s okay. And she looks at me and she looks at my sister and she said,

She goes to, uh, the desk and she pulls out a number 10, 10 coffee can, and she kinda sticks her hands in it and does this swirl and, and there’s lots of clinking and it sounds like there’s like four box knives in there. And, and she pulls out three bullets for a 3 30, 8, 6 actually improved. And she says, are these them?

And I say, yeah, that looks like them. And I step away and she hands them to my sister and I say, thank you. And she says, Merry Christmas.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Joyce.

Joyce Gibbs is a resilient, creative and adventurous woman who was raised in Missoula. After a brief stint in New York City and then in New Orleans, she bought a dilapidated railroad house on Missoula’s Northside and spent the next 15 years remodeling it and making it her own. Joyce loves being in nature on Montana’s abundant rivers, and hiking and hunting in the woods. When she is not busy building beautiful spaces with her tile installation at Joyce of Tile, you can find her riding her motorcycle, gardening, going for neighborhood walks with her husband of 12 years, Marc (that’s me!), and their kitten Ziggy.

In our next story, Lizzie Juda finds awakening after middle age in a story that she calls “Something’s Cookin’ in My Pot”. Thanks for listening.

Lizzi Juda: thank you all for being here to support us and to listen to our stories. So I’m going to take advantage of this stone soup, uh, theme and tell you a bit about my journey through life, using the kettle or the pot as a metaphor for my self, my. Yeah. So I was born in the Midwest in the early sixties, and my pot was filled with Twinkies and canned spinach and three siblings and TV reruns, and overly salted broth.

And at the age of eight, my dad died and my mom disappeared into her scotch bottle. And this left this pot of ours that we called family with a massive crack in it. And nobody was talking about this crack. Nobody was doing anything that I could tell that was trying to repair the damage that was being done.

And so eventually this kettle of ours crumbled around our feet and I being the sensitive, intuitive caretaker that I am. Desperately tried to gather up all the shattered pieces and the scattered ingredients. And desperately tried to make some kind of magic brew or healing stew that would save us and that we could survive on.

And obviously this was impossible and exhausting. So I eventually left and came upon at the age of 20, my former husband who, Ooh, damn, I wasn’t going to cry. My farmer husband, who was this cast, iron stainless steel, nutrient dense kind of man. And he was like solid and grounded and a Virgo. And he, um, he contained me and grounded me in a way I had never experienced before I even wrapped a gold ring around myself for security and belonging.

And. Gladly just dumped my leaky brothy, cracked, sad self into his kettle and merged all my ingredients with his ingredients. And we lived with this nutritious and delicious life for years and years. And we created two really amazing children and have this beautiful life together. And then around midlife, I would say this grumbling and rumbling started quaking in my core to the point where I could not ignore it anymore.

And I knew it was time for me to take my pot and see if I could cook something up on my own. I needed to like figure out how to delineate what was my ingredients and what was all of the ingredients that were scattered around me. So I had been cooking in this one kitchen, my entire adult life. And as I left, I brought with me like this teeny little Bunsen burner and the.

Uh, flimsy little empty kettle and wandered around for quite a while, dazed and disoriented. And there was another D word in there, days disoriented and devastated and,

hungry as shit. And then I met this fiery powerhouse of a woman here in Missoula. And as we were getting to know each other, I started telling her that I was living on my own for the first time in my adult life. And I was trying to figure out like, how do you do relationships, where you can say what you need and you can receive support and don’t get lost in the sauce.

And she said, you need to check out this camp that is in Southern Oregon. I didn’t totally know what she was talking about, but I could feel this flame under me growing in intensity. And I could feel like water starting to swirl around inside my kettle. Like. She told me that this camp network for new culture is a place where people explore intimacy and personal growth in radical honesty and transparency.

And I just knew at that moment that that was the next step in my evolution. So two weeks later, I’m in my car heading to Southern Oregon for the first time on a solo road trip, since college, two long, hot, exhilarating days of driving. Am I arrive at this place where I’m greeted by this beautiful man with a short lime green Tutu and these antenna and another man who’s wearing nothing but a tool belt.

And I’m like, girl, you might’ve wanted to read the fine print because,

I knew no one at this camp. And I was saying to myself, Lizzie, this looks like some wild ass bull, yum that you may or may not want to put in your pot. So I stood around the edges and I. I’m a pretty open progressive earth mother, hippie chick kind of woman.

But I stood around the edges of this camp, like a wide-eyed coyote, checking out what the hell was going down. And I saw people picking up these handfuls of exotic herbs and spices and tossing them freely into their big old pots of stew. And then they were sharing their stew freely with all the other people.

And they were receiving this amazing stew back. And, they were nourished and they were fortified and they were, and I had, I was sitting there going, you know, I’ve like put like little sprinkles of salt in my bra and I wanted a taste of what these people were putting down. So, I have a minute left and I have like this much more of my story to tell you, so how am I going to shorten it?

Okay. So I’m going to tell you this part of it. So one day I went down to the river and I. I was hanging out with these people singing along the river and the harmonies were incredible and the sun was gorgeous and people are dipping in and out of the river laughing and telling stories and singing. And I got my courage up and I took a big breath and I stripped my clothes off and I got into the river and I could feel as I was standing there in front of people that I did not really know, I could feel this fear and this body shame and this sense of the cultural conditioning that I’ve carried around with me for my entire life.

Just start to

be carried down

by the waves of the river, down to the ocean. And I’ve been back to this camp many, many times, and I’ve learned to expand my ability to give and receive love. And I’ve learned how to. Merged deeply with people and then come back home to my own kitchen where I am cooking up this spicy organic Hardy, healthy, nutritious stew.

And I’m here to share it with everyone. And I know that I am being fed by this much bigger love that flows through all things. And it flows through you too.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Lizzi.

Lizzi Juda has been a proud resident of the westside of Missoula for nearly 33 years. She is founder and co-director of Turning the Wheel Missoula and has over 25 years experience teaching improvisational movement-classes, expressive arts groups, and ceremonial rituals. She is passionate about providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to play, move and connect deeply with themselves and express their creative spark. She is an absolutely avid advocate for accordion and alliteration artistry and is a wanna be beat poet. She considers movement and touch her first languages and is finding her way with words.She identifies most with being a mojo sprinkling pixie

Rounding out this episode of the Tell Us Something podcast, Brent Ruby buys a jar of pickes for a gathering with friends. No one ever opens the jar of pickles, so he brings it home. The hitchhiker he picks up along the way, is very happy to learn about this magic pickle jar.”Paws, Claws, Pickles and a Little Birdie”

Thanks for listening.

Brent Ruby: I didn’t know the dress

code,

so I have to start by saying, oh my Frick. I’m standing on the stage of the Wilma theater.

Did anyone see John Prine thing here?

Thank you.

Cause the rest of my life, I can say John Prine opened for me at the Wilma.

So a lot of people don’t like road trips and there’s a reason for that. And that’s okay if you don’t. It’s okay to admit it. Road trips force us to merge the things that are organized in our brains with the things that are unpredictable and the things that are practical and predictable get tangled with the unknown.

And that makes people uncomfortable. That’s okay. Some about 60 miles south of Dillon Montana on interstate 15, great stretch of

road.

There’s two camps. When it comes to the philosophy of roadkill, the first camp is my wife and most of my coworkers are in this camp and that is drive by that shit. I’m kind of in the other camp, which is if it’s interesting, if it’s feasible, if it hasn’t been there awhile and I’m stopping.

So I pull around. Get out of my big truck and I’m standing in the sun standing over a dead porcupine and my scientific brain is calculating, huh? It’s about 11 o’clock in the morning. When did it die? How old is it? Cause porcupines can live to be like 15, 18 years old. So I kick at it a little bit, look around there’s no one coming, taking this guy.

So

I grab it.

But before I moved it, I realized, you know, dead things smell. And this didn’t smell that bad. I mean, bed bath and beyond is not like saying, oh my gosh, this has got to be our next candle scent, but it wasn’t that bad until I picked it up. And then the smell got into my mouth. No, no matter. I still took it, put it in the truck and I’m on my way down to park city, Utah, where I was going to meet some colleagues for a multi-day meeting down there.

So we get, I get down to park city porcupine in tow, uh, or. And I meet up with my colleagues. And the first thing we do is go to the grocery store. And one of my colleagues says, okay, we need to just like hodgepodge potluck stuff for dinner, so get whatever you want. And we’ll put it together tonight. So I walk around the grocery store, still kind of smelling that porcupine.

And all I came up with was some shitty Utah, 3.2% alcohol grocery store beer, and an enormous jar of dill pickles. That was my contribution. But I did tell my colleagues, I don’t think we should eat the porcupine. So we ended up going to our condo, Airbnb, whatever, and, uh, having our meetings for the next few days.

Well, I, when we got there, I put the porcupine right in the freezer and the pickles. I put the pickles right on the counter. And for the next three, four days, nobody touched either of them. So the pickles just sat on the counter and I thought, well, okay, whatever, when it comes time for me to go, we’d separate.

And I’m like, I’m taking my stuff. So I grabbed my giant jar pickles. I mean, it’s, it’s that big, it’s big grabbed my giant jar of pickles and realized, oh, the porcupine can’t leave that in Airbnb freezer, probably penalties. But I thought I’ve sort of. Ben with that thing. It’s not fully salvageable. So I run next door to some fancy mountain bikers because it’s sparked city.

And I say, guys, I need an ax. Oh yeah, here you go. It’s a nice, it’s a pretty nice ax. And so I run back to the garage for wax and I had my four paws ditch, the rest of the porcupine and the garbage salvaged the paws and went into the kitchen and wash the ax off real good with soap and water and went back to the guys and said, thank you so much for the acts.

What do you need it for? Porcupine salvage. No big deal. So anyways, I load up my stuff. I load up my paws, my claws, and my pickles into my truck. And I’m heading north on interstate 15 and I’m about 60 miles south of Dylan. Again, it is just after a thunderstorm that kind of after a thunderstorm where the sun is so bright on the pavement and the rain is just evaporating off of that pavement.

So you can just feel it and see it leave the earth that rain, that same rain was thick on the Sage. In those Prairie’s so thick that, that Sage. With sneaking its way into the cab of the pickup truck. And it was awesome. I wish I had my sunglasses, but they were packed away with my paws and my claws.

That’s when I saw her. That’s when I saw her. And that’s when I saw her thumb. There’s two camps when it comes to picking up hitchhikers, those that my wife and most of my coworkers are in and dammit, I just made eye contact with her. I have to stop. I have to. So I pulled over, backed up. I get out of my truck, right.

Then she swings this big old backpack off of her shoulders. And I look at her and her shirt was stained with earth and strain and pain. And I said, oh my gosh, what can I, can I help you? You need help. And she says, if you could give me a ride to Lima, I would love it. I’m like, yeah, get in. I’ll grab your pack.

So she gets in the truck, I grabbed her pack. I’m like, whoa, damn. I said, girl only picked up one porcupine. How many gotten this backpack? Threw it in the back of my truck, got in the truck. And when I got in the truck, when both doors closed, there was the smell of human. Sweat

earth,

a bit of wet dog. It was so bad that I wished I had the porcupine in the backseat of the truck and she sticks her dirty handout and says, I’m birdie. Thanks so much for helping me. And she says, I don’t think I smell very good. And I said, no shit. And I said, Bernie, what are you doing? And I said, how can I help you?

And she says, I’ve been food lists for two days. I got chased by a grizzly bear, lightening storm, bad rain. And then I saw your truck and it was my hope to get out of this mess. And so I rambled up to the highway to get on, to get my thumb up in the air. And I said, I’m so happy to help you. I’ve got food. I, what can you, what can I do?

And she goes, I just got to get to the grocery store in Lima or Lima. And I said, well, what’s, what’s what’s tomorrow. What’s your plan? And she says, tomorrow, I’m coming right back here. I’m jumping back on the continental divide trail. I got to finish this thing. She was hunting it. So hiking it so solo. So I said, well, I can get you the Lima, but uh, I don’t know how you’re gonna resupply.

And she goes, I need to get to a grocery store. I said, birdie, there is no grocery store in Lima. And she said, I got silent. I said, I have all the food you need. I got plenty of food. And she goes, it’s not that the tears rolled down her dirty face and carved what looked like Topo lines from a map down her dirty cheeks.

And she said, food is not what I need. I have a ridiculous craving and have for the last two days

for pickles,

you’re taking up my time at that moment, whatever was playing on the radio, went silent. All of the angels from all of the people in Beaverhead county that had ever been hungry, tired, or perished on the Prairie, locked their wings in position. As I fumbled to reach over the seat to grab my giant ass bottle of pickles, I struggle over and get it onto the, onto the console.

And Birdie’s eyes were as big as the lid on that jar of pickles. And the tears came back following that same matter. Just ending up in a giant smile. At the end of her face, I pulled into Lima, we got out of the truck standing in the gravel and she insisted that we have a toast. She let me pick the first pickle out of the jar, which was good because her hands were filthy.

So we had a pickle toast in the Lima parking lot in the gravel. And I, we shared hugs, smiles, little tears, and I jumped back in the truck and started to drive away. And I caught birdie in the back rear view mirror of my truck. She was clutching that big ass jar of pickles and just kind of dragging her backpack along as dead weight.

And I queued up the John Prine. So what is the plan? What indeed is the plan? A little dirty birdie told me that there is no plan. All we have to do is add our own special ingredients.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Brent.

Brent Ruby is a research professor at the University of Montana and has been on a near 30-year quest to do good science. He also is committed to writing his own brand of ornery poetry during his relentless study of applied human physiology. One of Brent’s research goals is to effectively share his research findings to improve the health and performance of wildland firefighters. Brent spends time outside of his research in the great outdoors of Montana with his wife Jo and their border collies, Wrango and Banjo. Brent also enjoys building hollow wood stand up paddle boards, woodwork, art and writing children’s books. Check out his books, download free coloring book pages and more at wrangoandbanjo.com.That’s W-R-A-N-G-O-A-N-D-B-A-N-J-O.COM

Pretty great stories, right? I’ll bet you have a story to share. I’ll bet you do! And I’ll bet that you have a story to share on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming!” The next Tell Us Something live event is scheduled for June 27. It is an outdoor show and is guaranteed to be a lot of fun. Why not participate? Pitch your story on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming” by calling 406-203-4683. The pitch deadline is May 27. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch.

Please remember to save the date for Missoula Gibbs May 5th through the sixth. Missoula gives is a 24 hour online giving event. Remember to support? Tell us something. During Missoula Gibbs, May 5th through the sixth. Learn more at Missoula. gives.org.

Thanks again to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of Tile. If you need tile work done, give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my work at joyceoftile.com.

Marc Moss: Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits, U104.5

Gabriel Silverman: Hey, this is Gabe from Gecko Designs. We’re proud to sponsor Tell Us Something, learn more at geckodesigns.com.

Marc Moss: True Food Missoula. Farm to table food delivery. Check them out at truefoodcsa.com

Rockin Rudys The go to place for everything you never knew you needed! Visit them online at rockinrudys.com

Float Missoula – learn more at floatmsla.com, and MissoulaEvents.net!

Next week, join us for the concluding stories from the “Stone Soup” live storytelling event.

Rachel Bemis: I just wanted to let you know that I told Ruth about your trip. And I let her know that your travel companion canceled and that you didn’t feel comfortable traveling alone.

Darius Janczewski: when I defect in 1984 in Italy, I don’t remember worrying about consequences of my, uh, of my defection. No desertion. I don’t worry about, don’t remember worrying about my family and my friends or seeing my country.

Katrina Farnum: I’m like busy. Right. I got stuff to do. I got places to be. And all of a sudden, like, that’s it, there’s no more fuel and I’m coming to a stop, like at the worst spot.

Jeff Ducklow: Little yellow markers are everywhere. I don’t know what the hell is going on. And I see maybe a thousand feet away what could be a trail, but it’s super steep embankment. And I start going down and it’s ridiculously steep.

Marc Moss: Tune in for those stories on the next Tell Us Something podcast.

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. If you’re in Missoula, you can catch them playing live at The Union Club on May 14. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

To learn more about Tell Us Something, please visit tellussomething.org

This week on the podcast, I sit down with Laura King to talk about her story “My First Pregnancy”, which she told live onstage at Free Ceramics in Helena, MT in April of 2017. The theme that night was “The First Time”. We also talk about podcasting, a new podcast that she’s working on with her cousin in California.

Transcript : "My First Pregnancy" and Interview with Laura King

[music]

 

Laura King: Yeah, so actually I’m super excited about the project itself and gathering these stories. My cousin and I have two great uncles who are pretty interesting historical figures and lots of glass, , both lawyers, , and I’m a lawyer.

 

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

 

This week on the podcast, I sit down with Laura King to talk about her story “My First Pregnancy”, which she told live onstage at Free Ceramics in Helena, MT in April of 2017. 

 

Laura King: We can hear the heartbeat, which sounds great. The gestational SAC, which is what the baby starts out with. Looks good. So I left feeling reassured.

 

The theme that night was “The First Time”.

 

We also talk about podcasting, a new podcast that she’s working on with her cousin in California.

 

Laura King: So that’s kinda fun. one of them was very conservative and the other one was very liberal. So we’ve got a guy who is an FBI and involved in propaganda. , supporting Japanese internment, on the one hand. And then we’ve got, , the other guy who was, , a criminal defense attorney and, very active in, , you know, abolition of criminal punishment and, , the efforts early, early efforts to legalize marijuana.

 

Thank you for joining me as I take you behind the scenes at Tell Us Something — to meet the storytellers behind the stories. In each episode,  I sit down with a Tell Us Something storyteller alumni. We chat about what they’ve been up to lately and about their experience sharing their story live on stage. Sometimes we get extra details about their story, and we always get to know them a little better.

 

Before we get to Laura’s story and our subsequent conversation…

 

I am so excited to tell you that the next in-person Tell Us Something storytelling event will be March 30 at The Wilma. 

 

The theme is “Stone Soup”. 7 storytellers will share their true personal story without notes on the theme “Stone Soup”. 

 

We are running at 75% capacity, which allows for listeners to really spread out at The Wilma. Learn more and get your tickets at logjampresents.com

 

Laura King shared her story in front of a live audience at Free Ceramics in Helena, MT in April of 2017. The theme was “The First Time”. Laura King, a 32 year old married to her high school sweetheart, becomes pregnant and has to juggle that with the stress of being in law school. Her first ultrasound is an internal ultrasound at five weeks and goes well. She returns home and has to go back to the hospital after complications arise. Thanks for listening.

Laura King:

This story is about a pregnancy, and you might notice that I’m pregnant right now. It’s not about this pregnancy, but it’s about my first pregnancy, which occurred when I was in my last year of law school. I was a third year law student at Harvard law school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was 32 years old.

My husband not. Uh, our high school sweethearts. So at that point we had been together for 16 years, married for eight. So this was a long time in coming, but we had put it off and put it off. And we’re finally feeling like, well, there’s no time. Like the present, let’s just dive in. I got pregnant easily. I was thrilled to be pregnant.

I very much wanted this, but as much as I wanted it, That level of anticipation also seemed to create an equal level of nervousness and dread about what might go wrong. So I think it was because I was so nervous that I was ear for reassurance, and it’s unusual to have an ultrasound at five weeks pregnant, but at about five and a half weeks, I organized two.

Go in and have an ultrasound. And at that point they can’t do an external ultrasound. The baby is too tiny, tiny, so they do an internal one, which means putting a wand up inside and getting as close as possible to the baby. And they did this and found a heartbeat. They said, your baby’s doing just fine.

We can hear the heartbeat, which sounds great. The gestational SAC, which is what the baby starts out with. Looks good. So I, I left feeling. I went home couple hours later started bleeding. So I was extremely frightened. I called them right away. I’m bleeding. What’s going on? Oh, that’s probably okay.

It’s a common response. When you have an internal ultrasound, have a little bit of bleeding, the cervix is sensitive. So I took a deep breath and all right, well, would you like to come back in? And I did. So I came back in, they did another ultrasound internal again, this time they said we can’t find the heartbeat.

They gave me a little cup. They said it’s Columbus day weekend. The clinic will be closed. If you do have a miscarriage, please collect the specimen in this cup, keep it in your refrigerator over the weekend. Bring it to us. I was crushed. It was so clinical, this passing of the cup to me, I was in tears. I went home.

I got a bee in my bonnet that I should take. Herbal miscarriage prevention T and I looked online to see what combinations I might create. I called it my husband. He had the car, we had one car. He had the car at work. I said, can you take me to get these herbs? I really need them. I’m bleeding. I think I’m miscarrying.

He said, I can’t leave work. I’m busy. So I decided I’d take matters into my own hands and take away. I wasn’t used to taking buses in the city. I was so close to school that I usually walked. So I figured out the schedule, I found myself on a bus, still bleeding, and also on my lap was my law school work, which I was having this crisis.

And at the same time, I thought, well, maybe it’s not a crisis. Maybe I just have to continue doing this routine of, uh, preparing for my advanced environmental. So I’m reading a Supreme court case on a recent Supreme court case on environmental law. As I’m on the bus to whole foods to get these herbs, they don’t have them at whole foods.

My husband comes home. He takes me to another store. We finally get the herbs and I’m doing cups and cups of tea. And in the meantime, hoping that nothing will come out to fill this other cup that I’ve been given. I call people in my. Family who could help me? I call my mother-in-law who had four miscarriages during law school, no seven miscarriages during law school.

She also bled through one of her pregnancies. And so she told me maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s something you just have to wait and see, I called my sister and my mom. Had miscarriages and, um, they didn’t have much reassurance to offer. My sister said, oh, maybe it’s just implantation bleeding. I said, oh no, that would have happened two weeks ago.

That’s when the baby burrows in and implants, this is much later. Well, the bleeding didn’t stop. It got worse. Despite the tea, the tea seemed to do nothing but a fuel. The liquid that was coming out, I was in bed. For the next three days, as things got more bleak and the pain got intense, it was worse than my birth experience with my son, which was unmedicated.

12 hours and ended in a C-section. So maybe I didn’t get to the point where it really hurt, but in any case, this miscarriage was painful and it did end, um, with, uh, a little person coming out and I put that little person in the cup and put the cup in their refrigerator. Well, a couple months went by and I let my.

He’ll a bit and we decided to try again and again, I got pregnant easily and I wondered am I going to be like my mother-in-law with seven miscarriages during law school? During this stressful time, I was so worried and I ordered online a relaxation, CD pregnancy relaxation. And I remember lying on my bed, the same bed where I.

I felt this pain and all this resistance to having this, to losing this baby and the ma the relaxation CD instructed me to think of a place that I felt comfortable. I imagined myself on a beach. It instructed me to imagine myself holding my baby, which I did. I imagined myself walking from the sand, into the.

Letting the waves lap against my feet and holding my baby up in the air. And it was really nice. It was really peaceful. And then I had an experience that I’ve never had before, since I felt a true communication coming through. And I, I heard or felt my baby say to me, mama, I’m coming. I’m coming. And I felt this wave of relief.

And after that, I didn’t worry. And the months went on and he did come and I have a beautiful three-year-old boy. And one of my friends later said, you know, if you hadn’t had that miscarriage, you wouldn’t have Jeffrey, your beautiful son, but I don’t think of it that way, that other little. Person was important too.

I don’t think it’s worth discounting that, that other little being who didn’t quite make it to the finish line. Okay. .

Marc Moss:

As the mom of an 8-year-old boy and his four year old brother, Laura King gets the chance to tell two or three stories a day, mostly about spiders, fairies, and superheroes. She was, at the time she shared her story, also a lawyer with the Western Environmental Law Center in Helena. There she told stories about arbitrary and capricious government action (and weaves in spiders, fairies, and superheroes where possible). She has since moved to California to focus on a story that will take a long time for her to tell. We’ll get into that more during our conversation. Thanks for listening.

I caught up with Laura in June of 2020.

Marc Moss: [00:00:00] Hello? Hello, Laura. Hi mark. How are you? Good morning. I’m well, how are you? Good. So I’m recording this right now by line. I have to say that

Marc Moss: I listened to your story this morning. Yeah. I haven’t listened to it a long time. Have you listened to it? I

Laura King: haven’t. No.

Marc Moss: Well, before we get into that, how are you?

Laura King: I’m doing really well. I’m um, yeah, just at home, working on some writing and I’ve got my dog here at my feet to beautiful day here in

Marc Moss: Helena.

Marc Moss: And your kiddos six now.

Laura King: Yeah, I’ve got Jeffrey has six and Nate who’s two.

Marc Moss: Oh my gosh.

Laura King: And they’re actually in school. We have a. They go to a private Montessori, [00:01:00] which reopened. So I have a little free time every day. It’s a shorter schedule, but, , they’re in

Marc Moss: school. Are they going to be in school for the entire summer?

Laura King: Yeah, I think so. We’re gonna be taking some time off, , going to California and a couple of days, but for most of the summer they’ll be in

Marc Moss: school. Yeah. What’s happening in California.

Laura King: So one thing that I wanted to talk to you about is happening in California, which is I’m doing an audio storytelling project with my cousin, , which I’m excited about.

Laura King: And it involves interviewing my dad and his dad. , so that’s one reason we’re going, we’re just also going to see our families

Marc Moss: cool, like Northern health.

Laura King: It’s Southern California LA areas.

Marc Moss: Yeah. , have you figured out how logistically you’re going to do the recordings? Like what equipment you’re using and stuff?

Laura King: That is [00:02:00] a great question. So my cousin who I’m doing this project with, , is a podcaster and, and we’re thinking of this as a podcast, he recommended. Eh, so I have a little recording device because I’ve been doing, , interviews, but not, , you know, just for my own, like I take a transcript of them. Yeah. , so I have a little recording device and he recommended getting just a simple external microphone. , but then I was also talking to a friend who is a, a guy who’s done PRX. , Pieces. And he was like, no, that’s not adequate. So I don’t know if you had any recommendations. I’d love to hear them.

Marc Moss: I mean, it sounds like your PRX friend is going to have better recommendations than me, but it is interesting.

Laura King: Thank you.

Marc Moss: Yeah, but I love this idea for the project. What, is the impetus for this?

Laura King: Yeah, so actually I’m super excited about the project itself and gathering these stories. My cousin and I have two great uncles who are pretty interesting [00:03:00] historical figures and lots of glass, , both lawyers, , and I’m a lawyer.

Laura King: So that’s kinda fun. , one of them was very conservative and the other one was very liberal. So we’ve got a guy who is an FBI and, , involved in propaganda. , supporting Japanese internment, , on the one hand. And then we’ve got, , the other guy who was, , a criminal defense attorney and, , very active in, , you know, abolition of criminal punishment and, , the efforts early, early efforts to legalize marijuana.

Laura King: I’m in California. So I kind of two interesting figures who are also connected the movie industry. Um, my family has connections to Warner brothers and the conservative guy became the head of, um, security for, for Warner brothers. So I think we’ve got some interesting stories that we can, uh, in our, both of our dads.

Laura King: [00:04:00] Um, my cousin and I, um, our dads are getting older. So now we feel a good time to go get their stories and tell these stories, which, um, really have not been very well recorded, but we think maybe of interest more broadly than

Laura King: I’m already fascinated. I’m going to subscribe to this podcast when it comes out.

Laura King: And you have so many directions that you could take.

Laura King: Yeah, that’s true. And we don’t know all the stories yet either. Um, one of the other interesting stories is that, uh, our aunt, um, niece of these two great uncles was Joan Anderson. Who, um, do you know that Joan Anderson letter, Neil Cassidy’s, uh, Joan Anderson letter.

Marc Moss: Anyway,

Laura King: because she was part of the beat movement [00:05:00] and I’m kind of involved in that scene. There’s a possibility that she was the Joni Anderson and the letter. We kind of don’t think she was, but, um, you know, my husband and I were talking about creating kind of a citizen Kane framework where you kind of build up these interesting, uh, Ideas that might turn into something and maybe they don’t need to anything at all, but it’s, if that’s the hook and it gets the listener interested in hearing the stories and also creates a platform for telling other stories that kind of branch off from, from the main hooks

Marc Moss: Rosebud.

Laura King: Yes.

Marc Moss: Background or training in how to collect stories like this. Cause it seems fascinating. And I, I, I really would love to hear what direction you want to take this. Cause I’m, I’m trying not to like plant seeds where I want to see you take it. Cause.[00:06:00]

Laura King: Lance, my cousin brought the project to me. And I think in part, because he thought, you know, I’m a lawyer and I can help him do the foyer requests, but I also got really interested in just the storytelling aspect of it. Um, And yeah, I don’t have, you know, I’ve been doing for the past six months, I’ve been doing interviews and writing profiles.

Laura King: Um, so there’s that piece of it that I’ve had, you know, just a little bit of experience with, but, um, this is all pretty new and exciting

Marc Moss: for me. It’s yeah. I mean, you might have more than one project on your.

Laura King: Yeah, well, his concept is that we would do like a series of, they would turn into like six to eight episodes, um, that we’ll see how it shapes how ha how it takes shape as [00:07:00] we gather the stories from our dads.

Marc Moss: Yeah. Have you thought about like what potential directions you could take it as far as, I mean, do you have any sort of story about.

Marc Moss: Well, I’m just thinking like, there certainly is the family aspect and getting some family stories and family history. There’s also the law aspect of historical perspective of law stuff that, that both of those men dealt with most interested in hearing how they feel about what’s going on. Right. With like defunding the police and the Brians and all of that stuff.

Marc Moss: I mean, it seems like, and maybe they’re all in maybe can time altogether, but it seems like there’s also some standalone storytelling options with each one of those subjects that I just mentioned. And those are the only the ones that come to mind off the top of my head. [00:08:00] And I don’t even know these men.

Laura King: That’s interesting. Okay. So yeah, I guess, yeah, it does. Um, it would make sense to once we have all the stories, figure out how they fit together and how they can be told, um, whether it’s, you know, each episode as a standalone or is there a, are there larger themes that we can also connect to present time?

Marc Moss: One thing that I think about as far as storytelling and being a responsible storyteller is if you’re a good storyteller. One of the things that you do is you anticipate questions that your listeners might have, and you try to, you try to answer those questions while you’re telling the story. So the questions that you have.

Marc Moss: Are important. And then think about the questions that [00:09:00] other people might have to answer and try to answer those or, or dismiss them and just acknowledge like, yes, these are, these are things that you might want to know about, and we’re not going to talk about them.

Marc Moss: I can’t wait to hear this.

Marc Moss: Do you have a target date for releasing?

Laura King: No. And so, as I mentioned, , we’re also putting together, FOYA requests for information from the FBI about both of these men. , so it may be that it takes a while to get that information, you know, it could be a year or two years. , so I have a feeling that we’re, you know, we’re going to get audio.

Laura King: Now we’re going to start working in this up, but it may be a slow walk to process as we wait for the other information to trickle on. Right.

Marc Moss: Well, I don’t know how I can help, but if there’s any way that I can help, please tell me. [00:10:00] Yeah, absolutely. Is there anything else that you wanted to tell me about stuff that you have going on or projects that you’re cooking up?

Laura King: So I quit my job as a lawyer, I was working for a nonprofit Western environmental law center, which is an awesome organization. And I’m now working as a freelancer for them doing not law, but writing and storytelling. And I’m, ,

Laura King: Doing these profiles, kind of new Yorker style profiles of the attorneys. And what I love about it is they’re just giving me free reign to do it in the way that I want to do it. , so I’m having a lot of fun with that.

Laura King: I have been trying to as much as possible, you know, have like kind of a general idea of some things I am interested in asking them about, but I also try to just be present to the conversation and let it move in the way that it wants to move. , and, and just be present to them as they are. [00:11:00] You know, like I, I have Lily’s asked about their childhood, , and that often yields interesting, , stories that they, for example, I was interviewing someone recently and she said, well, you know, I haven’t thought about that in a long time, but that is an important part of my personal story.

Laura King: And, , so cool, cool. Things like that and just, you know, trying to keep it to, to, , The story of why they care about the environment and, , you know, why now what’s, what, what are the big issues that are, , bubbling up in your mind and your heart right now? And how are you facing them or, , bringing your energy to them.

Marc Moss: Why do you care about this work that you’re doing?

Laura King: I think that’s a great question. Yeah. I really feel like these, , you know, in some way it’s like, oh, profile’s about lawyers. That’s so boring. I’m like, you know, and their lawyers who deal with science and [00:12:00] that’s so boring, but you can humanize it, you know, because they do care passionately about what they’re doing and to tap into that, , can be really powerful.

Marc Moss: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that’s awesome. When and how are those being used? Are they just being pushed out on, on the website for the attorneys? Yeah,

Laura King: yeah, yeah. I’ve got it. I’m the communications director is doing the visuals and he’s doing a nice job with that. Cool.

Marc Moss: Let’s talk about your story that you told us.

Marc Moss: Tell us something. What was that like for you to tell that story? I mean, it’s pretty much.

Laura King: Yeah. You know, it was cathartic and I’m glad that I told it. I, um, when I had a miscarriage afterward, I was sharing it with some close girlfriends and suddenly it became clear to me that having a miscarriage is a really [00:13:00] common experience, but it’s one of those things that people don’t talk about.

Laura King: And I felt, um, good. About making the decision to go and share that story in public, because I feel like it’s a topic that needs to be talked about and doesn’t need to be a shameful topic that we, you know, hide. And it’s just a female topic and we can’t talk about it in public. Um, so yeah, it was, it was, uh, a powerful experience for me.

Marc Moss: What was the response of people in your community after they heard that?

Laura King: you know, I remember a couple of people coming up to me afterward and thanking me for telling me, telling the story. , I definitely felt a sense of yes. That, you know, this is something that we share and we appreciate you coming out with that.

Marc Moss: Yeah. I mean, it’s, [00:14:00] it was a brave story to tell. , and it’s, I asked you. , to tell a story, not knowing anything about you, because Aaron Parrett said that you’d be good at this. Yeah. , and so I didn’t know where, where you would go. , and then when you said, this is what you wanted to do, I was like, absolutely because this story, I’ve never heard that story, you know?

Laura King: Yeah. And it’s one of those topics that there are so few stories told about it that it’s like a blank slate, like, well, what was my experience of it? , you know, there’s no like set idea I have about how I should have reacted to it. So that was an interesting angle to come

Marc Moss: at it. Yeah.

Laura King: Yeah, well, it says there’s some, you know, there’s kind of the protocol and you get pregnant that you don’t say anything for three months until the day he is solid. , I love that idea. Well, you know, I’m pregnant and you know, whether or [00:15:00] not it comes to term, this is what’s happening and, and I’m going to be public about it.

Marc Moss: I like that. Yeah. It’s, it’s incredible.

Marc Moss: Anything else you want to say about your story?

Laura King: No, I just, I really appreciated the opportunity of that, that you gave of having a platform to tell it. So thank you for that.

Marc Moss: Oh, you’re welcome. I mean, that’s what I’m doing.

Laura King: Well, yeah. And it was just really fun, you know, it’s fun having these events and hearing everyone’s stories in the community, , it connects you to people in a way that is not always available when you’re just socializing,

Marc Moss: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Laura.

Laura King: Thank you so much. This was really fun to talk to you. Yeah.

Marc Moss: And seriously with your new project. If, if there’s anything that you think that I might be able to have. Please call me or text or email, whatever, and let me know how I can help.

Laura King: Awesome.

Marc Moss: All right, well, [00:16:00] have a fantastic morning. You bet. Bye bye.

Marc Moss:

Thanks, Laura. And thank *you* for listening today. 

 

Next week, I catch up with Neil McMahon

 

Neil McMahon:  Get some kind of, uh, go into some kind of line of work. That’s a lot more conducive that’s not the right word, but, , you know, what that means would give you much more material, you know, whether it’s, uh, like Michael Connolly was a journalist, a lot of people have done that.

obviously physicians, lawyers, whatever, uh, something besides swinging a hammer, Uh, you know, which I did for much of my life….

 

Marc Moss: Tune in for his story, and our conversation, on the next Tell Us Something podcast.

 

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

 

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

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was a little broadcasting company. Learn more at missoulabroadcasting.com. Float Missoula. Learn more at floatmsladotcomandmissoulaevents.net podcast production by me, Marc Moss. Remember to get your tickets for the next in-person tell us something storytelling.

I live at the Willma on March 30th, tickets and more information at logjampresents.com. To learn more about tell us something, please visit tell us something.org.

In this episode of the podcast, Brian Upton sits down with Tell Us Something Executive Director Marc Moss to talk about his story “Parting Ways with Henry Miller in Egypt”, which he told live onstage at The Top Hat Lounge in Missoula, MT in June 2015. The theme that night was “Oops! I Changed my Mind!”. They also talk about his extended family in Egypt, about Henry Miller and separating the art from the artist, and about the atmosphere at a Tell Us Something live in-person event.

Transcript : "Parting Ways With Henry Miller in Egypt" story and Interview with Brian Upton

[music]

Brian Upton: My stress just was on a huge upward trajectory about that book and who may find it or how I can get rid of it before somebody nails me for violating Egypt anti-pornography laws.

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

This week on the podcast, I sit down with Brian Upton to talk about his story “Parting Ways with Henry Miller in Egypt”, which he told live onstage at The Top Hat Lounge in Missoula, MT in June 2015.

Brian Upton: one thing I’m appreciating about this conversation is that I can also set the record straight because that was, that was definitely kind of traumatic for me. , but really the defining, , Aspect of that trip was getting to meet my wife’s family and the relatives.

The theme that night was “Oops! I Changed my Mind!”.

We also talk about his extended family in Egypt, about Henry Miller and separating the art from the artist, and about the atmosphere at a Tell Us Something live in-person event.

Thank you for joining me as I take you behind the scenes at Tell Us Something — to meet the storytellers behind the stories. In each episode, I sit down with a Tell Us Something storyteller alumni. We chat about what they’ve been up to lately and about their experience sharing their story live on stage. Sometimes we get extra details about their story, and we always get to know them a little better.

Before we get to Brian’s story and our subsequent conversation…

I am so excited to tell you that the next in-person Tell Us Something storytelling event will be March 30 at The Wilma.

The theme is “Stone Soup”. 7 storytellers will share their true personal story without notes on the theme “Stone Soup”.

We are running at 75% capacity, which allows for listeners to really spread out at The Wilma. Learn more and get your tickets at logjampresents.com

Brian Upton shared his story in front of a live audience at the Top Hat Lounge in Missoula, MT in June of 2015. The theme was “Oops! I Changed my Mind!”. Brian Upton buys Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn at Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France. He begins reading the book in Alexandria, Egypt and discovers that the book is considered pornography in Egypt. Thanks for listening.

Brian Upton: It started out in Arab spring 2011 and the Tahrir square revolution in Egypt, my wife, Dina, and I decided that it would be a good time to take our kids are eight and 10 year old kids to Egypt to see the country and to see their family and relatives. My wife’s parents had come over from Egypt and she was born here, but her mom actually brought her to Alexandria, Egypt to go to an American school.

So she has dual citizenship and she actually had an Egyptian passport at the time. She’d met her relatives and family, but I’ve never been to Egypt. Our kids had never been there and they’d never met the family. So it was a really exciting. When Deena booked the tickets over there, she got lucky and she was able to get a three-day layover in Paris on the way to Egypt.

So how great was that? I was excited because there’s a spectacular bookstore there called Shakespeare and company that I’d never been to. I don’t know how many of, you know, Shakespeare and company, but for those that don’t, it’s a hundred year old bookstore. That was a favorite haunt of the lost generation and all sorts of cool characters.

And I wanted to check that place out. So we take our trip, we get to Shakespeare and company. It’s fantastic bookstore. I wanted to find it a cool book, a great souvenir of that bookstore to take with me something I can’t just find anywhere I was coming up dry. So I thought, well, I’ll just come up with a book by somebody that had a connection there.

And I thought Henry Miller, I’ve never read any Henry Miller and Tropic of cancer is supposed to be a big deal. So I’ll get that. I go to the Henry Miller section. Of course there’s no Tropic of cancer. So, I don’t know any other Henry Miller books. I just look at the shelf and I see a book called Tropic of Capricorn.

So good enough. It’s a Tropic. So I picked up Tropic of Capricorn. That’s my souvenir of Shakespeare and company stuff. It in the suitcase, we finish up Paris, go to Egypt, go to Cairo, go to Alexandria, fantastic trip meeting my wife’s relatives, my relatives now. And, uh, it was just super, I started reading Henry Miller for the first time in Alexandria on our last night there.

Our next stop was flying up to upper Egypt in Luxor where the valley of the Kings are in a number of temples. Luxor in the nineties was the site of a terrorist attack on tourists at one of the temples there. And as a result of that, Egypt has co-opted the military to be security for the tourist infrastructure down in Luxor.

So what that means is when we get to our hotel in Luxe, We go through a metal screener and there’s military people acting as security in the hotel lobby, which is kind of unusual, really nice lobby, very comfortable lobby. So actually that night after we’d gone out in the town and we got back to the hotel room, everybody was ready to go to sleep except me because I’m still jet lagged.

So the kids in Dina want the lights out and going to sleep. I told Dean and I’ll just read down in the lobby. And so I get my Henry Miller book out and I say, I’m going to go down the lobby. And Dina says you can’t do that. I said, why can’t I do that? I’m just going to go down to the lobby to read. And she looks at the book and she says, that’s pornography.

And my face is all wrinkled up. I look at the book and oh, and the cover of the book, which I didn’t really think about when I grabbed it in Paris was a very tastefully done, black and white photo of a woman. From the knees up to the neck, which was all Henry Miller cared about. If any of you have read Henry Miller, it all makes sense.

But did I say it was tastefully done because it was tastefully done very skimpy panties, no top. So in Egypt, absolutely. That qualifies as pornography. So I put the book away and got another book, went down to the lobby, read that and everything. I watched the military men go up and down the lobby hallway while I’m sitting on my comfortable couch.

I go back up to the room to get to sleep. And you know how nighttime is the time when all the great worries come out? Well, I I’m trying to get to sleep in, uh, the gravity of this situation has impressed upon me that I am sitting here in Egypt with pornography, with contraband and. I was dialed right back to high school.

When I was in high school, I was in model UN and I remember reading a whole bunch of accounts of primarily Westerners that were caught in developing world countries with contraband, usually drugs and the things that happened to them in prison. And it terrified me. And I remember vividly thinking, I will never go to a country where I could even conceivably be caught with contraband and have something like that happen to me.

So I’m on my family vacation with my children in a country like that, carrying contraband, and now I’m stressed. And I’m also remembering by the way, for anyone that remembers midnight express the movie, not midnight run the Robert DeNiro movie, but midnight express about the American that got caught with contraband and Turkey and sentenced to life in prison and a Turkish prison, not an uplifting movie.

And I remember when I saw that in college. It reinforced. I will never go to a country like that and be caught with contraband. It’s not going to happen. I will avoid those. So that was my thinking for the night. And the next morning when we got up, I was concerned at that book is sitting in the room and whoever’s going to clean the room.

I’d come across this pornography, be alarmed, contact the military, my pipeline to prison. So I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t throw it away. I would, I didn’t feel like I could stuff it under a mattress. Cause I thought. Maybe I might look under the mattress for things like this and B if they’re just making the bed, they might come across it.

So I did the only thing I could do, which was just wrap it up in a shirt, stick it in a bag, wrap up the bag and some more clothes and put it in the middle of my suitcase and hope my suitcase doesn’t get ransacked by. And it worked. We went out, saw valley of the Kings, had a great day, put it out in my mind, all was well.

And same day or next day, same thing. It was pretty much out of my mind for the most part at night, I was still worried about midnight express, but where everything amped up was our next leg of the trip. And our final leg of the whole Egypt vacation was to go to Sharmel shake on the Sinai. The red sea. So we have to fly from Luxor to Cairo and then back over to Sharmel shake.

And I’ve got the book in my suitcase because I don’t have a good place to dispose of it. And there’s military patrolling in the lobby. So I’m nervous and all of my high school model, UN torture accounts and midnight express recollections are just forefront of my head. There’s nothing to be done. So we checked the suitcase and I just hoped.

Nobody was going to be looking in the suitcase. And all I could think of was, I don’t know if the airline personnel rifle through suitcases here. I don’t know if airport security rifles through suitcases, if they do random checks. But when we went to Egypt, there were far less tourists because of the economy and the political situation than there typically are.

So the odds of my suitcase being ransacked in my pornography, contraband found were much higher than they otherwise would be. And I was thinking about. But when we finally get to the airport at Shama shake, we go to the baggage carousel. I am not panicking, but I’m nervous and I’m waiting for the bag to come out.

And, you know, I don’t know if you guys have the same experience. I do my bags always the last one out, regardless of the airport. So I had that in mind and I was prepared, but we waited for a long time for the bags to come out. And finally my son suitcase comes out. Okay, good. That means our suitcases are here.

That’s good. And then after a while my daughter, Alex, his suitcase comes out. Good. We wait still no suitcase for me. We wait, my wife’s suitcase comes out. Okay. That’s good. Three to four. Where is my suitcase. So I’m waiting and waiting. And finally the baggage carousel stops and my suitcase isn’t there.

What are the odds that only my suitcase is not showing up? I mean, that’s, what’s screaming in my head amongst all the visuals of midnight express. So there weren’t a whole lot of English speakers there, but Dina speaks Arabic and she was able to find one of the airline staffers who’s assured her that there were no other suitcases.

So my suitcase was gone. He said, he’d make some calls. So we waited for 20 minutes and I’m sweating. He comes back and assures us that the suitcase is in Cairo. It got held up. He doesn’t know why he will look into it and give us a call at the hotel. So rather than spontaneously combust, Tried to clamp everything down for the sake of the children.

And we all went to the hotel and I was getting panicky at this point. I was a little panicky because this was way too close to midnight express in the prison pipeline than I ever wanted to be. And I was legitimately nervous. So we go there and then Deena and I are trying to have the conversation with.

Explaining to the kids. Exactly. What’s going on, how daddy brought contraband at Egypt. And we were trying to have the conversation about who’s going to go back to the airport when we get this call. And what’s that call going to sound like? So we’re talking about that and I say, look, this is my bag. So I should go there because it’s not your problem.

You shouldn’t have to go there. And if something happens with it, then I should be the one to be there. Dina is much more logical smart and everything else than I am. And she pointed out the fact that I can’t communicate with anybody at the airport valid point. And she also, which I found out later, she was putting on a good face.

Cause she was as panicked as I was. But at the time I didn’t know that. And she said, I’m sure this is just a mix up. And it’s just like a random mistake. So let me go to the airport and clear it up. Oh, We got a call after we sweated all afternoon. And all I can think about was what I’ve already told you.

And we waited all afternoon for that call and I’m trying to figure out how do we react when one of us is arrested in a foreign country and the other has to take care of the kids and get them back. What’s the number of the consulate. We finally get a call and they said our suitcases here, so we can go pick it up.

And that’s all they told us. So at least there’s no bad news over the phone. There was no military guy knocking on our door, but Dina goes off to the airport. And so I’m left with the kids and I’m just realizing, you know, she is not only in Egypt’s eyes and Egyptian citizen, but I’m also realizing that the bag that I use for this.

Was her suitcase and had her identification on it. So if they rifled through and found our pornography in our suitcase, it would have her name on it. And she’s an Egyptian citizen. And that could make things a lot more difficult if we’re trying to extricate ourselves out of criminal charges in Egypt. So that’s how I managed to ramp up the stress level in my head while she was gone.

And it was kind of a fever pitch. She comes back finally after about 45 minutes and she’s got. And my suitcase is unmolested and Henry Miller is in the middle of it all wrapped up, just like it wasn’t Luxor. So that was a huge relief. And then my whole crescendo of panic and stress and midnight express was receding, but it left a heavy residue of paranoia because now I see this book, this Henry Miller book that I don’t want to see again, that’s ruined my vacation, caused me more stress.

In years, I’m getting rid of this book. How do I get rid of the book? Because the wastebasket, the mattress thing, it’s the same as the hotel in Luxor. I don’t have a good choice here. So I just decided I’m, I’m destroying the book. I’m going outside. That’s our wastebaskets in the hallways. I’m going to destroy it.

I told Dina that and she said, all you have to do is rip up the cover. The rest is fine, and I’d read enough of the Henry Miller book already to realize it. If somebody were to see me throw out the book, fish it out and leave. The text is much more pornographic than the tastefully done, black and white photo on the cover.

So I didn’t want to risk it because I was completely paranoid at this point. So paranoid that rather than use the wastebasket on our hallway, I went up to slights of stairs. I told Dean and the kids I’m going to meet you in the restaurant go. So they left. I went up two flights of stairs. I ripped up the.

And I didn’t want to just throw the book in the wastebasket because you all realize that somebody could just walk around the corner out of the elevator and see me fish out the book and then pipeline to prison. So I figured if I had defaced that nobody would fish it out of the wastebasket. So I’m just frantically tearing up the pages, stuffing them in the waistband.

I bought a quarter of the book, go down a flight of stairs, repeat, go down a flight, skip my floor because I’m not going to have the incriminating evidence on my floor. I’m a smart criminal, right? Go down one more floor, shred everything while I’m looking around madly stuffed it in the waste basket. And then I’ve just got a little bit left.

So I go to the restaurant, there’s a bathroom off the restaurant. I walk in casually with the book under my shirt. I look in the bathroom. There’s nobody in there. So I shred the rest of the book, stuffed it in the waste basket, grabbed some paper towels stuff and over those pages. And then only then after Henry Miller is safely stuffed in the wastebasket of the restaurant bathroom.

I went over at dinner with Dean and the kids we snorkeled, we scoop it up. We had a great vacation. I was free and it was a fantastic feeling. We ended our vacation and two months later, it’s my birthday. Dina gave me a copy of Tropic of cancer by Henry Miller. So I was finally able to read Tropic of cancer and I didn’t like it very much. .

 

Brian is originally from the Great Lakes country and came to Missoula from Indonesia in the mid-90’s to go to the University of Montana. He has since discovered that Butte is the more interesting place, but is settling for Missoula anyway.

I caught up with Brian in August of 2020.

Brian Upton: Hey Brian, can you hear me okay? Yeah. Can you hear me?

So have

Marc Moss: you listened to your story since he told it?

Brian Upton: You know, I think I listened to it once. Just stay here. It and that was probably, uh, two, three years ago. It’s hard doing it yourself. It

Marc Moss: is hard to listen to yourself, but I ended up having to do it a lot. So I’ve gotten used to it.

I listened to it again today. The first time since. Um, at the time I wasn’t the one producing the podcast. So I think the only time I really heard it was when you did it on stage. And I listened to it again today. How much did you practice that?

Brian Upton: Well, it doesn’t show, but I’ve practiced it quite a few times.

Your workshop was a huge help and kind of getting some response and figuring out how to refine it. But because I was having a hard time keeping to the time limit with. I didn’t keep too. I, I ran over it. I dunno how many times? Probably at least six to eight, if not over a dozen times. Just mostly to try to get it to 10 minutes.

Marc Moss: The first time you were in the motel. I forgot about you putting in the suitcase.

Brian Upton: I should have destroyed the book. Initially saved myself a lot of.

Marc Moss: All right.

Brian Upton: That wasn’t me trying to build the suspense. It was. That’s how it went. My stress just was on a huge upward trajectory about that book and who may find it or how I can get rid of it before somebody nails me for violating Egypt anti-pornography laws.

Marc Moss: So they actually have laws on the books.

Brian Upton: Yeah. I have not seen them, but my wife who used to live there assured me that it’s illegal. You know, it’s, it’s not Saudi Arabia, but it’s still a Muslim country. And I I’m sure I believe it.

Marc Moss: Yeah, I believe it too. And I’ve not even after you told the story, I thought, man, I really had to see midnight express and I never got a chance to see it yet, but I can imagine it.

Wasn’t very pleasant.

Brian Upton: Midnight express is I haven’t seen it in probably a couple of decades, but I did see it twice at different times. One when I was probably just out of high school and the second probably when I was around 30. And it’s a good movie. It’s a, it’s a compelling story. It’s a very good movie, but also it hits you probably particularly if you’re male, it’s in a pretty visceral way.

And that that’s kind of why it was in my frame of reference while I was there in Egypt and feeling like I was susceptible to the criminal justice system. Yeah.

Marc Moss: Well, one of the things that I appreciated so much about your story is many people want to tell a story about traveling and it’s such a difficult thing to do, right?

Because you know, you’ve been traveling. Potentially weeks or months. And how are you going to pick the one thing, the one event that epitomizes the trip, you can’t include everything. So what are you going to do?

Brian Upton: You know, market and a lot of ways. That’s true. But one thing I’m appreciating about this conversation is that I can also set the record straight because that was, that was definitely kind of traumatic for me. , but really the defining, , Aspect of that trip was getting to meet my wife’s family and the relatives.

I mean, now my relatives over in Egypt, in Cairo and Alexandria, and they were so gracious and friendly and warm, all of them and her father’s side was a very big family and they actually, so it was. , so lots of aunts and uncles and cousins, and that experience was just so fantastic. And that’s how I remember the trip.

That’s the first thing I think of. I don’t think of my trauma over Henry Miller’s book. That’s not the first thing that I remember thankfully.

Marc Moss: Right. And that’s what I’m, I guess one of the points I’m making is because. That’s a completely different story. The story of meeting your wife’s family in a foreign country who has a completely different culture.

And that, that story, I think, would be a fascinating one to develop as well, but it would be a completely different trajectory.

Brian Upton: Right. And, and I love that story and that memory, it was, that was my first time to Egypt. That was my first time meeting any of these relatives. So yeah, that was. It was pretty amazing.

It was pretty amazing. And it’s a total counterpoint in the total opposite side of the coin to that terrible few hours. When I was waiting for my luggage to arrive, to see whether somebody had taken that book out of it

Marc Moss: has, has your, um, extended family. Dina side of the family. Have they listened to your story at all? Do you know?

Brian Upton: I, I highly doubt it. I, I’m not even sure how many of them really speak English. There were just a few that, that were very fluent in English that kind of served as our translator, Dina speaks Arabic, but I don’t.

So I, I highly doubt any. Would have caused to have Googled and found it. We certainly didn’t bring it to anyone’s attention. Right.

How many

Marc Moss: languages does Dina speak?

Brian Upton: She speaks three Indonesian, English and Arabic. I think she would tell you her Arabic is a little rusty conversationally and she knows some French. She took French for a number of years in college or high school.

Marc Moss: Actually makes a lot of sense, knowing what she does at the university, with all the international students that come through.

Brian Upton: Yeah. That’s definitely her passion and she’s so good at interacting with all sorts of people from anywhere on the planet. It’s always a pleasure to, to see that and to see the relationship she builds.

It’s pretty amazing.

Marc Moss: Well, it sounds like your experience meeting her family. You can see where she gets it.

Brian Upton: Yes. And her parents both, you know, both of her parents immigrated to the United States from Egypt in the sixties, her father to go to school. So her father didn’t come from wealth or anything. And he really.

He really built up a solid foundation for his family in the United States. He came to the university of Minnesota to get his bachelor’s and he went or excuse me to get his master’s. And he got a doctorate at Oxford, Mississippi, um, after Dina was born. So she was born in Iowa where her father was teaching at Simpson college, which is the same college that.

George Washington, Carver after Iowa state university rejected him for being black. Um, Dina grew up in Iowa until she was five and then went to university of Mississippi at Oxford for her father to get a doctorate. And when he finished that he taught at university of Wyoming. So they moved there, but her father just kind of his educational pursuit.

And his Intrepid newness, uh, coming to the United States alone and teaching in rural Iowa and going to the south and getting a doctorate and living in Wyoming. He was definitely, I unfortunately never got to meet him because he passed away when Dina was 10, but, um, his fortitude and Intrepid, nearness and ability.

To obviously navigate a whole lot of human landscapes. Definitely, definitely lives on through Dina. Yeah.

Marc Moss: And what a different upbringing than you coming from Butte, America.

Brian Upton: Oh yeah. I actually grew up in rural, mid Michigan and. Lived there till I was 18. And then I met Dina our freshman year of college at American university in Washington, DC.

Um, but yeah, very different. I mean, Dina, Dina is very interesting because she knows she grew up in Iowa, Mississippi and Wyoming, but also grew up in Alexandra Egypt because after her father passed away, her mother, um, Moved to Alexandria, Egypt and Dena went to high school there at an American school and they would go back to Wyoming during the summers, but that was part of her growing up too.

So to counterbalance the deep south, the rural Midwest and Rocky mountain west with urban Alexandria, Egypt is a lot of experience growing up that I certainly didn’t have.

Marc Moss: Right. And I don’t know for whatever reason. I always imagine that you’re from BU even though I know you’re not right. I always forget that right away, but

Brian Upton: no, I love Butte so much.

Marc Moss: Did you get any sort of feedback from people who were there or heard it later after.

Brian Upton: Yeah. I heard from a few people, um, that night afterwards when we were leaving, um, and, and a few people that have heard it, um, on the Telus something website, you know, and months or years later, um, and you know, the people that, that want to say something to you about it are the ones that are being gracious and want to say something nice.

That was nice to hear. Um, but yeah, that’s about all I’ve I’ve heard.

Marc Moss: Well, before you decided to tell a story, um, your history will tell us something initially you had never heard of it. Right. And, and I think I put up tickets for, uh, like a premium for the KBG, a fundraiser, the local college readiness.

Fundraiser and you and Dina got those tickets. And then I think they were like season tickets or something. Right.

Brian Upton: Okay. Yeah. You have a really good memory. Cause I I’m trying to remember. I think that would have been in 2014 or maybe 2013 and yeah, we, I had donated to K BGA cause I think that’s a fantastic station.

Always appreciate that. And part of the premium. Yeah, years’ worth of tickets to tell us something. And I believe that’s the first time I’d heard of probably wasn’t the first time I heard of it, but the first time it really resonated with me. And then I was like, oh, wish I could go to this. Um, so we went and yeah, that was when it was at the top hat.

And the very first one, we went to it just bowled me over at great stories. You know, you have a great. Presentation of the whole thing and the way you make it an event and a community was very obvious right then and there just made a huge impression on me and it just looked fun. So I remember stalking you after the end of it, to just tell you what a good job you’re doing.

I can’t remember if I asked to do a story or if you said, do you want to do one? But I, I thought that was amazing that I could have an opportunity to do that. And I remember you writing my name down in your black book. Yeah. I

Marc Moss: have a little book that I can carry around in my back pocket for those reasons, because anybody that ever says that was great.

I always say you could do this too, because that, I mean, that’s part of the point of it, right? I can do this. Everybody has a story to tell and I want it to feel inclusive for everybody. And so when you said this was awesome and I had a good time, I immediately invited you didn’t think you would follow up at all.

Most people don’t, you know, um, and you gave me your number and then yeah.

Brian Upton: So,

Marc Moss: um, I can’t remember how long after your first time. At the show you decided that you wanted to tell a story, but, um, how did you decide that was the story that you wanted to tell?

Brian Upton: I knew that was the story I wanted to tell, because I’d already told it to, you know, groups of friends and family, because that, that was a pretty.

Scarring experience for me, but it was also, it seems to me pretty funny in retrospect, but at the time it was pretty scary. Um, so I just kind of enjoyed telling it, cause it was kind of cathartic and I always got a kick out of seeing people’s reactions to various parts of the story. So I knew that would be the story to tell.

And I don’t think I have another one that, that, uh, That is equivalent,

Marc Moss: maybe not equivalent, but I bet you have another one,

Brian Upton: maybe.

Marc Moss: So did you ever, I know that Dana for your birthday gave you a Tropic of cancer and you read it and you weren’t really that impressed by it. Did you ever get around to

Brian Upton: reading Tropic

Marc Moss: of cancer Capricorn?

Brian Upton: I did not. I. My recollection is I thought that was a little more interesting as far as I got through it in Egypt. Um, because Henry Miller was talking about growing up pretty poor and working class, New York city. I forget which borough, but he painted a pretty evocative picture of that. And it’s so different.

Um, from the New York city of today, that it’s, I found it really interesting. Um, I, I never finished Tropic of Capricorn, but when I read Tropic of cancer, it was certainly interesting in its own way. And he was pretty evocative about how living in Paris was, um, at that time around the turn of the century, I think, uh, and that also was so different than how.

Most people experience Paris now. I mean, when he writes about cold drafty flats with lots of vermin and lights and it just didn’t sound at all, like the place, most of us kind of envisioned our experience there, but the book was also, um, super massage monistic and I don’t know something about it. Really enjoy all that much, but it’s scratched the itch.

You know, he was one of the guys that Shakespeare and company in Paris, uh, that bookstore, um, he knew Paris. So it was, uh, it was a good thing to pick up in Paris. It served that purpose.

Marc Moss: He was, uh, revered enough that they created a library for him in big Sur, California, the Henry Miller library. And I had the occasion to go there and I think it was 2003 or 2004. Um, I had a job that put me on the road and it just turned out that I was on the road. In that part of the country when jello Biafra was on a spoken word tour.

Oh, wow. You know, Jello Biafra is

Marc Moss: do. Yeah. The dead Kennedys lead singer. And if

Brian Upton: you’ve ever, you heard him speak at the Henry Miller library. Yeah.

Marc Moss: And if, if you’ve ever heard him do a spoken word show, I mean, it is like Henry Rollins. On steroids. I mean, he is in your face. He is super political and the people who come to events at the Henry Miller library, some of them, it seems like maybe never have read Henry Miller.

Brian Upton: Absolutely I, yeah, you’re right about that. And I bet that you’d also be. And that Henry Miller is probably surprised a whole lot of people. I didn’t know anything about him when I picked up his books. And I can imagine if other people think they’re going to pick up some kind of quaint, uh, 19th century, early 20th century author, who, who wrote in Paris, they probably didn’t know necessarily what they’re getting into when they started reading things like Tropic of cancer.

Marc Moss: Right. And I like put Charles Bukowski in that same sort of thing, but people said about this great American poet and all of a sudden they’re in this misogynistic bullshit. Um,

Brian Upton: yeah. You know,

Marc Moss: it’s and it’s, uh, then, then we have the question. How much of that was the person and how much of that was the art and how much of that is forgivable?

If. You know, and like, I don’t have answers to any of those questions, but it’s interesting to read some of those pieces of literature. And now with the knowledge that we have go on that guide and sort of cringe.

Brian Upton: Yeah. I would say Henry Miller is pretty cringe-worthy and I certainly don’t know the answers to your questions either.

I would assert that, um, my sense of traffic, of cancers, that we were seeing a pretty unvarnished look at the man. Um, that was my sense of it. Yeah.

Marc Moss: Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you want people to know about your story or your experience?

Brian Upton: Um, I think the only thing I would add is that, you know, the experience of telling it can be as you know, intimidating, a lot of people, you know, public speaking is a pretty common phobia. Um, and it can be kind of nerve wracking to kind of prepare for that and know you’re going to go up in front of a stage of people.

I would just reinforce for anybody listening that the environment you create is very, uh, friendly, nurturing. It’s, uh, it’s an environment where you don’t really feel as nervous as you might think you would. And that’s in part because of. The workshops you do, and kind of getting people used to who they’re going to be on stage with and getting used to telling their story.

But it’s also, I think, a real tribute to the community that you have built and encouraged with with that audience. I think most of the time, those audiences certainly now are, are kind of regulars. Um, and I, I can’t say enough about how you’ve cultivated a good diversity from Missoula. Of speakers. And, um, the experience is just a really good one.

And when I was on stage at the top hat, which granted is not as imposing as the wilderness stage, that that tell us something has evolved into, um, but still that was a lot of people you packed into the top hat and it wasn’t, it felt, it felt good. And, and that’s, I think attribute to you. And I’ll also add that I’d never even heard when I was up on the stage, the little gentle gong that tells me I exceeded the time limit.

So, so you’re gentle to your participants in many ways.

Marc Moss: Well, the gong is as much for the storyteller as it is for the audience to key them in to know that we’re about to wrap. But

Brian Upton: also I’ve been here when I was the storyteller.

Marc Moss: Yeah. And I think at the time I think I might’ve been the one with the gone.

Now I’ve got a governor who is a loud enough timekeeper, , Marissa Crerar. So if you’ve ever listened to or ever been in the audience, you can recognize her laugh. She has this very distinct laugh.

It’s interesting to see, uh, Events are evolving during this time.

COVID and, , the, , live streaming events in particular. , the April show that we did the storytellers knocked it out of the park. I saw it and they didn’t have any interaction with the audience at all. Um, and I asked one of them, I had the opportunity to talk to her pretty in depth about that experience.

And she said it was all. Oh, the green room. , , I had a little breakout rooms, , for the storytellers to go quote unquote backstage. And they were just building each other up, back there. You know, they weren’t even listening to the stories as they were being told, because they’d heard them enough and we practiced them and us.

They were just like backstage having fun off my.

They all bonded and they’d never met each other in person.

Brian Upton: Well, that’s, I didn’t know you had done that. Um, that’s great. I, I really appreciate that. Tell us something is doing the virtual events during the pandemic, because a that’s really about the only way you can do it. And it’s just a great way to introduce, I think a lot of other people. The whole, tell us something, um, kind of event, but that’s, I can see some of the storytellers maybe being glad they’re not in front of hundreds of people on a stage with lights shining in their eyes.

Um, and maybe having it be an easier experience, but I can also see it being perhaps a little more difficult because you’re just trying to stare into a camera to make eye contact with the audience. And as being a little kind of empty with no feedback. So I guess it would depend on the person. I could see it going both ways, being maybe easier and a better experience, or maybe a more difficult or experience without all the people, but I’m sure, glad you’re doing it because yeah, we were part of that audience and, and again, I mean, those, those stories are great.

And I guess one of the other things that would be, uh, I’d like to comment on, especially for anybody that hasn’t been to a tell us something event is one of the things I’ve always appreciated too, is that in a number of the events, there’ll be a side splitting, hilarious story. The same night as there can be a really, really moving emotional, sometimes traumatic.

Story that just in some ways they just don’t go together at all. And in other ways it’s a great way to, um, really appreciate the, either emotional depth of one story or the humor in another story, because you get to compare them to each other. Okay. It kind of lets you kind of travel a whole human gamut in one night and I’ve always appreciated that, especially when, and I think this is how you usually structure it when sometimes there’s a traumatic event that somebody recounting is followed by something that has a lot more levity and it is funny and, and that’s always a nicer way to, to travel that emotional path.

Marc Moss: I think of it, like you would think of making a mix tape or, uh, if you’re a musician creating the structure of an album, what songs you want to include, it’s one thing. But then the order of the songs is just as important. And I learned that the hard way, because one night there were, I think, five. Pretty heavy stories.

And I stack them pretty close to each other without any levity in between. And I had people walking out because they could not handle it. And I had people talk to me later and say, man, those stories were good, but I just couldn’t, I couldn’t take it anymore. And I had to leave and that taught me a lot. Um, those conversations were important to hear.

And when I started thinking about it in the way that you would think about. What do you want to include in a mix tape or if you’re an author or like what short stories do you want to include and in what order, or if you’re a poet, you know, how do you want to order the poems you have in a collection? I think the order is just as important as the stories themselves.

And that’s my job as a curator is to try to determine how are these stories going to land most effectively for the list. So that the storyteller and their experience can be the most effectively honored.

Brian Upton: And sometimes I think you do a great job really easy.

Marc Moss: Well, thanks. I appreciate that. Um, but it took years to figure that out.

I

Brian Upton: love the mixed tape analogy. I think that’s perfect. And, and, uh, I’m a little concerned if you had people that had walked out after four or five. Stories of levity who wants to, who can’t take five grade funny stories? No, no. They were the heavy stories. Oh, they were heavy. I misunderstood. They were

Marc Moss: five, five stories of heaviness was sort of lined up one against each other.

Um, and that was a big mistake on my part to do that, to do it that way. And, um, People let me know. And I’m really glad they did because I probably would have made that mistake multiple times, but I only had to make it once. And that might be the only time in my life where I’ve only had to make a mistake once before I’ve learned the lesson.

Brian. Thank you so much for spending time with me today. Um, I appreciate you and all your support of telecommuting over the years, and I’m glad that you were able to participate. Okay.

Brian Upton: It’s always great to talk to you, mark, and, um, thanks for the opportunity and thanks for everything you’re doing for the community that you enjoy.

So have given us a lot and we appreciate it.

Marc Moss: Well, I appreciate. , acknowledging Joyce. She doesn’t often get credit and she’s just as important as me in this work that we’re doing. So I appreciate it. I appreciate you. And I hope you have a story worthy weekend.

Brian Upton: You too, Marc . Thank you. All right. Thanks, Brian.

All right, we’ll see you.

Marc Moss: Okay.

Thanks, Brian. And thank *you* for listening today.

Next week, I catch up with Laura King.

Laura King: Yeah, so actually I’m super excited about the project itself and gathering these stories. My cousin and I have two great uncles who are pretty interesting historical figures and lots of glass, both lawyers, and I’m a lawyer.

So that’s kinda fun. , one of them was very conservative and the other one was very liberal. So we’ve got a guy who is an FBI and involved in propaganda, supporting Japanese internment, on the one hand. And then we’ve got, the other guy who was, a criminal defense attorney and, very active in, you know, abolition of criminal punishment and, the efforts early, early efforts to legalize marijuana.

Marc Moss: Tune in for her story, and our conversation, on the next Tell Us Something podcast.

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of tile. If you need tile work done. Give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my [email protected]

Gabriel Silverman: Hey, this is Gabe from gecko designs. We’re proud to sponsor. Tell us something. Learn more at gecko design socks. Oh, it

Marc Moss: was a little broadcasting company. Learn more at missoulabroadcasting.com. Float Missoula. Learn more at floatmsladotcomandmissoulaevents.net podcast production by me, Marc Moss. Remember to get your tickets for the next in-person tell us something storytelling.

Marc Moss: I live at the Willma on March 30th, tickets and more information at log jam, presents.com. To learn more about tell us something, please visit tell us something.org.

This week on the podcast, Jim Beyer and Tell Us Something Executive Director Marc Moss chat about his story “Mission from God”, which he told live onstage at The Top Hat Lounge in Missoula, MT in March 2012. The theme that night was “Rites of Passage”. We also talk about motorcycles, wrecks and helping others out during the moving process.

Transcript : "Mission From God" - Jim Beyer Story and Interview

[music]

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast, I’m Marc Moss.

Jim Beyer: Oh, it was the Sturgis adventure. Yes. “Mission From God”. “Mission From from God”. Yeah. Yeah, because I practiced that for a week. while driving around Montana, I just tell it to myself over and over and over again so that it, , would be, um, shortened and, um, , yeah, near Newark.

The perfect. So.

Marc Moss: This week on the podcast, Jim Beyer and I chat about his story “Mission from God”, which he told live onstage at The Top Hat Lounge in Missoula, MT in March 2012.

Jim Beyer: And we reached to the top of this, uh, this old abandoned farmhouse. Well, the windows are all busted out and there’s birds or bats or something flying in and out of it. And it’s getting dark. I mean, it was flat dark, there were stars and there was the full. He says, oh, it’s in the barn. Okay, cool. Well, the barn is kind of leaning over at about 33 angle.

Like this. It looks like it’s going to fall down anytime

Marc Moss: The theme that night was “Rites of Passage”.

We also talk about motorcycles, wrecks and helping others out during the moving process.

Thank you for joining me as I take you behind the scenes at Tell Us Something — to meet the storytellers behind the stories. In each episode, I sit down with a Tell Us Something storyteller alumni. We chat about what they’ve been up to lately and about their experience sharing their story live on stage. Sometimes we get extra details about their story, and we always get to know them a little better.

On a mission to buy an Indian sidecar during the Sturgis bike rally. Jim Beyer borrows Greg’s truck to go pick up the sidecar. He is followed several times along the way by police officers. Jim’s story is called “A Mission from God”. Thanks for listening.

A quick warning for sensitive listeners, Jim’s story contains depictions of drug use.

Jim Beyer: I wrote into camp. Um, uh, we were staying in, in Sturgis, um, and my friends were all standing around thinking about what to have for dinner. It was a Greg and star and, uh, Harlem Harlan and, um, picker. And I came roaring into camp, jumped off my bike and told him. I just found an Indian motorcycle inside car to buy.

Um, Indian side cars are incredibly beautiful and rare items. And I was so lucky to have found this one because the other 74,999 bikers and Sturgis had not gotten it before me. So they’re all congratulating me on this. I say, but I’m kind of bummed cause I have no way to get it back to Montana. Well, Greg says, oh no problem, man.

I’m just throw it in the back of my pickup truck and you can pick it up in Virginia city when we get back in a week. That’s a cool, that’s great. But I still have another problem. And that is I have to go pick this thing up and I don’t have any way except for my motorcycle and the PR and a cert Greg says, oh no problem, man.

Here’s the keys to my pickup truck. Throws them to him. Well, I immediately grabbed them cause I’m excited. And I go running back to the, uh, go running back to his pickup truck. It’s an old beater, shitty Chevy pickup, but 20 years old from Virginia city. And, uh, so I jumped in, I drive away. Well, unfortunately I’m driving through Sturgis traffic during bike week, which is 75,000 people trying to get downtown all at the same time.

So I’m really frustrated. And I don’t notice the fact that Sturgis or Sturgis city policemen has just pulled in behind me. So I’m driving along very carefully and thinking, well, I wonder if this truck has got taillights. So anyway, the problem was solved when the cop flips his lights on, oh God damn it.

So I’m pulling over for the curb. Well, anyway, the cop pulls to the left and goes racing right past me and pulls over some poor guy in a jail. Yeah. I drive through Sturgis traffic, again, 30 minutes to get from one side of town, this as big as Hamilton to the other and get on the freeway, driving down the freeway, man, I got my foot to the floor and I’m just driving as fast as I can go, which is about 50 miles an hour.

And then I realized, you know, bikes are going by any Brum, Brum, Brum, Brum, but twice as fast as I am. Well, I’m looking in the rear view mirror and, uh, state patrol pulls it up right behind me and he didn’t realize I was going so slow till he almost hit my bumper. It was kind of pissed him off. So I’m looking back there trying to drive carefully and, uh, looking at the rear view mirror.

And there he is, got his hand on the radio talking into it. You know, it’s like running my plates and stuff and I’m going, what is with this truck? Jesus, you know, don’t they have farm trucks in South Dakota. Well, I didn’t really find the answer to that when he flips his lights on, I’m gone. Jesus. And I start to turn.

Under the barrel on the barrel pit. Well, just as I’m doing that, some guy on a chopper racist bite, about 90 miles, an hour, blue lights and everything. He didn’t care. Well, the cop realizes he’s got a live one, so he turns left, goes chases him. It’s run runs down the road. So I come up a few minutes later and there’s the cop right in the ticket and the guy biker holding his license out and I wave.

So anyway, I pull off in Spearfish, drive up main street, pull into this little motorcycle shop where they have the Indian side. The, uh, go in and talk to the lady behind the counter. She says, well, my husband is like, it has to work until it gets the customer’s bike done. It’ll be a couple minutes. And I said, that’s cool.

Um, So I started talking to her, she’s saying how, um, it was their dream to have this motorcycle shop in the black Hills, but it just wasn’t working out for them. They weren’t making any money. So they were going to close the shop and move back to Phoenix. So they could be closer to her, her family and, you know, and.

Yeah. Cool. So a couple of minutes later, this clean cut looking guy, younger than me comes walking out, wiping his hands and says, hi, my name is Bob. That’s it on paper. And it was nice to meet you. And he says, well, the side cars, uh, you know, a little ways out of town. Could we take your truck? Sure. Hop in.

It’s all warmed up. So we’re. It gives me directions says go north on highway 85. So we find the way to highway 85. And then all of a sudden he looks over at me and says, have you been saved? What says is Jesus your personal savior? Uh, well, uh, no. So for the next 15 minutes, he’s given me this big, long lecture about, you know, how Jesus has saved him from the road to sin and perdition and how it’s turned his life around and all that stuff.

So I’m going. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t want to tell him I wasn’t unreconstructed pagan because I didn’t want that much inter you know, a conversation going on. I was happy to hear the lecture, so, so he says, oh, I rode up ahead. Just turn right up there. So I’m driving up this gravel road, heading up towards the mountains, and then he says, oh, that gate over there, just, uh, just turn right into that gate.

Okay, stop. He jumps out, opens the gate. We drive through. He says, um, it’s up the hill. So I look way up the hill and way on the upper tree line. Is this old battered, uh, homeless. I’ll go. Okay. So I put the truck into low and we grind up this two lane or two track road that hadn’t been traveled on for a decade or two.

And we reached to the top of this, uh, this old abandoned farmhouse. Well, the windows are all busted out and there’s birds or bats or something flying in and out of it. And it’s getting dark. I mean, it was flat dark, there were stars and there was the full. He says, oh, it’s in the barn. Okay, cool. Well, the barn is kind of leaning over at about 33 angle.

Like this. It looks like it’s going to fall down anytime. Um, this is going to go over by the way. So I’m only halfway done. Um, I’ll just try to talk faster now. So, so we go in into the barn, he pulls the door open. Sounds like the first 15 seconds of tales of the crypt. Right? We go inside this plum dark. I mean, it is flat dark.

Can’t see anything. He pulls a little pen, light. Turns it on and there’s this little light about this long and he starts looking around and all I can see is the, uh, the moon beams coming through the broken boards on this barn. And I’m walking around on this dry desiccated, husks, dead things that I don’t know what are, and it’s really kind of creepy in here.

So he says it’s over here and he points the penlight to the ground. And I look. Wow treasure. It’s an Indian 1940 Indian sidecar body. And if you ever seen an Indian sidecar, it looks like a boat and an amusement ride. I mean, it’s about this long as just beautifully shaped well boat. And along with this is a frame was around tubular frame.

So I’m leaning down at grab the pen light and I’m down on my knees, looking at this thing. And I look and I looked, and then I realized that there’s a nice frame, but somebody has taken the sidecar six foot long thing and cut it in half, right behind the kaolin and sort of crushed the front of it. And I’m going, God damn what maniac would butcher in Indian sidecar.

And then all of a sudden felt this shiver shoot up my back. I’m 15 miles from civilization up a dirt road in an abandoned barn with a Jesus freak. And as is this one of those happy, uh, Godspell Jesus freaks, or one of those Jim Jones, Jesus freaks. So I’m starting to really shake. And then I hear behind me, well, what do you think?

And I jump up, I just scared to death. And he says, well, what do you. You won’t buy it. So all of a sudden, and he thought of mutilations turned to negotiation. I go, whoa, you’re not, it’s kind of cool, but, um, you know, they really screwed up that body of the frame’s good. Um, uh, yeah, it kinda interested, well, he wanted 400 bucks for this, which was a fair amount of money back in 1986.

So. Being an old Arab rug, rug, merchant. I started to negotiate. I said, well, I thought, you know, a low ball it, and then he’ll come down and I’ll go up and he’ll come down. I’ll go up. And eventually we’ll meet in the middle someplace. So I said, you know, I’ll give you 150 bucks for it. Okay. Yes. And I have just scored big.

I’m just so elated. You know, I don’t give a shit about dead things on the ground or cobwebs or any of, to that. So he says, I’ll help you load it. Cool. So we carried all outside, which start driving back to Spearfish and I’m just talking a mile a minute and how wonderful this is and what a great deal and how happy I am.

And I love motorcycles and I’m going to risk. The sidecar and I’m going to have to buy an Indian to put on the side carb that’s. Okay. So he’s happy to just get the money and get out because he realized that he had just cut his own throat, which is probably why he wasn’t very good in the motorcycle business.

So now I am really happy. I mean, driving back to Sturgis, driving down the freeway at 55 miles an hour, black smoke billowing out of the back of the pickup. I’m thinking I’m on a mission from God and nothing can stop me here. I get off the, uh, the freeway ramp. That’s east end, the Sturgis. I’m only half a mile from the campground.

And I’m thinking this is great, man. Then a, uh, meet county Sheriff’s car comes racing down the ramp and slams on his brakes right behind me and I’m oh shit. So I looked both ways. Twice. And I turned on my blinker. I start to turn left and all of a sudden lights go on, you know, it might just ruin my high.

I was like, I mean, after being diagnosed bipolar, I mean, it’s like up and down, up and down, up and down. I’m, I’m not even home yet. So I’m just slumped in the seat and he races by me falls over some other poor SAP, you know?

I am just, you know, I mean, I make the big score here, so I raced back into camp. I want to show all my friends, this fabulous piece of antique motorcycle history that I’ve purchased. So I roll into camp right up to the fire. There’s about 50 people standing around drinking beer and talking and yelling and screaming and loud music and all this stuff parked the truck.

And I’m just getting out when this. Bleach blonde silicone tittle bimbo comes running up, grabs me and throws me out of the, out of the way of the door and reaches in to the truck cab takes her fist and pops the jockey box, lid it flopped, open it up for. Ziploc bag with four fingers of cocaine in it.

Oh shit. And then she grabs it and runs back to the camp, you know? And like all of her friends go with her. I’m starting to hell like a whip puppy, you know? Well, anyway, pigger comes walking over God. Star comes walking over, says, oh, cool paper, nice score here, have a beer. I said, thanks.

I needed that. Well Piger comes walking over. He’s a pretty laid back guy kind of reaches into the cab into the jockey box, pulls out the nickel plated, Colt 45 automatic. Big right. And the numbers have been ground off and he just puts it in his back pocket, kind of walks away going

well. And then Harlan comes over and he goes, I wondered where I left that and he reaches under the seat of the truck, pulls out a grocery sack of marijuana. I’m sitting on the edge of the truck going, oh crap. When Greg comes over, he says, you know, um, you, you tore out a capsule fast that we couldn’t get a hole.

You know, couldn’t. Clean up. Did everything work out? Okay, I’m going. Yeah, I think, I think God’s on my side tonight. So he looked sidecar cool score. And so he says here have another beer. Okay. So after drinking many beers that night, I told the story. And my last words about that story were honest, your honor, I just stole the truck.

I didn’t know what was in it. Well, I figured that my fun ticket had been punched, so I packed all my shit and got out of there that very, very morning that very next morning. And, uh, it was a 16 hour ride back to Montana. Very carefully. Looking in the rear view mirror a lot. And I had time to think, and I realized that I was no longer young.

That was the first day that I had matured. Thank you much. .

Marc Moss: Jim Beyer has been a life-long motorcycle enthusiast since buying his first Harley-Davidson in 1972–which he still has and rides occasionally. Jim attended his first Sturgis Bike Rally in 1977 and rode his bike to Sturgis, South Dakota about a dozen times in the following quarter century. He has not been back since 2003.

I caught up with Jim in August of 2020.

8_12_2020__9_54_AM-Jim_Beyer
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Jim Beyer: [00:00:00] Hey Jim, how’s it going? How are you doing well? How are you? All right.

Marc Moss: Sorry, Ms. Joe, when you call back, I was getting a quick break.

Jim Beyer: Yes, well, it’s possible at this time in the morning. So. Yeah, I’m sorry. I wasn’t here when you called at nine 30. So it’s all good.

Marc Moss: Yep. Maybe you’re on your way to Sturgis.

Jim Beyer: Uh, oh, uh, no, no. I’m going to let the stupid people, um, catch, catch diseases and die, but I hope not to be one of them. Of course.

Marc Moss: I can’t

Jim Beyer: believe it’s happening. Yeah. Well,

Jim Beyer: I’ve known a lot of my, yeah, go ahead. Well, I’ve, I’ve had a lot of my biker friends die from their lifestyle. So, um, [00:01:00] this is not surprising.

Jim Beyer: Yeah. So

Marc Moss: you are one of the most prolific tell us something storytellers we have. Did you know that?

Jim Beyer: I did not. I thought maybe, uh, our Congressman was, but uh, yeah, pat.

Marc Moss: Yeah, I think he’s up there and same with Gonzalez. Yep. But, uh, anyway, I’m honored. Yeah. You told 1, 2, 3 stories, uh, on official. Tell us somethings, and then one story story jam, which I had forgotten about.

Marc Moss: Was there a story that stuck out for you of those?

Jim Beyer: Um, probably the first one. They practice it to the. The hell was it? Oh, it was the spurge adventure.

Marc Moss: Yes. You mentioned from God

Jim Beyer: missing from God. Yeah. [00:02:00] Yeah, because I practiced that for a week. while driving around Montana, I just tell it to myself over and over and over again so that it, , would be, um, shortened and, um, , yeah, near Newark.

Jim Beyer: The perfect. So.

Marc Moss: Um, and that was back in 2012. Rites of passage was the theme. Um, w did any of the players in that story, have they heard it since you told it? You know,

Jim Beyer: the, no, I don’t believe anyone has just, most of them are dead,

Jim Beyer: but anyway, at

Marc Moss: one point, at one point you said, uh, I used to be cool. Now I’m cliche and I guess. The comeback is at least you’re not dead.

Jim Beyer: Yeah. Thank you for that. Yep. So

Marc Moss: here quite the storyteller, how did you come to fall in love with this [00:03:00] art?

Jim Beyer: Uh, well, I come from my story telling family. My father was quite the rock on tour as well.

Jim Beyer: Um, and, uh, he of course had, uh, plenty of adventures in his life to talk about. So, um, So, I guess that’s just sitting around the family table or the, the, um, you know, um, at parties or something. Sure. We would do that. Is there, um,

Marc Moss: before tell us something, had you ever told a story on a stage like that before?

Marc Moss: No.

Jim Beyer: No. Around the campfire? Yeah. But tell us something, tell us something. People were listening more attentively. Probably

Marc Moss: a lot

Jim Beyer: less drunk too. Yeah. Yeah. Less ramblings. Yeah.

Marc Moss: [00:04:00] Have you gone back and listened to it? Uh, since he told it

Jim Beyer: the, the, uh, from God I have not, no, I have not.

Marc Moss: My intention was to go back and listen to all of them before I talked to you.

Marc Moss: But

Jim Beyer: yeah, that’s a big job. Yeah. It’s been

Marc Moss: fun. Is there anything about that story? You said you had a short knit. Um, what are some of the things that you had to cut? Do you

Jim Beyer: remember? Well, I’m a bit of description, I suppose. Um, the preamble to it. Happened to find the guy who had the sidecar. Um, that was a story unto itself.

Jim Beyer: This, I ended up partying with a hell’s angel in a, in a motel room, in a bell foods. And he had a six foot tall bottle of laughing gas that he, uh, liberally, uh, dosed me with. [00:05:00] So, um, so anyway, I managed to escape that, uh, That little event, uh, with my skin. So it was, uh, yeah, it was a full day of, uh, um, adventures, I suppose, not the mention being high on laughing gas and then riding up the, uh, highway 14 to Deadwood in heavy traffic, you know, things like that.

Jim Beyer: So what’d you do when you’re saying. I was going to say that day in the life. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There’s some Sturgis that I don’t do anymore. So

Marc Moss: yeah. What was the last time you said you were there? It was 2003, I think. Right.

Jim Beyer: Well, no, actually I went back from the 75th, uh, five years ago, but, uh, it was much less advanced or something because we went a week early to avoid the crowds.

Jim Beyer: Um, then we stayed in a [00:06:00] motel room, my friend, Dan and Iceland. Yeah. With the surgeons for an afternoon.

Marc Moss: I was going to say it’s like, sort of going to burning man, uh, two weeks early and avoiding the crowds.

Jim Beyer: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But all the vendors was still there and I could still buy a t-shirt so yeah. To prove to prove that I’ve done it.

Marc Moss: Couldn’t you buy one of those on.

Jim Beyer: Uh, yes, but, uh, you understand, I, I know what you mean. That’s,

Marc Moss: what’s funny. See these people

Jim Beyer: go ahead. If you didn’t go, why buy the shirt? Just say that you went,

Marc Moss: I see these people with their bikes on flatbed trucks, or, you know, in, in you haul trailers and they’re. Never been dropped, not a scratch on them, brand new looking bikes.[00:07:00]

Marc Moss: I know where I know where they’re going. And it’s like, that’s not the point, right? Isn’t the point to go for a ride?

Jim Beyer: Uh, I think so, but some people go just to arrive, not the ride they want to be seen in Sturgis. They, they don’t care how they get. And they want to bring all the comforts. It’s like burning, man.

Jim Beyer: They want to bring all the comforts of home with them. Did not suffer any discomforts.

Marc Moss: How many bikes do you

Jim Beyer: have right now? Well, I think 10, how many of them are on

Jim Beyer: three? Yeah. Uh, three, three of the lights I can get on a ride right now. So have you been riding a lot? Uh, not enough. Um, with my bum leg, I wrote a new, the, uh, [00:08:00] gentleman’s ride build school ride on Sunday that, um, raised money for the, um, murdered and missing indigenous women, uh, because, um, that was promoted by Montgomery distillery.

Jim Beyer: We had about 50 guys or 50 riders, so it’s quite nice.

Marc Moss: How many, how much did you raise? Do you know?

Jim Beyer: I don’t, uh, people were throwing tens and twenties into the hat, so it was pretty good. Yeah.

Marc Moss: I learned to ride just to be able to go for rides with Joyce. And she, you know, that was what her goal was. And she was like, you know, I liked boating. Uh, I’m getting better at it. If you don’t like motorcycle riding, like then don’t do it. You know? And so we decided if she ever wants to go for some long ride and she can’t find [00:09:00] somebody to go with, I’ll just follow her in the car with the big cooler full of food and a tent.

Marc Moss: And she’s yeah, she said that that would work. I mean, I guess part of the fun of riding is talking about the ride after you get to where you’re going.

Jim Beyer: Yeah. There’s a difference between being thrilled and being scared. Um, Terrified. So yeah, if you’re thrilled, that’s great. If you’re terrified, that’s just horrible.

Marc Moss: Yeah. It seems like if you’re with that level of here, you could make more mistakes.

Jim Beyer: Yes.

Jim Beyer: Yeah. It seems the best time to learn to ride a motorcycle was when you’re 20. Yeah, exactly. How many

Marc Moss: times would you say you’ve wrecked your bike?

Jim Beyer: Uh, three, [00:10:00] all of them at less than five miles an hour.

Jim Beyer: Uh, I, uh, let’s see the first time I was on my auntie Carly, um, and this was 40 years ago when the Harley was much less antique and it’s. I had met a woman in the bar. 10 was following her home on a cold November night and went around the corner at the near the library and hit some ice. And the bike slid out from under me and, uh, the crashed and she stopped and says, are you all right?

Jim Beyer: And I looked up at her and say he got some fun. Unfortunately I threw my knee between the gas tank in the ground. And she looks at me like I’m crazy. And then got her got back in her car and drove away. But I had managed to put, yeah, I had managed to protect [00:11:00] my, um, invaluable, uh, gas tank from damage by wrecking my knee.

Jim Beyer: Um, the next time I, my bike quit, this was again some 40 years ago. And so I had, uh, Tom Carney tow it back to my place. Um, And this with his car, unfortunately, I’ve gotten into a wobble. And so I let go of the tow rope and it had wound itself around it. It was wound around my handlebars. So the rope went whipping around once and then whipping around twice and then it caught the front brake cable.

Jim Beyer: And so the front end stopped abruptly and, , I fell over and wrecked my other. And, uh, let’s see. Yeah. The other time was a nother, slow tip over like that.

Jim Beyer: I’ve been [00:12:00] fortunate not to.

Marc Moss: Yeah. Well, tip over. It’s less likely that you’re going to damage yourself badly, unless you tip off her slow and the oncoming traffic doesn’t notice and they run you over.

Jim Beyer: Right. Well, fortunately, um, that has not happened yet, so Nope. And it shan’t, I hope,

Marc Moss: I hope not. Is there anything I’m going to play the same story that you liked, uh, emission from God, for folks? Is there anything about that story that, that we haven’t talked about that you want people to hear?

Jim Beyer: Uh, Hm. Well, it story was obviously not perfect, but. No, I think I got the point across. Um, yeah. And, uh, you seems like a, you get a lot of, um, I [00:13:00] got drunk and did stupid things stories on the stage, but, uh, that’s, that’s, that’s the nature of, uh, of adventures, I suppose. You’re stepped outside of your normal, um,

Jim Beyer: Oh, whatever your, your normal mental or physical condition, then stuff happens and you deal with it. So, yeah,

Marc Moss: we’re at less of those stories. I’m trying to filter those out because they’re really, really good. Um, we’ve all heard them and,

Jim Beyer: you know, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh no. The point, um, that, that. Mission from God’s story.

Jim Beyer: It was a, it was a turning point in my life. You know, one of those boy, I sure could have gotten this kind of gone really south. [00:14:00] It could’ve been really bad, so I better change my behavior. So I think you’d get a lot of those stories.

Marc Moss: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a good story. Always has some sort of transformation of their character knowing it.

Jim Beyer: Yep.

Marc Moss: And so did you actually make that transformation right away or did it take some time?

Jim Beyer: So, well, it was fairly, fairly immediate, but, um, of course, uh, a life, half a lifetime of behavior is hard. It doesn’t happen overnight unless, you know, unless you hear from God tells you something, definitely. . So

Marc Moss: what’s your day look like?

Jim Beyer: Uh, I am helping a friend move. This is the third woman friend I’ve helped move in the last two weeks.

Jim Beyer: I think it’s becoming that. I want [00:15:00] a break.

Marc Moss: I was going to say, you need to get, get your LLC or

Jim Beyer: something, huh? Yeah. Well, no, I just carry boxes and put them in my pickup. It’s a carrying parts quite, uh, quite so comfortable as it used to be. Yeah, well, anyway,

Marc Moss: let not your truck and let them do the caring.

Jim Beyer: Yeah. Yeah. I just need to find two or three able-bodied young men. What seemed to be hard to find these days? Yeah,

Jim Beyer: alright, well you have a wonderful day of useful work. Social. I hope.

Marc Moss: Yeah. I hope so. Be safe. What’s is your legs. Yep. Yep. Yep. Appreciate you spending the time with me this morning.

Jim Beyer: You bet. I was happy to do so. All right, I’ll talk to you later. Bye.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Jim. And thank *you* for listening today.

Remember to get your tickets for the March 30 live in-person Tell Us Something storytelling event. The theme is “Stone Soup”. Seven storytellers share their true personal story live on stage without notes. Get your tickets at the Top Hat box office or online at logjampresents.com.

Thanks to Cash for Junkers, who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cashforjunkersband.com

Brian Upton: one thing I’m appreciating about this conversation is that I can also set the record straight because that was, that was definitely kind of traumatic for me. , but really the defining, , Aspect of that trip was getting to meet my wife’s family and the relatives.

On the next Tell Us Something podcast, tune in to listen to Brian Upton’s story “Parting Ways with Henry Miller in Egypt,” he shared his story at a Tell Us Something event in 2015. Stick around after his story to hear his thoughts on it, about separating the art from the artist and about his experience with Tell Us Something.

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

 

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of tile. If you need tile work done. Give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my [email protected]

Gabriel Silverman: Hey, this is Gabe from gecko designs. We’re proud to sponsor. Tell us something. Learn more at gecko design socks. Oh, it

Marc Moss: was a little broadcasting company. Learn [email protected] Float Missoula. Learn [email protected] podcast production by me, Mark Moss. Remember to get your tickets for the next in-person tell us something storytelling.

I live at the Wilma on March 30th, tickets and more information at log jam, presents.com. To learn more about tell us something, please visit tell us something.org.

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