This week on the podcast four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Lost in Translation”. Their stories were recorded live in person in front of a packed house on September 28, 2023, at The George & Jane Dennison Theatre at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : Lost in Translation - Part 2

[00:00:00] Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Us Something podcast. I’m Mark Moss. We are currently looking for storytellers for the next Tell Us something storytelling event. The theme is The Kindness of Strangers. 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 October 29th. I look forward to hearing from you. Tickets for the December 6th live Tell Us Something event are on sale now. The theme is The Kindness of Strangers. We are excited to be partnering with Spark Arts to provide on site child care for humans with kiddos. There are a limited number of slots available for this service.

Three teaching artists will provide engaging art based learning activities at the Wilma while you enjoy storytelling for the evening. To learn more and to get tickets, go to tellusomething. org. Thank you to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Blackfoot Communications connects people, businesses, and communities.

[00:01:00] They know that strong connections matter. Connecting businesses. Connecting homes. Connecting communities. Connecting. Blackfoot Communications allows its users to utilize the latest technology in voice, broadband, network, and managed services. They keep people reliably connected. Blackfoot serves homes in western Montana and eastern Idaho as well as businesses of all sizes throughout the Pacific Northwest.

goblackfoot. com This week on the podcast La

[00:01:34] Ben Catton: abuela will come out and startle me. It’s like is she suspicious of me? What’s going on?

[00:01:39] Ren Parker: I asked him what he’s doing on the train and He says oh, yeah, I take this train and I go over the border and I get whiskey and cigarettes and things I shouldn’t have in Thailand and then I get back on the train and Bring it back to Thailand

[00:01:53] Abe Kurien: But my dad still kept that van because he worked really hard for it and was really proud of it But if any of you know in [00:02:00] the 80s A lot of the manufacturers for vehicles, they had a paint issue with

[00:02:05] Linda Grinde: the girl in the next bed, says to me, said, you don’t see, I realized she’s asking me if I want to go dancing.


[00:02:18] Marc Moss: For storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme lost in translation. Their stories were recorded live in person in front of a packed house on September 28th, 2023. At the George and Jane Dennison Theater at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. Telesomething acknowledges that we are on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Pendlay, Salish, and Kootenai peoples.

We honor their resilience and strength in the face of colonization and displacement. We recognize that the land upon which we stand is sacred to them and we are committed to working towards a more just and equitable future for all. We take this moment to honor the land and its native people and the stories they [00:03:00] share with us.

Our first storyteller is Ben Ken. As a tall man in Chile, he tries to connect with a deaf grandmother. And that culminates around a parakeet cage. Ben calls his story, Parakeetos.

Thanks for listening.

[00:03:17] Ben Catton: Hey! I’m in Santiago, Chile, having a terremoto. A terremoto is pineapple sorbet and white wine with some liquor drizzled on top of it.

Berries, depending on where you order one. And it’s as unfamiliar and, uh, interesting and as intoxicating as the rest of the three weeks that I’ve spent here so far. And I’m with my friend Paul, who I just met in the preceding semester here at the University of Montana, in some classes trying to prepare ourselves for this semester abroad experience.

And we’re checking in on, you know, how’s everything going and, uh, comparing notes on the incredible culture shock that we’re going through. [00:04:00] I’m mostly enjoying and laughing to ourselves about all the weirdnesses that we’re experiencing. We’re coming from Missoula, Montana. I guess you call us a city. Here in Montana we definitely are.

But now we’re in Santiago, Chile where there’s 5 million people. It’s a sprawling metropolitan area. I’m getting on a metro in the morning to commute to school, riding these buses. We’re sitting currently on this uh, kind of sidewalk patio. In t shirts and shorts, though it’s January, we’ve just come from 20 degree weather in Missoula, and we’re sweating while we’re enjoying our pineapple sorbet covered in alcohol.

And we’re just enjoying how bizarre everything is. We’re checking in on, uh, we’re comparing notes on the, the way that we stand out here now. I’m, I’m tall, but I’m kind of average tall here in the U. S. But in Chile I’m all of a sudden like basketball star tall. And so I get on the metro in the morning and everybody is packed.

You know, elbow to elbow, and uh, I [00:05:00] don’t feel that claustrophobic because I have all this head room. And I can look over the tops of everybody’s, you know, I just see a sea of hair instead of looking at everybody’s faces. Face to face. And we’re cracking up because the dogs are a real change. Um, Chile’s in this moment of policy.

Chaos about, uh, feral dogs in the city. We’re seeing this on the news and, um, if you take a walk during the quiet hours when there aren’t many pedestrians out, you can pick up a dog on, a dog on just about every block and by the time you reach your destination you have this pack that’s coming with you.

And everything’s gated, wrought iron gates to get into your apartment or to get into the university, so you kind of like, scrape your dogs off as you, as you get to where you’re going. And, and they must just disperse and go back to their block so that you can pick one up again everywhere you go. So this is cracking us up and, uh, the noise of everything as well.

Paul jokes to me while we’re having our terremotos that you could [00:06:00] fart anywhere in the city because it’s so loud and so chaotic and smelly all the time, nobody would ever know. So that’s bizarre and the overnight sounds. Um, it seems that every single car in Chile has a car alarm. A lot of them that you wouldn’t think would necessitate an alarm.

And they’re like aftermarket car alarms and they’re very sensitive. So these dogs that are roaming everywhere are setting off car alarms. And there’s sounds all the time throughout the night. On top of that, I’m telling him I have two parakeets that live. right outside of my window on, on the porch of the apartment and the host family I’m staying with.

And, uh, and by the time that the other noises of the city are kind of coming back on board overnight and traffic noise, et cetera, is kind of drowning out the dog noise and the car alarm noise, the, that’s also when the parakeets are, are starting to come to life too. So we’re asking each other about our host family situations and [00:07:00] Paul knows that.

When I was placed in my host family, um, one of my favorite human beings, a man that, that set this trip up for us through University of Montana, a professor here for a long time, Clary Loisel, who’s awesome, um, he came to me with this kind of coy smile after he’d gotten Um, correspondence through the university about who I’d been placed with and he told me, Ven a mi, vas a vivir con tres mujeres soteras.

You’re going to live with three single women. And then, then he laughed and said, Oh, it’s two sisters in their 40s and their mother who’s in her 70s. They have a couple of dogs, some parakeets, sounds very nice. Uh, and it really was. But I was also experiencing this moment of, um, a little bit of, uh, apprehension there, as explained to Paul, that I’m having a hard time communicating, especially with the mom.

The two sisters names are Gloria and Pilar. And the mother, uh, who I call the grandmother, la abuela, I still haven’t gotten [00:08:00] her name, I’m three weeks in, because I keep just completely, uh, struggling to communicate with her. And I’m embarrassed at this point to ask the daughters, uh, or her. So, it’s an epitome of just, you know, how our communication is going at this point.

And this is a little bit of culture shock as well. I’m living in this, uh, family that is, that is very different from what I’ve been up to for the last five, six years. Uh, I’m a mid twenties person going to college and on this study abroad now. And, uh, so, I’m telling him, yeah, it’s like, I, I try to ask her something, or she tries to ask me something, and we just, we never seem to be clicking.

This is stressing me out because we’re in January, which means it’s summertime in Chile. And we are in all day, eight hour intensive classes of Spanish, um, before the, what is their fall semester is going to begin. And I’m going to be in buried and more difficult classes, um, very soon. So the at home [00:09:00] element is also part of my training, part of my practice, and I feel like I’m kind of failing and flailing.

Um, so, yeah, I’m telling him, yeah, I’ll come home, announce myself, hola, buenas tardes, and, uh, Gloria and Pilar might be at work still, and, uh, I’ll go sit in the living room and then la abuela will come out and startle me. And it’s like, is she suspicious of me? What’s going on? Uh, distrustful? So… I have this great conversation, finish our terremotos, and, and say our goodbyes, get on the metro, ride home, tall, and uh, and uh, sure enough, I go into our 7th floor apartment building, we’re in a building that’s taller than anything we have in Missoula, it’s where we live.

And, uh, hola, buenas tardes, nobody answers, I walk into the kitchen and I almost like run right into la abuela. Hola! And we’re catching up with each other and, um, asking how her day was. And pretty quickly she’s asking me about the parakeets on the porch and do they bother me? Do they [00:10:00] sing too much? Um, do I like their sound?

I’m like, yeah, yeah, parakeets are great. But she doesn’t seem to get my assurance and next thing I know I’m kind of following her out towards the porch. And, uh, we go out there and as we’re going she’s telling me, Están enamorados, están casados, van a ser una familia. She’s really in love with these parakeets.

They’re in love with each other, they’re married, they’re going to have a family. And, uh, we get out. On the porch, there’s the parakeet cage that hangs from the ceiling, and, uh, she’s very short, like nipple high, and so right away we can see the blue parakeet, there’s a blue one and a green one. The blue one is sitting outside of its little house on a perch.

And, um, and it’s chattin away, and so she’s talkin to it right away, makin little kissing sounds, and, and, uh, she says, Dónde está tu amante? Dónde está el verde? Where’s your lover? Where’s the green [00:11:00] one? And, I’m kinda right behind her, and being tall, I can see the entirety of the cage, including the The plastic tray on the bottom that catches the droppings and the seeds and the green one is dead on the bottom.

So I’m standing behind her and I’m trying to gently call her attention to it. I’m like, Oh, he’s on

the bottom. I think he’s dead. It’s like, she’s ignoring me and I’m getting uncomfortable. Like. Am I being framed here?


she thinking I did this to the parakeets? Uh, so finally she’s like up on her tiptoes a little bit and sees it and she just explodes. Dios mio! Esta muerto! Wailing runs inside and I’m feeling horrid.

Uh, but I’m also a little relieved because the intensity [00:12:00] of your reaction makes me think that this isn’t a frame, this isn’t a setup. So, gracias adios, thank god, Gloria, her daughter, arrives home pretty much in this moment and tranquila mama, she calms her down and kind of gets information from us and And I’m trying to explain, uh, you know, I was trying to draw her attention to it.

It’s like, it’s like she just never understands a thing I’m saying. Does she, uh, it’s not my fault. Gloria tells me, Benha, yo te dije muchas veces, ella es sorda. Ben. I’ve told you lots of times, she’s deaf.

It’s this lightbulb for me. I finally understand what she’s telling me right now, because I guess she’s told me this lots of times, but, uh, but I also feel really good in this moment. I get it. I understand what you just told me. I guess I am [00:13:00] making progress. So as bad as I feel for the parakeet, I’m having a hard time not smiling and, uh, grateful for the epiphany.

I think maybe I will survive my classes. .

[00:13:14] Marc Moss: Thanks

Ben. Ben is Missoula, born and raised, but spent the majority of his adult life elsewhere orbiting to Wyoming, Idaho, Wisconsin, Alaska, and Chile. In the midst of those orbits, he studied at the University of Montana to become a teacher, and he has taught high school English in Spanish. Currently he’s pursuing a master’s degree in public administration and is back at the University of Montana.

He and his wife, Jessie, are doing their best to raise two kiddos to be silly, adventurous, kind, and curious. Next up is Wren Parker, who loves slow travel. She prefers buses and trains and one day finds herself in a train to Cambodia, whose tracks end. Just across the border, friend calls her [00:14:00] story, slow travel.

Thanks for listening.

[00:14:10] Ren Parker: It is my last night in Bangkok. All the lights from the city and the exhaust from the scooters and the tick, uh, the tuk tuks is intense. It’s overwhelming my senses. I spent this last month in Northern Thailand in and out of temple stays studying. Meditation and this city was too much for my heartbeat as I’m walking, I go by an open window through it.

I see a woman in a beautiful art deco dress. She’s singing blue moon. And for a moment, I find stillness in the chaos. You see, I have spent the last year preparing for this trip. I taught myself how to code. I sold my food truck [00:15:00] and moved to San Francisco. I participated in hackathons and think tanks until I mastered the technology I thought was going to save the world.

And I got a job doing that, sold everything except for what could fit in my 40 liter backpack. And I just went to Southeast Asia. I had it all planned out that I was going to do it over land. I love slow travel. It gives me a moment to see moments between people that you know. You normally wouldn’t see if you go too fast, a mother braiding her daughter’s hair, farmers tending to their crops, laughter between friends from a hidden joke.

These are the moments that make me feel like I truly connected with the places that I visit. The next day I go to the train station, I’m getting my second train of the leg of my trip. The first leg I [00:16:00] started from Chiang Mai, Thailand, took a train I’m going to Bangkok where I was presently in Chinatown.

And this next one I was going to take from Bangkok over to the border of Cambodia. Now I had this plan all planned out. I was going to go to the border of Cambodia, cross it. And then I was going to get another train or maybe an overnight bus, whatever they had. And I was going to go to Simri, the home of Angkor Wat.

And that would be where I’d be for the next month. I make it to the train station. It’s old. It’s dark green. And I go up. To the ticket counter and get my ticket. There seems to be some confusion about the train I want. And I’m like, no, this is the one. And person looks at me, hands it and it’s unsure. And I go and I find my train it’s old and red peeling paint.

It has these giant windows on the side with no glass. So it’s just like an open air train. And when I go in, there are goats and [00:17:00] chickens. And I am the only foreigner. And I’m like, alright, this is the adventure I wanted, excellent. So I go and I find a little bench and curl up and put my chin on the windowless, um, area and, uh, it starts going and you hear this loud screech from the train.

And we’re off Now as we get going, I’m so amazed because there’s an entire city on the side of the train tracks. It’s like a city within a city. There are gambling halls and restaurants all built from tarps and things like that, and they’re just inches away from my face. So as we wa we weave out of this city, there’s this kaleidoscope of human experience that I, it just absorbs me and I’m, I’m just fascinated by it.

Pretty soon, maybe like an hour or two, we’re out of the city, and it becomes very regular. There’s a, uh, we’re going through the [00:18:00] countryside, and we’re stopping at little, little stops. People are taking their goats out, bringing other things in. There’s chickens, there’s all kinds of stuff. It’s really neat.

And, um, I’m also starting to notice there’s this air in there where, like, if I leave my bag, it will not be there in about two seconds. So I’m like, got it on my thing. But, um, pretty soon, I look up, and… There is this very large man that is walking through. I noticed him right away because he’s so tall and he looks down at me and he has this huge smile and sits right in front of me and he asked me if I would practice, uh, his English with him.

And I said, yes, of course, something to do, you know? So he pulls out this composition book and it’s old. It’s like the one you’d have in fifth grade. It’s very worn. He opens it up and there’s all this writing in it from different travelers. And so we sit down and we practice his sentences and his words.

Things like, where’s the train station? How much for this item? When we get to the end of it, I decide to give him some words [00:19:00] to, you know, add some more texture to his vocabulary. Things like creativity, friendship, joy. And then after we just start conversing and practicing in open forum and I asked him what he’s doing on the train and, uh, he says, Oh yeah, I take this train and I go, um, over the border and I get whiskey and cigarettes and things.

I shouldn’t have in Thailand. And then I get back on the train and bring it back to Thailand. A lot of people here are doing that, and I’m like, oh, I’m on a smuggler train. . Good thing I made friends with one. And I’m like, oh. And he goes, well, what are you doing? And I’m like, oh yeah, I’m just, you know, I’m gonna go to Sim Reap for a while.

I’m gonna go there, get on another train and maybe, or maybe a bus. And, and he looks at me and he goes, the train track stopped before the border there. There’s no. And I’m like, Oh, well, overnight bus. He’s like, there’s none of those either. So I realized that I am stuck going to be [00:20:00] stuck at the border. And right about that time, I look out this, this train tracks, they’re screeching again.

We’re stopping. And I look and the train tracks just stopped just like he said. And I see this crowd of people coming up and they all want something from somebody and there’s yelling and it’s just chaos. And I just realized like, I am in definite danger. I definitely got myself. With my romanticized white girl ideas of like, what things are, you know, really naive.

So, I must have had the panicked look. And Nom, which was the man’s name, looks over at me and he says, You helped me, now I help you. And just like that, he scoops me up and starts walking on the train. And he’s so tall, my feet aren’t touching the ground. And I just cling to him like a little baby primate, like, Please, God, yes, help me.

And he just… He walks out, and as all the people come, he’s all pshh, pshh, pshh, just like partying the way, just slapping them out of the way. And I’m [00:21:00] just like, press my face into his chest, and I’m just like, okay, here we go. And before I know it, he’s tossing me into a tuk tuk, and I feel myself land on somebody.

And I look down, and it’s Grandma. And I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. And he’s like, sit back down, there’s no room unless you’re on Grandma’s lap. And I was like, okay. So, we get to the border. We jump out, and I’m like, sorry grandma, and uh, there’s a big glass building, one side says customs, the other side has some tie riding, and we both, we enter, I enter the customs, he enters that, and we look at each other through the glass, and I give him a very deep bow, that’s usually reserved just for monks, because he saved me, and that was the last time I saw him, he gave me a big smile and walked away, and I got through customs, and um, I was in a very, uh, And I was like, well, I better get some food because I don’t know what’s going to happen and I should eat.

[00:22:00] Maybe my last meal. And, uh, so I find a Thai restaurant and I’m just missing Thailand and I order my favorite Thai dish which has got like some, um, chicken and basil on rice with an egg on top. And, um, I’m eating and I look over and I see the cutest little girl. And she’s got this gingham dress to her knees and these little, these little pigtails and a shy smile.

And, uh, I start playing with her, you know, peek a boo, and the watchful eyes of her mother look down. She looks happy that I’m playing with her daughter. So soon I’m, like, hanging out, and I go to the mom, and I’m like, Taxi, some reap? And she looks at me like, Girl, what? And then she holds her finger out to say, like, One moment, please.

And she walks to the phone. It’s one of those old phones, you know, that you had to, like, move to the numbers. And pretty soon she’s, like, having an argument. And then she looks. It’s really like, ah, hangs it up and grabs one of the other waitresses who spoke better English. And she said, her [00:23:00] brother was going to take me.

He’s delivering rugs to some rape. And I thought, Oh, thank you so much. So in a little bit, a very grumpy brother shows up like, I cannot believe that you’re throwing this at me, you know, and, uh, I go over in there, uh, into the van and the back is all full of. these rugs and I crawl up on top of the rugs and they’re scratchy and smell like goats and must from the, wherever they have been stored, but I was safe and I felt so happy about that.

And right as I curl up, um, to fall asleep before going to SIM rape, the last thing that crosses my mind is I love slow travel. Thank you.

[00:23:57] Marc Moss: Ren Parker grew up in Hawaii and lived on [00:24:00] sailboats she restored on the Pacific for seven years. She gave up her nomadic ways and moved back to Missoula three years ago to be close to family and has been growing roots here ever since. Ren loves to dance and hike with her faithful dog, Poet, and she spends time with her remarkable Missoula friends.

She found her passion for storytelling in the winter of 2022 in a weekly open mic. Coming up after the break.

[00:24:25] Abe Kurien: But my dad still kept that van because he worked really hard for it and was really proud of it. But if any of you know, in the 80s, a lot of the manufacturers for vehicles, they had a paint issue.

[00:24:37] Linda Grinde: And the girl in the next bed says to me, C’est du dansin! I realize she’s asking me if I want to go dancing. Wow.

[00:24:49] Marc Moss: Stay with us. Remember that the next tell us something event is December 6th. You can learn how to pitch your story and get tickets at tellusomething. org. Thanks again to our title [00:25:00] sponsor, Blackfoot communications, helping us with the heavy lifting of the expense of producing our evening.

Thanks to our stewardship sponsor, Jana Lundquist consulting, helping us to provide free tickets to populations. That might otherwise be unable to attend tell us something events. Thank you to our story sponsor parkside credit union helping us to pay our storytellers Thank you to our accessibility sponsors the kettle house allowing us to hire american sign language interpreters at the events In order to be a more inclusive experience and thanks to our artist sponsor crowley fleck attorneys pllp You are listening to the tell us something podcast I’m your host, Mark Moss.

Our stories in this episode are recorded live in person in front of a packed house on September 28th, 2023 at the George and Jane Dennison Theater at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. Next up is Abe Kurian, who shares his story of woe in which his Indian father mistakenly puts sugar daddy on the back of his van, thinking it means.

One who gives candy to loved ones, Abe calls his story, [00:26:00] Middle East meets the Midwest. Thanks for listening.

[00:26:08] Abe Kurien: An hour south of Chicago, a little town called Bourbonus, Illinois. Now the representatives there, they wanted to vote it and go back to the French pronunciation because of the spelling, to Bourbonay. I’m not French, I grew up there as a kid, I still call it Bourbonus. Now. Bobonis has a university called Olivet Nazarene University, and that is a private Christian conservative school.

And it is The community of Bourbon is kind of just like the University of Montana. Everybody in the community kind of gathers around that university. Well, that is, uh, where my parents met. My mom, she’s from Superior, Montana. Now, that is about an hour west of here. [00:27:00] Small community, and, uh, my mom grew up in the northwest, graduated from Superior High School, and because her brother lived outside of Chicago, he introduced her to Olivet.

Now my dad. He’s from India. And so he comes over, he was encouraged to come over, and by some of the friends that he had in India that were already here in the States. My dad was a proud man, still alive today, and I will get to that, but he was a proud man with a few dollars, a couple suitcases, and he makes his trip to Burbonas, Illinois to go to Olivet.

Now my parents met there, and… And, you know, going back through this, my dad comes here and he ends up getting his bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in counseling from another university outside of Chicago, and in that community of Burbonas, he became very well known. And actually, [00:28:00] if you know me and how outgoing I am, I have to thank my dad for that.

But he was known with organizations. He was in very, various clubs and also very known, um, as being a very Christian man. Now, my dad was also very proud with the work that he did in providing for his kids. Myself, I’m the oldest of five. I have three sisters and a brother that are younger than me. And one thing that my dad wanted to do was always take us on a summer vacation or a vacation somewhere.

And just like the Griswolds and that station wagon, we’re gonna go to the 70s. The 70s… Everybody traveled in a station wagon. And so, we would load up the station wagon, head out to my grandma’s house in Superior, Montana, making little stops along the way. And you gotta remember, my dad, you know, he’s [00:29:00] seeing new sights as he’s leaving the Midwest and coming out towards here to meet and see the…

the west. And so we go, and one of our favorite stops, and if any of you know this, the home of the Corn Palace is in Mitchell, South Dakota. Oh, yeah, we got it. There we go. So now the Mitchell, South Dakota Corn Palace, if you don’t know what it is, they have these murals that are up on the walls and of the exterior of the building that are made from the agriculture from the South Dakota area and surrounding areas with corn, wheat, beans, all that kind of stuff.

But, you know, us kids, we anticipated what the theme was going to be that summer, was we come around the corner. Another great thing about the Mitchell South Dakota Corn Palace is they had a huge gift shop. And if you’re a kid, and you’re traveling, you want what’s in those gift shops. And you know, most of the stuff in there was probably made in India.

So now, we end up continuing our trip to [00:30:00] Superior, Montana to see my grandma. But now, we’re going to move on to the 80s. And in the 80s, we ended up, my dad worked even harder, us kids were growing, and the station wagon wasn’t going to cut it anymore. So we ended up with the conversion van. Now if you know what the conver does everybody know what a conversion van is?

If you don’t, let me describe it. It is slicked out. It is… Silver gray, blue pinstripes, captain chairs, so you know, now that we’re older and, you know, outgrown, the station wagon, but the back seat was a, it turned into a bed. It was pretty sweet. And then, the best thing about the conversion van was it had cable, or not cable hookup because it wasn’t But it had a hookup for TV.

So we had a TV that we would take along, but if you were [00:31:00] stopped, you could get those three channels with the rabbit ears. Otherwise, in the 80s, it was snow and static. So we took this same trip and came out and did our thing in the 80s. Well, in the 90s, we grew up as kids and kind of left the house and, but my dad still kept that van because he worked really hard for it and was really proud of it.

But if any of you know, in the 80s, a lot of the manufacturers for vehicles, they had a paint issue with like GMC and Chevrolet and so the van started to get peely and blistery and paint was, you know, coming off in chunks and it just looked bad. And my dad was like… You know, well one, I called to check in on him, I didn’t live anywhere near the, the house at that time.

I call him up and I said, hey dad, I said, uh, you know, one thing I didn’t explain about my dad, let me actually back up and I apologize for this. But my dad, [00:32:00] his character, has anybody seen The Simpsons? So I didn’t explain this, my dad being from India. is a spitting image of a poo. And I apologize I didn’t bring this up earlier.

I just kind of, I got lost in that translation. So, but here’s, had pun intended. So what ended up happening was my dad That would sound like, would you like to buy a soda pop in a candy bar? Thank you. Come again. And that was my dad’s accent with a poo. But now the best thing about it, he’s in his 80s now and he is a mix of a poo and if you know the boxing promoter, sorry about the pops, the boxing promoter.

Don King. My dad has gray hair that stands up like this. And Don King was outlandish and a little bit of a character, but my dad had his hair. But the look and sound of a poo. And [00:33:00] so, when I called my dad and said, Hey dad, you know, hey, how things going? He’s like, you know, I would like to, uh, With his little accent, he goes, I would like to get the van painted.

The van, it’s all not looking good. And he goes, I think I would like to have that done. And I said, that sounds great, dad. And he goes, you know, in the back of the van, there’s a, there’s a wheel well with a tire cover. And he goes, I would like to put a saying on there, like number one dad or something like that.

Now my motto is keep smiling. So that’s what I would have. And if you guys see jeeps out here in the Northwest, they all have sayings on them. Like, you know, if I’m upside down, we’re having a good time. So, um, I told my dad, you know, dad, I think a great name to put on the back is

I mean, come on. How would that not be perfect? With a conversion van, with a couch that turns into a bed. So, you know, I just laughed it off. I’m thinking that in the back of my head. That’s where [00:34:00] my mind went. And he says, you know son, that sounds like an idea, but we’ll think. So he goes on, and uh, I don’t think anything of it, and uh, I end up visiting, sorry, I end up visiting him about a year later.

About four or five months later, and he comes out and he says, you know son, come see the Vaughn. Come see the Vaughn. I got it repainted. It’s beautiful. So we’re looking at the Vaughn, and the van, because I say van, he says Vaughn. But uh, we come around the back of the van, and I said, hey dad, what happened to your tire cover?

And he goes, you know son, you could, you break your daddy’s heart. You break your daddy’s heart. Basically worked very hard, and I put money into this van, and you tell me to put sugar daddy on the back of this van, and I was actually biting my tongue to not laugh, hysterically. But what [00:35:00] ends up happening is, I said, well, what did you think it was, dad?

And he said, you know, I thought it was a daddy that gave out candy. That makes it even better with the whole van. But, so, you know, I look at it and go, The sugar daddy story, and my dad, I, with all the stuff that he’s done, I’m proud of him, and he worked hard to give us a whole lot of stuff, and I apologize for having him go through that whole thing with the, the repainting of the back of the van.

My biggest regret, is that I never saw him cruising around town in burbonis in a sugar daddy van. I’d like to, uh, thank my beautiful wife, who is the interpreter tonight. And thank you, and keep smiling.

[00:35:55] Marc Moss: Thanks, Abe. Abe Kurian is married to his best friend, Bonnie Kurian, [00:36:00] who was the American Sign Language interpreter when Abe performed his story. They have four children and two grandchildren. He has lived in Montana for the last 24 years. After moving here from outside of Chicago, Illinois, Abe has worked for over 30 years in the film and television industry.

For over 10 years, he has been the camera operator for Grizz and Cat’s football games for the broadcasts on Root Sports, K Pax with Scripps Sports, and the playoffs on ESPN. He also worked on the TV shows 1883, 1923, and currently working as the dailies coordinator for the show Yellowstone, which is shot right here in Missoula, Montana.

His motto is, Keep smiling and his goal is to leave everyone with a smile on their face after meeting them. Closing out this episode of the podcast, Linda Grindy shares her story about a time she was lost in translation. Invited to a disco by French speakers, she ends up breaking into her own hostel to get back in.

Linda calls her story Dancer in a Strange Land or Disco Damsel in [00:37:00] Distress. Thanks for listening.

[00:37:03] Linda Grinde: The boom from the disco floor was so loud that I had to stand up so that the table full of people would even know that I was speaking. C’est très important de, j’ai, j’ai fait partie maintenant. Nothing I tried again.


I need your help. Still nothing. It was three o’clock in the morning. I’m somewhere in the south of France at a disco with a group of strangers and nobody speaks English. And I have ten kids sleeping in a, in a hostel. An hour or more away, thinking that I’m there and [00:38:00] I’m going to get up in the morning and take them on a 50 mile bike ride in the heat of August in the south of France during high tourist season.

I need to sleep. I want to sleep. Um, je voudrais coucher ce soir. Yeah, that sets off a lot of rapid fire French all around. Punctuated by the occasional English phrase, um, I love you, my darling. Do you want to sleep with me tonight? To be fair, you know, if I was back in the States and there was one French person, I’m sure you would hear, Voulez vous coucher avec moi?

But I’m really stuck. Rewind. Ten hours. I’m 21 years old. I’m leading a bicycle trip through Europe. Scandinavia, Southern [00:39:00] France. For the American Youth Hostels. I have 10, 15 year old kids from Manhattan that I am the guide for. The only adult. We have been already six weeks. on the trail. We’ve cycled over the fjords of Norway.

We have cycled through the farmland of Denmark and, and, and Sweden. And just this morning, we got on a plane in Copenhagen and flew to Milan, got on a train and came to the south of France to Antibes, Cat Antibes, one of the biggest tourist towns on the French Riviera. We’ve bicycled up from the train station, and as we come to the hostel that we’re going to be staying in tonight, I realize it’s a chateau.

To me, it looks like a castle. It’s got [00:40:00] round towers and turrets and arched windows that look out over the Mediterranean Sea, which is right across the street. As we push our bicycles into the courtyard, all cobblestone, we go past these eight foot iron gates with spikes on top. The only thing that’s missing is the moat.

Well, I get the kids settled in their dormitories, they’re tired, and I find my room, which is on the second floor, up a stairway into one of those round rooms, there are five beds, and I, I barely slip my saddlebacks off my shoulder when the girl in the next bed says to me, Fais tu danser? I realize she’s asking me if I want to go dancing.

Wow, I have spent the last six weeks with kids. It would be fun to have some adult time. They’re all settled. Why [00:41:00] not? Oui! I say oui! I reach my hand down to the bottom of my saddle bag and pull out the only dress I brought and slip on some sandals and follow her downstairs. So the first surprise… Is that there were two cars waiting outside, packed with her friends.

We’re not just walking into town for a couple of hours, we’re going somewhere. I climb inside, and after a Very brief conversation about who I am, uh, American, and then I’m on a velo, I’m riding, I’ve exhausted my, my vocabulary. And they pretty much ignore me. And we’re driving further and further away from town and into the countryside, and it’s getting darker.

Finally, we pull into a parking lot and up to a building that is like, Like a [00:42:00] birthday cake, each floor a different color, and it’s pulsing with the sound of disco music, this is the 70s. We enter this amazing structure and start by dancing on the first floor, we have a few drinks, it really is fun. And then move to the second floor, and different tone, and different feeling, and I’m starting to look at my watch because it’s getting close to 10 o’clock, and the rules of a youth hostel is that they close and lock those doors at 10 o’clock.

And I’m looking over at the girl I came with, and she doesn’t seem to be concerned, so I figure, well, I guess we’re gonna break in together. But I do start drinking water. We go to the next floor and continue this rising up through all levels. And now it’s [00:43:00] getting on close to midnight and I really am tired.

I’m ready to go and I, but I figure I, I’m in for the trip. So I have to wait till the bars close at two. And then two o’clock comes, and passes by, and things aren’t slowing down, they’re actually revving up. And that, that girl I came with, she is nowhere to be seen. And suddenly I start to, I start to panic.

I, I don’t even know how to use a French phone, or how to call a taxi, or where I am, or what the name of that hostel was, or, oh, I only have a few francs and a lot of American traveler’s checks, so that’s not going to work. Um, and then I, and then I think, oh my god, what happens if my kids wake up at six o’clock?

I’m not there. They don’t know where I am. I don’t know where I am. [00:44:00] There’s no way to get in touch with anybody. There are no international phones at the time. Or there might be at a post office in some town. There’s no, there’s nothing they can do. I’m I’m freaking out. So, let’s go back to that table. I’m standing there and I’m getting a little crazy.

I keep saying, I have to go, I have to go, in whatever method I can. And finally, a tall, sandy haired guy steps forward. Let’s call him Francois. He wiggles his keys. I think he must have drawn the short straw. Because I had become what you would call a real pain in the derriere. They just wanted to get rid of me.

Relief is tinged by a little unease as we head into the dark parking lot towards his car. I’m following a stranger out into the [00:45:00] darkness and… What else can I do? He’s my only hope. We get to the car, and he walks around to the passenger side and opens it for me, but then pushes me against the door and tries to kiss me.

I push him off. I’m having none of that. He just shrugs and climbs in the car. We have a very long, quiet ride. But we get there, I see the Mediterranean, and that castle, and I’m back. He stops, I jump out, Merci! Close the door, and he speeds off. And then I’m facing the fortress. That big gate now is locked with a big padlock.

And I have to get past it. But I realize that The gate is connected into [00:46:00] these large boulders, and, and they look like they’ve got a good grip, so I managed to get up the boulders and then carefully step over those spikes on the top and hang down and drop into the courtyard, and I figure, okay, I’m in, I can sleep on a bench, I guess, till morning, but I don’t know.

I don’t know. I noticed that there’s a window that’s slightly ajar on the hallway that goes up to my room and there’s a ledge and there’s a vine. I think I can do this. It must be adrenaline that’s driving me. I slip my sandals onto my wrist and climb up the vine and then inch my way along to the window and thank God it opens easily and I slip in and get into my bed.

And I get two solid hours of sleep. Six o’clock in the morning comes fast and I hear the bell of the breakfast ring and I splash my face with water and as I [00:47:00] gather my stuff I realize that girl never slept in that bed. She never made it back. Well, I did the 50 mile ride, got my kids safely to the next campground, they never knew what happened, I’ve never even told this story.

But I have to tell you, in recounting it, I started thinking about that guy, Francois. So many things could have gone wrong. He was drunk, we could have crashed, he could have left me in the parking lot, he could have taken me anywhere. But he didn’t. He left his friends. He left that party. He drove this crazy American off into the night.

He did the right thing. After all these years, I’d just like to say, Merci beaucoup, François.[00:48:00]

[00:48:05] Marc Moss: Thanks, Linda. Linda Grinde keeps trying to reinvent herself, but just keeps coming back to another version of theater. She recently appeared in a multimedia memory piece, Intangible Objects, at the Westside Theater in Missoula, Montana. Originally from New Jersey. She has a master’s degree in theater and has danced professionally in New York and Germany, acted in and directed plays in London, Seattle, Dallas, Hawaii, and all around Montana.

Linda will be traveling to Thailand next year to you guessed it. Teach theater.

Thanks for listening to the tell us something podcast. And thanks to our media sponsors, Missoula events. net, Montana public radio, and Missoula broadcasting company, including the family of ESPN radio, the trail one Oh 3. 3 check FM and Missoula source for modern hits. You want a 4. 5 thanks to float Missoula.

Learn more [00:49:00] at float msla. com and Joyce of tile. Learn more about Joyce at Joyce of tile. com. Remember that the next tell us something event. is December 6th. You can learn about how to pitch your story and get tickets at tellussomething. org.[00:50:00]

Listen for those stories at tellussomething. org or wherever you get your podcasts.

This week on the podcast four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Lost in Translation”. Their stories were recorded live in person in front of a packed house on September 28, 2023, at The George & Jane Dennison Theatre at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : Lost in Translation - Part 1

[00:00:00] 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 The Kindness of Strangers. 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 October 29th. I look forward to hearing from you. Tickets for the December 6th live Tell Us Something event are on sale now. The theme is The Kindness of Strangers. We are excited to be partnering with Spark Arts to provide on site childcare for humans with kiddos. There are a limited number of slots available for this service.

Three teaching artists will provide engaging art based learning activities at the Wilma while you enjoy storytelling for the evening. To learn more and to get tickets, go to tellusomething. org. Thank you to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Blackfoot Communications connects people, businesses, and communities.

[00:01:00] They know that strong connections matter. Connecting businesses. Connecting homes. Connecting communities. Connecting. Blackfoot Communications allows its users to utilize the latest technology in voice, broadband, network, and managed services. They keep people reliably connected. Blackfoot serves homes in western Montana and eastern Idaho as well as businesses of all sizes throughout the Pacific goblackfoot.

com This week on the podcast I

[00:01:33] Chris Hallberg: hear dr. Steve before I see dr. Steve his His loud American accented Spanish is echoing off the clinic walls He looks to be in his mid to late 50s like kind of washed up surfer vibe about him

[00:01:49] Philippa Crawford: I really tried to avoid him next thing. I know we’re paired up in an exercise that we do with our eyes closed Touching each other’s hands getting to know each other with just [00:02:00] our hands

[00:02:01] Richard Thornton: And the boy just smiles real big and he, and he nods his head and then he looks at me and in English he says, how much?

[00:02:10] Nita Maddox: And this effervescent thing kind of rose to the surface and I thought, I’m going to organize a naked bike ride.

[00:02:18] Marc Moss: Four Storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme, Lost in Translation. Their stories were recorded live in person in front of a packed house on September 28th, 2023. At the George and Jane Dennison Theater at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana.

Telesomething acknowledges that we are on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Pendlay, Salish, and Kootenai peoples. We honor their resilience and strength in the face of colonization and displacement. We recognize that the land upon which we stand is sacred to them and we are committed to working towards a more just and equitable future for all.

We take this moment to honor the land and its native people and the stories they [00:03:00] share with us.

Our first story comes to us from Chris Hallberg. who shares his story in which Dr. Steve, an American doctor, gives a Salvadorian patient a pizza cutter as a gift. Chris calls his story Pizza Cutter Medicine.

Thanks for listening.

[00:03:26] Chris Hallberg: So it’s about six in the morning and the sun is just coming up. I’m on a bus in rural El Salvador headed out of Chalatanango into Nueva Trinidad. And even though it’s just break of dawn, the bus drivers got reggaeton music on full blast. And the bus that we’re on is this old repurposed school bus. I’m wedged into my seat.

My knees are pressed tightly up against the vinyl of the seat back in front of me. There’s diesel smoke that’s blowing through the cabin as the bus driver just [00:04:00] tears around

It’s about 15 years ago, and I’ve been living in El Salvador for about a year now, working on a few different, um, health related projects with some grassroots organizations there. And although I have a U. S. passport and know that I can leave at any time, I really try to do everything that I can to live as an average Salvadoran would.

So I shop at local Marcets and avoid touristy areas. I wash my clothes by hand. Um, I eat the street food. I drink the water. Um, And when we, uh, when the, or I guess the bus that I’m on is headed out to this rural country area, um, there’s a group of U. S. doctors that’s, that’s, uh, volunteered to come down and, um, myself along, and along with a few other people we’ve been asked to, um, help interpret for the doctors.

So we, um, we pull up at the clinic and there’s already a line of Salvadorans outside the tall whitewashed [00:05:00] walls of the clinic compound and I kind of go to make my way inside and the tile floors of the clinic are just spotless, there’s white floors, they’ve been freshly cleaned, this is the sweet smell of fabulosa, this cleaning product is kind of lingering in the air for those of you that know fabulosa.

The staff is all standing in a large circle, kind of at attention. The, uh, nurses are there, and the community health workers are there, and the janitors are there. And, uh, uh, everyone is just dressed immaculately, even though the staff lives in near poverty themselves. So the women are all wearing these like white pressed dresses.

Men are wearing, uh, dress shirts and slacks. And everybody has got on these, um, dress shoes that are polished and totally clean even though there’s, um, dirt, muddy streets, uh, throughout the town. Uh, and then off in one corner, the, the U. S. physicians are kind of mingling amongst each other. And I’m trying to size them up because I’ve, uh, volunteered to interpret for these groups before.

And some of the doctors are definitely a little bit more culturally sensitive [00:06:00] than other ones. And from the looks of it. This group seems to be pretty appropriate. They’re, you know, talking in gentle tones. They’re all professionally dressed. Except for one.

Dr. Steve.

Now I, I hear Dr. Steve before I see Dr.

Steve. His, his loud American accented Spanish is echoing off the clinic walls. He looks to be in his mid to late 50s. Um, like kind of washed up surfer vibe about him. He looks like he was born in Southern California and had never left. He’s got, uh, shoulder length, uh, curly, graying hair. Um, he’s wearing an old faded t shirt.

He’s got on gym shorts and flip flops. Um, and his, his, uh, he kind of reminds me of that one wild uncle that we all have that just talks a little too loudly and has no sense of personal space. So the clinic manager gets us all together and she starts Um, making pairings, assigning each of us interpreters with one of the physicians, and I start to get nervous, because I [00:07:00] just do not want to get stuck with this joker all day.

And so she starts calling off names, and she says, you know, Jen and Dr. Anderson. And I feel my knees get a little bit weak, because I just, I know what’s coming. And then she says, Nadia and Dr. Garrett, and I just know it’s happening, I can feel that the pit in my stomach is getting tighter and tighter. And she proceeds through all of the, the pairings until, um, uh, in a moment that feels a lot like middle school gym class to me, there’s only two of us left.

And she says, Chris and Dr. Steve. So Dr. Steve makes his way across the, uh, clinic waiting area to me and he’s got this giant clear plastic. Garbage bag in hand and there’s these brightly colored plastic objects in it. He kind of looks like a beach bum Santa. And so he makes his way over and as he gets closer he holds his hand up in the air and says, what is up my dude?[00:08:00]


I brought plastic pizza cutters from a pizzeria in my hometown back in Southern California to give out to the people here. Um, uh, they don’t cut too good, but I feel like the people could use them to cut their tortillas. Like, fantastic. You brought injection molded plastic. Pizza cutters to give out to subsistence farmers who have absolutely no use for them whatsoever.

This is, this is great. And so we start our clinic day together and uh, uh, Dr. Steve tells me really early on that he won’t be needing my interpreting assistance because he dated a Spanish woman a couple decades ago and is basically fluent.

Dr. Steve’s clinical skills are fine but his Spanish language skills, on a good day, I’d put somewhere in the neighborhood of, could competently order off of the Taco Bell [00:09:00] menu. Yeah, anything beyond Chalupa is really going to challenge this guy. So I try to do my best to jump in when things really get off the rails, but the Salvadoran staff cue into what’s going on pretty quickly and um, just direct, you know, really straightforward cases to us.

Um, coughs, colds, rashes, stuff like that. Every single patient that sees us leaves with a plastic pizza cutter in hand and a very confused look on their


There is one patient that was particularly confused by the plastic pizza cutter. This patient came in and he was having abdominal pain and diarrhea and he left with a bottle of Imodium and a pizza cutter. And we thought that was going to be the last we’d see of him. But about ten minutes later, he comes shuffling back into the clinic, and he’s clearly kind of nervous, he has this sheepish air about him.

He shuffles in, gives Dr. Steve this black plastic bag, and then kind of shuffles out. And Dr. Steve’s really [00:10:00] confused. He’s like, what is this? Is this a gift for the expert medical attention that I’ve been providing? And so he slowly starts to peel back the corners of the bag. And the most horrendous, putrid smell comes pouring out of the bag.

And he keeps peeling it back and peeling it back. And eventually this neon pink pizza cutter emerges and it’s absolutely covered in poop.

Now at this point I should say, GI issues are really common in El Salvador and it’s not unusual for doctors to request that their patients bring in stool samples to help aid in diagnosis. And best we can piece together, what had happened was the patient thought that the pizza cutter was this sophisticated tool from the U.

S. that should be used to collect a stool sample. So, he took the pizza cutter out to the pit toilet behind the clinic, and like, delicately and expertly, and in a manner that totally defies all Newtonian physics, pooped all over the [00:11:00] pizza cutter.

Now, at this point, the Salvadoran staff is really struggling to keep their composure. I, I, I’m just laughing, I’ve like totally lost it. And Dr. Steve is just… Totally, totally dumbfounded.

In that moment, in that small clinic, in that small Central American country, through the hands of a farmer, the universe served up an epic dose of cosmic justice to all the Dr. Steves of the world. It is an absolute honor to be there to bear


Now, some 15 years later, I think about Dr. Steve on occasion. Dr. Steve was a, uh, was a fine clinician, but he missed some major, major cultural miscues. He makes me wonder about my own cultural ineptitudes, [00:12:00] um, both as a physician and as a human. Makes me wonder about what pizza cutters I’ve given out over the years.

Makes me wonder, um, You know, about for all of us how our unconscious biases shape the way that we understand ourselves and those around us. And ultimately, it reminds me that we need each other as a community to help us recognize our own individual and collective blind spots to help us all, um, recognize our own inner Dr.

Steeves. And for that lesson, I have to say, thanks, my dude.

[00:12:49] Marc Moss: Thanks, Chris. Chris Hallberg is a family medicine doctor who’s worked with patients in rural Alaska, Montana, the Caribbean, and Central America. He enjoys cooking, making music with [00:13:00] friends, and poking around remote corners of Montana with his girlfriend Charlotte and their dog Sydney. Our next storyteller is Philippa Crawford, who leaves her busy life working at an ad agency in San Francisco.

When she falls in love with the man of her dreams. Philippa calls her story, Love Found

Home. Thanks for listening. Yes.

[00:13:26] Philippa Crawford: What? Fire? I scrambled across to get to the bay, running down in my heels on California Street, getting to the ad agency. The fire was small, but I had to make sure that the mechanicals and the artwork were in good condition so that I, as print production manager, could get them to the printer and satisfy the client’s deadlines.

The cortisol was palpable. It was high energy. It was crazy. It was fun. We were adrenaline junkies. I was standing on the corner one day, and a bus whooshed through. [00:14:00] And I was taken back to New Hampshire as a child and remembering being mesmerized by how the ants would take dirty, I mean dirty dry soil and turn them into these beautiful sandy mounds.

And then remembering the glistening dirt in the dust in the sliver of sunshine coming through the barn after I’d climbed around on the hay bales. I wanted to get back to the country.


agency was crazy. And over time it just really wasn’t as fun as it seemed to be. I wondered who I really was. It seemed so superficial.

I felt superficial. I wanted more from life. I wanted to discover my heart. I was pretty bound up. And my marriage was sliding downhill. I felt lost. Um, so I went on the adventure to find what I could do about that. And I came across Lifespring. [00:15:00] I joined the course, courses, and it was that human, experiential human empowerment course.

It was provocative, it was intense with these creative exercises that get you to look deep and to see who you were and who, what the possibilities were to be something else. Um, on the last course. I walk into the room and get to find my seat and I feel this gentle presence walk in and I look and there’s this man with dark, dark curly hair that tickles the collar of his outdated jacket and as he walks across the room, I just feel the sensitivity and this humbleness.

Oh no, we’re not going to go there. I really tried to avoid him. Next thing I know, we’re paired up in an exercise that we do with our eyes closed. touching each other’s hands, getting to know each other with just our hands.[00:16:00]


hands were not soft, but they had a kind and an intensity about them that said, let me get to know you and I’ll let you get to know me. Sort of like a namaste moment. It was really very moving. The course, uh, was three months, and so we, uh, groups were formed, and there was Lori laughing. Lori, who was just outrageous, vivacious with her, her heart and her laugh, and then there was Handsome Hands.

His name, his name was Scott with a single T. We all hung out together as we were supposed to deepen our experience, but he and I spent a lot of nights, late night in cafes, drinking old coffee, talking Philosophy, spirituality, trying to figure out life, you know, where can we find meaning? Uh, he talked about Sweet, his dog, and Simon and Duncan, his boys, he loved [00:17:00] his boys.

And he was from Montana. The course ended, we went on, my marriage dissolved, I changed jobs. And, um, but a couple months later, I get a call laughing, Lori, wouldn’t it be a blast if we went to Montana and saw Scott? Sure. I didn’t even know where Montana was. We get on the road, and we chitchat, and then she says, I’m a Jack Mormon.

I grab the door handle, my buttcheeks clench, I don’t know what that means, but it terrified me. And she said, it’s okay, it just means that I’m a Mormon, but that I can’t live with all the tenets of the religion. And as she shared her heart, my hand slipped and I relaxed. And I am so grateful because that wall of…

of judgment and ignorance crumbled away and, um, she opened her heart and she’s still my dear friend today. We arrive at this, [00:18:00] um, weathered old law cabin, greeted by Sweet, who’s a great Dane Lab Cross. And as we enter what I would define as a, the coyote den, um, there’s Scott and his beautiful smile and his deep embrace for both of us.

And I think she had a crush on him, pretty sure. The next day we pick up the boys, um, from their mom and we go to this beautiful reservoir and these jewels shoot out into the sky. They were called the mission mountains and it was stunning and a little creepy because no one else was there but us. I couldn’t.

I get that. On the last night, Laurie, Scott, and I stood on the back porch, and um, as only Big Sky can deliver, there was this kaleidoscope sunset with colors and textures as far as the eye could see, and then also were these dark clouds shocked white with [00:19:00] lightning and rolling thunder, both happening at the same time?

And I knew at that moment, my life was forever changed. We got back to our lives a couple years past and Scott and I would, um, talk on the phone for hours, sharing our stories and how we’d grown or not grown. And, um, he had such a, uh, kind humor and, uh, fun wit, so I really felt comfortable and our friendship just continued to deepen.

One New Year’s evening, I had a feeling he would call. And he did. Hi. Hi. Do you want to come up for a visit? Sure. I was so excited. So I arrive a month later, and again, we just deepen our friendship and something else. And we share where we are, and just again, just have these great deep talks. I [00:20:00] could feel my heart opening, and it was just lovely to be there.

And as I was getting ready to leave, he said, you know, I really love my life with my boys. I said, yeah, they are amazing and wonderful. And I see how you respect who they are, letting them be who they are and the love that you share. Oh, and I love being a single San Francisco woman.

Cried on the way to the airport. And when I got back to the apartment, I looked around and there was a picture of Scott. On the wall. And then in my book by my bedside table, he was the bookMarc. And I realized I really had deep, deep feelings for this man. I didn’t know what to do about it, but I was feeling things for sure.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you, he was handsome. Damn handsome


um, a month later I received this [00:21:00] handwritten letter. By Duncan and Simon, Duncan’s 14 and Simon’s 18. And it reads, Dearest Flipout, This is supposedly going to be a very convincing letter. You must marry our


He is the best man in the world and the most loving man I know. And he loves one woman, you, Filippa Learned.

I read on, This leads to you being a happy, proud, married mom of two awesome young men who love you very much. I, my breath, I I felt so many feelings, I was excited my hairs were on end I, I was thrilled and also really confused. I call up Scott and I said, you know about this? Yeah? You wanna do something about this?

[00:22:00] Yes. Will you move up here and be with me? Yes, yes, yes! I love you Scott. I love you too. Four months later, I move into the Coyote Den in Arlie on the flooded Indian Reservation. And it was a transition. Um, Um, The dogs helped me by leaving slimy things that my feet would step on that would be a deer leg.

And this other dog that we got, uh, puppy Jackpot, thought she had won the lottery by chewing up all my Italian leather heels. Except one memento. A pink toe cleavage. leather stiletto CFM. Come

fuck me, bum. And I said, have at it. I am done with that life. And, um, three years later, in the yard, Duncan and Jack pawed his Masters of Ceremony. [00:23:00] Uh, I became a mail order bride. And three years after that, we welcomed our son, Nicholas. Yes. And I was embraced by this beautiful, eclectic community, and this beautiful, loving, loving, blended family.

And two brave boys with big hearts, open hearts, and two dogs, and this most… Loving man, uh, my heart found home. Thank you.

[00:23:36] Marc Moss: Thanks Filippa. Filippa Crawford is East coast born. She thrived for eight years in London, enjoyed 10 years in the Bay Area and found home in delicious Montana 35 years ago. She is a tapping practitioner and an intuitive coach. These days, she dares new experiences outside her comfort zone. She enjoys finding peace and fascination in nature, animals, including reptiles [00:24:00] and insects.

Dancing is her go to along with her big, loving, extraordinary family. Coming up after the

[00:24:06] Richard Thornton: break. And the boy just smiles real big and he nods his head and then he looks at me and in English he says, how much?

[00:24:15] Nita Maddox: And this effervescent thing kind of rose to the surface and I thought, I’m going to organize a naked bike ride.

[00:24:22] Marc Moss: Stay with us. Remember that the next tell us something event is December 6th. You can learn how to pitch your story and get [email protected]. Thanks again to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications, helping us with the heavy lifting of the expense of producing our evening. Thanks to our stewardship sponsor, Jana Lundquist Consulting, helping us to provide free tickets to populations.

That might otherwise be unable to attend tell us something events. Thank you to our story sponsor parkside credit union helping us to pay our storytellers Thank you to our accessibility sponsors the kettle house allowing us to hire american sign language interpreters at the events In order to be a more inclusive [00:25:00] experience and thanks to our artist sponsor crowley fleck attorneys pllp You are listening to the tell us something podcast I’m your host, Marc Moss.

Our stories in this episode are recorded live in person in front of a packed house on September 28th, 2023 at the George and Jane Denison Theater at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. In our next story, Richard Thornton hires a kid to capture an anteater, but the kid comes back with an unknown monster.

Richard calls his story, I get a pet. Thanks for listening.

[00:25:39] Richard Thornton: Many years ago, I was a surveyor with an outfit called the Ethiopia U. S. Mapping Mission. They, uh, they had a treaty to make topographic maps of the whole country. I was surveying in the Agadon Desert region, and the Agadon is pretty much what you think of as a high desert, mostly dirt and gravel, and it was filled [00:26:00] with like half, half alive Akasha trees, and it had this Vine that was called the camel thorn nothing had thorns as long as your fingers and they were so sharp and strong that they could puncture a car tire.

I’d even seen birds impaled on the ends of these things. They also had these termite mounds, giant termite mounds. They were tall and symmetrical. Actually, I thought of more as termite towers because things went up like 20, 25 feet and they were all over the place. Well, once, while we were driving some trucks on this long, straight stretch of dirt road on the way to a little village to set up a temporary camp, I saw what I thought was an anteater cross the road way up ahead and It was a stranger looking animal, but it just ran into the camel thorns that lined the road.

It was gone by the time we got to that place where I’d seen it. I was kind of excited to stop the truck, but even [00:27:00] standing on the hood, I couldn’t see it because of all the brush and termite mounds. I felt a little disappointed and got back in the truck and went on driving towards the village. But I couldn’t get that animal out of my head.

I kept thinking about it. And somewhere along the line, I got, I got the idea that it would be really cool to have an anteater as a pet.

I mean, an anteater would be much better than our half wild camp dogs to live with us. And, you know, what better animal than, than that to show off my manliness, you know, and you know how I could train animals and, you know, I even thought, envisioned myself walking my eater on a leash across the camp over to a nearby anthill or a termite mound where he’d eat his fill.

Now, I didn’t say anything about this to the guys in the truck with me. In fact, I didn’t even know if there were anteaters in that part of Ethiopia. We’re all Africa [00:28:00] for that matter, but I wanted one as a pet anyway, so I was going to see if I could try to get one. When we pulled into the village, the center of the village, excuse me, now the village was basically a bunch of, uh, Uh, rectangular mud buildings with, uh, big wooden doors and wooden shutters in the windows.

And as soon as we stopped, all, all these, all the kids in town all just came running around our trucks and they were jumping up and down and laughing and, and smiling at us and, you know, all except… All except for the littlest of them. And those guys just sit there and stared at us in amazement. Cause we’d be the first people with white skin they’d ever seen.

But anyway, pretty quick, they, they, uh, you know, got brave and came over and touched us on the hands or on the legs, you know, and they started jumping up and down and welcoming us too. Now, the adults weren’t so [00:29:00] excited to see us, but they did send a couple men over to talk about where we could set up a safe place for camp, and, but I wasn’t part of those talks, so I kind of drifted off to the side to some kids, and I saw a boy, he was about 10 years old, And I went over to him and I asked him if he, if he knew about anteaters, you know.

Well, first I had to ask him, first I asked him if he knew any English and he did say yes, a little. You know, but then it turned out that as soon as he, as I started asking the question if he could catch me one, it became quite obvious that he had no idea what I was talking about. Well, so what I had to do is I got G’Day, one of our Ethiopian surveyors, To try to explain to the kid what I wanted.

Now, that turned out to be pretty tough too, because Gday had never heard that term and he did it before. So I had to kind of try to describe this thing [00:30:00] to him. and , of course, that took a lot of gyrations and sounds on my part, you know, when I started talking about it’s a big tale and how it had really funny hair and a beaty little eyes, you know?

And oh, it had these big claws that dug in the ground and sed. Ants and termites and Well anyway, by then all the kids are just laughing like crazy and And G’day, G’day says something to the kid for a few seconds And the boy just smiles real big and he, and he nods his head And then he looks at me and in English he says, how much?

So I dug into my pocket, and I pulled out some, some money, and it was about two dollars, Ethiopian. And his eyes just lit up, and he took off running, and he just ran around one of the buildings, and he was gone. G’day said that he told the boy to catch the animal that eats [00:31:00] termites. Well, Uh, you know, G’day and the boy might have been a little confused as to what I wanted the animal for.

Cause nobody in Nogginon kept any kind of animal as a pet. I mean, there were goats, but they were for milk and meat. And there were always lots of dogs around, but they were for warning of strangers and, you know, mainly keeping hyenas away. We had dogs keep hyenas away too. And some of us did try to treat some of our dogs as pets, but that was always a risky business.

Well anyway, at that point I went out to our camp, excuse me, I went out to our camp area, and just to see if it was clear of these big camel spiders and scorpions and deadly snakes, and set up our tents. And after a while I went back to the village. And maybe I was looking to see if they had a bar, and I wasn’t there very long, [00:32:00] and I heard a commotion.

And that kid that I’d sent off for the antutu came around the corner of one of the buildings, and he had a, he had a blanket in his arms. And that blanket was making a growling, screechy kind of noise. And, yeah, and it was moving around, you know, like it was, something was punching and pushing and scrolling around, you know, like a mad monster trying to get out.

And this kid was just… Coming at me, you know, with the, this staggering over towards me, trying to hold this thing down. But what happened about that time, the adult all yelled, screamed, and they grabbed up all the children, and they ran them all into all the buildings, and they shut the door. Suddenly I was all alone, with this, with this kid coming at me, with, just grim faced, and, and.

He was, anyway, I got lost here for a second, I’m sorry.[00:33:00]

Laughter Anyway, he was still, he was staggering on towards me and I’m thinking, Dear God, if this is an anteater, I want no part of it.


Well, about that, he stops right in front of me, and just then he reached up to try to hand it to me, and the whole thing went just wild and crazy, and the blanket flew out of his hand, and, and a real, a monster did fly out.

Now, all I saw was a blur, but this thing just ran across and it leaped up onto one of the doors of the building, and it scratched at it and bit at it. And it jumped down and unbelievably it ran to the second door and jumped up on it and screeched and then it jumped down and ran off, off into the brush and it was gone.

Now, I, I still didn’t, never found out what that thing[00:34:00]

was. I suspect it was a mongoose of some sort.



Anyway, the boy who was just standing there, looking kind of dejected at the blanket at his feet, and, you know, maybe he thought he had failed me for losing the animal, so I praised him for his bravery, you know, and I told, I told him he’d really earned his money, and I gave it to him, and that cheered him up a little.

Now he’d come out of it with a, just a few scratches. And now he’s looking pretty pleased with himself. But about that time, the adults came out of hiding. And they all came over at us. And they just, they just warmed around this kid. And they just, and they started yelling at him. And the women started slapping him all over the place.

And, you know, I don’t think they, I didn’t think [00:35:00] they were really trying to hurt him. But, I took that chance to beat it back to camp

and hide out. Yeah, I wanted to

hide out in case they decided to find out who caused all this. And wanted to smack me around, too. After that, I, I decided it would be much better to make friends with Chichu, our least, our least wild camp dog.

It was a long time, though, before I found out that I, I had terrorized an entire village and traumatized a poor kid for nothing. Because there are no anteaters in Ethiopia.

Or all

of Africa, for that matter.

Thank you.

[00:35:53] Marc Moss: Thanks, Richard. Richard Thornton grew up in Southern California. 40 years in the TV and motion picture business. [00:36:00] Mainly as a sound boom man, he is an army veteran who served as a topographic surveyor, making maps in Ethiopia and the Great Southwest of New Mexico and Arizona. During the after strike of 1980 Richard and his wife came to Montana looking for a home during one of those idyllic September weeks.

He bought a lousy log house and stayed. Richard retired to Kettlespell in 2005, where he lived the carefree life of a 63 year old with three school age daughters at home to raise. Our final storyteller in this episode of the podcast is Nita Maddox, who organized for a mass naked bike ride in Missoula, Montana, and received death threats because of it.

It was, she says, quite a lot. Nita calls her story, Bear as you dare. Thanks for listening.

[00:36:49] Nita Maddox: Breathing deeply. This is the only tool I have right now to deal with the pain. I’ve never been in pain this bad. I’m on a beach in the [00:37:00] Philippines that’s been absolutely destroyed by a hurricane and my body is wracked with malaria. Somewhere in the fever and all of it. The Spanish paramedics show up and they’re with the someone from the aid agency that I’m working for.

This is 2014, and I’ve gone to the Philippines to work at a for an international aid agency and now I’m sick and they’re saying to me, we’re sending you home. I’ve been traveling for about three years and in this kind of fevered pain, I’m not really sure where home is. And then it kind of rises to the surface.

Oh, I’m going back to Montana. The place where I’d been born and raised, generations of my family. The land that holds so many ancestors, ancestors buried here longer than it’s even been the United States. On the way home, there are a few stops along the way because I have to get medical treatment and I’m [00:38:00] exhausted.

One of those stops is in Portland, Oregon. And I’m visiting one of my oldest friends since we were teenagers. When I show up, he and his wife are a little surprised at the condition I’m in. Not only am I physically recovering from the malaria, but I have just worked at the very first… super typhoon that had ever occurred and the human devastation I had seen was weighing really heavy on me.

So these friends have the idea that I should go to the world naked bike ride with them. They think this is, this is a great idea and I don’t think this is a great idea. If I could describe it, I’d say I’m not necessarily the first person naked at a party. Like I’m, comfortable with nudity, but I don’t, I’m a little cautious with it.

But they explain that the world naked bike ride and the biggest ride happens to be in Portland, but it happens all over the country in the world is really about [00:39:00] bike activism. It’s about getting people to see bicyclists because it’s hard to miss thousands of naked bicyclists. I really appreciate this idea having just seen the effects of global climate change.

And when my daughter was nine and my son was six, we were hit in a crosswalk on Higgins by a truck. And I painfully intimately knew what a motor vehicle could do when it hit a basically naked human body. So I thought, I’m down with this. Let’s go do it. And it was interesting because it didn’t feel awkward, the nudity.

It actually felt Playful and innocent and radically inclusive. There were older folks. There were people with mastectomies. There were transgendered people. It was this act of human beauty and it was all this [00:40:00] spectrum of people and it was stunning and no one looked like the cover of a magazine. Then I was back in Montana, and I was sitting with some friends and they were talking about all the struggles they’d been having trying to organize a pride parade.

And I kind of jokingly said, you should shoot for the moon and do a naked pride parade. They were like, yeah, you know, good luck with that. And this effervescent thing kind of rose to the surface. And I thought. I’m going to organize a naked bike ride. So the next day I went to John Ingram’s office and I said, Hey, what do you think about this?

And he’s like, I think it’s a great idea. That sounds like a total Missoula thing. He laid out this grocery list of all the different things that I was going to have to do to do it completely above board. So I go down the list. I mean, the. The downtown council, I meet with the city engineer to plan the route, and I’m finally at the last [00:41:00] thing on the list, which is I’ve got to get the police department to sign off.

And I decide to go to the city attorney and say, Hey, this is what I’m doing. If you want to come and make an appointment and meet with me and one of the police officers, I can answer any questions. Said an appointment for about three days later. During that time, I compiled together kind of a list of all the legal challenges that have happened to these naked bike rides around the country so I can show up prepared.

And I know I’m going to be talking to people so I’ll just put together a few of these sheets and just carry them around in my bag. Day of the meeting happens, I put on my little black suit, I ride my bike down to the city chambers. I’m expecting to meet with the city attorney and maybe an officer. There are about five officers.

there. There’s a sheriff’s department, all these folks, and at the moment I felt really little and they seemed really big. We sit down, and at first, [00:42:00] it felt like they were coming at me with questions kind of aggressively, but then I began to realize, well, these are really genuinely good questions. And I begin to address each question one at a time, the temperature, the room seems to go down a bit.

I remember I have my little sheets and I hand them all out and everyone’s starting to kind of be like, okay, all right, we’re kind of good with this. And they start to stand up and there’s one sheriff’s deputy who’s sitting directly across from me and he’s just staring at me with these really angry eyes.

And he says, What are you going to do if you’re naked and then there’s a big angry naked man? How are you going to handle that situation?

And I

knew exactly what to say to him. I stared him in the eyes. I didn’t break eye contact. And I said, I used to be a professional dominatrix, and I know exactly how to handle that [00:43:00] situation.

They sign the paper, I leave the room. I’m thinking to myself, wow, I know some feminist thea thea uh. Feminist philosophers that could do a lot with what just happened in that room. I’m heading back home. I’m walking my bike across Higgins street bridge when it used to be about this big and I run into Kayla Spaler.

She’s one of my oldest friends and she’s like, Oh, you’re back in town. What are you doing? And I tell her about this weird exchange I’ve just had and about the naked bike ride. And she’s like, Hey, I’m the political writer for the Missoulian. Now you mind if I write about this? And I was like, sure. That’s a great idea.

I just told the officers we would publicize. the route and the time so people would know. Well, that was the beginning of a biblical level shitstorm. On that parade permit, I had to have all of my contact information and I [00:44:00] proceeded to receive thousands of death threats. of graphic sexual violence. It was crazy what came at me.

Now some of it was actually kind of funny. There was a letter to the editor that said, What? Now Missoula’s going to become this place where everybody’s just going to naked garden and hula hoop? And I was like, I don’t know, it doesn’t sound so bad. There were a couple of really bewildering moments. I’d been camping with friends and on the way back into town, and Here we were in the majesty of Montana nature and on the way back in on the radio we heard about a city council meeting that had just blown up with criticism.

So we rush over there and I’m all messy from camping, got flowers in my hair still, and I’m confronted with questions from the press that kind of involve discussions of. Genitals. And you know, I [00:45:00] understand that exposure to genitals at the wrong time could be something that could be kind of challenging, but I kind of think we all have some sort of a configuration of genitals.

The thing that was the most bewildering for me was that this didn’t jive with my Montana. And for an example of what my perceptual bias of Montana was, my grandfather is a good example. Gone to Butte to work in the mines during the depression era when he was 14 and he told me stories about when Missoula was this place where the international workers of the world, the wobblies were here, labor organizing, talking about the rights of working people there were on every street corner for a while, these free speech places, and he had always believed in the rights of people to just be who they were.

Yeah. And so things were a little confusing for me, but in the end, on the [00:46:00] actual day of the bike ride, it was a wonderful day. There was Chuck with his long gray dreadlocks being ridden in a rickshaw with his oxygen tank. There were older people, younger people, trans people. It was a wildly, beautifully playful, diverse day, and there were no protesters.

And nobody gave me any death threats on that day. So in the end, it ended up being a day that was really good for people who showed up with curiosity instead of contempt. And in the end, I think it was a good day for kind of a, a wild ride. For those who dared to bear.

[00:46:51] Marc Moss: It’s Nita. Nita Maddox is an adventurer in the world. She is born and raised Montanan who lives a bit of a feral life on this planet Earth. She currently works as a [00:47:00] social worker and hopes one day to be a published author. Thanks for listening to the tell us something podcast and thanks to our media sponsors, Missoula events.

net, Montana public radio and Missoula Broadcasting company including the family of ESPN radio the trail 103. 3 Jack FM and Missoula’s source for modern hits U one of 4.5. Thanks to float Missoula. Learn [email protected] and Joyce of tile. Learn more [email protected]. Remember that the next tell us something event is December 6th.

You can learn about how to pitch your story and get [email protected]. Tune in next week to hear the concluding stories from the Lost in Translation live storytelling event. La

[00:47:44] Ben Catton: Buela will come out and startle me. And it’s like, is she suspicious of

me? What’s going on?

[00:47:49] Ren Parker: I ask him what he’s doing on the train.

And, uh, he says, oh yeah, I take this train and I go, um, over the border and I get whiskey and cigarettes and things I shouldn’t have in [00:48:00] Thailand. And then I get back on the train and bring it back to Thailand.

[00:48:04] Abe Kurien: But my dad still kept that van because he worked really hard for it. and was really proud

[00:48:08] Richard Thornton: of it.

But if any of you know, in the eighties,

a lot of the manufacturers for vehicles, they

had a paint issue with,

[00:48:16] Linda Grinde: and the girl in the next bed says to me, stay do dancing. I realized she’s asking me if I want to go dancing.


[00:48:27] Marc Moss: Listen for those stories at tellusomething. org or wherever you get your


Three storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Out of my Shell”. Their stories were recorded in-person in front of a live audience July 16, 2023 at Bonner Park Bandshell. The storytellers you’ll hear in this episode are all educators enrolled in The University of Montana’s Creative Pulse program. The Creative Pulse embraces critical thinking processes and habits of the mind, enabling our students to develop, refine and integrate these processes into their own thinking and learning abilities, as well as those of their students. The Master of Arts in Integrated Arts and Education is completed over two consecutive summer sessions plus independent studies and a final project.

Transcript : Creative Pulse - Out of My Shell Part 2

[00:00:00] 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 lost in translation. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 406 203 4683. You have three minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is August 20th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch. If you’re not the type to share a story and you want to attend the event, you can get limited edition printed tickets. At Rockin Rudy’s you can also get digital tickets at

we acknowledge with deep respect and gratitude that we are on the ancestral lands of the Pendlay Salish and Kootenai peoples who have stewarded this land for countless generations, their profound connection to the earth and its resources. Has left an indelible mark on the landscape. We now call home in recognizing their enduring legacy.

We are called to be steadfast stewards of this land, nurturing its diversity, [00:01:00] preserving its ecosystems and upholding the principles of environmental sustainability. May we honor the wisdom of our ancestors and theirs and embrace our responsibility to protect and preserve. This precious land for future generations.

This week on the podcast,

[00:01:17] Charlene Brett: the thunder starts rolling and it’s echoing off all of these walls back and forth. My dogs are getting terrified. They’re like, can we go in the tent? Please? We’re scared. Please let us in. So we all, we bail into the tent because the rains come in and the rain instantly starts pouring.

[00:01:33] Jessie Novak: And I know where this is going and I don’t like it one bit. My brain is saying they’re going to shut the oil lamp off too. And it’s gonna be really, really dark. And boy, was

I right!

[00:01:48] Sydney Holte: When I’m doing the thing that I’m nervous about, the feeling goes away. But this time, the feeling in my stomach did not go away.

I was still feeling

really queasy.

[00:01:59] Marc Moss: Three storytellers [00:02:00] shared their true personal story on the theme, Out of My Shell. Their stories were recorded in person in front of a live audience July 16th, 2023 at Bonner Park Band Show. The storytellers you’ll hear in this episode are all educators enrolled in the University of Montana’s Creative Pulse program, a graduate program of the University of Montana that Creative Pulse embraces critical thinking, processes, and habits of the mind, enabling the participants to develop Refine and integrate these processes into their own thinking and learning abilities as well as those of their students.

The Master of Arts in Integrated Arts and Education is completed over two consecutive summer sessions, plus independent studies and a final project. Our first story comes to us from Charlene Brett, who takes her two children and two Golden Retrievers into the backcountry for a backpacking weekend and survives a terrible overnight thunderstorm.

Charlene calls her story, A backcountry weekend adventure. Thanks for listening.[00:03:00]

[00:03:02] Charlene Brett: I’m a music teacher, and I love what I do. But… But as all teachers do, we live for summer. And I live for adventures in the summer. And this particular summer, I was talking with my oldest daughter Abby and my middle son Craig about going on a backpacking adventure. And we were going to leave my husband and my youngest son Tyler behind.

Now Abby is 15 and Craig is 12 and, and what you need to know about them is, is Abby is very independent, sort of headstrong daughter. of mine who’s like, yes, mom, let’s go. We can do this girl power and, and my son Craig is like, he likes to do that stuff, but he will always kind of step back and observe first and think about it and before he just jumps right in.

So I have two different personalities, but they’re both good. They’re like, yeah, mom, let’s plan this trip. So All week long, we’re [00:04:00] thinking about where we should go and we decide we’re going to go to Baker Lake, which is down in the southern end of Darby and sits in a circ at the base of Trapper Peak.

Trapper Peak sits at about 10, 100 feet in elevation and Baker Lake is about a thousand feet underneath that. And like I said, it sits in this cirque. So we’re like, hey, that looks cool. It’s only a mile and a half into it. And since we’re going to leave on a Friday late afternoon, that would be a good hike for us to get into and get into that lake and get set up.

I talked to my husband. He’s like, yeah, you can do this. You can do this. I’ll stay home with Tyler. All is good. You go for it. Well, all week long, on social media, and on the weather reports, they were calling for major thunderstorms that weekend. Ah, Montana weather. Montana’s bipolar. Look, it’s a blue sky, it’s beautiful right now, it’s going to be like that on this weekend too.

There’s not going to be a big thunderstorm. [00:05:00] All week long, social media. Better not do anything, there’s going to be a big storm. So we decide we’re going to wait until Friday and we’ll make that decision as to whether we should go or not. And Friday comes along, it’s the afternoon, the kids get off their job and we’re like, hey, what are we going to do?

I look outside, blue sky, not a cloud in the sky. Let’s go. So we throw our backpacks in, my little Toyota minivan, the mom van, and we hit Highway 93 and we head down to Darby and we hit the trailhead. And we start hoofing it up the switchback. It’s about a thousand foot elevation gain like in the first half mile.

And we’re huffin and puffin and we got two Golden Retriever dogs are with us, the ones that love going hiking, Bailey and Finley. And we get up to this beautiful overview and we’re looking at the valley below where we drove up the road and the sun is, you know, the sun is setting behind us and it’s casting this beautiful golden color over that valley and it’s [00:06:00] just gorgeous.

And we’re kind of looking at each other like, so glad we’re doing this, this is really cool. And for me, it was like a moment of. This weekend, this backpacking trip is a moment of, like, empowerment for myself that I can do this. I can take my kids on a backpacking trip on my own and it’s going to be okay.

Alright? So we’re providing some sort of, like, I don’t know, extra security or something that I’m proving to myself I can do this. Then we finish on the trailhead and we get to the lake. And we jump up to, or we climb up and there’s the head of the lake and it’s that first view of the lake when you finally get there.

It’s just gorgeous. It’s calm. The water is calm and the sun is setting behind all these ridges that um, circle around the lake and you can see Trapper Peak up off to the left and there’s a campsite right there that’s not taken. So we’re looking at this campsite and thinking, well, yeah, you know, it will be okay.

My dad. Always taught me to look around at the different options [00:07:00] before you choose one. It’s okay. There’s these rolling granite boulders, big boulders, because you’re up in the high country. And they’re colored, these beautiful colors coming down, it’s just gorgeous. These rolling boulders that go out to the lake that would make a perfect spot for the kids to jump off or dive off and swim in the water.

And I’m looking around and I see this one little patch of dirt. Where obviously other people have put a tent and right behind that is a really big tall dead tree a dead snake and I think Mom always said don’t put your tent under a dead tree in case a windstorm comes along We don’t have a choice if we’re going to take this campsite and those rolling boulders come right down to that and I’m thinking well if there is a thunderstorm then That rain might come down to our tent Let’s look for another spot.

Well, kind of look across the lake and you can tell that there’s this glorious campsite across the lake. It’s already [00:08:00] taken. Lucky ducks got the really cool spot. They’re set up over there and, and kind of look to the left and to the right of the lake and, and there really isn’t anything else. So this is our spot.

And it’s starting to get dark and we haven’t had dinner yet. So we set up our tent. I had a brand new tent from REI. I loved it. Little four person backpacking tent. Got the footprint to go with it. Smart. Set that baby up. It went up so easy. Made dinner, cooked some popcorn, I always pop popcorn on my backpacking trips.

Watched the fish jump in the lake, did a little swim to get all that sweat off from the hike. Watched the stars come out, it’s beautiful. When you’re up in the backcountry and you don’t have the light pollution, the stars just shine so much brighter. So we’re telling stories, pretty soon we are off to bed, it’s kind of a cold night.

No sound of rain or anything over the whole night. The morning we wake up, that sun is [00:09:00] coming into the tent. And if you sleep in a tent and you’ve ever had the sun coming in the morning, you know that feeling of warmth that comes. You’re just kind of snuggled in and just like, Oh, but I got to get up. So we finally get out of bed and we’re talking about different things that we’re going to do for the day.

Of course, I love to fly fish. I’m going to be fly fishing most of the day. My kids love to swim. And then they’re fishing a little bit too, but they’re spending more time swimming in the water and throwing sticks for the dogs and whatnot. And we’re walking around the entire lake, we’re checking out the stream at the back of the lake, we’re looking at the wildflowers.

And I’m looking at the sky again and I’m thinking, what an awesome weekend. There’s not a cloud up there. Bipolar weather in Montana, right? And during this time, this day, there had been some day backpackers that had come up to the lake. And spent some time, there were two different groups, and of course there’s this other campsite, and they’re doing fishing, and me, I’m thinking, I’m up here with my kids, but [00:10:00] there was a sense of security knowing I wasn’t the only adult up there.

So the day goes on, those day packers head out, and I’m kind of looking across the lake, and I notice that the other group of backpackers is packing up. And I’m thinking, hmm, starting to feel a little bit uncomfortable, you know, ah, we’re good. I got this. I can do this. There’s not a cloud in the sky.

Looking up at the peaks. It’s beautiful. Trapper Peaks. Amazing. I want to hike it someday. Don’t know if I can. Those backpackers head out and we have the lake to ourself. And there’s something about that, too. Like, it’s ours. We can be as loud as we want, we can do whatever we want up here. We’re not going to disturb anybody else.

So we head back over to our campsite, and we’re kind of settling in a little bit, getting ready for dinner. And the wind, just like right now, is picking up. Remember I said this lake sits in a circ at the base of Trapper Peak. [00:11:00] And that wind is coming in and it’s picking up really, really fast. And it’s starting to circle around the lake.

And I look up at the ridge tops. And the darkest, blackest clouds are just coming over the ridge in all different directions up there. And I thought, oh shit, here it comes. And it looks like it’s going to be a doozy. And when you’re up there at 9, 000 feet and you’re in a thunderstorm in the mountains and you’re all by yourself, you’re thinking, What the heck am I doing up here?

Maybe I shouldn’t have come. Maybe I should have like listened to my parents and stayed home. The thunder starts rolling and it’s echoing off all of these walls back and forth. My dogs are getting terrified. They’re like, can we go in the tent, please? We’re scared. Please let us in. So we all, we bail into the tent because the rains come in and the rain.

Instantly starts pouring. The dogs are snuggled up next to me and they’re whining, they’re looking at me like, Mom, what are we going to do? And my [00:12:00] kids are kind of terrified and we just break out in laughter because what do you do when you’re freaked out? You start laughing. And so we’re laughing at each other and I’m sitting there praying, Oh my god, I hope we make it through this storm.

I hope that dead tree behind us doesn’t fall on us. The wind is really bad. In fact, the wind becomes so bad that the tent poles are starting to cave in on us. And so the next thing you know, my brand new tent, right? I’m not going to let this windstorm mess it up. We’re playing Twister in the tent. And we’ve got arms and legs stretched out, and we’re pushing out on those tent poles, and we’re trying to hold it, and I’m trying to keep the dogs calm, and I’m looking at my kids going, it’s going to be okay, we’re going to make it.

In my head I’m thinking, what if something happens to me? Do they know how to get out of here? Are they going to know what to do? Do they know where I put the keys to the minivan? Can my daughter drive down that hill?

Plane twister, hole in the nose, and finally my daughter [00:13:00] looks down and she sees these major ripples and bubbles in the bottom of the tent. Flowing from one end to the other. And she goes, Mom, look. And I went, Oh, crap. We’re going to have wet sleeping pads. We’re going to have wet sleeping bags. We’re going to have wet clothes.

It’s going to be a cold night. What am I doing? What am I doing? And then we laugh, and we sing, we have this crazy song that we sing, it goes, Sunshine and happy days, blue skies are all around us. And it’s meant to be off pitch because it’s like supposed to break the tension, right? So we’re singing that in the tent.

My daughter zips open the tent door, and pulls it back open, and we look. And there’s a five foot wide by about two inch deep river of rainwater running underneath our tent. And out the other side. I was like, [00:14:00] crap. We’re going to be wet. We’re going to be soaked. And we laugh, I’m trying, and happy, you know, and it goes on.

The storm finally subsides, and I assess the situation. Things are dry. Close up the tent. In fact, it subsides a little bit. We get out and we’re kind of checking things out. The tree is still standing. I close up the door. We settle in for the night because we’re not going to pack out in the dark. And I just tell him, okay, if we make it to the morning, we’re going to throw everything in our backpacks.

I don’t care how it’s organized. It’s just. I always organize my backpack really well. I don’t care how it’s organized, and we’re going to get out of here. We sleep. Well, they sleep. I kind of wake up off and on. You can hear the pitter patter of the rain, and every now, thunder boomer, and rain, and thunder boomer, and then finally the morning comes, and I open up the tent door, and it’s just a drizzle, and I’m like, hey kids, let’s go, back it up, we’re getting out of here.

So we’re stuffing things in, and getting ready to hike out, and on the hike [00:15:00] out, I’m thinking, Maybe it would be wise to invest in some sort of like S. O. S. satellite telephone or Garmin device. But then I was thinking, everything was okay. We did it. We had a great adventure. I have a story to tell and I live to do it and I’m more powerful for it.

And we made it home and we told our story.

[00:15:31] Marc Moss: Thanks, Charlene. Charlene Brett is a K 5 teacher in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana and has been teaching music for 14 years. She’s a fan of the great outdoors and enjoys escaping into various high mountain lakes in both Montana and Idaho in the summer to fly fish. When not backpacking with her family or her three mom friends, moms of the traveling backpacks, You can find Charlene hiking on her property with two female golden retrievers and her tortoise shell cat, who thinks she is a dog.

On those [00:16:00] cold Montana evenings, she enjoys working thousand piece outdoor image style puzzles. Our next storyteller is Jessie Novak. Jessie is an indoor person who goes on an outdoor adventure with her sister, Stephanie, in Lewis and Clark Caverns. Jessie calls her story, Finding Joy. Thanks for listening.

[00:16:20] Jessie Novak: I’m a quadruplet. That means that my parents had Four babies, on the same day, at the same time. I know, they’re blessed. Lucky them. The first thing I get asked when people find out that I’m a quad, is your siblings must be your best friends in the world, right? They obviously don’t have siblings. I will say, my sister Steffi, who’s in front of me, is my favorite person in the world.

We are polar opposites. Two sides of the same coin. She’s taller. I’m short. She is very outdoorsy. [00:17:00] I’m an indoor girl. Step has every credential under the sun. She collects them like they’re candy. Again, I like to stay inside step and I decide that in the summer of 2022, we were going to go on the great Mid Eastern Montana Road trip.

We were going to create, or recreate, a trip that we went on when we were little. Lewis and Clark Caverns. Now, we hop in the car in August. It’s hot, it’s sunny, surprisingly not smoky. We got very lucky. But, it’s August in Montana. It’s construction season. This drive that normally takes three ish hours. I’m a passenger princess, I don’t drive.

Don’t correct me. Took [00:18:00] six hours. In the heat. Stop and go construction the whole way. For those of you who have never been to Lewis and Clark Caverns, you drive up a mountain. And you hit the lodge. That’s home base for all of the tours going through the caverns. You have to check in there. They give you a wonderful little ticket.

And they tell you, if you can’t make it up that trail in 30 minutes, you don’t get to go on your tour. Because you’re not in physical, enough physical shape to go up and down the stairs in the caverns. Well we figured, we did this when we were 6 years old. We’re 23, we’ve got this. We’re gonna go do this, and we’re gonna rock it.

Steffi is the most prepared person I’ve ever met in my life. To the extent where she’s a little bit of a hoarder. She has water, sunscreen, snacks, band aids, extra snacks. [00:19:00] I show up. With snacks. No water.

No hat. Just food.

So we’re starting to hike up this trail. You gain about a 150 feet or so in elevation in a very short time span.

It’s hot, there’s no trees, and there’s nowhere to sit down. I’m dying. This is not what I remember. This is not what I signed up for. And Steffi’s walking next to me, like this is the best day of her life. She’s having so much fun, she’s singing songs, and I’m getting passed by six year

olds. It was perfect.

We made it up to the entrance to the caverns in 29

minutes. We

got to go on our tour. That’s money saved. When they take you [00:20:00] into the caverns, it gets very cold very quickly. And when you’re like me and you’re sweating like crazy, you get freezing. I’m not prepared. I didn’t bring a jacket. I stole Steffi’s.

It was great. When you go into the caverns, the first thing you remember if you go as a child is there is a natural slide. It takes maybe 30 seconds to get down, but it is the coolest thing in the whole wide world. Especially when you’re six. When you’re 23, 24, It’s a little less exciting, unless you’re Steffi.

Then it is the coolest thing in the world, bar none. She looks at me, and she says, Jesse, we are going down this slide. I say, absolutely not. I’m an adult. I’m not prepared for this. She says, we’re going. No way in hell. [00:21:00] So Steffi goes down the slide, and I can hear her giggle the whole way down. And I can picture the look on her face of pure joy.

I’m a party pooper, I took the stairs. Yay! More stairs! When you get to the very bottom of the caverns, they tell you a story about a man who was stuck down there for three days. Without electricity, and with a teeny tiny oil lamp. Oil lamps, if you don’t know, don’t put out much light. That’s okay. It’s the 21st century.

We have electricity. So we thought, We’re getting told this story. Our tour guide’s super into it. Very dramatic. He’s acting it out. And he says, we’re gonna reenact this. I’m gonna turn out the electric lights. And use this oil lamp to light up this huge[00:22:00]

Cavern. So you know exactly what it was like to be stuck down there for three days. I’m terrified. I don’t do heights. I don’t do the dark. In the caverns, if you fall, you fall for a thousand feet. And it is dark. There is no natural light. Steffi thinks this is the best. She is nerding out. She’s doing a little happy dance over in the corner.

I’m frozen. I don’t want to move. I don’t know where I’m


Power goes out. And the oil lamp lights. Puts out more light than you think it does. Which isn’t saying much. As they’re finishing the story, they’re saying three days this man was stuck down there. Three. And I know where this is going, and I don’t like it one bit.

My brain is saying, they’re going to shut the oil lamp off too, and it’s [00:23:00] going to be really, really dark. And boy was I right. He blows the oil lamp out, and I am frozen. Not

breathing, not blinking.

And in the dark, I feel Steffi’s hand grab mine. And stay there for the longest two minutes of

my life.

Our tour guide turns the electric lights back on and tells us have a wonderful day after that traumatizing experience, you’re on your own.

Be free. Go up this flight of stairs and enter the real world again. So we do. There’s nowhere to go. You can’t turn around. Steffi is doing her little happy dance. This is so cool. This is so much fun. I’m terrified still. Absolutely traumatized. Walking up these stairs trying not to touch anything, trying not to look over the edge.[00:24:00]

Steffi almost bonks her head because she’s too busy looking at me and laughing rather than watching the stairs. When you exit the caverns, there’s an airlock system so you don’t let the bats out. One door opens, you go inside a hallway, and the other door shuts. And then another door opens, And you go outside.

Steffi held my hand all the way through that door. She knew that I was terrified and shaking like a leaf the entire time. Stepping out into the sunlight was probably the most freeing moment of my life. It’s bright, it’s warm again, which I complained about earlier. Never again. And Steffi’s right there beside me.

We snap our obligatory selfie, cause I went outside and I need to prove it. And we [00:25:00] continue walking back towards our car. Steffi is not ready to go home. I’m over it. This is already not what I signed up for. And she decides, we’re going to keep going on our adventure. We’re going to go hike to the Ringing Rocks.

And now every single summer, we go on a trip. She hasn’t picked this summer yet, but she’s going to. And I know that no matter where we go, she is going to be with me, holding my hand, and it is going to be amazing. The best.

[00:25:35] Marc Moss: Thanks, Jesse. Jesse’s an art teacher, quadruplet and enthusiastic dog mom growing up outside Missoula with her three siblings and father. She realized that the only ways to control the chaos of life was living in a small town, and teaching. So, she decided to do both. She relocated to Billings, Montana, received her teaching credentials, and quickly moved to the other end of the state, to a tiny town called Noxon.[00:26:00]

In a town where everyone knows everyone, she teaches K 12 art, hikes, attempts to grow a large garden when there isn’t six feet of snow, and spoils her fur child Peggy Sue rotten. Coming up after the break.

[00:26:13] Sydney Holte: When I’m doing the thing that I’m nervous about, the feeling goes away. But this time, the feeling in my stomach did not go away.

I was still feeling really queasy.

[00:26:24] Marc Moss: Stay with us. Do you have your tickets for the next Tell Us Something live storytelling event? You can get your tickets online at tellusomething. org. Better yet though, why not pick up some limited edition printed tickets? These tickets are the same price as the online tickets and feature the beautiful artwork used on the posters.

Artwork for the Lost in Translation event was created by Bear River Studios. These special tickets are available exclusively at Rockin Rooties. Get your tickets now at Rockin Rooties or get the digital version at tellussomething. org. Alright, back to the stories. [00:27:00] Closing out this episode of the Tell Us Something podcast is Sidney Holt.

Sidney lands a student teaching gig in India and an unfamiliar green sauce causes her great gastrointestinal distress on her first day of student teaching. Sydney calls her story, green sauce. Thanks for listening.

[00:27:21] Sydney Holte: I’ve always loved to travel. I love being in uncomfortable moments when I’m traveling out of my element. And a big part of loving traveling is I love to try new foods. I love to try foods that I’ve had before, maybe with a different spice or cooked in a different way. But I also just love trying new foods in general.

That’s a big part of why I love to travel. I was 21 and I was trying to decide where I was going to do my student teaching. And I was presented with an amazing opportunity to do my student teaching in India. And of course, being the person [00:28:00] that I am, I said yes, and I got on a plane in February to fly to India for four months, and I land in New Delhi.

It’s in the middle of the night, midnight 1:00 AM somewhere in there. And. I’m overwhelmed in the best of ways. I step out of the airport and instantly I smell incense. But I can also smell a lot of garbage. And I can also smell street food with spices that aren’t my normal spices, like turmeric. And I can also smell a lot of urine.

So, it was an overwhelming amount of smells in the best of ways. I could… Here, in the middle of the night, the mosques and bells going off, I could hear people chanting prayers over what seemed like a giant megaphone. And they did not tell me how the traffic would be in India. There are these roundabouts in [00:29:00] New Delhi that have like six or seven lanes, and there’s lines on the ground like there are here.

They’re just suggestions for where to drive.

So, people would go in these roundabouts and hit each other like real life bumper cars. And, uh, they would just continue on. Uh, so, it was overwhelming in the best of ways. I was in New Delhi for about three days, and then I traveled to where I was going to be doing my student teaching.

I had to travel about seven hours

on a train north of New Delhi, and then it was like a switchback up this mountain in a taxi. And… I’m, I’ve always been a little prone to getting car sick, so this, I, I had to tell the taxi driver several times to slow down, please. Um, so we get there, and it’s this, on top of this gorgeous mountain, it’s in the Himalayas, it’s these beautiful, [00:30:00] huge trees like this, and I met by my mentor that’s going to show me around campus.

And she shows me around campus and shows me where I’ll be living for the next four months. And the houses that the employees stayed in were anywhere from really close to campus to Three quarters of a mile away. My house that I was going to be staying in was about a half mile from campus. So half mile walk in and half mile walk after school.

And I had been at Woodstock International Boarding School for about two or three weeks and I was starting to get to know people a little bit, and I was invited to a party. I was like, great, I’m starting to get to know people, I’m feeling pretty good about it. And so I go to this party, and there’s food, and drinks, and there’s a new food that I have not tried before.

It’s fried, but it’s not pakora, I had tried pakora, [00:31:00] and there was… This green sauce next to it. So I try one, and I don’t know how I like it yet. It’s not, it doesn’t taste like cilantro. It doesn’t really taste like parsley. It has some different flair to it. So I try another one, and I try another one. I’m still not convinced if I like it or not.

So about four or five I tried, and then I finally decide that I don’t like it. And my stomach is feeling a little upset from eating it. And I don’t, I don’t really think much about it. I carry on. The next morning was a big day for me because I was going to be teaching my first lesson without any help from my cooperating teacher.

So I wake up and I’m feeling really queasy. I’m feeling really nauseous, really anxious about. Teaching this lesson, but I think, okay, I’m feeling queasy. It must just be because I’m anxious. So I continue getting ready. I start my half mile [00:32:00] walk into campus and I’m gradually feeling more and more. Yucky. My stomach really doesn’t feel good.

And I get up to the classroom and I’m doing a lesson with 7th and 8th graders on xylophones, and I start teaching, and you, normally, for me at least, when I’m doing the thing that I’m nervous about, I, The feeling goes away, but this time the feeling in my stomach did not go away. I was still feeling really queasy, and I get this urge to sneeze.

Oh shit, I just shit my pants.

And I shit them big. Poop is

running down my legs. And I was wearing tight pants that day, thankfully, and they were black, but I am…

Clenching my butt cheeks so that my poop doesn’t run onto the floor as [00:33:00] I’m teaching 7th and 8th graders. And I

don’t want to excuse myself

to go to the bathroom because I don’t want my cooperating teacher to think that I don’t care about teaching this lesson.

So as I’m going around helping these kids on xylophones, I’m just squeezing my butt tighter and tighter so that my poop doesn’t… End up on the floor.

I finished the lesson, and waddled my way back to my house,

and changed my pants, and all is well. But thinking back to this experience, I can’t help but think, if I can teach my very first lesson with poop running down my legs, then I can probably teach in most situations.

[00:33:56] Marc Moss: Thanks, Sydney. Sidney Holt was born and raised in [00:34:00] Minnesota and now teaches elementary music in Billings, Montana. She enjoys camping and fly fishing whenever she can with her husband, Jacoby. Singing and musical theater have always been a large part of her life, too. She loves canned goods, peeing in lakes, and drinking coffee before the sun rises.

Pretty great stories, right? I’ll bet you have a story to share and I’ll bet that you have a story to share on the theme lost in translation. The next tell us something live event is scheduled for September 28th. The theme is lost in translation pitch your story for consideration by calling 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3.

You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is August 20th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch. Tickets for Lost in Translation are on sale now. Limited edition printed tickets featuring the artwork of Bear River Studio are available at Rockin Rudy’s or you can get your tickets online [00:35:00] at tellussomething. org. The Tell Us Something podcast is made possible in part because of support from Missoula Broadcasting Company, including the family of ESPN radio, the trail one Oh three, three Jack FM and Missoula source for modern hits. You want to 4. 5 learn more at Missoula broadcasting. com. Thanks to Float Missoula for their support of the telesumming podcast.

Learn more at float msla. com and thanks to the team at Missoula events. net. Learn about all of the goings on in Missoula at Missoula events. net. Next week in the podcast, I catch up with local author, Rick White. Just way back there

[00:35:39] Rick White: in the heart of the subway, Bitterroot National Forest. So, yeah, we were at the end of the road and, um, off grid

for, for three weeks.

And it looked like me scribbling furiously and, uh, on a yellow legal pad and then transcribing onto a, uh, a hundred dollar typewriter that I’ve sent at the [00:36:00] antique mall beforehand so that I could… Translated into print.

[00:36:04] Marc Moss: Rick and I chat about the story that he told live on stage at the Wilma in Missoula, Montana in December, 2019.

[00:36:11] Rick White: So I had a few letters behind my name. Those letters and what they signify to

what I had earned or what I thought I had earned

mattered less to my students than did the name preceding them, which was not so shield.

[00:36:25] Marc Moss: The theme that night was tipping point. We also talk about podcasting, writing his artist residency. And storytelling. Tune in for his interview and listen to his story. On the next, tell us something. Podcast. Thanks to Cash For Junkers who provided the music for the podcast, find them at cash for junkers To learn more about, tell us something, please visit tell us

Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Out of my Shell”. Their stories were recorded in-person in front of a live audience July 16, 2023 at Bonner Park Bandshell. The storytellers you’ll hear in this episode are all educators enrolled in The University of Montana’s Creative Pulse program. The Creative Pulse embraces critical thinking processes and habits of the mind, enabling our students to develop, refine and integrate these processes into their own thinking and learning abilities, as well as those of their students. The Master of Arts in Integrated Arts and Education is completed over two consecutive summer sessions plus independent studies and a final project.

Transcript : Creative Pulse - Out of My Shell - Part 1

[00:00:00] 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 lost in translation. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 406 203 4683. You have three minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is August 20th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch. If you’re not the type to share a story and you want to attend the event, you can get limited edition printed tickets. At Rockin Rudy’s, you can also get digital tickets at We acknowledge with deep respect and gratitude that we are on the ancestral lands of the Pendelle Salish and Kootenai peoples who have stewarded this land for countless generations, their profound connection to the earth and its resources. Has left an indelible mark on the landscape. We now call home in recognizing their enduring legacy.

We are called to be steadfast stewards of this land, nurturing its diversity, preserving [00:01:00] its ecosystems and upholding the principles of environmental sustainability. May we honor the wisdom of our ancestors and theirs and embrace our responsibility to protect and preserve. This precious land for future generations.

This week on the podcast.

[00:01:17] Stephen Tucker: The world starts to come into clear focus. And I can hear the dog still barking and there’s a sound of desperation in its barks like something is wrong. To do

[00:01:27] Sandy Sheppard: my eye exam, I now have three board members watching me. One old man on the right. One old man on the left. And the patient.

I’m a little nervous.

[00:01:40] Jolyne O’Brien: And I turn and look at my daughter, and I say, Sis, we have a problem. She’s not really exactly sure what this problem is, but she is sure on board to help mom whatever it is. Eyes big and sure,

[00:01:51] Candace Haster: mom. So I tell my midwife, I want to do it my way. I just want to be simple. I want to try it in the most simple way possible.

I can use interventions later if I want [00:02:00] to, but I want to start simply. Okay, you should do that, but it’s not going to work.

[00:02:06] Marc Moss: Four storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme, Out of My Shell. Their stories were recorded in person in front of a live audience July 16th, 2023. At Bonner Park Band Show, the storytellers you’ll hear in this episode are all educators enrolled in the University of Montana’s Creative Pulse program, a graduate program of the University of Montana that Creative Pulse embraces critical thinking, processes, and habits of the mind, enabling the participants to develop, refine, and integrate these processes into their own thinking and learning abilities.

As well as those of their students. The Master of Arts in Integrated Arts and Education is completed over two consecutive summer sessions, plus independent studies and a final project. Our first story comes to us from Stephen Tucker. Stephen Tucker accidentally learns who his favorite cat is when his apartment complex catches fire.

Stephen [00:03:00] calls his story Midnight Mayhem. Thanks for listening.

[00:03:06] Stephen Tucker: In May of 2013, I graduated from the University of Montana with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. And I got my first teaching job teaching fifth grade in the Bitterroot Valley. And so it was time to finally move out of my college apartment and get a place of my own.

And I knew the first thing that I wanted to do was I was going to replace my college roommate with two cats. I wanted to get two cats in particular because I wanted them to be able to keep each other company when I was gone for the long days of teaching. So I went to the Humane Society with my mindset on finding and adopting two kittens.

And I went into the room with all the kittens, played with them, and there just really wasn’t much of a con Excuse me, much of a connection building and I walked out of the room feeling a little bit disappointed and I walked down a corridor going towards the back of the Humane Society where they have some more enclosures and some bigger cages and that’s when I saw this bigger cage that had these two cats in there.

They [00:04:00] were older cats, eight years old. Uh, their names were Sunshine and Pepper Ann and I took them out and I cuddled with them and in that moment I knew right away. That these cats were going to be my girls. So Sunshine, she’s a Himalayan with this beautiful thick white fur with these golden hues in her ears and in her paws.

And she has these mesmerizing blue eyes that when you stare into them you just can’t help but fall in love with her. And just want to pick her up and hug her and squeeze her. And, which kind of sucks because she hates being picked up more than anything. But, doesn’t stop you from wanting to pick her up and hold her and hug her.

And Pepper Ann. She is a stubborn cat and she’s got these beady yellow eyes. She’s a tortoise shell cat. And the thing that I love so much about her is that she loves to talk to you. And when you stroke her in just the right area, right behind her ear, she’ll cackle at you. So I moved into a small cabin for my first year of teaching down in the Bitterroot Valley.

And when I say small, I mean it was really small. 350, 400 [00:05:00] square feet, lacking a lot of amenities. So after the first year, I knew we needed to find something different. So I moved into a brand new apartment just right behind the Lolo Peak Brewery. And when I say brand new, I mean this apartment was literally brand new.

They had just finished constructing it. You could still smell the fresh paint and the new carpet when you walked in. And this wasn’t just any apartment. This was one of those ones that they built as a luxury apartment. So it had the 18 foot vaulted ceilings, the fancy countertops, the high end appliances.

It didn’t really feel like living in an apartment. It felt like living in a resort. So Sunshine Pepper and I, Pepper Ann and I, we got settled in. Pepper Ann immediately claimed dominion over the guest bed. She covered that thing with so much thick fur, I don’t even remember what color the comforter was, cause she spent all her time there.

I made a mistake, I think I said Sunshine did that, that was Pepper Ann. Sunshine, she found her [00:06:00] happy place on my balcony. And she loved to sit out on my zero gravity chair like a little princess basking in the sunlight. And my favorite thing to do was when I’d go out there and grill and she’d be out there with me and I called her my little grilling partner.

So like I said, we’d been settling in quite well. Beautiful brand new apartment complex. Really quiet as well. Hadn’t even met the neighbors, um, and this was about a month after living there. It’s late. August in 2014. It’s the middle of the night, probably like 3 or 4 in the morning, and I’m fast asleep. And in my sleep, I hear the sound, a muffled sound of a dog barking, ARF, ARF, ARF.

And it, uh, starts to wake me up a little bit. I’m not sure if this is something going on in a dream, or in real life, and it continues. ARF, ARF, ARF. ARF, ARF, ARF. And this goes on for about two or three minutes, all the while I’m slowly starting to wake up but still in that deep sleep fog. And I’m starting to realize, like, this is real life, and I’m getting really confused because I know [00:07:00] it’s three, four in the morning.

And I’m like, why is this neighbor letting their dog bark and bark and bark? And as I’m thinking about this, then I suddenly hear this soft pounding sound. And so now I’m really getting curious and getting a little bit perturbed, starting to wake up even more. I pull out my earplugs, and the world starts to come into clear focus.

And I can hear the dog still barking, and there’s a sound of desperation in its barks, like something is wrong. So that gets my heart rate pumping. And then all of a sudden I hear the pounding again. Pew, pew, pew. And it was the wall of my bedroom shaking. And then I hear, Sheriff’s Department, the building’s on fire, everyone get out.

So again… You know, I’m not fully awake at this point. I’ve got the 3 a. m. brain. And so the first thought that goes through my mind is, well, the building can’t be on fire. It’s brand new. They just finished building it. And I realize that logic makes absolutely no sense. But at 3 a. m. it makes [00:08:00] perfect sense.

So I get out of bed and I go to the front door and I pull it open and as soon as I pull open the door, the smoke immediately starts billowing in. I can smell the burning, um, the burning plastic and the burning wood. And the other thing is I hear the sound of a smoke detector from one of the apartments on the other end of the complex.

It’s beeping. Beep! Beep, beep. And with all of that evidence confronting me, I look down at the sheriff’s deputy who’s down the hallway still pounding on the walls and I say, is there really a fire? I don’t think he heard me because he didn’t say anything in response to me, but that was the moment that it kind of finally clicked and the adrenaline kicked in.

So I ran into my room, changed out of my pajamas and came out into the family room and did what everyone probably would do at that point. In that moment, and I started walking around in circles. So you know how sometimes you have that fight or flight response? You can also have that freeze response. And I could not make a decision about what to do next.

A million [00:09:00] questions were racing through my mind. What, you know, how much time do I have? Do I have time to grab things? What should I grab? Should I grab my computer? Do I, should I grab my documents, my birth certificate? What about the cats? And that’s when I noticed them. They’re just sitting there, without a care in the world, looking up at me.

Wondering what’s going on, why I’m walking around in a panic. And so I realized I gotta get my cats and I gotta get out of here. But again, not that easy making decisions in that moment, still a million questions racing through my head. Well, do I have time to go get their carriers out of the storage closet on the balcony?

Uh, if I come back in, I mean they’re in front of me right now, what if they run away when they see the carriers? You know, then I have to find them, I don’t know how much time I have. So maybe I should just scoop them up. And just carry them out of the apartment. But, you know, things racing through my mind.

What if they get scared, start squirming? I don’t want one of them to get away. The last thing I want is one of them to disappear and to lose one of them. So, again, I can’t make a decision. And then, just suddenly, without [00:10:00] thinking, I grab Sunshine and I run. So I’m carrying her out the door, across the balcony way, down the stairs.

She’s digging her claws into me, squirming. Uh, and get down to my car, open it up, toss her in, and then turn around. And I can kind of assess the scene and take in what’s going on. And there is an apartment that’s on the complete… The opposite end of the complex, as far away from mine as it could possibly be, and on the balcony, there’s flames that are building up, they must be like 5 or 10 feet tall.

It’s a pretty raging fire. But I can see that it’s contained in the balcony really far away from my place. So I realize, okay, it’s safe, I’m gonna go back in. I’m gonna go get Pepper Ann now. So, same story, she’s digging her claws into me, probably a little bit extra hard because she’s like, what the heck, why’d you leave me?

And, got her in the car, and then that’s when I really had the time to start breathing, taking the scenario, I realized, all my neighbors are out there with me as well, these people I’ve never met, what a weird way to Get to know your neighbors standing out watching the building burn at three [00:11:00] in the morning.

And you know, like me, there’s some of the neighbors, they’re out there with their pets. We’ve got a neighbor who’s with their dog, and we get to chatting with each other, and one of the neighbors tells the story of what happened. They said we were asleep in our beds and we heard this loud, huge explosion.

It shook the whole apartment and we looked out the window. The next door neighbor’s balcony was on fire. So we called 9 1 1 and reported it. And when we gave him the address, They didn’t know where we were. Remember that part where I said that the building was brand new? Apparently it was so brand new that 911 didn’t even know that it existed.

So they had to give them directions. Um, but all the while, while we’re having this conversation, the fire department’s there, and I hear, it sounds like Niagara Falls, like thousands of gallons of water that they’re using to douse this fire on this balcony, and it’s pouring over the edge. And it was probably about an hour or so before they had it completely mopped up and we were able to go back inside.

And I remember thinking, man, how the heck am I going to fall asleep now? So what you don’t know is, the next day is basically the [00:12:00] first day of teacher orientation returning back to school. So, you want to talk about back to school nightmares, I pretty much lived one of those. So, I don’t think I did get back to sleep, but went to school the next day, everything went well.

Came home and talked to that same neighbor and they had talked to the landlord, the landlord had figured out what had happened. And so apparently the people who live in that corner apartment, they were smoking a cigarette earlier in the afternoon and they put it out in a dried flower pot on their balcony.

And then they up and went out of town. And that thing smoldered in the flower pot all day and all night until the middle of the night when a flame caught. And then that lit the dried plant on fire. And then that flame spread to the gas tank of a lawnmower that they had on their balcony. And that detonated and that caused the whole incident.

And I remember taking away two things. The first one was thinking to myself, who the [00:13:00] hell lives in a second floor apartment and has a lawnmower on their balcony? And the second thing was, I think I might have just accidentally figured out which of my cats is my favorite. I’m sorry, Pepper Ann.

[00:13:18] Marc Moss: Thanks, Steven. Steven Tucker is a third grade teacher in the Bitterroot Valley with ten years of experience. As a teacher, he has a passion for science, technology, and coaching Lego robotics. He loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking and spending his days on the lake with his pedalboard. When he is not teaching or enjoying the outdoors, Stephen spends his time watching way too much YouTube and indulging in his unhealthy obsession with Taco Bell.

Our next storyteller is Sandy Shepard, who details her ordeal of becoming the first woman optometrist in Montana in the 1980s. Sandy calls her story, I Will Rise Up, or It Takes a Little Time. Thanks for listening. [00:14:00]

[00:14:00] Sandy Sheppard: Hello, Missoula!


so nice to be here with you. Thanks for coming. But in 1982, this was a different state. Summer of 1982, my husband and I moved from the University of California at Berkeley because he was taking his dream job at the University of Montana. He was teaching fire science, and he was close to the fishin and the huntin So, it was my job to find my place in this new state, this new town.

Being a practicing optometrist, I knew what I had to do first. I had to go to Helena, Montana, a new city for me, and take the board exam. Uh, several people come once a year, and um, you take a written test, A lab test and then you examine a real live patient. [00:15:00] Well, my lucky day, I had a six year old in my chair and I knew this was gonna be a piece of cake.

I go to the right eye, I scope ’em, I say, which is better? One, two. I go to the left eye, which is better? 1, 2, 1. Done. Well, I walk out to the mom, I tell her my results, I predict her son’s future, and I ask, do you have any questions? And then, I leave with my husband because it’s time to go home. Job done.

Check. Well, I have to wait two or four weeks to get my little acceptance letter.

And guess what? I failed.

I failed because I didn’t go and ask the mother if she had any questions. Oh, I was so naive. I trusted the system. I [00:16:00] trusted that the board would know I went out and asked the mother or if they knew I needed to they would have followed me.

But I didn’t go and say, Hey, I just asked the mom questions and here’s what we said. I was baffled and I was angry. I got myself an aggressive woman attorney. And she went to the board and she told me, hey, they’re going to do you a favor. They’re going to give you a I passed

the first one. She said, Sandy. You can either take this special test or you can wait till next year. I didn’t have a choice, so my husband and I go to a new city. Great Falls, Montana.


we enter this old optometrist’s office, which is fine because I love old equipment. [00:17:00] And guess who my patient is this time?

The old optometrist. Who happens to be a member of the board. So, to do my eye exam, I now have three board members watching me. One old man on the right. One old man on the left. And the patient. I’m a little nervous. In fact, the tension is so strong you can cut it with a knife. I gotta prove myself. So I scope the right eye.

Pretty easy. I scope the left. Well, I’ll do the right first. Which is better? One, two. Which is better? One, two. Okay. I go to the left eye.

Guess what? This eye’s a whopper! It’s off the charts!

If I [00:18:00] weren’t so nervous,

I would’ve figured it out. I would’ve taken that faropt away and I said, You were born with a bum eye, weren’t you? But, I was reduced. I had lost. And I went to the car and said to my husband, Let’s go, I failed again. Well, this is a little Japanese American guy, a great debater, a great professor, internationally known.

He’s not gonna let this stop us. So he goes back into the building, talks to him, comes out, Sandy, you gotta go in and talk to him. They wanna talk to you. Oh my God. So I do. I go back in, and guess what they say? What do you have to say for yourself? I’m reduced to a four year old Navy [00:19:00] brat who doesn’t have a place at the table.

I can’t defend myself, I just buckle. I crumble. And I walk out. I don’t say a word. Well, I looked at my husband, guess who gets my wrath? My husband. I didn’t realize that he didn’t understand what we were up against. That we were up against men who were narrow minded, who weren’t ready for the first woman optometrist, let alone from California.

Who could have been racist. He was Japanese. I didn’t know that, but I sure was mad at him for throwing me into a snake pit. So we’re driving home. I’m fuming and I’m just so full of shame. I flunked twice that I just [00:20:00] wanted to throw myself out of the speeding car. But I didn’t. Thank God. And we went home.

My plan was I’m going back to California. I’ll wait a year and come back and take the test. I did so well in California. I stayed with my step grandparents. My adopted grandparents. We had martinis every night. I found two awesome jobs. And one time she said to me, Sandy, I just know when you’re going downstairs, you’re just crying in your pillow because you miss your husband so badly.

I said, yes, I do. I couldn’t tell her that I was going downstairs, snog her into my, my pillow. So it was lovely being with them again. And then I went home. It was July. It was July the next year,

[00:21:00] and I went

to take my test. Lo and behold, I

didn’t have to hardly take

any test, and they passed me. I can’t even remember what little test I had to take.

What shocking, what a shocking situation. Why did they make me wait a year? But, the point is, I came home, I started my own business, I bought my building, I retired at 60, and… I love Montana. I love Missoula. My husband is not my husband anymore, but I sure am grateful that he brought me here.

Thank you.

[00:21:43] Marc Moss: Thanks, Sandy. Sandy Shepard was a Navy brat. She lived in oceans, bays and islands. She is thrilled now to be living on the Clark Fork River. Who would have guessed that she would have landed in Missoula, Montana and would have stayed for 41 years. Sandy believes that her first three years [00:22:00] may have been happier landing on the moon.

Coming up after the break

[00:22:03] Jolyne O’Brien: … and I turn and look at my daughter and I say, Sis, we have a problem. She’s not really exactly sure what this problem is, but she is sure on board to help mom whatever it is. Eyes big and sure mom.

[00:22:15] Candace Haster: So I tell my midwife, I want to do it my way. I just want to be simple. I’m going to try it in the most simple way possible.

I can use interventions later if I want to, but I want to start simply. Okay. You should do that, but it’s not going to work.

[00:22:30] Marc Moss: Stay with us. Do you have your tickets for the next tell us something live storytelling event. You can get your tickets online at tell us something. org better yet though. Why not pick up some limited edition printed tickets?

These tickets are the same price as the online tickets and feature the beautiful artwork used on the posters. Artwork for the Lost in Translation event was created by Bear River Studios. These special tickets are available exclusively at Rockin Rudy’s. Get your tickets now at Rockin Rudy’s or get the digital version at [00:23:00] tellussomething. org. Alright, back to the stories. Jolene O’Brien shares her story about what people never told her about pregnancy. Jolene calls her story, No One Told Me, or The Fourth Trimester. Thanks for listening.

[00:23:17] Jolyne O’Brien: Good evening, thanks for coming out tonight. Um, it all, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2020.

Four beautiful, huge, bald heads, eight arms, eight legs, came through this body. And no one told me.

I remember the summer of 2014. It was shortly before I gave birth to my second child. I was super pregnant in my third trimester. And my husband was [00:24:00] leaving for Phoenix to go for a business trip. And I thought, I’ll tag along. Winter was coming in Missoula, and I needed all the vitamin D that I could get.

I should have been traveling on an airplane at that time, but I went ahead and went anyways. And while we were in Phoenix, my husband was off doing his business thing, and I decided to research some really great things to do. So I came across this taco truck event. That was about 200 taco trucks all in one area.

If you love tacos, raise your hand. You are my people and we Couldn’t get tickets, they were sold out. So I went ahead and shenaggled and got us um, some free tickets through um, this marketing event that I told them that I would do which was take a picture of myself on Facebook really quick and then get free tickets and hop into the Docker Truck event.

Fabulous. So as we were at [00:25:00] this taco truck event, we walk in and I can smell the barbacoa, and I can hear the sizzling, and I see the fresh pico de gallo, but I do what all pregnant women do, and I scope out the bathroom scene. So I find it, it’s an amazing set of port o potties off to the side. I tell my husband I’m gonna go get in line, and he’s thinking for tacos, and I’m actually heading to the line of the port o pot, and I head over there.

My husband graciously and lovingly joins me in line because we know no one in this thousand person taco truck event. So I go to the restroom. Go get a taco, go back to the restroom, taco, back to the restroom, taco, my husband ditches me, I go to the restroom. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing that.

It was hot, it was hot, it was muggy. My, my event wasn’t as great as his, he had all the tacos he could eat, I spent my event smelling a port a [00:26:00] pot. So we leave, and the next morning, we go, um, to go to the airport, and my husband is super punctual, and I am on time if I’m 30 minutes late. We are running 30 minutes late.

So he is agitated, irritated, and we show up and it’s um, the part of the airport that’s under construction. So, there’s no bathrooms, there’s no restaurants, and there’s no um, like clothing and cute purses and bags that you normally would see when you walk through an airport. So that’s fine. So we get in line and I am doing again what all pregnant women would do.

I’m scoping out for the bathroom scene. And it is at, we are at the back of this huge line, and it’s on the other side of the TSA. Excuse me. So on the other side of the T ss A, so I am thinking to myself, well, if I can snaggle some taco tickets that are sold out, I can sure as heck get to that bathroom really quick.[00:27:00]

So I ditched the luggage and I start like weaving through the line. Like I know somebody at the front like you might do in Disneyland. There’s my partner up there you go. That’s for me. And I get to the front and I go through T S A. And my only focus at this point is to get to that bathroom. Well, the gentleman who’s running the TSA, 6’4 bald, 350 pound man, had a different agenda.

He pulls me over to the side and wants to search me because I look super suspicious with my belly looking like I swallowed two watermelons. I’m in a dress kind of similar to what I’m wearing tonight. So I said, Sir, I’m so sorry, but I have to go to the restroom. And he said, I’m not, no, that can’t happen.

Follow me. Well, I’m not really wanting to follow him. So I said, no, I really have to use the restroom. And he says, I’m sorry, you can’t. Please follow me into this room. And he walks me. Mind you, I just, all the people I just snuck in front of. Okay, don’t forget that. [00:28:00] I walk in front, or I’m walking a couple steps behind him.

And he takes three steps to his room. Which is a quadrilateral of four translucent… Help me with the word. Walls. Thank you. Where everyone is now watching me get searched by my new friend. So I’m the lady in Costco that when you want to come talk to me about how cute my belly looks, I don’t want you to touch me or rub you.

Or rub me. Please don’t do that. And I’m realizing I’m about to get searched. He asks for, put my arms out, put my legs out. And I’m thinking to myself, I’m not going to make it. So again, I plead. Sir, I really need to use the restroom. No, you may not. He is as serious as serious can be. And he’s not realizing the seriousness of the situation.

So my arms are out. He rubs, he has no wand, for whatever reason. And he rubs his arms across my arm, back under, down my… [00:29:00] Sides down my leg and over my shoe. Well at this moment I am like starting to panic. And I do what all beautiful third trimester women would do in this situation. And as he takes his hands to check up my legs, I pee on him.

Thanks friend. Well, he’s not chasing me down as I turn and rush myself beelining it for the bathroom. No one tells you. So I make it to the, by this time my husband had put the luggage through. We make it to the front of the door and I am sitting in urine clothes for the duration of this, of the ride home.

Flight home. No one told me. 10 years and not one time did this topic come up. No one told, no one told me. It was the summer. [00:30:00] I’m sorry, it was the winter. Of 2020, Missoula had about 4 inches of snow on the ground and it was arctic freezing cold outside. It was this like arctic shifting wind, um, the kind that hits your face and you were like immediately boogers frozen.

So I had taken my daughter on a evening with mom, we do Wednesdays with mom at our house, and afterwards I needed to stop by WinCo to pick up… A few items before heading home. We had a brand new vehicle that we had just purchased. And my husband loves this thing. It’s now my car. It’s the family car. And as we’re walking out, I have a cart full of groceries.

Step and crunching in the snow. Niagara Falls come falling out of me with no warning. And I turn and look at my daughter and I say, Sis, we have a problem. She’s not really exactly sure what this problem [00:31:00] is, but she is sure on board to help mom, whatever it is. Eyes big and sure, mom. Whatever I can do. So I continue walking and I turn just to look behind me for a moment and notice that dog trail in the snow that I had just left.

I have a few steps to the car and I’m thinking, how am I going to get out of this because I’m not getting in my brand new car with soaking wet pants. So I do, I think what you would do, I took my pants off in the middle of the parking lot in Wingo. And I turn to my daughter and I say, I need your coat, sweetheart.

She is refusing to give her coat up at this point because it’s arctic cold outside. And I said, no sis, I really need it. I so am so sorry for the two gentlemen that were walking past at that moment.

She hands me her coat. I stick it on the chair. I take my coat off and I cover myself and I drive home naked. [00:32:00] Ashamed. Embarrassed, and so proud of my 8 year old. So I call my husband, and I tell him I’ve had an accident. And I need his help. And I need him to meet me at the door with some pants. Well his immediate response is that we need to call 911.

I don’t disagree, there’s a problem. But it’s not the car that’s broken, it’s me.

So I explain to him the problem and he meets me at the door with pants. And the reason I’m up here today to share this story with you is after 10 years when no one told me, I’m here to tell you there’s something called fourth trimester. And it’s something your body needs as a woman after having a baby.

And so if you are pregnant, if you’ve just had a baby, if you know someone having a baby, please do your research and tell them about fourth trimester. Nobody told me, [00:33:00] so I’m here standing here. Love yourself. Love your babies. I’m here to tell you. Thank you.

[00:33:11] Marc Moss: Jolene O’Brien is a wife of one husband, mom of two daughters and two sons. And a teacher of hundreds of children. Jolene is a woman, a daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, and a close friend. She is an artist, a portrait photographer, and an incredibly creative writer. Closing out this episode of the podcast is Candace Haster.

Candace shares her story of deciding to have a baby and the process by which she did so with a kind sperm donor. Candace calls her story. Well, that’ll be interesting. Thanks for listening.

[00:33:46] Candace Haster: Hi. Um, so my story begins with the moon, but before that there was a storm. I was 33 years old. I was in [00:34:00] France with my mom. We were on a walk. She’s over there. Um, we were walking and it starts to rain. It’s a downpour. We’re soaking wet. There’s nowhere to seek shelter. We are just wet. And we are laughing.

And if you know my mom, and if you’ve heard her laugh, then you know that her laugh is the kind of laugh that makes you laugh too. Her big laugh. Her belly laugh. Sometimes she bends over while she’s laughing, and sometimes there’s snorts. Um, so we’re walking in the storm, trying to get out of it, running, laughing.

And as soon as the storm, or as quickly, I should say, as the storm comes in, it parts. And we’re hungry. So we find a restaurant, and we sit down to eat dinner. And there’s sourdough bread, and there’s an Aperol spritz, and there’s wine. And there’s this [00:35:00] salad. And my mom still talks about this salad to this day.

Perhaps it’s her favorite salad that she’s ever had. By far, it’s the most unusual that I’ve ever had. Picture with me, if you will, um, a bed of butter lettuce greens and asparagus and apples. But if you’re picturing this right now, I guarantee that you’re picturing it wrong. So… Imagine with me a green apple, a whole one, a round one.

It’s cored, a cylinder through the middle. It’s sliced thin, so what you have are donut shaped slices of apples. Three of them, arranged on the plate, on top of the butter lettuce. Through each apple is stuck, vertically, a spear of asparagus. But the asparagus isn’t green. No. This is the kind of asparagus that is grown under a pile of [00:36:00] hay.

To deprive it from light. This is white asparagus. Why? Personally, I prefer my asparagus to be green. So anyways, you can picture it now. White asparagus. Stuck through slices of apples with holes in them. Arranged on a plate. It’s a great salad. We finish dinner. There’s more wine. We decide to go on a walk.

The town that we’re in, in the Burgundy region of France, is surrounded by what are called ramparts. These are old stone walls meant to protect the town. Along some of the ramparts you can walk, and on some of the ramparts you can walk on top of them. They’re so wide. So we’re walking on top of these ramparts because we want to get a glimpse of the moon.

This is something that we’ve always done. We’ve always gone to go catch glimpses of the moon. We’re walking, it’s still cloudy, but the clouds part, and the moon shows itself. But it looks weird. [00:37:00] Why is the moon shaped like that? Why is it that color? It takes us a while to realize this, but what we’re witnessing is an unexpected eclipse.

And we laugh. It’s amazing. It’s magical. And in that moment, I know that this full moon is going to trigger my period. And in that moment, I also know that two weeks from now, I will ovulate. And in that moment, I also know that I’m ready to get pregnant, to have a kid. So, step back with me in time about 11 years prior.

I’m about 22 years old now. I’m walking in the north hills of Missoula, again, with my mom. The moon is out, but it’s the daytime. It’s a pastel moon. And we’re talking. We’re talking about all different things. We’re talking about the flowers that are growing. We’re talking about what’s for dinner that night.

We’re talking about my [00:38:00] partner at the time. And my mom says to me, Are you a lesbian? I don’t know. Well, are you gay? I don’t know. Well, what do you think I should call you? You can still call me Candace, Mom. We keep walking and a little bit later she says to me, Do you want to have children someday? Yeah, I do.

Well, that’ll be interesting. Indeed mom, that will be interesting. So come on back in time, actually forward in time again, to right when I get back from France. And, uh, I’d had previous conversations with a midwife and I’d also gone to the library and checked out so many books that talk about how to women can get pregnant.

And what all of the books tell me is that it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be expensive. You’re [00:39:00] going to have to use interventions. And my midwife confirms, yeah, it’s going to be hard. You’re probably going to have to use interventions and it’s going to be expensive and insurance won’t cover anything.

Not that I had insurance anyway. But wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. I remember in middle school, those VHS tapes that we watched, those sex ed VHS tapes featuring Patricia F. Miller. She told us that we could, I could, in fact, get pregnant in a hot tub without even having sex. Do you remember those stories?

Some of you remember those stories. I know you do. So what gives? Um, so I tell my midwife, I want to do it my way. I just want to be simple, I want to try it in the most simple way possible. I can use interventions later if I want to, but I want to start simply. [00:40:00] Okay, you should do that, but it’s not going to work.

But count it as practice, because what you’re going to need is a lot of practice. Okay. So previously, my partner and I had talked to our friend Seth, who had agreed to donate his sperm.

His partner Kenya was 100% on board. Kenya loves participating in weird shit. So… We make a plan. I give them this little plastic cup with an orange lid. Kenya helps Seth get his semen into the cup. She brings it to the house in her bra. It has to stay warm. And she knocks on the door. We have a secret knock.

Because there’s no need for chit chat in these moments. I open the door, Kenya hands over the semen. She [00:41:00] explains that during the process of getting the semen into the cup, there was a lot of laughter. Which I love. Um, she also said Seth is a little bit worried that it’s not enough. There’s not very much in there.

Like this much. Um, is it enough? I don’t know. I don’t have that much experience with semen at this point in my life. So, we go about the business. Put that up into me. Some of it slides out immediately. Scoop it back in. It’s okay. My midwife had previously told me that because I have a tilted uterus, which is not uncommon for women my size, that after the insemination, I should rest with my hips above my shoulders.

She suggested that I get down on all fours, but on my elbows. Rest that way. It’s not comfortable. She also told me how important it was to relax. I try [00:42:00] that. I try relaxing. And I decide that what I need to do is move my body because that’s what I am most comfortable doing. So we go backpacking. We get to this favorite spot.

Set up a tent, and these clouds roll in, and it’s a storm, it’s a full on thunderstorm. There’s thunder, there’s lightning, all of it, and in that moment, I feel this surge. It’s right here, right here, a little lightning bolt, and I know in that moment that I’m pregnant. Nobody believes me. You’re so weird, Candice.

Um, well 41 weeks and one day later. I’m in my kitchen. I’m making bread. My mom is there. Kenya’s there. I think they’re making dinner. The dough is sticky. I put flour on my hands. Knead the dough more, and I feel my contractions beginning. I hold that moment for myself for a while before I tell anyone. [00:43:00] Then at about three o’clock in the morning, my kiddo is born.

In my house. My mom and Kenya finished making the bread. And, a little bit later, a storm rolls in. There’s thunder, and there’s lightning, and the house smells like fresh made bread. Now, Things are a little bit different right now in my life. I have a different partner, and I have a little bit more experience with semen.

But, I still take time to look at the moon. And in fact, last night, my kiddo came to me right before bedtime and he said, Hey Ma, wanna step out on the stoop and take a glimpse at the moon? Hell yeah kiddo. Always.

[00:43:59] Marc Moss: Thank you. [00:44:00] Candace grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved to and fell in love with Missoula in the 1990s. You can find her small scale ceramic and paper artwork tucked into nooks and crannies around town, in the woods, and possibly in your neighbor’s pocket. She has a parent, a Scorpio, an avid cyclist, and is way into tigers.

Pretty great stories, right? I’ll bet you have a story to share, and I’ll bet that you have a story to share on the theme. Lost in Translation, the next Tell Us Something live event is scheduled for September 28th. The theme is Lost in Translation. Pitch your story for consideration by calling 406 203 4683.

You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is August 20th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch. Tickets for Lost in Translation are on sale now. Limited edition printed tickets featuring the artwork of Bear River Studio are available at Rockin Rudy’s or [00:45:00] you can get your tickets online at tellussomething. org. Join us next week.

[00:45:05] Charlene Brett: The thunder



and it’s echoing off all of these

walls back and forth. My dogs are getting terrified. They’re like, can we go in the tent? Please? We’re scared. Please let us in. So we all

we bail into the tent because the rains come in and the rain

instantly starts pouring.

[00:45:22] Jessie Novak: And I know where this is going. And I don’t like it one bit. My brain is saying, they’re going to shut the oil lamp off too, and it’s going to be really, really dark. And boy, was I right.

[00:45:36] Sydney Holte: When I’m doing the thing

that I’m nervous about, the feeling goes away. But this time, the feeling in my stomach did not go away.

I was still feeling

really queasy.

[00:45:46] Marc Moss: Join us on the Tell Us Something podcast next week for the concluding stories from the Creative Pulse graduate program. The University of Montana event on the theme out of my show, the telesumming podcast is made possible in part because of support from Missoula Broadcasting [00:46:00] Company, including the family of ESPN radio, the trail one Oh three, three Jack FM and Missoula source for modern hits.

You want a 4. 5 learn more at Missoula broadcasting. com. Thanks to Float Missoula for their support of the Tell Us Something podcast. Learn more at FloatMSOA. com and thanks to the team at MissoulaEvents. net. Learn about all of the goings on in Missoula at MissoulaEvents. net. Thanks to Cash for Junkers who provided the music for the podcast.

Find them at CashForJunkersBand. com. To learn more about Tell Us Something, please visit 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 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.


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, 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

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, 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, 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

This episode of the podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on July 8, 2010 at The PEAS Farm in Missoula, MT at an event that predates Tell Us Something. Missoula residents Jeremy N. Smith and Josh Slotnick hosted the event, which they called “Eat our Words”. 5 storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme “Leaving Home”. Jeremy Smith recently reached out to me because one of those storytellers recently passed away. John Engen has graced the Tell Us Something stage twice, and Jeremy suggested that it would be a nice way to honor him to share this story too.

Transcript : Eat Our Words - Leaving Home

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Something podcast. I’m Mark Moss. This episode of the podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on July 8th, 2010 at the Peace Farm in Missoula, Montana, at an event that predates Tell something. Missoula residents, Jeremy N. Smith and Josh Slotnik hosted the event, which they called Eat Our Words.

Five Storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme. Leaving home Jeremy Smith recently reached out to me because one of those storytellers recently passed away. John Ein has graced the tele something stage twice, and Jeremy suggested that it would be a nice way to honor him to share this story too.

Eat Our Words was sponsored by Garden City Harvest. Garden City. Harvest plants seeds and grows together to create a healthy Missoula. On their over 20 neighborhood farms, schools, gardens, and community gardens. Learn [email protected]. Remember to get your tickets for the next Tell us something storytelling event.

The theme is it’s the little things tickets and more information are [email protected].

John Engen: Thank you very much Jeremy. So. Caroline pretty much took my story,

So now I have to come up with something else. And then I didn’t really understand the directions. My thing, it was an email thing. It said 30 seconds Haiku for

So I feel kind of stupid right now. , I am 45 years. And if I understand the currents in the gene pool correctly, that puts me at middle age . My dad is 88, my mom is younger than that. And if I say that in a microphone where it can be recorded, I will be in trouble.

I’ve lived. At 7 34 South Second West, 7 75 Monroe Street, the Alpha East

nine 10 Stevens Avenue, seven 13 Kern 40 50 Field Zone cross. And tonight for the first time, I’m going to sleep at 40 18 Lincoln Road. That’s 45 years. I’ve learned something at each one of those places. 7 34 South. Second, I grew up with a brother who’s eight years older than I am, Norwegian parents and a Norwegian grand.

And I learned there that if you have a problem with somebody, make sure you never tell them about it.

you tell someone who has absolutely no ability to fix that problem for you, , and you tell ’em until they won’t listen anymore.

And eventually the problem goes away,

I also learned that you take care of each other, and so when your mother is in a nursing home in North Dakota and none of the other brothers and sisters have it in them to do anything about it, you go. You bring her home, you put her in the spare bedroom and you make it work somehow. You make it work.

7 75 Monroe. I lived with Eddie Burn, ed and I were in high school together. Hellgate High School Best eight years of my life.

Many of you have heard that line before, but I use it again and I will again and again.

Ed had just returned from serving in the United States Army. The army was not at war at that time, so Ed learned a lot of things about jumping out of airplanes. He had a shocking number. Really dirty rhymes,

and apparently his extensive training in the United States Army did not train him for the circumstance in which after a party wherein you serve something he called sangria, which is a product of a lot of wine, a cooler, and oranges . That the proper way of disposing of said oranges is not to flush them down the toilet in the downstairs bathroom at 7 75 Monroe because it does not help your deposit

I learned a lesson there as well. . I then lived at nine 10 Stevens where I learned. The smell of cat urine is very difficult to remove from carpets and basements.

I had never had a cat before. This was not my cat causing this problem at nine 10. It was the person who lived there before and his or her cat

It made it difficult to have people over, especially for dinner,

so I fell in love and started spending a lot of time at seven 13 Kern, and it wasn’t all about the cat odor in my house. Lovely woman. Next week we’ll have been married 21. Well, the applause for her. Believe me.

At seven 13 Kern, I learned what it’s like to live with a woman who is not your mother or your grandmother. It is much different, . The expectations are much different, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to. And somewhere along the line we made it work. Then we went to 40 50 Fieldstone Crossing, which for us was a brand new home and felt very grown up when I was 28 years old and it was there.

I learned how to fix stuff cuz I had to ignore other stuff cuz I. Fix it later because I got caught ignoring it.

and learned how to take time to look at some mountains, read a book, watch a dog,

listen to our own cat, make really odd cat noises,

and it was there. I learned to settle in a. Now we’re moving into a house that happens on one floor, and some of that could be about my knees, but I prefer to think that it’s about those parents. I learned from back at 7 34 and the fact that every once in a while I’d like to be able to have my old man up for dinner.

And have him be able to go to the bathroom. It starts to be simple stuff at some point in your world. So I’ve lived all those places. Last month I moved my parents out of 7 34, saw Second West where they’d been for nearly 45 years. They left home, they moved into a place called the Clark Fork Riverside.

They have a million dollar. Of our city from the ninth floor on the south side, and I think they’re settling in. But the other day my old man said to me, when are we going home?

I said, mom’s here, pop. You’re home.

And tonight I’m gonna lay my head on a king size. Okay. At 40 18 Lincoln Road and see what that’s about. See what I learned there. And that’s sort of the, the micro version of leaving home. But the fact of the matter is, there’s another macro version of all this, and it’s a really short story. I’m 45 years old.

I was born in Misso. And I have never left home, and I’m pretty happy about it. Thanks.

Marc Moss: John Ingen was born October 27th, 1964 in Missoula, Montana. During his 57 years on this planet, John touched the lives of many people as a journalist. Friend, businessman, mayor, and all around great human. He died August 15th, 2022, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

To hear more stories from John, visit tell us something. Dot org. Thank you to Jeremy N. Smith and Josh Slotnik for providing the audio for this episode of the Tele Something podcast. I remember this, our words event as the first time that I experienced true personal storytelling live in person as a performance.

The evening was special held outdoors at Missoula’s beautiful peace farm on a warm July evening among an intimate crowd sitting on hay bas and engaging with each other as community. I am grateful to Jeremy and Josh for the opportunity to share this story from Eat Our. Next week on the podcast, I sit down with Rick White author and tell us something storyteller to catch up about what he’s been up to since sharing his story.

And tell us something

Rick White: just way back there in the heart of the subway Bitter National Forest. So yeah, we were at the end of the road and. Um, off grid for, for three weeks, and it looked like me scribbling furiously in a, on a yellow legal pad and then transcribing onto a, uh, a hundred dollars typewriter that I sent at the anti Kamal beforehand.

So that I could translate it into print.

Marc Moss: Tune in for that wherever you get your podcasts or stream at. Tell us something. Dot org podcast production by me, Mark Moss. Remember to get your tickets for the next Tell us Something storytelling event. The theme is, It’s the little things tickets and more information are [email protected] to learn more about, tell us something.

Please visit, tell us

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 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.


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


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.

The Tell Us Something stewardship program gives away free tickets to people who. For whatever reason, not have otherwise been able to attend the event. Learn more about the Missoula Electric co-op and see if you qualify to join [email protected]. Thanks to our story teller sponsor Clear Water Credit Union.

Because of them, we were able to pay the storytellers and Clear Water. Credit Union is where, Tell us something. Trust them with all of our financial needs. Learn more about Clear Water Credit [email protected]. And thanks to our accessibility sponsor Garden mother, because of their generosity, we can provide ASL interpreters for our friends in the deaf c.

Learn more about Garden mother Garden Thanks to our media sponsors, Missoula events dot. Sushi Hana the first best sushi bar in the last best place. Find out more and have a look at the [email protected]. Missoula Broadcasting company, including the family of ESPN Radio, the Trail 1 0 3 0.3, Jack FM and Missoula.

Source for modern hits, U 1 0 4 0.5. Learn [email protected]. True Food. Missoula Farm to table food delivery. Check them [email protected]. Thanks to our Inkind sponsors, Float Missoula. Learn [email protected].

Gabriel Silverman: Thanks, Taylor. Hey, this is Gabe from Geco Designs. We’re proud to sponsor. Tell us something.

Learn [email protected].

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].

Marc Moss: Thanks to Cash for Junkers who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cash for junkers

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

Joseph Grady talks about Native spaces, acting, art and storytelling.

Transcript : Meet the Board - Joseph Grady

Marc Moss: [00:00:00] Welcome to the tele hunting podcast. I’m Marc Moss. The next, tell us something live storytelling event is September 27th. At the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go eight storytellers. Take the stage to share their two personal stories from memory. Tickets are now on sale. For tell us something live at the Dennison theater, September 27th.

Marc Moss: Get your [email protected]. We again, welcome our friends from the deaf C. By providing American sign language interpretation. See you September 27th for letting go stories at the Dennison theater, more information and tickets are [email protected]. The next, tell us something podcast episodes are a little different than what you are used to.

Marc Moss: You will meet each member of the, tell something board, former board member Sierra Ty Brownley interviewed the Tellum board for her podcast. Impactful experiences. Sierra believes that listening to meaningful stories, changes your ideas and makes you think and feel beyond what [00:01:00] you may already accept.

Marc Moss: This week. Sierra sits down with tell us something board share Joseph Grady. Let’s listen.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Welcome back to impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley, where I chat with a new guest each episode and ask them to share one of their impactful experiences. This is your host Sierra, and I want to thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy today. I’m joined by Joseph Grady, current academic advisor at the university of Montana in Missoula, Montana.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: And tell us something board member Joseph. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.

Joseph Grady: oh, yeah. It’s absolutely my pleasure.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Thank you. I think we should just hop right in and if you’d be willing to share your impactful experience, I’d love to hear.

Joseph Grady: Yeah, absolutely. Um, again, thank you [00:02:00] for inviting me and, um, been thinking about this, um, impactful experience and, um, there’s so much in life to choose from.

Joseph Grady: Yeah. Of this kind of question. So it really was racking my brain about like, you know, what’s important enough or what’s cool enough, or what have you. And I decided to just kind of let it flow if, if you will. Mm-hmm um, the, what, the thing that, uh, has come to mind, I think most recently is for me as, um, not just an academic, but as a creative.

Joseph Grady: An artist, um, creative, an actor mm-hmm writer, um, painter, um, outside of the workplace. Uh, there’s a lot that I think goes on with, um, my advising position where there’s lots of amazing stories with students and so forth, but I’m not sure entirely if that’s appropriate to tell in this space. Um, but that said, I honed in.

Joseph Grady: Uh, a story with, [00:03:00] um, a recent acting opportunity that I had. Um, and I, you know, I applied for a lot of, uh, small roles, uh, a lot of walk on stuff here in Montana, and it gives me a lot of experience to, uh, do film acting, um, in a way, and kind of in a way that’s very fulfilling, but also, um, helps me, you know, with the creative expression.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm . Things. Um, and it’s very informative and I learned quite a lot from the process and so forth, but that’s it. Um, essentially I had applied recently for an acting gig, um, for, that was calling for a native American role mm-hmm um, and. Reached out for it and got a, a, a call back if you will. Um, from the casting director who reached out to me and, um, indicated at that time that it was, it was actually for local, they were making a local call for [00:04:00] actors and the gig was in Los Angeles, California mm-hmm

Joseph Grady: And, um, I was like, oh, well, I’m in Missoula, Montana kind of negates that one. Yeah. And then had just a, sort of a brief follow up and sort of conversation. And, um, you know, she expressed some, um, like, oh, you know, darn it because you’d be perfect for the role kind of a thing. And. Um, you know, I was apologetic that I didn’t really notice that it was in LA.

Joseph Grady: I hope I didn’t waste your time kind of a thing, you know, in that setting it’s I really, really wanna make sure that I’m, you know, keeping it on the professional level. And, um, that point was just like, okay, so, you know, no big deal, but then about two weeks later, um, got a call back from the same casting director, um, who reached out.

Joseph Grady: Um, asked me if I wanted the gig, um, which was to fly down to Los Angeles and, and do about three days of shooting mm-hmm in [00:05:00] various locations. And, um, that kind of, sort of tip things off. And I was like, uh, much was running through my head. You know, there’s a lot of planning that had to happen. It was a very sort of short turnaround time between actually getting the gig and getting to LA I think it was about a week and I.

Joseph Grady: uh, turnaround. And so, you know, just sort of that preparation and then what is even the job, right? Yeah. But then that was a lot of excitement and it turned out to be like a really amazing experience. And I, you know, I learned a lot and had a lot of fun and so forth and, um, it, um, you know, added of course to my resume and my credentials and, um, expanded my opportunities, at least in terms of like getting into unions and so forth.

Joseph Grady: Uh, but I think the, the actual experience of getting on set and working with other native American actors in those kinds of professional spaces was really sort of the, the real hook for me. Mm-hmm but, uh, overall that’s kind of [00:06:00] the, the gist of what was happening. Um, and it was, it’s probably one of the more significant sort of things to happen in, in the last year.

Joseph Grady: Um, and so that was, um, That was really cool. I really, really had a, a really good time with that one.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. I know you had mentioned this to me, um, around when it was happening or a little before. And so I think that’s very exciting and I’m glad that, um, it seems things went well and you really enjoyed your time.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: So, what about this experience, um, made you choose it kind of getting at, how has it either changed you or impacted you since?

Joseph Grady: Hmm. Um, it’s. I working here in Montana as an actor, just speaking from the acting, um, space alone. Yeah. Um, there’s, I’ve had a, I think a real opportunity in the last, probably [00:07:00] five to 10 years where I’ve this.

Joseph Grady: Um, I guess you wanna say, I don’t wanna say movement necessarily, but a shift is happening in the television to film. Okay. Where, um, the call for native American actors is, um, becoming more. Of a qualified type position. Um, and it’s one that is for me as an actor created all of this access, right? While at the same time, eliminating a whole bunch of competition for roles that was previously, you know, sharing the same space.

Joseph Grady: Yeah. You had a lot of, um, what, what you’ll hear calls for and sort of acting resumes and on acting calls, looking for ethnic ambiguity, right? Mm-hmm so that, you know, if you are classified as ethnically, uh, [00:08:00] ambiguous, you can fulfill many. Right as, um, Latinx, um, middle Eastern, um, you know, sort of Arabic identities to, um, to any of the Pacific is or Asian.

Joseph Grady: Classifications, if you will. And historically, I think particularly, um, in film and TV, back in the old days, it was like if you had black hair and any sort of a complexion, they would slap a little makeup on you and you were it, that was, you know, you were this role. Um, and so the, you know, the scope for ethnically ambiguous was even wider.

Joseph Grady: I think back then, mm-hmm and nowadays it’s a lot more. Arrow, um, to even like more recently where you have calls for specific ethnic identities to, you know, fulfill roles. And, um, that’s quite a, a, a big shift in, in an industry that is so fast paced. And [00:09:00] so like, concerned with anything in production other than getting.

Joseph Grady: Cultural humility pieces, um, on point or correct all the time. Um, and so that for me, I think was kind of the big takeaway more recently is the work that I’ve been doing as an actor has allowed me to work with entities, people, and productions, where that. Um, attention to cultural authenticity has been really out front.

Joseph Grady: Um, and so as an indigenous actor, that’s refreshing, uh, because what it says is these roles are for you mm-hmm and for like, for you, not just alone, but, um, people who also identify as, as indigenous and so forth or come from native communities. Yeah. And so it creates opportunity, um, as well. Allow the stories to be more authentic, I think, um, from where they’re coming from, [00:10:00] um, with that with people sort of thinking about that stuff automatically, what you get in those spaces are people who actually start to kind of ask questions and really express.

Joseph Grady: Their humility. Um, there are certainly incidents of that that were on this last job, as well as like other like projects that I’ve worked on. I think, um, probably the first, well, one of the first like major acting gigs that I ever got was winner in the blood and. Um, the directors actually, we had a, a night where we went out and had Oros at Scotty’s table and we sat around with, uh, a whole bunch of our in native actors from the film mm-hmm

Joseph Grady: Um, and we were able to have a conversation of really sort of candid conversation with the directors who were like we’re too white dudes. And. We don’t know the first thing about being native American or what that’s like and so forth. So you need to help us please help us understand, uh, what those are like so that we can like really sort of give this very accurate [00:11:00] portrayal and invited us to give feedback and sort of, um, you know, scan the, the script and so forth.

Joseph Grady: And Hey, this is kind of how we would say it kind of a thing. Um, and that information. Like onboarded with that process in a way that was very respectful and mindful. Um, and I, I wanna say very sort of forward thinking if you will. Um, where I was very impressed at that moment with the directors was like, well, I’m, I’m in with the right gig.

Joseph Grady: I mean, this is like I had a feeling I would walk in here and be like, you know, here’s how you be native American, Mr. Um, and, uh, you know, I kind of roll the eyes and you, you jump into the role and do the gig. As an actor, that’s kind of what it is really. I mean, I’m an instrument. I mean, actors, theater people, we are sort of the paint on the canvas.

Joseph Grady: And so it really is, you know, we it’s, we’re trained to follow directing, um, and that’s not always like fulfilling if you will. Yeah. Um, in, in those kinds of ways, [00:12:00] Especially when it comes to cultural and racial identity. Um, and so I’ve seen a big shift in, in the more recent years where you have more of that presence of mind on set and in the conversation.

Joseph Grady: And even in the invite where those people will be very respectful out front acknowledging culture and identity and their own humility in that space where they’re actually looking to you to be the expert on that experience. While also sort of like infusing this whole dialogue and role into the process.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm is like kind of some new stuff. I mean, at least for me, it is, um, and this experience in Los Angeles was, was very much the same.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. That’s exciting and great to hear. So would you say you do believe you’ve been experiencing, or you do think there are changes in the industry?

Joseph Grady: Yeah. I mean the, the, the little that I experience that I do have with film, um, or television has just.

Joseph Grady: [00:13:00] Historically been either as an observer or as a learner in the classroom space, um, you know, learning about critique and, and understanding stories. Um, and you know, there were there, I think various examples along the way. I don’t really want to draw attention to too much. Yeah. But I think prior to, to my experience, what you would get is kind of what I would describe, uh, the actor would show up, they would dress you up.

Joseph Grady: Here’s how you play Indian and then sort of onto the film. And then you do your best to sort of infuse your own personal characteristic and into the, into the storyline and, and into the setting. Um, but there’s not a lot of like, um, collaboration between director and the creative production and the actor themselves, as the, say the indigenous person mm-hmm

Joseph Grady: And that goes all the way back to the, um, you know, to. The the Oscar incident with, um, I’m just forgetting Marlon Brando, um, and the young, [00:14:00] uh, native woman who accepted the award for him, you know, from that point, you know, you, even prior to that, you had indigenous people like calling for greater respect in these spaces.

Joseph Grady: And, you know, here it is, um, you know, in, into the 2000 and twenties, um, and into the two thousands, and you’re starting to kind of get this recognition and. I think there was a hesitancy along the way to mm-hmm for that, because maybe people just didn’t know how to communicate that. I, I don’t want to like sound like I understand where that was coming from necessarily where the hesitancy was coming from.

Joseph Grady: Um, but in terms of like the outcomes, um, you know, with television shows like. Reservation dogs and, and some of the others that are, are now out on, um, various outlets, like FX and so forth. Um, you, what you have is our native American voices and creativity actually driving the ship mm-hmm and it turns out that it’s it’s it’s really.

Joseph Grady: Funny. There’s a [00:15:00] lot of crossover. Uh, it communicates, well, no matter which culture you’re coming from, it’s just an indigenous perspective. Um, and that’s really refreshing. And I think that that for when we start talking about storytelling and, and being part of the story, Yeah, we as indigenous people tend to thrive because, um, that’s, and not just indigenous people, but many, many stories, but indigenous people as continent, um, storytelling has been deeply infused into who we are as people mm-hmm, our process, how we learn together, the way we built community, uh, et cetera, was, was very much like stories under the stars.

Joseph Grady: And so that’s, that’s how we identify largely. And so when we get, you know, opportunities to be in these creative spaces, we thrive as storytellers. And so I think that that’s, for me watching that happen throughout my lifetime, I mean, I’m 51 years old and. When reservation dogs [00:16:00] dropped the first episode dropped, I was able to watch it.

Joseph Grady: I remember thinking, man, I’ve been waiting like 50 years for this TV show. Um, you know, sort of speak my, speak, my language, and represent, Hey, that’s me on the screen. And identifying in those kinds of ways where we’re not just backdrop characters, we are the foreground and we are the interest of the narrative.

Joseph Grady: Um, and. The kind of moving forward more recently having that access point is I think in part even largely as to why I’ve had any kind of success as an actor, uh, because most of the roles that I step into are have a, you know, a call for a native American, um, of my bearing mm-hmm. Um, it’s not like, um, you know, some person who’s not native American who slaps on a wig and a little bit of sort of brown makeup can then step in there and be like, oh, you know, [00:17:00] it’s like, did you know you called for a native American, uh, to walk through the door and, you know, show up at the audition.

Joseph Grady: And so, um, it, and I think along with that, what I am seeing are when I do go to these auditions, at least when they were held in person. Yeah, you would see a lot of like young, sexy native people, like hanging out, you know, good looking like mm-hmm of all walks and looks, right. Native people showing up to say, Hey, I’m gonna take a swing at this thing, uh, and try this acting gig.

Joseph Grady: And you know, maybe they did a little high school or whatever, you know, sort of goofed around, you know, nowadays you it’s, most of it’s like on the social media, you can film little, um, skits and so forth. do those, uh, sort of have an audience without like having the actual audience and so forth. Yeah, yeah.

Joseph Grady: That I’d be, I think that’s really cool. And, um, the, you know, I think there’s more to say about LA, um, in more in greater [00:18:00] detail, but I mean, in terms of the overall experience for me, the, you know, the, the access point for other indigenous actors, not just myself is probably, I think a huge turnaround mm-hmm

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. So you’ve talked about kind of being a little bit in the industry and acting a fair amount. And I was curious to kind of see how that ties into, um, you also like working at the university and if this has changed, maybe would you hope to pursue, or do you enjoy having that balance? Because it does seem like you are doing, like you said, many different.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Artistic ventures as well. Yeah.

Joseph Grady: Yeah. I think that’s a great question. And I, I, that was actually one that I was really sort of reflecting on as I was doing this because, um, it is, it is a concern for me, you know, being, you know, in an academic professional setting, um, you know, fulfilling a role within that space.[00:19:00]

Joseph Grady: Um, and having a. You know, sort of set objective and, and goal for, for that position. Um, and then going out and doing like professional acting along with it, how is that going to be accepted? Is it going to be accepted? Is it going to be one of those things where it’s, you know, um, someone doesn’t like the idea of that maybe.

Joseph Grady: And mm-hmm um, so trying to like, just be mindful about those factors. Um, and fortunately the, um, I think the, the team that I work with and, um, and you know, my supervisor who’s absolutely amazing has been nothing but support. In that space. Yeah. And so I think that I’m really sort of kicking this around and like, you know, oh my gosh.

Joseph Grady: And how do I find that balance point? Right. Um, where it’s, it’s not only, um, fulfilling, uh, an objective for me, but also, you know, keeping me fair and in tuned [00:20:00] in with my students, you know, because I also, um, that, that is a very realistic consideration for. That said, um, balance to this point hasn’t been terribly difficult.

Joseph Grady: Um, you know, realistically, um, you know, you get the work done and so forth, but that said looking forward, I think the way that I’ve, I’ve thought about this, and I think the way that I’ve always thought about this, like with photography or with writing, um, any of the script writing that I do any of. Like the illustration or, or art that I do a graphic novel that I’m working on.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm um, any of the, like the acting they’re in all of that stuff is like creating opportunity if opportunity is needed. Um, Kind of fallbacks, if you will even. Um, I mean, let’s face it. We live in some pretty uncertain times. Mm-hmm , um, there’s a lot out there that is just putting to question even some of [00:21:00] the old standards that we’re used to just having around, you know, like education.

Joseph Grady: It was, I think at one point it was just like one of those things. Thought never would be it, it just was always going to be the way it was, you know, teacher in the classroom, attitude from the student that doesn’t look the same anymore. I mean, people are talking about arming teachers. The guns and so forth.

Joseph Grady: And so the it’s a very different sort of world right now. Mm-hmm, uh, than what I had grown up in as a kid. And so like, as I look to the future, I wanna make sure that I have, um, I think a lot of experience under my belt. if at some point something a shift needs to be made, um, that certainly is an objective or a goal of mine right now.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm, , I’m pretty stoked about the life that I have. Yeah. You know, with, um, the, even the roles that I fulfill in my professional life, um, you know, there’s tell us something which serving on [00:22:00] the board and the committee there, you know, has its, has it. Peace in my life. And then there’s the artistic thing in all, its sort of various forms with the writing mm-hmm uh, to, to create right now it’s like a lot of focus on photography.

Joseph Grady: Um, and then there’s, there’s also the work thing, right? Yeah. Um, I wanna make sure that I’m building my own experience and resume along the way, um, because you never really know what’s what the future holds. I wanna. Or that I’m, I’m prepared enough in a way. So if something does happen where change is like, oh, um, here’s how tomorrow’s going to look.

Joseph Grady: And it’s not like it was yesterday. I have the kind of footing and I think, um, world experience where I can go out and, and make a pivot or a shift if I need to mm-hmm . And, you know, like right now with the acting thing, kinda like what we’ve been talking about, [00:23:00] part of that is building that opportunity to look towards maybe getting an agent.

Joseph Grady: Now, do I join the unions? Is that something that is, is going to be equitable? Um, for me as a professional. Yeah. Um, and right now, um, where I am, um, making advances is in the workplace, um, at the university, um, and we’ve been making considerable strides and that’s on the backs of a lot of work and a lot of focus and a lot of effort and a lot of teamwork as well.

Joseph Grady: I mean, as a, as an entity, our Montana 10 has had a lot of success. If you will. Um, and we just want to continue to grow that, um, so that we can, you know, our work with other entities yeah. In university campus settings, um, is kind of a full package if you will. Mm-hmm because right now it seems to be working for students.

Joseph Grady: Uh, works for me. I love it. I, I find it [00:24:00] very, very fulfilling. Um, and so. Both are kind of on this trajectory of their own, if you will. Yeah. Um, and if anything, I, what I’ve learned in my life is that, um, just to be present for the ride, um, and, you know, make those big choices when they have to be made. Um, but for the rest of the time, just really, really try and make the most of it.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm um, this has been a, a pretty tough. You know, there’s, um, things that happen with family and, and, you know, there’s things that happened with students. I mean, this is, this last two years has been incredibly heavy. Um, yeah. In terms of people getting sick to, um, people. Struggling with mental health mm-hmm and in my work position and my job position, that’s, that’s very much at the forefront of what we do is, is working with students sort of navigating that stuff.

Joseph Grady: And, you know, it’s like you [00:25:00] need mental health services. Here’s where to go for that. And sort of just taking a lot of time to listen and so forth. Mm-hmm and it’s been a waity year. I mean, a lot of people are struggling with a lot of like really dark. Um, and I think the isolation and the uncertainty about future, especially now more than ever, um, you know, sort of this eruption of just violence in the way that we are, I’m not used to necessarily experiencing.

Joseph Grady: In what is this country is supposed to be mm-hmm um, I think is leaving a lot of uncertainty in terms of one sense of their own safety. Just going out into the world for, to go shopping or to go to school, you know, places where once that was like, those were the safest places to be. Um, and so the, you know, the students that I’m working with right now are, are kind of reflecting, I think, on a lot of that stuff and, and, you know, living through it while also trying to be students and in very [00:26:00] similar ways, think about their own futures.

Joseph Grady: What’s gonna come next. What am I gonna invested in? What’s gonna create opportunity. Um, what is my life and family going to look like moving forward and so forth? Yeah, definitely. There’s so much diversity in that realm that, um, right now the, the position that I find myself in, I kind of feel like roles like this are needed.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm um, and so, uh, for the moment, um, the university gig is, is the main focus. Whereas the creative sort of electric forces in my life are the things that allow me to kind of process that stuff and find a different kind of fulfill. Yeah, um, in life and I don’t know, maybe it’s just sort of come to that where I’m like really sort of seeking those additional bits of, of input.

Joseph Grady: And I’m also getting older. I mean, you know, I’m not getting any younger right now and, and, you know, I don’t wanna be, I, I, I’ve always sort of, I, [00:27:00] um, worried about that time in life, where you’d get to a place where it’s like, I wish I had done that, you know, Um, I, I wonder what would’ve happened if I ever ever made a go of that acting gig right.

Joseph Grady: Or putting some of those skills to use, um, along the way. And I, I don’t know if I necessarily wanna find myself there. So maybe even subconsciously I’m kind of like pushing myself in directions where I can kind of spread out into those areas, get that experience. Yeah. You know, dinner in the blood. That first movie role was like a bucket list moment.

Joseph Grady: And I remember just not only landing the role, but going and doing the gig and then coming home and then seeing the film at the end and taking part in the whole process for me was like, that’s kind of it. I mean, I was a native, I played a native role, so I was a native actor, a black feet character in a story written by a black feet, man.

Joseph Grady: I think I’ve done it. I think of. [00:28:00] Accomplished all I wanted to do. Mm-hmm but then moved on to like these other sort of roles and so forth because it just it’s it’s really great work.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. Okay. Um, kind of slightly related, but is there any maybe form of art that you really hope to start doing or to take part in?

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Um,

Joseph Grady: I think that, I mean, for me, the, the, something that is less fulfilled is the writing. Mm. Um, that’s where I think I’m, I’m really trying to tie a bunch of things up, so to speak. Um, I have a couple of different scripts that I’ve been writing. Um, I’ve got a story for graphic novel that I’m trying to round out.

Joseph Grady: Um, and all of it is like sort of indigenous influenced. Um, so I guess you would wanna say more contemporary type work or even into like science fiction. Okay. Um, that’s the sort of the area that I’m going. And then something that is, [00:29:00] has always been a natural fit for me is comedy. Um, When I was like in my early twenties, used to do comedy open mics.

Joseph Grady: I used to go out and do sets and get up on stage and try and exercise some of that theater experience as well as the, like the creative writing side of things always loved comedy as an outlet and trying to do it creatively as a, as a native. Uh, person trying to reach the audience in a way, um, with that aspect of my identity, um, has been infused into that.

Joseph Grady: And so the, the writing piece for me right now is something that, um, I really wanna see kind of, you know, bubble to the surface next. Um, yeah, like I said, there’s a lot more outlets these days. Mm-hmm for a lot more. Call for native writers, actors, creative types, even production people. And I mean, I’m talking to the production people out there, the young folks who are like going into the, into, into, you know, either [00:30:00] theater or film or TV, if you’re a native American and you’re on the.

Joseph Grady: and you’re on the production side. You’re on the postproduction you’re behind the camera. You’re in this sort of creative force behind the scenes. Um, that’s that part is like, I think really, really significant and important. Yeah. And I’d like to, I’d like to break into that a little bit. I’d like to see some writing represented and so forth.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm because we need the, the turnaround for that is creating opportunity for the next native writer or indigenous actor down the

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: road. Yeah. All right. Well, I think that we will start wrapping this up, but thank you once again. Um, and as my final question, what is the best piece of life advice you’ve been given?

Joseph Grady: Oh, man. Um, Well there’s one and I can’t say it here. Um, because it’s, it’s, I think three quarters of the phrase is cursing. Um,

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: [00:31:00] okay. I mean, whatever you wanna share, you can share

Joseph Grady: let me, let me dig for something else, maybe. Okay. Um, basically I think in the, some of the greatest. Perspective I’ve I’ve learned in life or, um, come from the, the people that I know in life who got sober, um, you know, the people who struggled with addiction and, and alcoholism I’m, I’m one of them, you know, I’m one of those people who’s thankfully, you know, recovered from alcoholism or, or is recovery.

Joseph Grady: You’re always in recovery. Um, but one of the things that has just made life, particularly for me, way more doable and has made all of the rest of this stuff, like really accessible is just to keep it simple. Um, I have this real capacity to overthink. Um, I think that that’s present in my photography and my, in my acting and my writing and my creativity and my [00:32:00] painting and my process and all of that stuff.

Joseph Grady: And, um, I, I think the one thing I’ve learned in my life is that, um, the, the biggest thing that is standing in my way, ways of me, uh, and it always has been, it’s always been this, this sort of internal dialogue that has been happening and has been informed of course, by. Influences and factors and other voices and so forth.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm but I think that keep it simple thing was just a way for me to learn, to just sort of get out of my own way.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah, no, I like it. I think that’s a great piece of advice. Okay, well, Joseph, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.

Joseph Grady: Awesome Sierra. This is really cool. Um, good job on your podcast and I, I really appreciate the opportunity to come on and, and share my experience.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Of course. Thank you for sharing and thank you guys for listening and take

Joseph Grady: care.[00:33:00]

Marc Moss: Thanks, Joseph and Sierra. Joseph Grady is a professional actor and artist with roles in films like winter in the blood, Jimmy P and slant streets. He has been painting and selling art for more than 30 years throughout the Northwest. Joseph graduated from the university of Montana with a degree in social work and a focus in native American studies and lives in his community.

Marc Moss: As a change agent addressing social justice. And anti-racism action. Joseph serves on the Missoula food bank anti-racism task force. And is the chair for tell us something’s board of directors, Sierra Ty Brownley is a curious individual with a never ending interest in people and their stories from asking 50 strangers for their best piece of life advice.

Marc Moss: To sitting down to hear about pivotal stories on her podcast, impactful experiences with Sierra Ty brownie Sierra is always excited to meet new people and hear what they would like to share. You can find the impactful experiences podcast, [00:34:00] wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to her. Inkind sponsors, Joyce of tile, gecko designs, float Missoula and Missoula broadcasting company.

Marc Moss: Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast. Remember to get your ticket to the next. September 27th, 2022. Live at the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go more information and tickets are [email protected].

Rachel Bemis shares her impactful experience of finally deciding to become a teacher after a fulfilling career in other sectors.

Transcript : Meet the Board - Rachel Bemis

Marc Moss: [00:00:00] Welcome to the tele hunting podcast. I’m Marc Moss. The next, tell us something live storytelling event is September 27th. At the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go eight storytellers. Take the stage to share their two personal stories from memory. Tickets are now on sale. For tell us something live at the Dennison theater, September 27th.

Marc Moss: Get your [email protected]. We again, welcome our friends from the deaf C. By providing American sign language interpretation. See you September 27th for letting go stories at the Dennison theater, more information and tickets are [email protected]. The next, tell us something podcast episodes are a little different than what you are used to.

Marc Moss: You will meet each member of the, tell something board, former board member Sierra Ty Brownley interviewed the Tellum board for her podcast. Impactful experiences. Sierra believes that listening to meaningful stories, changes your ideas and makes you think and feel beyond what you [00:01:00] may already accept.

Marc Moss: This week. Sierra sits down with tell us something board treasurer, Rachel Beas let’s

Sarah FitzGerald: listen.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Welcome back to impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley, where I chat with a new guest each episode and ask them to share one of their impactful experiences. This is your host Sierra, and I want to thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy today. I am joined by Rachel Beas elementary teacher in Western Montana.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: And tell us something board member, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast

Sarah FitzGerald: today. Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Me too. And of course, so let’s just hop right in and if you’d be willing, could you tell us a little bit about your impactful experience?

Sarah FitzGerald: Sure. Um, you know, when I was asked to do this podcast, I think like many people, I thought about [00:02:00] several different things that have impacted me the most, but I think really my journey, um, to be, and my detours, um, to becoming a teacher is probably the most, um, impactful experience for.

Sarah FitzGerald: Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: I’d love to dive a little bit into that. And if you could share kind of what your journey has been to becoming

Sarah FitzGerald: a teacher. Sure. I was one of those little girls sitting in second grade with Mrs. Roach, knowing that I was meant to be a teacher. I knew it. from second grade. And so, you know, all through elementary, middle school, high school, you read my yearbook.

Sarah FitzGerald: Everything is about me being a teacher mm-hmm . And I decided before I started community college, that I would start working with kids. I was an aunt, I had three, uh, I had two nephews and a niece by the time I was 20 and had baby. Yeah. And had babysat, uh, a ton starting at age 11, 12 years old. And, and.

Sarah FitzGerald: Really comfortable around [00:03:00] kids, but I wanted to make sure that translated into education mm-hmm . Um, and so when I was in high school, I, um, did some volunteering in a first grade classroom and I loved it. And then it was time to graduate and time to go to college. Yeah. One of the jobs that I got was as a summer camp counselor, And I hated it.

Sarah FitzGerald: Oh, wow. And , and for whatever reason, I convinced myself that that was teaching mm-hmm and I was like, this is not a good fit. Like I, this is I like, yeah. I don’t know what the problem is this whole time. For years and years and years, I had a plan in place. This is what I was going to do and was like, absolutely not.

Sarah FitzGerald: I need to do something else. so fast forward, like 12 years mm-hmm and I was a real estate lender in town, um, [00:04:00] and really enjoyed it. And then I reached a point where I stopped enjoying it. Mm-hmm and I was about 31 years. I was 30, 30, 31 years old. Mm-hmm . and I just started feeling like I needed a change and I, I didn’t know what that was.

Sarah FitzGerald: I didn’t know if it was a career change. I didn’t know if it was just switching companies. Yeah. You know, I wasn’t sure. So those feelings were kind of stirring in my brain. And, and so, as I mentioned, I always knew, and everyone knew around me, my whole childhood, my high school years, that I was gonna be a teacher.

Sarah FitzGerald: There was no other option. I didn’t even think about anything else. Mm-hmm . And so when these, these uncertain feelings were starting to stir around. I randomly had a phone conversation with my first love from high school. Mm-hmm Roland. And I hadn’t seen him or talked to him since I was 17 years old. Yeah.

Sarah FitzGerald: And [00:05:00] I only knew him when I was 17 years old, so I only knew him for a year of my life. Okay. And we had this lovely conversation. Ironically I was at work. He was a real estate lender. And one of the first questions he asked me was, are you a teacher? And I was really taken aback because I kind of forgot that that was my path.

Sarah FitzGerald: And that’s the only thing that he had in mind. So when he had reflected on our time together, just me as a person, that’s what he focused on. Mm-hmm like, of course she’s a teacher, right? I’m talking to her 14 years later. Of course she’s a teacher. And I was like, no, actually I went, took a different path and you know, and I was very successful in my career.

Sarah FitzGerald: I had purchased my own home by myself and mm-hmm , you know, I legitimately had a career, but I had this nagging feeling that it was. Time for a change. Yeah. And so when he made that comment to me, it really affected me, um, to the point [00:06:00] that I got off the phone with him and sobbed in the bathroom at work.

Sarah FitzGerald: Oh, I know. And I was like, okay, well, I don’t know what that means, but you know, it, it almost felt like I was a failure. Like I hadn’t done what I set out to do, even though I was living a great life. Yeah. So fast forward a little bit, again, still stirring feelings. And I had a realtor friend that invited me to a networking event.

Sarah FitzGerald: It was this monthly, like women’s group that met and talked about business ideas and tried to do business together. Mm-hmm and we were sitting around the table. and, um, it was like a hundred people in a conference room, 10 people to have tabled one of which I knew and had become friends with, but everyone else was pretty much strangers.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. And we’re sitting at this table of 10 people and the keynote speaker comes on the microphone and she said, before we, you know, have lunch and [00:07:00] before we chat, I want you to talk to your table about what would you do as an icebreaker question? What would you do if you couldn’t fail? And I, of course, maybe not.

Sarah FitzGerald: Of course my, maybe this is shocking. uh, I started crying immediately, um, at this table full of strangers mm-hmm and I said, I’ll go first. I’ll go first. Okay. And I said, I would quit my job and I would go back to school and I would become a teacher. Mm. and it just hit me that that’s what I was supposed to do and why I allowed my 18 year old self to convince myself that summer camp was teaching and let go of my dream.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. You know, we, we learn. Right. Um, so now I was this career woman that owned a house and had responsibilities. But I knew I needed to leave. I knew it immediately. I, I [00:08:00] never looked back Sierra ever. The next day I took the day off of work. Mm-hmm I went to the local university of Montana, Missoula mm-hmm I enrolled, I reviewed my finances that weekend.

Sarah FitzGerald: and on Monday I gave my two week notice. Wow. Yeah. And I left that job 11 years ago. Mm-hmm I started taking classes that summer. I didn’t even wait till the fall. I started that may. And I got my teaching degree and a minor in reading in three years, mind you, I had a lot of responsibilities and had to figure out how am I going to do this?

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. And there was times where I had seven little part-time jobs, little. Oh my gosh. I know. Like, it might have been like one day a week. I worked at this daycare and uh, the other day of the week I passed out these pamphlets and it was all these little, [00:09:00] little jobs. Mm. Um, but I did it to make it work and I never, ever, ever looked back.

Sarah FitzGerald: And, um, I’m now going to be entering my ninth year of teaching.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Wow. Okay. Really? What a journey. And

Sarah FitzGerald: it was, yeah, quite a journey, some detours along the way. But once I made the decision, I knew that this was going to impact my life. Mm-hmm .

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. And now that you have been teaching. Um, or like you said, nine years, do you see yourself staying in teaching or potentially moving in the future?

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: You

Sarah FitzGerald: know, I am really into embracing side hustles. Um, that’s my, that’s my new thing. So. You know, my passion is my day to day teaching mm-hmm . Um, I have looked into the past just based on my past experience and leadership qualities. Would I wanna be an administrator? Would I want to go in a different direction?

Sarah FitzGerald: Would I [00:10:00] wanna use education to work at a museum or whatever it might be? um, for me, I’m good. Like I am beyond satisfied. Mm-hmm I, um, I went back to school in 2019 and I earned my master’s. Last year. Okay. Yeah. So I have that. And so that was really a great professional development opportunity for a few years, um, to continue to learn more, um, I’ve focused on integrating arts in the classroom.

Sarah FitzGerald: So that has challenged me as an educator. As well. So for me, I think I’m good. I really would, you know, it took me a while to get here. Mm-hmm and I’m, I’m very, very grateful. And, um, beyond satisfied, I feel extremely fulfilled. Now I will, I will say I am the type of person. That’s always pursuing other things, but that doesn’t, that that has nothing to do with my career and my passion mm-hmm so that.[00:11:00]

Sarah FitzGerald: that would be like, for example, you know, I would love to teach, um, as an adjunct professor and maybe get my foot in the door at a university mm-hmm maybe that’s something that could transition into teaching a summer class, or maybe after retirement potentially being something, um, a mentor for educators.

Sarah FitzGerald: Things like that. So I’ve definitely looked into that. Um, I was a TA this summer mm-hmm , um, at the university for my old master’s program. So just kind of dipping my toe into different things, um, has been fun.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Very nice. And did you know kind of what grade or age of students you wanted to teach?

Sarah FitzGerald: Well, because of Mrs.

Sarah FitzGerald: Roach, my second grade teacher, I always felt like that was the right grade level for me. Yeah. Um, and then it was kind of a joke because I’m, I’m on the petite side. Um, so I was like, I don’t want them to be taller than me [00:12:00] and I just always really liked that age group. And so ironically, when I. Did my student teaching, um, I student taught in second grade mm-hmm and then I ended up getting hired from that same school in first grade.

Sarah FitzGerald: So I taught first grade for five years. Mm-hmm then I taught second grade for a year. Um, and then I was ready to make a move to a different school district for a variety of reasons. And the position that was available. Was at the district that I wanted, that I’m currently at was fourth grade remote, fully remote for the full year.

Sarah FitzGerald: And the remote thing of course, you know, is a little scary in general. Mm-hmm um, and then fourth grade was really scary for me. That felt like a huge jump from first. Yeah. Um, and to be honest, I felt like it would be a good foot in the door. And then I would kind of get a feel for if there’s other grades that open up and ironically a second grade position did actually open up and I [00:13:00] had zero interest and okay.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. So this will be my third year teaching fourth grade. I love it. And I would say about seven of the kids last year were taller than me. wow. Okay. So I prepared for that now every year. Yes. Um, but I absolutely love it and I, I don’t know. This might be the perfect grade for me. Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Interesting. Um, and then.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: What do you think maybe what skills do you think helped you go into teaching or maybe had you learned before you went into teaching? Um, yeah. That you think are really applicable,

Sarah FitzGerald: you know, for me, I think some potentially non-traditional things have really prepared me to be successful. I think that, you know, I did my student, I did part of my student teaching in, um, Guang, China in 2014.[00:14:00]

Sarah FitzGerald: And I was expecting to enter an environment that was very rigid. and that I really need, and I love that I was really excited cause I’m kind of type a and I really like things very structured. And so I was like, okay, great. Like I’m gonna have a set schedule. I’m gonna know exactly what’s happening, what grades I’m teaching.

Sarah FitzGerald: And it was the opposite because of the dynamics of the country. Um, that certainly trickled down into how the schools were run, how the students behaved. The relationship between the teacher and the student. And I was blindsided at how flexible I needed to be. Mm-hmm and that was very challenging for me.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, I didn’t have a choice I had to be. Um, and because of that, that is one of the biggest things that has translated into my teaching life here in the United States. And it sounds really silly. but the idea of covering someone’s recess [00:15:00] duty for them spontaneously, and the idea of, you know, a student having an issue and you needing to stop a lesson and do something else.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm , those are skills that are really important and they build community. Um, and so those were things that I really brought into. My career that I wasn’t expecting. Mm-hmm I think, I think also, you know, sometimes I joke like, oh my gosh, if I would’ve just gone to college, when I was supposed to go to college, then I would be retiring in five years or whatever it might be, or, you know, different things like that.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, or I would be making more money cause I would have more experience, but, but honestly, I don’t know that I would be where I am today. If I. Gone on that path that I had expected. When I went back to college a little older at 31, I took it very seriously and I had a mortgage to pay. I have [00:16:00] responsibilities that I wouldn’t have had when I was 18 years old.

Sarah FitzGerald: And so I was very focused, not only on actually getting good grades and learning, but also getting it done quickly so that I could start making. Money, even if it was even if it was a teacher’s salary, at least it wasn’t seven part-time jobs. Yeah. Um, so yeah, I think those are the things that I was not expecting to bring in and to learn that I, that I have.

Sarah FitzGerald: Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: So you think that if you had gone into teaching, um, I guess right after school, do you think you would still be in teaching or. I don’t know what

Sarah FitzGerald: happened. I mean, I really don’t know. I would say that my advice, if I was talking to my younger self or someone else, mm-hmm , um, you know, my advice would be to always pursue what you feel your passion is, but don’t just go straight to college.

Sarah FitzGerald: And what I mean by that is like, I still [00:17:00] would. I still, I think looking back, I would’ve just pursued teaching more while I was getting my. So I would’ve thrown myself more into the classroom. I would’ve volunteered more. I would not, I would’ve spoken with more educators about their experience and versus telling myself that summer camp was the same as teaching mm-hmm or like saying babysitting children is the same as teaching.

Sarah FitzGerald: It’s not at all. Like, my job is. Relationships with parents. My job is about relationships with other people and those other teachers and those interpersonal connections. It’s not just like, oh, I get along with kids and I like learning about math. It’s so much more than that. So I think it’s about, if you have something in mind, take that time to volunteer.

Sarah FitzGerald: You know, if you wanna be a veterinarian, don’t just go straight to vet school for the next eight years. Like. Get your high into a vet clinic, you know, like [00:18:00] those kind of, those kind of things. Mm-hmm okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. And do you have kind of a favorite aspect of teaching? Because like you just mentioned, there are many different things that you do and it’s not only.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Working with the students.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. I mean, I would say because of the grade level that I teach in fourth grade, there is so much room for not only creativity, but also for them to choose different ways to learn. So I think for me, it’s great to be able to expose my students to a variety of ways to learn, uh, specific skill.

Sarah FitzGerald: And then for them to be able to have the, uh, confidence to be able to choose which one works best for them. So I think that that is, that is something that we have the luxury of doing now. I, you know, it wasn’t like that when I was growing up even, um, that we were just taught one way to do it, and this was the only way to do it.

Sarah FitzGerald: And now there’s, there’s so many different ways to express your, um, skill level. And so [00:19:00] that, that exposure is, is really fun. And to be able to see students take ownership of their learning

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: mm-hmm okay, cool. Cool. I think that’s an interesting topic. Um, kind of thinking about different learning and also education changing over time.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: What do you think has changed or maybe what are some differences that you’ve seen even from when you were student to now, or just throughout your past years teaching?

Sarah FitzGerald: Well, a couple things. I mean, I grew up going to a private school. There was 40 students in my class mm-hmm um, and which is enormous. and you learned one way to learn things and that was it.

Sarah FitzGerald: And it didn’t matter what you were necessarily going through emotionally, or if you were struggling academically, we were pushing along. And so that’s one thing that I take pride in is being able to assess my student and where they’re at. And if we are having [00:20:00] an emotional breakdown, if we are having students, you know, like this year we had students that were upset, they were having just conflict with it, with, you know, like friendship issues.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. They’re not able to learn. They’re not. And you know, if you certainly, if you have support of a school counselor or anything like that, that’s fabulous. But sometimes we don’t have that. And I had multiple occasions this past year where I just stopped teaching and we just got in a circle and talked and kind of problem solved some things.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, and that was a game changer because then I was able to get back to teaching and they were able to absorb it and care about it. Yeah. Um, because I was able to make that modification. So I think being able to have that flexibility is huge. I think. You know, dealing with COVID and so many different things going on that administration certainly recognizes how important it is to meet students needs of their social, emotional [00:21:00] needs.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm first, before you can teach them anything. And so it comes back to that flexibility and, you know, being able to modify things like that. Mm-hmm

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: definitely okay. Um, kind of going back to knowing which grade you wanted to teach. Is there a grade you really don’t wanna teach or like you would never want to teach?

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, well, that’s funny. You’d say that when I was student teaching in second grade, We had a teacher that was in the middle school that got ill. And my principal said, can you please just step in just for a couple hours in seventh and eighth grade? Yeah. And it was fine. It was fun. But I came back and I was like, this is not a good fit for me.

Sarah FitzGerald: Like I, I, yeah, I am an elementary teacher period. I. I could be a middle school teacher. I could be a high school teacher [00:22:00] for an hour if I needed to. I I’m joking, but more than. But it would not, it would, I would not be my best self. My best self is in elementary education where I can reach the whole student in a variety of ways, social, emotional, academic, um, that mix of love, but loving but firm, um, you know, clear expectations with a hug.

Sarah FitzGerald: That’s that’s who I am. Mm.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Okay. Alrighty. Well, I think that we’ll start wrapping things up here, but okay. As always, my last question is Rachel, what’s the best piece of life advice you’ve been given.

Sarah FitzGerald: It is the most random and simple phrase and it is leave it alone. And I will tell you that my friend’s husband brought this phrase to me about 15 years ago.

Sarah FitzGerald: And to her, yeah, it’s really about picking your [00:23:00] battles, deciding when it’s appropriate to speak and not speak. Deciding when there’s certain things that you just need to leave it alone. And I used to not leave anything alone ever. I used to pick everything and I don’t mean nitpicky. I just mean that I felt like I was an advocate for myself and for everybody around me, even if they didn’t advocate for themselves.

Sarah FitzGerald: And I’ve learned with experience that it’s really important. Just like we’ve learned with tell us something it’s, it’s, it’s almost more important to listen than it is to talk. Mm. And the leave it alone thing has trickled into all aspects of my life, whether it is a student behavior that is just annoying, not dangerous.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm leave it alone. Right? Ignore it. Leave it. Whether it’s a personal situation where someone has said something, do I really need to comment on that? [00:24:00] Leave it alone. So this leave it alone. Thing has been a pattern for me. And it sounds really silly, but it actually has been like super profound for me.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Interesting. Yeah. I never ever had that piece of advice, but thank you. you’re welcome. Okay. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really

Sarah FitzGerald: appreciate. Thank you so much for having me. That was fun.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Of course. And thank you guys for listening.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Rachel and Sierra. Rachel is an elementary school teacher in Western Montana. Rachel has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in reading and earned her master of arts in integrated art and education all from the university of Montana. Miss. Rachel served at the local nonprofit north Missoula community development corporation as board chair and secretary in Missoula for 10 years, where she led [00:25:00] fundraising efforts, board retreats, and attended various conferences in and out of state.

Marc Moss: When Rachel is not working, she can be found with her St. Bernard Laura lie on logging, walks with friends, reading her next book for her monthly book club, grabbing a Quatro formage or pizza from Beka pizza. And planning her next road trip Sierra Ty Brownley is a curious individual with a never-ending interest in people and their stories from asking 50 strangers for their best piece of life advice to sitting down, to hear about pivotal stories on her podcast, impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley.

Marc Moss: Sierra is always excited to meet new people and hear what they would like to share. You can find the impactful experiences podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to our inkind sponsors, Joyce of tile, gecko designs, float Missoula and Missoula broadcasting company. Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast.

Marc Moss: Remember to get your ticket to the next event. [00:26:00] September 27th, 2022. Live at the Dennison theater. The theme. Letting go more information and tickets are [email protected].

1 2 3 8