motherhood

Our podcast today was recorded in front of a live audience on August 24, 2021, at Bonner Park Bandshell in Missoula, MT. 7 storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme “Forward to Better”. Today we hear from 2 of those storytellers. Our story this episode comes to us from Rosie Ayers and Teresa Waldorf. Teresa Waldorf and Rosie Ayers build a common story using their different experiences during the pandemic. They call their story “March 22”.

Transcript : March 22

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

Teresa Waldorf: March 22nd.

I’m not flying to Phoenix

Marc Moss: back in 2016, I experimented with duo storytelling. I had an outdoor event at the peace farm. You know how, when you listen to two people who really know each other and they’re telling a story and they sometimes interrupt each other and say, wait, that’s not how it happened. Yeah, it was, it was supposed to be like that.

Some of the night was like that. We put a little bit of a spin on that idea with Theresa and Rosie’s story.

Rosie Ayers: I had stopped all theater productions, all classes. I had no answers for.

Marc Moss: Thanks. Once again, to our title sponsor Blackfoot communications, they deliver superior technology solutions through trusted relationships and enrich the lives of their customers.

Owners and employees learn [email protected] Announcing call first storytellers. We are currently looking for storytellers for the next. Tell us something storytelling live event. The theme is stoned. Which pretty much leaves things wide open. 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 7th, which leads me to tell you about the live event itself. We will be in person for the first time since August, 2021. We’re running at 75% capacity, which allows for listeners to really spread out at the Wilma. Learn more and get your [email protected], Theresa and Rosie built a common story using their different experiences during the pandemic.

They call their story March 22nd. Thanks for listening

Teresa Waldorf: March 22nd, and I’m not flying to Phoenix. I’m in a long distance relationship with a man who I think is going to be the next great love of my life. But we’ve been having an argument on the phone. I’m saying I have to cancel my flight. My mom is crying and he’s saying things like, well, at our age, I don’t think we do what our moms tell us.

And I say, but you don’t understand all of my friends, every single person I know who had a flight for spring break has canceled it. He finally acquiesced. And a little bit of a dismissive way. And instead invites me to spend the week with him as the week progresses. He gets a little bit more distracted and a little bit more disengaged.

And I head home at the end of that week thinking, well, it’s just because he’s so sad. He doesn’t know when he’ll see me again. And two days later I got a phone call explaining that he wasn’t going to see me again. He was not going to be able to. Put up with that kind of distance for an undetermined amount of time, obviously.

And so he was seeing someone else that’s who I was talking to and my heart was broken into tiny bits. About two weeks later, I was at blue mountain and I was, uh, what was that weird kind of frenzy time? Do you remember when we were all like, I didn’t quite know how to behave yet. And when we met someone even outside, we made like a big 10 foot circle around them.

And, uh, there was a run going on and this young woman came flying by me down the path and about 20 yards in front of me, she fell and she hit her forehead on a rock and gashed her forehead wide open. And I ran to her as quickly as I could. And I got just to her and I stopped up short and I reached out and I said, Can I help you?

Can I touch you? And she said no. And she staggered to her feet and she took off running and I said, wait. And she turned around and she said, oh, am I bleeding? And I said, yes, you are. And she took off again. And I said, are you going to make it? And she looked at me and she said, I

Rosie Ayers: guess I’m going to have.

Teresa Waldorf: March

Rosie Ayers: 20 seconds. And my best friend was not going on vacation. And I had stopped all theater productions, all classes. I had no answers for anyone. My oldest child had COVID in another state. And we couldn’t go to them and they couldn’t see a doctor. All the hospitals were overrun and we’re FaceTiming them every day, trying to monitor symptoms of a disease that we don’t even understand freaked out more than three children had been sent home from school with their backpacks full to the brim at spring

Teresa Waldorf: break.

Having no idea

Rosie Ayers: if we were going back or what that was even going to look. And that morning, I woke up feeling lost and alone with no answers for anyone. And I packed everyone into the minivan and I took them out skiing. We got to the ski hill and they took off doing discovery and I made the loop at echo lake.

And at the end of that day, they closed the hill down. Wasn’t even going to be safe to be there. And everyone was drinking their beers and getting in their trucks and I’m piling up my kids and we start down the hill. And as we’re driving down that hill, I’m thinking, what are we going to do? Who are we, are we going to be able to see anybody after this?

What, how are we going to survive this? And as we’re headed down that hill, I noticed that the two cars in front of me, the one coming towards me and the one right in front of me are not moving. And I can see it happening just right in front of me, time slows down. And I yell at my. Brace for impact. And has the head-on collision in front of us, comes to a halt and we screech up close.

We stop six feet from those cars. And I tell my oldest to call 9 1 1 and to keep his brothers in the car and try not to look out the windshield. I’ve got to help. And I run to the first car and I opened that door and make sure she’s alive and she’s breathing. And she knows her name and she knows my name and to stay still help is going to come.

I’m not at, but we can. I run around to the other side, the passenger is already out. I cover with the blanket. I make sure that she is alive and breathing and I make sure that she knows her name and my name. And I run to the next car and I freeze. I can’t even understand what I’m looking at, but what I do know is that one more time, I don’t have the answers, then I cannot help.

I can’t even understand what I’m seeing,

Teresa Waldorf: but I know it’s.

Rosie Ayers: And in that frozen state, looking back at my children with the car, looking for help, where are they? When are they coming? How fast can this happen? I hear that noise from the back seat. We break the window and as we pull that little three year old out and I get to embrace him, I can carry him to Mike.

Put him in the backseat with my boys and they surround him and we ask him all the questions and we talk about pop patrol. And the only thing I can’t do is ask the answer. The one question he keeps asking

Teresa Waldorf: about his mom.

Rosie Ayers: And later, as I watched those three life flight helicopters take off. All I can think is I hope they’re going to make it. I hope

Teresa Waldorf: they’re going to be okay. Spring 2020. Okay. So you guys, I’m an extrovert. I’m not going to be okay. The extroverts please. Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this. I have to spend all of my time.

I I’ve hardly ever been alone in my entire life. I’ve planned it like that. Okay. I do a very not alone art form. Uh, my husband has died in the last six years. Um, my sons have moved out and I’m pretty alone. Okay. So I can’t be more alone than that. And whoever named this socially distancing, there’s nothing social about it.

Rosie Ayers: I’m not going to be okay. I am a. On this microphone, I’m not going to be okay. I live with four men, Theresa you’re taller than me. I have four penises in my house and I am never alone. We it’s constant. They’re constantly around me. The only time I’m ever alone is sometimes very occasionally in the bathroom.

And even then I feel like they’re putting their fingers underneath or knocking on the door.

Teresa Waldorf: Masks. Let me see if I have this right. We have to wear masks. Okay. Okay. I’m a rule follower. I can wear masks. So I find all the right material. I do all the research. I find out the exact kind of little filters to put inside.

I buy all the elastic. I get my mom she’s 93 to so masks. She can’t really see, but she can apparently so, and she looks like 70 and I mailed them to all my friends and I hand them out to my neighbors and I give them to all my family. And guess what we are stopped short because there is an elastic shortage.

Okay. What

Rosie Ayers: we have to wear masks. Okay. And the one that Teresa’s mom. So for me, it looks like a giant maxi pad stuck to my face. Jesus. And now I’m trying to convince these other people in my house that they have to wear a mask all the time. These are people that won’t even change their underwear that I’m in.

There are laundry baskets on a regular basis. I’ve been lecturing to them about washing their hands since the date they were born. I know how disgusting they are and there they are

Teresa Waldorf: wanting to touch me or be next to me

Rosie Ayers: all the time with their disgusting masks and their unwashed hands. Don’t touch me, someone, please

Teresa Waldorf: touch me.

You guys met, Christians

Rosie Ayers: are

Teresa Waldorf: great. You know what I’m saying? But when you want something really, really badly and you can’t have it, when somebody kissed me, I want to be caressed. I want to be hugged. I really want sex. That’s what I’m trying to say here right now. I need a man. And I cannot have one. Okay. I need less, man, because I want to have sex.

I can have sex all day long. He is here all day. Nobody’s

Rosie Ayers: leaving the house ever. And that’s the problem

Teresa Waldorf: because we’re only on the same floor. All of us

Rosie Ayers: are way too thin and the only place I’m alone in the bathroom. And I’m not giving that up. Sorry.

Teresa Waldorf: Sometimes I’m in the bathroom and I feel all alone. There’s no one to even get me toilet paper. If I run out of toilet. It’s up with the toilet paper thing. You guys needs like me,

Rosie Ayers: right? And we’re out of toilet paper. Why is it that we’re always out of toilet paper

Teresa Waldorf: and you have got to find us

Rosie Ayers: some toilet paper.

What Theresa is going to have to give us

Teresa Waldorf: some Twitter. Luckily,

Rosie Ayers: my husband is working a commercial remodel in the middle of all this, and he scores

Teresa Waldorf: the mother load.

Rosie Ayers: He’s remodeling that McDonald’s bathroom and he comes home one day with his

Teresa Waldorf: prize pig. It is the toilet paper where three times the size

Rosie Ayers: of my head, industrial

Teresa Waldorf: scratchy toilet paper.

Rosie Ayers: We don’t even have like a dispenser to put this in, so we just put it on the bathroom

Teresa Waldorf: floor. Okay. Have you ever lived with people with penises? It’s supposed to be able to just be used over the floor.

Rosie Ayers: So now we have a giant thing of disgusting toilet

Teresa Waldorf: paper on the bathroom floor.

Rosie Ayers: And now it’s summer.

Teresa Waldorf: you guys. I’m so excited. It’s summer. Here’s why I can date. I could date. Yeah, I have this figured out. I’m going to get on match. I could just meet people. We could stay six feet away from each other. We could have coffee, we could hike. We can walk our dogs. We could go biking. We could go swimming. We could go kayaking.

I’m going to buy a kayak. I’m going to learn a paddleboard God. But all my friends are making me feel so guilty. Like it would be so unsafe. I haven’t figured out. They just don’t get it fine. Fine. I’ll make my own fun. I’ll do. Yard work, oppress those seeds down in the soil with my finger. I’ll fertilize, my own petunias.

And I’m going I’m.

Just weeded.

Rosie Ayers: You cannot smoke weed. If I cannot smoke weed, you cannot smoke weed. I do not care that you are 19 years old, but home from college, we are

Teresa Waldorf: not slugging me. I got sober 25 years too early for this pandemic. Nobody’s smoking and everybody’s going outside. Okay. We can go hiking. You can go back and we have a kayak Pogo sticks.

Just get out of the house, please. God. Get out of my.

Rosie Ayers: I can’t have you in here anymore. Summer is not a time to bake inside. Please go outside. You know what you could do, you could

Teresa Waldorf: mow my lawn

or about this

Rosie Ayers: habit. You can just weed,

Teresa Waldorf: weed, the garden. And then the saddest thing of all. No summer theater camp for the first time in 24 years, there was not going to be a Theresa Waldorf summer theater day camp. We tried everything we could to figure it out. And a lot of parents called us to help us try to figure it out.

We just couldn’t. We were like, we, we could be outside. We could be in masks. We could sanitize. We could host down children. We, we just couldn’t do it. We just knew we couldn’t keep them.

Rosie Ayers: And we needed to keep it safe. We just need to keep them safe. We need to keep you safe when you keep them safe.

Everybody has to be safe. Okay. So we start be in safe. I have bought 695 masks. You know what? They’re even disposable. You don’t have to wash the many

Teresa Waldorf: more. We’re just putting.

Rosie Ayers: Okay. And we stopped seeing my parents. We stopped seeing my sister. We stopped seeing even the people that we used to stand in their driveways and wave at and talk to from afar.

We just stopped seeing everybody there’s no sleepovers, there’s no bike rides. There’s just us in this house together.

Teresa Waldorf: And everybody is safe.

Seven

Rosie Ayers: devices on my internet. I don’t have the bandwidth for this and you know what? I don’t have the bandwidth for this. Okay. In 10 minutes,

Teresa Waldorf: you’re on Microsoft teams in 10 minutes. Yes. You have to get our bed. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to put on

Rosie Ayers: pants, but my God it’s middle

Teresa Waldorf: school. Just keep your camera up.

Thank God.

Rosie Ayers: I’m good at technology. You guys,

Teresa Waldorf: I suck at technology. I mean, anybody that knows me knows that if there’s a problem, And now they want me to teach my U M creative drama class online. You know what you’re doing? Creative drama class. You touch everyone, you hold hands, you hug. You piggyback, you get in you form worms and caterpillars and machines.

And everything’s connected. And everyone is connected. Cause guess what connection is the point. But anyway, I’m going to need your help.

Rosie Ayers: Okay. Just find the on button. Nope. That’s inter it looks like a circle with a little tab. Nope. That’s cute. That’s a cure. That’s not, Nope. Okay. All right. It’s around the site.

You know what? Okay. Let’s move on to lesson two. Okay. Right. Click. No. Yeah, no, uh, it’s there’s two clicks. It’s a left click and a right click surprise. I know you should’ve learned that 17 years ago. Two different clicks. Okay. All right. So let’s just, uh, let’s just close the window. They’ll come back to your computer.

That’s not the real window. It’s, it’s a square. It’s at the top. You know what? I’m just going to come over. You know what? I can’t come over. I just have to get through one more zoom with the kids. Okay. We’ve made it through almost an entire semester of school with these children online. Okay. And guess what?

Nobody knows how to do eighth grade math in my entire house. And that’s okay. Because who needs math? Turns out. We don’t need math because you know what, we’re not seeing my dad. We don’t have to tell him he is a math teacher, but you know what? Gus, Gus, all right. Gus, Gus, he’s 10. He’s made it through almost all of fourth grade.

All he has to do is one more paragraph in the weather report. He wakes up that morning and I say, all right, buddy, I’ve got all day’s zooms for suicide prevention. I cannot miss them because

Teresa Waldorf: people actually. So, all you gotta do is just finish a paragraph on weather and it starts to sob

and

Rosie Ayers: he says, I haven’t done

Teresa Waldorf: my homework for fun. Theresa, I’m going to need your help. Okay. Do you know how to work? That thing? That computer. Okay. Good. That’s your part? Here’s my part. I am not interested in your learning to spell it. Grammar, punctuation. How to form a paragraph. I’m going to talk, you’re going to type, here we go.

Capital H I C N E space, H R E. S spaced. Boom. I excavation bull. I hit submit. Okay. Next paragraph. Tsunamis T S oh, it starts with a T T.

And then it was winter, the winter of our discontent

Rosie Ayers: and my mom called she needs help. I can’t, I’m not supposed to. She has COVID. My sister has COVID. The whole family has COVID. My dad has COVID so I send all the packages. I, I bag all the people in Helena to drop things off in gloves and run away from their porch and we get scared.

But we get hopeful too. We also say, we’re going to make it through this. We get positive or we’re going to get to the other side. And here’s the great news is that if you get through this, then we get to see

Teresa Waldorf: each other. Again, we get to hug each other. We get to spend the holidays together. Your antibodies will be all up and we’ll buy the biggest

Rosie Ayers: Turkey.

So that’s what I do. I go to Costco. I buy that biggest Turkey ever. Right. I buy all the things. And the day before Thanksgiving, my mom calls and says dad’s in the hospital. Three days

Teresa Waldorf: later.

Rosie Ayers: I go to Helena and I sit with my mom and we talked to the doctors and we make signs and we hold them up to the ICU window and we put our hands.

Teresa Waldorf: He’s too tired to talk on the phone. If we wait and miraculously

Rosie Ayers: three

Teresa Waldorf: weeks of ICU. And he’s one of the very few people to walk out of there. And we set up that oxygen with the long lead and he’s not the same. But we get to hug each other and I go

Rosie Ayers: home and I wrap every present and I buy an even bigger Turkey at all the food for Christmas.

And I wake up Christmas Eve morning feeling like

Teresa Waldorf: shit,

Rosie Ayers: and I go get that COVID test.

Teresa Waldorf: And there I am quarantining

Rosie Ayers: from my family. Where did he hit the top of the stairs, trying to peek down, just to see my husband’s making the breakfast, that I, that I bought all the ingredients for and handing it out to the neighbor and my children are opening their presence and FaceTiming with the neighbor.

And I’m just, could you send, can, I’m up? Can you see me? I’m up here? I’m all

Teresa Waldorf: go back in my room and I’m all, I’m all alone. I’m all alone.

And I watched first seasons of the crown and it was delightful.

And it’s the holidays you guys, and I’m getting really good at this whole watch. 10 seasons of the bachelor. I like Claire. I don’t know why nobody likes Claire.

Rosie Ayers: Oh, we got

Teresa Waldorf: 30 seconds to bad.

Rosie Ayers: So we start getting good at this COVID thing. Right. We start getting better and better. We are, we are adjusting to COVID.

Yes. Ma’am. I started walking by mirrors and saying, yeah, Katko myself.

Teresa Waldorf: That 19 looks good on you. I start exercising while I’m watching the bachelorette.

Rosie Ayers: I take a cross-country skiing again. I start drinking alone.

Teresa Waldorf: I start eating alone. I buy really cool new patio furniture. Did you guys all try to do that?

You know, when you could still buy it. And then one of those really cool heater things for my friend,

Rosie Ayers: we sat around our fire pit and we accidentally burned

Teresa Waldorf: some of our new patio furniture. And then all of a sudden, you guys.

I think we made it, we made it. I think we made it. We might’ve made it. We made it. And guess what? We made it without falling prey to F O M O Nope. Nope, Nope,

Rosie Ayers: Nope. You just say FOMO, you don’t have to spell. You don’t have. The FOMO fear of missing out.

Teresa Waldorf: And we also didn’t end up with Jomo, the joy of missing out.

Don’t miss it. Instead. We’ve landed on something new. We call it. Gomo the gift of missing out

Rosie Ayers: because now we know we appreciated it. Even more

Teresa Waldorf: being here with you being

Rosie Ayers: outside every moment now feels like a gift. This is a brilliant gift.

Teresa Waldorf: It is for sure. And when we started planning this, um, like six weeks ago, we were going to end it differently, but tonight we decided we should say so I think that was probably the dress rehearsal.

The great news is we know how to do this. If we have to do it again,

Rosie Ayers: we’re going to

Teresa Waldorf: do it even though.

Marc Moss: Rosie EHRs and Theresa Waldorf were related in a former life. They met this time when 13 year old Rosie babysat Theresa son, Sam, then two years old. They crossed paths again, some seven years later at university of Montana, a school of theater and dance where Rosie was a student and Theresa wasn’t.

Working on plays together. They built a friendship that led to the creation of a team that has brought the following productions to downtown Missoula parallel lives. Wonder of the world, the three sisters of weak Hawkin and five lesbians eating a quiche. They also make up the comedy team Lucinda and the.

The home shopping girls who most recently performed from Zilla gives selling their own products, emotional baggage suitcases filled with embarrassing memorabilia to get your children to move out. And the Cougar kit for moms who want to travel alone to France, we’re not sitting around together. Laughing.

Rosie can be found at United way of Missoula county, where she is the project tomorrow, Montana. Or goofing around with our partner, Michael and their four kids. Teresa just retired from the Montana repertory theater and university of Montana at school of theater and dance, and cannot be found on the next telesummit podcast tune in to listen to a conversation that I had with Missoula author and rock and tear, Jeremy and Smith.

If

Jeremy N. Smith: it’s a trick with Marcela has on and I’m like, I’m going to make the thought and couldn’t take me awhile. Why don’t you guys make the pie? The good thing. If you’ve got a couple that’s visiting three. If they could make pasta from scratch to get the really good

Marc Moss: tune in for that conversation. Along with a story Jeremy told live on stage at a Telus, something he meant in 2014, thanks to our title sponsor Blackfoot communications.

Since 1954 Blackfoot communications at fostered, a reputation based on exceptional customer service and community involvement. They deliver superior technology solutions through trusted relationships and enrich the lives of their customers, owners and employees learn [email protected] Thanks to cash for junkers who provided the music for the podcast.

Find them at cashforjunkersband.com . Thank you to our in-kind sponsors.

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Marc Moss: Missoula broadcasting company learn [email protected] Float Missoula. Learn [email protected] Remember to subscribe to the podcast, stay safe, get vaccinated, take care of yourself, and take care of each other.

 

Stories of the difficulty of being gluten intolerant while traveling in China, being reminded of the magic in life, the complex feelings of a new mother, learning to ride the bus in a new country, and the journey to fix a botched tattoo. Note that the quality of the sound is not as perfect as we would like it to be. These stories are really worthwhile and we want you to hear them. Thank you.

Transcript : Forward to Better - Part 1

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

Sasha Vermel: With a package on the way we get on a 30 hour bus ride from lumper bond vows to convene China, where you muck around and coming in Hiller package arrives, we get it. We bring it back to our hospital and it is like Christmas morning.

Marc Moss: This week on the podcast, five storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Forward to Better”.

Sara Close: Talking about kids, about love…

Marc Moss: Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on August 10, 2021 at Bonner Park Bandshell Missoula, MT.

Paul Mwingwa: I saw the bus number two, live in the stations. Where does the bus come from?

Jen Certa: And I just felt this pressure, like it was now or never.

Marc Moss: Next week, we’ll hear the final story of the night, told in tandem by two storytellers. More on that later.

Marc Moss: We wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. We are so grateful to the team at Blackfoot for their support not only financially, but also for providing volunteers to help staff the event. Volunteers screened guests for COVID, verified ticket-holders and welcomed guests as they arrived at the performance space. Thank you so much to everyone over at Blackfoot Communications for their support. Learn more about Blackfoot over at blackfoot.com.

Marc Moss: Our first story comes to us from Sasha Vermel. Sasha calls her story “Pieces of Home in Far Off Lands”.

Marc Moss: Thanks for listening.

Sasha Vermel: So I’m walking into a post office, including China. It’s a sleepy little college town of 6.6 million people that you’ve probably never heard of. And with my husband in between the two of us, we know about five words of Mandarin. So we are armed only with a first-generation iPhone and a determination to walk out of here with our package.

Sasha Vermel: So we load up the beta version of Google translate. Do you have our package? The words show on the screen, the woman reads them and she speaks into the screen and we wait as the words come up and it says. Where is the chamber of secrets?

Sasha Vermel: I don’t know is that where our packages we’re able to work it out. And she arrived out in the warehouse with our great big package and we legally take it back to our hostel. Now I have always had a strong sense of wanderlust. I was the kind of insufferable 17 year old would sit at the back of break espresso with my best friend, Kendra and Friday at 4:00 PM.

Sasha Vermel: We would read the independent and talk about how much we wish we were growing up in Paris or Tokyo or Seattle. Cause it was the nineties. Now I come by this honestly, there’s these stories that we get from our parents. And this is the story that I got from my mother. Sh e thought that getting married men liberation from her father’s house, she thought it meant travel.

Sasha Vermel: Seeing some places, maybe move into Boulder. But the truth of the matter is they were 20 and 21 years old and they didn’t have any money to travel. And then by the time they did, she was so debilitated by chronic migraines and depression that she didn’t get out of bed two days a week. So the idea of traveling and of going anywhere just really stressed her out.

Sasha Vermel: So when I came into my own, my form of rebellion was to say that I was not going to live my mother’s life. I was going to do all the traveling and all the adventuring that she wasn’t able to do. So now I’m 22, I’m at the iron horse, having a beer with my aunties. I am explaining to them that I have no interest in white picket fences or literally gangs.

Sasha Vermel: They looked at me like, what, what, what, what do you want? I looked at them and said, I want the world. Fast forward. I’m 30 years old and I’m newly married. My husband run that’s, it’s run like DMC. Some of you’re old enough to get that reference. Um, so he’s sort of a six foot, one Israeli J Gillen hall. And he looks at me and he says, I’m ready to have babies only.

Sasha Vermel: I’m still grieving. My mother committed suicide two years before this. And all I wanted was to run away. So I look at him and I say, I’ve never been to India or Thailand. Now the man I married is not one to back away from a challenge. So he says, no, no, no, no, no. You’re thinking too small. What if we just put everything we have into storage and just go traveling and to help, we don’t want to travel anymore.

Sasha Vermel: So a couple of months. We are off. We go to Israel, Jordan Egypt, we live in a beach in India and do yoga for a month. We go to Northern Thailand on motor scooters and travel across it. We attend a rocket festival in Laos. After six months of this, we get to a crossroads where we can’t go on the path that I was planning and run really wants to go to China.

Sasha Vermel: Now, China was the one place that actually scared me. This felt like a little bit far off the backpackers trail that we were on. I mean, we didn’t speak Mandarin and I didn’t really expect people in China to speak English. Um, and then on top of that, I’m gluten intolerant. This means that I can eat anything that has wheat in it, including soy cells.

Sasha Vermel: So if I lose, I get sharp stabbing pains for about two days. And then for the next two weeks, I just feel bloated and constantly hungry. It’s a big deal for my body. So I’m just thinking, how on earth do we go to China where I can’t eat. Or sauce. So I’m not going to back down from this challenge though. So we agreed to contact my dad and Missoula, and he puts together a package of gluten-free food from the good crackers and tasty bites and, uh, some instant oatmeal and a jar of peanut butter, along with a couple of pairs of hiking boots to supplement the flip flops we’ve been traveling in and new underwear.

Sasha Vermel: So we can replace the four pairs that we have been rotating through for the past six months with a package on the way we get on a 30 hour bus ride from long Cavon vows to convenience. Where you muck around in coming until her package arrives, we get it. We bring it back to our hospital and it is like Christmas morning.

Sasha Vermel: We pull out the things I try on the shoes they fit. I leave, leave, throw away the old Fred bear underwear. And I hold a lock, my jar of peanut butter that represents freedom insecurity. And the next day we’re off to our next adventure. We head towards the intersection of Tibet and Shangri-La, which in this case is an actual city.

Sasha Vermel: We’re going to do something called the tiger. Leaping Gorge Trek. We arrive at tiger leaping Gorge at 8:00 AM on a Misty morning in may. Um, it is sort of heavy gray clouds against the blue sky. As we start our ascent below us is a big river, just heavy with spring rock and along the path we see these houses.

Sasha Vermel: And they have shutters and flower window boxes like a Swiss chalet, but they also have the sort of curved Chinese roots, you know, it’s it’s rice patties and this was else it’s sort of disorienting. And I think, oh my God, I can’t wait to tell my mom about this. And then there’s that, that green that comes up when you have a thought that you really want to show with someone who, who isn’t there to receive that anymore.

Sasha Vermel: We, we continue on the trail. We do the 29 switchbacks to get to a place called the knock seat guest house. We’re doing this hike, nicest load. So it’s early afternoon and we’re going to call it quits from the day and just stay there overnight. And so I sit down at a chair, overlooking the courtyard. I hope that my backpack, I pulled out the jar of peanut butter.

Sasha Vermel: I opened the lid, locked the seal cause I haven’t had any yet. And I grabbed my spoon and I take them. And it’s smooth and again, a little, a little crunchy and it’s sweet and salty, and it tastes like comfort. It tastes like home. And as they go to take another bite, we hear that. It sounds because there’s construction going on.

Sasha Vermel: Now. My husband is really up for adventure, but he is not up for construction noises. So he comes over to me and he’s like, let’s go, I’m hungry. And I’m tired. Obviously I’m really bloated for being Chinese food, but it’s not rich having a fund. So I grabbed my backpack. He grabbed the bag of peanut butter and it’s an, a paper bags as he lifted up that glass jar of organic peanut butter shoots out the bottom and splats on the flagstones below is just the butter. Right. But we continue on 10 feet apart in silence because I’m not ready to talk to him.

Sasha Vermel: Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that

Sasha Vermel: softening, but I’m not quite ready to let it go. So as we were almost getting to the next guest house and another sensation comes up in my body because I really have to be, and on one side of me is the mountain. And on the other side of me is a sheer cliff. So this isn’t actually like a real great place to just go.

Sasha Vermel: So we hustle up the last little bit until we get to the halfway guest out, which is at the summit of this particular trip we walk in and it kind of looks like bizarro world, like McDonald lodge right there. And I follow the infographic signs down through the hallways, out to the edge. And then there’s this bathroom stall.

Sasha Vermel: I opened the door and looked down and there’s the two ceramic footpads and the hole in the ground and a squat toilet. There’s a wall on this side of the. At a wall on this side of me and in front of me, where there would usually be a wall. There’s nothing like sky and mountains where the apex of this hike.

Sasha Vermel: And as I undo my button and like go to squat, like I feel kind of dizzy. The view looks like I’m at an elevator right in front of the mission mountain. And if you’ve ever been on a really good hike, you get to the top of the mountain. And there’s this moment where the mountains across from you seem so close.

Sasha Vermel: It’s like, you can touch them. It’s like communing with the divine was AP. I started to laugh. I did it. I felt the most beautiful squat toilet you in the world. I’ve traveled 10,000 miles. And now that I’ve gotten here, it kind of looks like Montana.

Sasha Vermel: So I think to myself, what are you still trying to prove? You’ve been running all the way around the room all the way around the world, and running’s not going to bring your mom back. Maybe, maybe you just have to make peace with the fact that she chose her own ending. Maybe, maybe it’s okay to not try to rewrite the story anymore or just continue to live hero. Thank you.

Marc: Thanks, Sasha.

Sasha Vermel passionately believes that we all have a basic need to hear and tell stories. By day, she is a real estate agent with a sewing and design habit. Born and raised in Missoula, MT she earned a BFA from U of M. In her former life she worked in theater costume shops across the West and frequently performed on stage at Bona Fide and Bawdy Storytelling events in San Francisco.

Marc Moss: Our next story comes to us from Sara Close.

Marc Moss: Sensitive listeners please be aware that Sara’s story mentions suicidal thoughts.

Marc Moss: Sara calls her story “A Lesson in Magic”

Marc Moss: Thanks for listening.

Sarah Close: Okay. So this whole story starts on my bedroom floor. Years ago, I was sitting in my room with my back against my dad, basically my dresser, our house was yellow and the walls in cyber yellow. And so the light was coming in from the south and kind of like bouncing off the walls. And it was really beautiful.

Sarah Close: Um, my two-year-old was feeding across the house soundly and it was just really quiet, maybe big car passing by outside. So for all intents and purposes is beautiful fall day. And then sitting there and I looked down at my hand and I’m holding my phone and shaky and I feel a little panicky. And I’m not really totally sure where to begin just suicide hotline.

Sarah Close: So obviously like I’m up here on stage. This is not a sad story. Like this whole thing turns out. Okay. Um, and so not still the punchline before we get there, but I won’t tell you about a couple of years prior to that there was a phone with a woman that I really respected. I was interviewing her to be a speaker at a conference that I helped to create to this bigger score.

Sarah Close: And she’s a professional storyteller. And so I’m, I’m interviewing her and asking her about all these different, amazing things with it, for work. She’d also just become a mom. So we worked, we kind of sidetracked into more like life land and not work land and was asking me because I’d known her for a really long time.

Sarah Close: And she finally said this to her, like, do you ever, like, have you ever thought about telling your story? And I. Honestly in thinking back on this limit, like, I don’t really remember what came out of my mouth. I just remember that my hand had been through scribbling notes through this whole thing. And I looked down at, at what I was writing and I wrote the words I believe in magic.

Sarah Close: And I do the hot thing, not the kind of like pull quarter out of your ear magic, which my daughter would be super stoked about. And I still haven’t figured it out, but, but like synchronicity, you know, and those, those moments about goosebumps and those sort of like moments of connection in the work in the world is sort of like universal whacked upside the head.

Sarah Close: Not because those things happen to me all the time, but because when they do, I kind of know that I’m on the right path and honest to God magic has helped me turn some of the hardest moments in my life into moments of beauty. And so just to give an example of what I mean by that years ago, um, I lost my partner in an avalanche.

Sarah Close: It’s definitely the hardest, probably most significant moment I’d had with grief to date. I was 24 years old. And for some reason, I, at 24 years old, got tasked with buying and earn, I don’t know, like how many 24 year olds have to go through the process of buying a Fern. But because I knew that was going to be hard.

Sarah Close: I enlisted the friend, didn’t come with me to make sure that I didn’t end up in some sort of like sad person puddle on the floor. Like whatever kind of store sells earns, because I didn’t know what that was at that time. So we’re in the car and we’re driving and he turns to me and he was like, Sarah, like, what do you think the Aaron’s going to look like?

Sarah Close: I was like, well, Johnny, or is that his spirit animal is a tiger. So I bet it’s going to have a tire on it. I was like, kind of joking about, but kind of also like, felt serious about it. We pull into the parking lot, get out of the car and we’d go into the store and we open the doors and walk in, literally there’s the shelf right in the center of the store.

Sarah Close: And you guys have not even joking. There is like one wooden box on the shelf with the tire on it. And I was like, okay, that feels kind of magical. And about six months later from that, uh, I went home with my parents for the holiday. It was my first holiday I had spent without my partner in a really long time.

Sarah Close: And I was so thankful obviously for the parents, for taking me in, um, beyond like, I didn’t really want to be there. You know, like I just, I didn’t want to be there. Like I wanted to with this person and put in, um, and my parents were so amazing. My mom at one point went downstairs to the basement, she friends back on the shoe box and it’s full of those.

Sarah Close: Um, like CPS heathered old photos, and then we start going through them. They’re all these pictures of beds. Is there a way I can go grab a pen? Like you just never know when one of us, isn’t going to be around to tell you who’s in these photos, like, I’ll tell you, you write the names on the back, like, great.

Sarah Close: So we did, this is perfect whole beautiful complete evening. And my dad has to be like, no, I didn’t know. And that was hard, you know, but still it was magical. It was like the universe. This is setting me up to have this experience that I needed to have. I know, like, even though I didn’t know it at the time, so anyways, before I like moved the heck out on you guys, to going back to that moment on my floor, in my bedroom, like there was not a lot of magic happening in that moment.

Sarah Close: I. I just, I was so profoundly sad that it actually physically hurts. Um, and like mark said, I teach yoga. So like any good yoga teacher does, you’re like how you can grab it to be my way out of this. So I’m like trying to pull all these moments of like the things that I was thankful for all these pieces that I was thankful for, because maybe one of them would help me pull myself out of this and it just wasn’t happening.

Sarah Close: So I closed my eyes and I found the number at the top of the Google search and I hit call and the phone rang, and then this message hotlines was closed. I mean, right. Like suicide hotline. Anyway, that’s like a whole different conversation, but the hotline. So I am sitting in there like, holy hell, this was like a really big move.

Sarah Close: And now you’re, and I didn’t know what to do. And this little voice comes on and it’s like, if you’d like to be transferred to our sister hotline press, and I’m like, well, why the hell not like bunches, Crestline? So we’re here. So I press one and it transfers me. And then I kept this God awful, whole music, like the kind of like really annoyingly, upbeat, even if you’re not like a suicidal, depressed person calling for help, it was like the worst.

Sarah Close: And I’m waiting and waiting and waiting. And then this worst picks up at the end of the line. I’m like, oh, thank goodness somebody is here. Somebody is going to help. And she has the thickest. Yes. Jamaican accent. I have ever heard in my entire life. And I literally was like, oh my gosh, customer service.

Sarah Close: Feel like I’m all sure you even know what to do with this. I was so frustrated. But she started talking and she had this like warm speak tone. And so I kind of hung on and she started asking me all these questions, like the right ones that you’d expect somebody to ask, like, do you have a plan? No. Are you in immediate danger? No.

Sarah Close: Is there anybody else in the house to hang up the phone? Cause there was somebody in the house and it was the very person that I took every breath for that. I take everybody for that. I never want to leave this world ever. And for was. So decently across the house with zero idea what was happening first of all, and if I said, yeah, my daughter’s here like a bad mom.

Sarah Close: I could give a reason the child, if she can hold tight services. And for, I would like in this whole thought process in my head and the words came out, yes, my daughter’s here and Jamaican woman transformed an instant into Jamaican mama. I will spare you guys, my Jamaican accent, as I’m going through all these things with her, she was like, oh my gosh, how old is she?

Sarah Close: What’s her name? And we spent the next, like 20 minutes talking about kids about love, about how hard those early childhood years are about our philosophies on everything, being a fades about motherhood, about our moms. And I swear, I could’ve just hung out in that space with her in my room. Forever. It felt like sitting with my mom until eventually we had to both realize like, okay, like I called you and you’re the person.

Sarah Close: And I like, this is a suicide hotline. So she’s like, Hey, it’s holiday weekends, everything’s closed, everything’s closed. And let’s just like, steer you in efficient, getting help. Where are you? And I’m like, where I’m in Missoula. She’s like, well, where’s that? How do you spell it? Cause like everybody asked that, when did you say this word to everybody?

Sarah Close: It’s not here. So I’m like, oh, am I like, I’m in Montana? Where are you? She’s like, oh, I’m in Washington DC. And I said, well, what side? Cause there’s two for anybody that has been there, there’s a marijuana number. Then you decide, she said, I’m on the Maryland side. And I was like, okay, well where in their lens?

Sarah Close: Oh, our county, do you know it? And I literally started to feel the hair come up on the back of my neck because he didn’t know it. And I kind of knew where this was going. And I said, where in Harvard. She said I’m in Columbia. And I’m like, where I’m at Howard county, general hospital. You guys like to make an mama, Jamaican lady, whatever you want to call her was not in Jamaica.

Sarah Close: She was literally working in the hospital where I was born, like on the other side of the country. And she could have probably like my mom’s house was across the street and I was probably in the house we were talking. She probably could have hugged the rock out the window, my parents’ house. And I didn’t know anything else to say other than I, I think you’re my angel, you know, it was just, uh, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more held in my entire life and I, would’ve never connected with.

Sarah Close: Jamaican mama angel, which she doesn’t know that I called her this, it might make a mama angel, had I not Googled or pressed one or waited through that awful holding music or like resisting the shame storm or any of those cases, you know, like there was so many moments along the way to let your stigma and shame and should took the wheel and just lost.

Sarah Close: Um, and then coming out of that experience, I think about my daughter was talking about this earlier today, which she always tells me you’re a calm things can be sad and happy. And I think I was just stuck in this dichotomy of being lost and that really had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t about being lost or about being found, but remembering that we’re always, and in all the ways, connecting to each other, you know, in sometimes.

Sarah Close: Universal hotline.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Sara. Remember, You are not alone. Reach out. | Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255 | projecttomorrowmt.org | “text MT” to 741-741

Marc Moss: Sara Close is a strategist and convener of good ideas and good people. Director by day, yoga teacher by night, but a mom all the time, she’s happiest on the water, on trails, or on the trampoline… but definitely not on snow and is still trying to figure out how to do winter in Montana right.

Marc Moss: Lauren Gonzalez is up next, with a story that she calls “No Girls Allowed”.

Marc Moss: Thanks for listening.

Lauren Gonzalez: All right. Um, where did I start? Do I start now? Okay. All right. Where to begin? Um, I had never wished so hard in my life. To see a penis. Wait, let me back up. Let me back up a little bit. I didn’t always want kids, but when I finally decided my clock is ticking down at the time, my husband and I went ahead and had one and we were delighted, not just because it was a healthy baby, but because it was a moment he got the boy that he could name after his brother who had passed several years previously.

Lauren Gonzalez: And I got the boy that I wanted because girls are mean, and they’re manipulative. I’ve lived the experience. And I know, but also because when I was about eight years old, I got my first babysitting gig and I was tasked with babysitting this girl named Hannah, who was about three years old and somehow our activities together devolved into her throwing toys at me and blocks and like hard matchbox cars like toys hurt when they hit.

Lauren Gonzalez: If you didn’t know. Um, and so I just ended up not knowing what to do. I so desperately wanted to do a good job. Um, and I didn’t want to admit that I needed any help. So I ended up just cowering in the corner and crying tears, streaming down my face and accrues to me. Now I could have left the room, but you don’t, you do what you do in the moment.

Lauren Gonzalez: Um, and it, it was traumatic. And I knew from then on, you know, if I ever have kids one day, no girls. Thanks. Um, so this was my life plan and I knew that it would work out because I just, I couldn’t envision myself mothering girls. So obviously I wouldn’t have any that’s how life works. Right. Um, so we had this baby, Joey, our first born, super mellow, easy baby.

Lauren Gonzalez: So I’m like, man, we’re good parents. Let’s go ahead and have like three to seven more right away. So we get pregnant right away, um, with the second and right away. Off, like I know evil is growing inside. Experience was like a cush Cadillac ride, like very comfortable. Very cool. The second experience was like a bumper car ride at the fair.

Lauren Gonzalez: I just felt like jostled and uncomfortable and nauseous and sick, but still I thought, you know, I held out, I was like my life plan, my life plan. It’s going to work out. We get to the gender reveal party in Demond, M spill out of the cake. And I’m still like food doctor’s practice, which means they can make mistakes.

Lauren Gonzalez: They’re practicing. So, you know, baby penises are cartoonishly small. It could just be, you can’t find it on that little screen. So every ultrasound I’m going and I’m staring at that little screen and I wishing for a penis I’m just wishing so hard and it just never materializes. And then finally the day of the birth comes and out, she comes June Pearl, and I stare into her little base and I just think.

Lauren Gonzalez: How are you and what do you want for me? Because honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot to give. I, I didn’t know how to mother, a girl, honestly, I don’t think I was strong enough. I thought you needed to be a strong woman to mother, a strong woman, and I didn’t have what it took. So I, um, I, we moved forward together.

Lauren Gonzalez: Obviously I took her home, my baby fed her. She still lives with me in case. Um, but I didn’t know what to do. I just felt so much, um, there was no passion, there was no joy in it. It was more like obligation. And I felt very resentful that she was taking my attention away from my first born, my boy. Um, and I felt super guilty because what mom feels this way about their kid.

Lauren Gonzalez: Um, wasn’t an experience I’d expected to have, and it wasn’t my life plan. Um, and so. We move forward. She keeps getting older. She keeps needing from me. She needs love. She needs attention. She needs affection, all these things. And she gets to age to age three, age four. Um, and I turned into this person. I don’t even recognize, um, I, this tyrant I’m yelling, I’m screaming.

Lauren Gonzalez: I don’t know how to control her. Um, she’s very, strong-willed some of you met her then, you know, um, she’s quite the reputation, but I am, I just turned into this tyrant and I it’s the only way I know how to get back control because I don’t want to be that girl cowering in the corner anymore. So I try being the, the, the bullying instead.

Lauren Gonzalez: And I ended up, you know, just trying to take control by being over the top. And I do, you know what it feels like to scream it until your oldest feels terrible? I would slam doors. I would run into my room and just cry out of my bed and think what have I become? I don’t even recognize. I was afraid to be alone with her really.

Lauren Gonzalez: And I’m sure my husband was afraid to leave me alone with her. I just was so angry. I’d never seen that level of anger come out of me before, but I had seen it before because as parents, we only know how to parent the way that we have been parented and in my house, any loss of control. I mean, my dad was known to throw staplers objects, slam doors, yell, and scream.

Lauren Gonzalez: Um, and it’s all I knew how to do. And so I just learned to live in this little box. I learned to be with the adults around me needed and, um, to live really small. And so that’s how I grew up and that’s how I live my life. And then June came around and man, she was born with a strong spirit. And I can tell you is this legacy of anger was my family story for generations, but it’s not our story because June came out with this fighting.

Lauren Gonzalez: And she would not live inside this little box, man. She just, she wouldn’t be controlled. I, I couldn’t get control. Um, and so at some point around age four or five, she and I together kind of learned to live in this strength that exists between the girl crying in the corner and between the bully, throwing the blocks, there’s the strength right in the middle.

Lauren Gonzalez: And she taught me that she taught me how to live there and how to be, to get, I don’t have to get control. I don’t have control over anything. And that, I don’t think I ever realized that, um, until she came along, um, and she has just grown into this amazing girl who wears a backward slip as a dress to the daddy daughter, dams at the Y and is a total creative.

Lauren Gonzalez: I mean, she just sees the whole world in color and learning to see it. Her way has been such an amazing. And then, um, you know, she squirrels away little pieces of trash in her room and this insane filing system that like, she knows if I’ve touched it, but she also, like, she knows where everything is. I’m getting on board, you know?

Lauren Gonzalez: And like, this is the experience that we’re having, we’re doing it together. So, um, you know, I went back when I brought her home from the hospital for the first time. I didn’t know how to process my feelings. And so as a writer, I just blogged about it because why would you not just write about it for millions of people to read on the internet?

Lauren Gonzalez: You know, they put all your feelings out there. Um, and so I did that and I remember my mom telling me, you’re probably going to regret this is how will she feel when she grows up and she reads, you know, your experience and everything that, how it happened. Um, and I can’t say for sure how she was. But I hope that if she has kids, if she has kids, she will know that you don’t have to be a perfect parent.

Lauren Gonzalez: When you start out, you just learn to be the parents that your kid needs. Um, and you make room, you just learned to make group. Um, and you, a lot of times, your healing is found in that process and on that jury. Um, and I hope she sees that as a mother, the experience doesn’t have to look in a certain way.

Lauren Gonzalez: It doesn’t have to feel the way it feels for everyone else. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy. Um, just follow the journey. I mean, you just, everybody gets there in their own way. Sometimes it’s fucked up, but you get there. And then if she doesn’t have kids, I hope that she sees that she was the beauty, that Tam cookies that I was when she first came home.

Lauren Gonzalez: And, um, I couldn’t be more grateful. Um, and she, because of that, she’s capable of. And I can’t wait to see what comes out of her and where we go together.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Lauren.

Marc Moss: Lauren Gonzalez is a Southern-born thirty-something who writes/edits, climbs, (pretends to learn the) drums, sings, homeschools, and mothers two plucky kids (alongside her partner of 10 years) here in beautiful Missoula. Also seen in: the Good Food Store, being overly indecisive in the coffee aisle; the library, labeling it “me time” while the kids play completely unsupervised in the Spectrum area.

Marc Moss: Our next storyteller, Paul Mwingwa, is a refugee from Congo by way of Rwanda.

Marc Moss: We call Paul’s story “Riding the Bus”. Thanks for listening.

Paul Mwingwa: Hello? I wasn’t, they do something about

Paul Mwingwa: But before that, I will tell you how was writing in my country. maybe a city entrance to the big city, which is like low, low, and right.

Paul Mwingwa: The bus to get placed in that the bus. And for some people need to go through the windows to get to the bus and for the money. Then I crossed the border because look, the one I come in, the one down where I spent 18 years as a refugee. In one night, it’s kind of, pick the bus. And when we get up the pass station, they have to make light. He’s the first person to arrive at the bathtub, get in the bus. Then when we arrived here in Missoula, in November, yeah.

Paul Mwingwa: The organization will come refugees here. Tell us how to ride the bus. And this was in need to go to those or Walmart, the one office in stuff, one or two kids at school. And one of my son who was at the Sentinel high school and they tell us we was living close to Franklin elementary school. And from there we should take the bus number two.

Paul Mwingwa: Then the first day Volusia took my son out of school. And the second day I decided to take myself, my son and see where he picking class. Then we take the bus from Franklin elementary school. We were at downtown, all the people in the past to get out, you can drive, also get out. And we decided also to get out, when do we get the other day?

Paul Mwingwa: I asked him, I asked my son, how many buses did you take to come to school? We didn’t want to one bus.

Paul Mwingwa: No.

Paul Mwingwa: I you said, okay. I can ask someone. I ask someone for help. It’s okay to go, to get to certain the last school you missed the bus.

Paul Mwingwa: Number one, then you show the bus number one, getting the bus. Number one, I go to the office every day for my son, then all my way, go back at, at home.

Paul Mwingwa: I was thinking how it guy I boil for 16 years. Can we get you into the bus and they can attend the bus without knowing, and he get out of school. That was a finger about that. And we arrive at the Suffolk. Good for my, for my idea. I was supposed to get out of the dead bus, wait for the bus. Number two can take me to my place.

Paul Mwingwa: Then I get down to the bus and I see him that day. Getting my hand like this, I saw the advice. Number two, live in the session.

Paul Mwingwa: Where does it come from?

Paul Mwingwa: No, it said make it go. I pulled an interpreter. I explained him how the bus, I missed the bus. Oh, Paul, you many mistakes by school, the number and not from your house.

Paul Mwingwa: Don’t tell them the bus number to 10. The number from one from two. And from there, if I got stuff more, if I, the number from one to two, now that my son knows, right. Because when he

Paul Mwingwa: I just said, okay,

Paul Mwingwa: I get the lessons with the lady. I went there for 15 minutes, then another master I saw he’s always number one. Then they saw it and he said, he jumped the gun. Number two, I waited to get to the bus and they can I take, I get my job and the fourth day I was supposed to go work. And when we arrived, You know, a country didn’t have this normal.

Paul Mwingwa: And I felt that it was seeing my kids blend is blue. I did feel that is very cold.

Paul Mwingwa: Now I wake up in the morning. I go to south Suffolk it’s month, wait for the bus. I didn’t wear clothes, which skin protecting me. And I arrived there. I went to. What was it? 15 minutes.

Paul Mwingwa: And I was called, they’ve called the tenant from Corning, this filing my hands.

Paul Mwingwa: All the ears was binding. I assumed the bus number seven, but then I didn’t do that bus faster by sending me out to downtown. I was waiting for the bus number two or bus number one,

Paul Mwingwa: the bicycle riding. I was suffering myself. I was praying while your friends who I put my hands on my issue, they, I lose how it can be one, but they didn’t to get that.

Paul Mwingwa: I get in the bus quickly and they go to the bottom, crying in myself who can, how it can feel better. And finally, on my hand, my. We got, I didn’t know how we get the downtown and it was under the tone means I want to go my way.

Paul Mwingwa: And I explained to my supervisor what’s happened to me, so I miss it by and I knew

Paul Mwingwa: I very cool. We didn’t know that this, but I forget I’ve started to get them all. I said, then my sixth or eighth, I got my lesson from that. I learned how to let the all new you come. I threatened them. Right. Because I would get my gun every time I saw someone outside this door, I went in and when I I’m with him,

Paul Mwingwa: I tried, I have friends. Don’t play with this known by him.

Paul Mwingwa: Thank you for that.

Marc: Thanks, Paul.

Paul Mwingwa is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Montana. He is a resettled refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and came to the U.S. in November 2018. Mwingwa is studying Computer Network Design, Configuration and Administration Modules at Missoula College. Today, he works as a Swahili language instructor and private contractor at the Lifelong Learning Center and a food service worker at Providence St. Patrick Hospital. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and walking along the river.

Marc Moss: Jen Certa originally shared this story in 2020 during one of the Tell Us Something live-streamed events. It is such an important story that we thought she deserved a live in-person audience to hear it. Jen agreed.

Marc Moss: Sensitive listeners be aware that Jen’s story mentions sexual assault.

Marc Moss: Jen calls her story “How to Love This World”. Thanks for listening.

Jen Certa: So there’s this thing that used to happen to me every year when the weather would get bummed 45 and it was settled. Sandal weather in Missoula, standing in line at the grocery store, hang out in front of backyard, floating the river and of leaves. Someone would look down at my feet and they would ask me the question.

Jen Certa: I read it. Hey, what’s your tattoo? I hated this question and I hated it because every time someone would ask them this, I was just flooded inside with shame. 10 years ago, I was 24 leaving Montana. And what I thought would be a permanent move. And I was just heartbroken about leaving for the previous few years.

Jen Certa: Montana had been misplaced where I had felt the most alive, most fully myself that I had felt ever in my life. I was so afraid to lose that feeling. And I was just desperate to take with me some kind of a reminder of what this place had meant to me. So I made an appointment at a local tattoo shop like you do when you’re 24 and having a quarter-life crisis.

Jen Certa: And since this was going to be my first tattoo, I was more than a little nervous about how it was going to turn out. So I asked the artist who was going to be doing my tattoo, and you wouldn’t mind doing drawing part of the appointment for me to just kind of help ease my anxiety that I did, what I wanted it to be.

Jen Certa: And he said that he would. So for the six weeks prior to the appointment, I checked in diligently every week with him to see if the drawing that he had promised me was ready. And each week he kind of blew me off. He’d say you’ve been really busy that week and you’d get to it the next day. And that happened over and over again.

Jen Certa: I was starting to feel a little uneasy about it, but he had come really highly recommended by a friend. So I stuck with him finally, the day of the appointment arrived and I still hadn’t seen a drawing. I got there and he asked me to remind him what it was that I wanted. And talk to me. I told him pretty clear disinterest for a few minutes, and then he disappeared in the back somewhere.

Jen Certa: And like, I swear, five minutes later, he comes back out and he hands me this piece of paper and it has a clip art picture on it. And sometimes in a font, but I would say was like a Microsoft word, scripty sort of font. And I didn’t love it. So I asked him if he would be willing to make a few. And he basically told me with the air of someone who’s being incredibly convenience, that it would just be a lot of trouble for him to make some changes to this divine right now.

Jen Certa: And if I wanted to get a tattoo that day, it was pretty much, it was too late. I had waited six weeks for this appointment and I was leaving Montana and another two weeks, and I just felt this pressure, like it was now or never. I don’t remember. It was a warm day and still the vinyl chairs sticking to the back of my leg.

Jen Certa: The air was just fit with this metallic by thing and a tall, pretty intimidating, somewhat annoyed man, towered over me and asked, ready. Uh, yeah, yeah. Ready?

Jen Certa: I said that even though I didn’t feel ready or good about this at all, second, the needle touched my skin. I knew, I knew this. Wasn’t what I wanted for my body.

Jen Certa: In this moment. I knew I was abandoning my intuition, my inner knowing.

Jen Certa: And I said, yes,

Jen Certa: There have been other times in my life where I felt intimidated powerless, where I’ve had a man do things to my body that I did not want. And a 24, no one was forcing me to get this tattoo. I was choosing this. I had power in this situation and I, the way I stayed frozen inside.

Jen Certa: I mean because of that, the hummingbird didn’t come out as soft and elegant. And as I was hoping that it would, and sort of the sort of rough looking like it’s feathers, it kind of in blown around in a wind storm and it was positioned in this sort of aggressive way. Like it was ready to dive on something at any moment.

Jen Certa: And then there was the line from the Mary Oliver poem that I love. There was only one question how to let this. And that Microsoft word fond. Yeah. How’s it turns out the side of your foot is in a great place for a tattoo. So over time, the words faded in such a way that eventually it just read one question.

Jen Certa: I used to tell people what they had asked me what the one question was, question tattoos,

Jen Certa: but the truth is what it looks, what it looked like is not. So you’ll reason why I. I felt so much shame when someone would notice it and why I tried so hard to hide it it’s because this tattoo was a literal physical reminder of psychological scars ones that I didn’t ask for that I profoundly disliked about myself for a long time.

Jen Certa: And that like-mind my, to, I fight really hard to avoid looking at things. Went on like that for about a decade until March 20. The pandemic happened and suddenly, like a lot of people, I was spending a ton of time alone without much distraction. And as the lockdown days turned into weeks and months, I was finding it harder and harder to avoid my own thoughts and to avoid looking at the things I had tried so hard to avoid.

Jen Certa: And of course it was also hard to avoid looking at my tattoo because I wasn’t leaving my house. So I didn’t have reason to wear shoes. And during that time I realized something. I realized that it was not a matter of if I would look at the stars, but a matter of how. I could continue to look at them with self-hatred and God as I have, or I can choose to look at them with some compassion for myself.

Jen Certa: I can’t change the experience that I had of getting that tattoo or of any of the other experiences that it reminds me of. But what I can do is take small steps to reclaim them. So earlier this year I made an appointment at a different local tattoo shop. The artist that I met with. Who I researched thoroughly beforehand, this time was kind.

Jen Certa: And she asked me thoughtful question. As I tried to explain the design that I was picturing in my head fire weed has a somewhat on parent name, but I think it’s beautiful. And it is one of my favorite and become one of my favorite wild flowers in my time as a Montana and even more important to me than that fire, we get 16 from sensibility to grow in burn areas, landscapes that have been traumatized by wildfires.

Jen Certa: It’s the first flower to bloom to reclaim a landscape after a fire scars. And now fire blues from one of my scars too. It’s a reminder that new road and fans forum, you’re going to play some terrible distraction. And also an answer to that one question of my original tattoo, how to love this world like this, including the joy and everything in between, and including me too.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Jen. Jen Certa is originally from New York, but accidentally began a love affair with Montana in 2009 and is grateful to have called Missoula home since. Jen works as a mental health therapist at an elementary school, where she spends her days debating the finer points of making fart noises with your slime and playing “the floor is lava.” When not at work, Jen can most often be found hiking with her dogs and running late for something.

Initially, I had hoped that they would each share a story individually. When they pitched the idea of sharing their story in tandem, I was skeptical. I thought, well, this isn’t a normal year. Why not?

Teresa Waldorf: March 22nd, and I’m not flying to be I’m in a long distance relationship with a man who I think is going to be the next great love of my life. But we’ve been having an argument on the phone. I’m saying I have to cancel my flight. My mom is crying and he’s saying things like, well, at our age, I don’t think we do what our moms tell us.

Rosie Ayers: I had stopped all theater productions, all classes. I had no answers for anything.

On the next Tell Us Something podcast, tune in to listen to them share their experience of a pandemic reckoning that they call “March 22”.

Thanks once again to our title sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. They deliver superior technology solutions through trusted relationships and enrich the lives of their customers, owners and employees. Learn more at blackfoot.com

And thanks to all of our in-kind sponsors:

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

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

Marc Moss: Missoula Broadcasting Company including the family of ESPN radio, The Trail 103.3, Jack FM and my favorite place to find a dance party while driving U104.5 (insert Gecko Designs) Float Missoula – learn more at floatmsla.com, and MissoulaEvents.net!

Marc Moss: To learn more about Tell Us Something, please vistit tellussomething.org.

 

This week on the podcast, Molly Bradford and I revisit her story of harvesting a doe. I figured that, it being hunting season and all, now is a good time to share our conversation.Join us as we talk about hunting, motherhood and storytelling, then listen to the story as she shared it on stage.
In this podcast episode, you’ll hear stories about a man overcoming his obesity and depression through the magic of MMA fighting, a model who escapes the insidious modeling industry, a volunteer who helps restore an historic C-47 aircraft for the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and a mother making a difficult decision on the day of an important hunt.

Transcript : "Tipping Point" Part 2

00:00
welcome to tell us something
00:02
[Applause]
00:11
dave bolter is a new england boy who
00:14
moved to montana
00:15
early in the spring of 1993.
00:22
he graduated from the university of
00:24
montana with a degree in forestry
00:26
specializing in recreation management
00:29
he has been making his living as a stone
00:31
mason for approximately 20 years
00:34
and is a veteran athlete and coach in
00:37
mixed martial arts
00:39
please welcome dave boulter
00:48
good evening
00:49
[Applause]
00:52
so my story begins back in new england
00:55
i was a young boy about two years old
00:58
one of my first memories of life
01:01
up to that point was going down the
01:04
mountain in between my dad’s legs skiing
01:06
and he remember him asking me dave are
01:10
you having fun
01:10
would you like to go faster and i
01:12
remember looking up yeah
01:14
you know and that that was it skiing was
01:16
my life
01:18
sports so i kept on doing all that
01:21
experimented with a variety of other
01:23
sports soccer
01:24
lacrosse cycling all that
01:29
tried every one of them out for
01:30
approximately six months before
01:32
i either loved them or i hated them
01:35
that’s when i first found out that
01:37
gnomes can’t play basketball so
01:41
i carried my little book of sports
01:43
soccer lacrosse ski racing into high
01:46
school
01:47
the ice of the east coast left me with
01:51
two knee surgeries before i graduated
01:53
high school
01:54
came out west colorado did a couple of
01:57
years there
01:58
before i moved up to montana um
02:01
uh yeah that’s what i said too i was
02:03
like what am i doing in colorado get me
02:05
to montana
02:06
so i transferred up here
02:09
was a geology major switch to wreck
02:11
management
02:13
where i started working with the
02:15
adaptive ski program at
02:18
the long lost marshall mountain
02:21
bums me out but i also that gave me a
02:24
great opportunity i was like wow this is
02:26
some really cool people to work with
02:27
adaptive skiing helping people out i get
02:30
to ski
02:32
win so i started getting close to
02:35
graduation time
02:36
east coast was calling again i found out
02:38
there’s a really good
02:40
internship program back there and a
02:42
mountain
02:43
at a tashberg peak it was right down the
02:45
road from where my grandparents live
02:47
my parents are there all my friends i
02:49
was like okay so
02:51
drove back there three weeks into that
02:53
internship i was free skiing
02:56
with a paraplegic and an amputee
03:00
when i had a freak accident destroyed my
03:02
knee
03:04
had five hours of emergency
03:06
reconstructive surgery two days later
03:09
two weeks after that those same two guys
03:12
that i was skiing with
03:14
had me skiing in a mono ski as if i was
03:16
a paraplegic my
03:18
my boss at the time was like i’m not
03:20
paying attention to this and she
03:23
avoided eye contact with me while i was
03:25
had my knee in the brace and
03:27
icing it in between runs you know with
03:29
my little cryo pack and
03:32
but i learned how to ski in a monastery
03:35
whole new experience it’s
03:36
fantastic so but i was
03:40
really missing montana that injury
03:44
caused a lot of setbacks with me i
03:46
started getting depressed i wanted to
03:48
move back to montana i couldn’t play
03:49
sports
03:50
you know skiing i could sort of do but i
03:52
was very limited no
03:53
sock or none of that so i don’t know i
03:56
was
03:56
missing montana started eating too much
04:00
and drinking beers and soda and
04:03
i don’t know i found out that i really
04:05
like to eat crappy food
04:08
but i started packing it on and i was
04:11
bummed out but i made up my mind i have
04:14
to get back to montana so i hustled back
04:16
to montana
04:17
2001 um like right after the world trade
04:22
went down i said i really need to get
04:24
out of the east coast and screw this
04:26
place so
04:27
i came back to montana um and
04:30
right i was here for about a year and
04:33
one of my good friends i was struggling
04:34
looking for a sport and soccer
04:36
nah but my buddy
04:40
suggested that i get into brazilian jiu
04:42
jitsu and i said what is that you know
04:44
and we
04:45
the ultimate fighting and ufc
04:48
and pride fighting championships out of
04:50
japan started coming in to
04:53
i don’t know popularity at that time the
04:55
early 2000s and
04:57
we would all get together and watch you
04:59
know these athletes wail on each other
05:01
and that’s kind of how i looked at it i
05:03
didn’t really see the
05:04
art of it but i agreed i was like all
05:08
right
05:08
i’ll try it you know so i got my ghee
05:11
and i went to
05:12
sakura down the road here on higgins and
05:15
i
05:15
uh yeah i found out quickly how
05:18
amazing that sport is you can really
05:21
cause a huge amount of damage to
05:23
somebody but
05:24
as soon as they tap you’re not injured
05:27
anymore
05:28
like you you can keep going you know so
05:30
i found that out but
05:31
you know through rolling i injured
05:33
myself whatever
05:36
kept training uh a little bit
05:39
off and on um still looking for a new
05:41
sport
05:42
i wasn’t really thinking that that was
05:44
my path so other friends suggested
05:47
kayaking i’m like all right i’ll try
05:48
kayaking yeah bro you’re built for it
05:50
dude and i’m like okay
05:52
so i did the frenchtown pond got my roll
05:56
did my roll in the blackfoot everything
05:58
was great
05:59
okay dave you’re totally ready for the
06:01
gorge and i’m like
06:02
uh okay and i jumped in the gorge with
06:06
my friends and
06:08
i forget which wave it was it blew me
06:10
over but
06:11
i remembered how to roll i got down
06:15
i wanted to snap my hips i got my
06:18
head up right at the last second and i
06:20
got blown over by another wave i did it
06:22
again and my shoulder popped out
06:24
i was back underwater battling couldn’t
06:27
roll anymore wet exit with a blown
06:30
shoulder
06:31
boat filled with water kicked ashore
06:34
paddle everything
06:35
all my friends were like oh you made it
06:37
good you know i was like man
06:39
kayaking you guys are crazy
06:42
i don’t know how the hell all the
06:44
respect kayakers
06:46
that’s real i was like this i’m not
06:49
getting back in that water so i threw
06:51
that kayak over my shoulder and
06:54
battled up the scree pile to the road
06:56
and i started walking back to
06:58
missoula so on the highway
07:01
truck driver thankfully stopped and
07:03
picked me up i was very thankful and
07:06
made it home returned all that gear and
07:09
sold everything else that i had bought
07:11
thinking that i would love that sport
07:12
and
07:14
anyway the struggle for new sports
07:17
continued and we kept watching all these
07:20
ufc
07:20
fights and everything and i’m like damn
07:22
what am i going to do what am i going to
07:24
do
07:24
i started getting fat again addicted to
07:27
soda i’m like oh
07:28
christ this cannot keep going on
07:31
so one day i said that’s it
07:36
quit drinking soda i’m gonna pick up
07:38
fighting
07:39
and uh and i once i quit drinking soda i
07:42
lost 15 pounds the first week
07:45
started training started training
07:48
feeling great
07:49
i told my coach i’m like dude get me a
07:52
fight
07:53
he looked at me like i was crazy but he
07:55
said all right let’s do it
07:56
so six months later i stepped in
08:00
to the ring out at rock creek lodge
08:03
july 7 2007 it was about 103 degrees
08:08
that was the second fight of the night
08:10
nerves galore i had no idea
08:13
what the hell to expect i’d never really
08:15
been in a fight before in my life i was
08:17
like
08:18
training’s one thing but an actual fight
08:21
holy you know there’s a thousand
08:23
people screaming wanting to see blood
08:24
and i’m like wow
08:27
all right let’s do this you know and my
08:30
first fight ends my buddy comes out he’s
08:32
all busted up but he won he was like oh
08:34
dude that was awesome you know and i’m
08:36
like
08:37
holy all right let’s go walking out
08:40
to the ring
08:41
it’s so hot 103 degrees i’m like what
08:44
the hell
08:45
christ scared climb into the ring
08:48
walking around the mat is black 130
08:52
degrees i’m like
08:53
wow i nervous but burn my feet if i sit
08:56
still you know so i
08:59
fight finally the bell rings boom we
09:01
start to touch gloves
09:02
and this kid from butte lit me up he
09:05
basically
09:07
he basically gassed out beating me up
09:11
i’m not gonna lie but none of the
09:14
injuries none of his hits really
09:16
got me worse than my knee explosions or
09:19
all the other things that have
09:20
happened in my life and i’m like well
09:22
hell the refs there to stop it if it
09:23
gets too crazy so let’s keep going
09:26
and uh you know the the made it through
09:29
the first round
09:30
second round i’m sitting there i don’t
09:32
even hear a word my coach is saying to
09:35
me in between rounds i’m just like holy
09:36
when is this over you know and
09:40
about he’s still giving me a beating i’m
09:43
starting to throw a beating back to him
09:45
you know i’m
09:45
feeling pretty good and then finally i
09:48
just i’m like i can’t take this anymore
09:49
this kid he’s not going to
09:51
get me down and i can’t knock him down i
09:53
finally lost it
09:55
grabbed him threw him down on the ground
09:57
and i finished him off just like ralphie
09:59
and
10:00
the christmas story beating up that
10:03
beating up that bully felt
10:05
great you know ref stops the fight
10:08
peels me off i get my hand raised i
10:11
still don’t know what the hell happened
10:12
adrenaline and everything
10:14
overheated i get craw i get brought into
10:17
the ambulance
10:18
i’m sitting there with ice packed under
10:19
my armpits my groin
10:22
throwing up in the bar pale there and
10:24
the
10:25
emts are looking at me and blood leaking
10:28
out everywhere
10:28
my buddy comes in with a couple of beers
10:31
and
10:32
i drink one down and i’m like man i can
10:34
do better than that
10:36
and uh that was the start of my 13 year
10:41
long
10:41
mixed martial arts career
11:14
thanks dave
11:15
[Music]
11:20
i feel like this is like a recurring
11:22
thing that happens with me
11:23
i keep losing my note card
11:26
every event it happens so i’m going to
11:29
use my phone
11:33
ainsley mcguire is a writer and essiest
11:36
essayist whose work appears in the
11:38
current issue
11:40
of barrel house journal and has
11:42
previously been
11:43
published in grist to houma literary
11:46
review
11:47
salon and the washington post among
11:50
others
11:52
she was recently appointed as the chair
11:54
of the parks and rec committee in the
11:56
town where she lives
11:57
she has never seen the sitcom please
11:59
welcome ainsley mcguire
12:12
when i was 16 years old i lived in the
12:15
sleepy suburbs of ottawa
12:17
canada’s capital
12:20
i was a straight a student i benchwarmed
12:23
for the basketball team
12:25
i’d never been on a date i happily wore
12:28
the same baggy jeans and gray zip up
12:30
hoodie to school
12:31
every day and the only fashion magazines
12:34
i ever flipped through
12:36
were the 17s that came to my house every
12:38
month addressed my older sister
12:41
so it came as a huge surprise to
12:42
everyone but mostly me
12:45
that after a series of events i won’t go
12:47
into now
12:48
i was scouted discovered by one of
12:51
manhattan’s top
12:52
modeling agencies the weekend before my
12:56
17th birthday i was flown to paris to
12:58
walk in my first fashion show
13:01
backstage before the show christian dior
13:04
spring summer 95 that was held in the
13:07
carousel de louvre
13:08
i sat next to models that even i had
13:10
heard of linda evangelista helena
13:12
christensen
13:13
tyra banks the champagne flowed
13:17
the camera flashes popped the show
13:19
itself was a blur
13:21
but paris was so beautiful
13:25
that’s what i told my friends and family
13:27
when i got home
13:28
and this is what i didn’t tell them that
13:31
at the fitting
13:32
the day before the show when it was my
13:34
turn to get my outfit approved
13:37
the designer an older italian man
13:39
stepped towards me
13:41
and without saying a word he ripped off
13:43
my shirt
13:45
next with his bare hands he tried to
13:48
readjust my breasts
13:50
into something that would better fit his
13:51
creation as if i were merely a block of
13:54
clay
13:55
and when it was clear this wasn’t going
13:56
to happen he just turned and walked away
13:58
from me
13:59
leaving me standing there half naked in
14:01
a room full of strangers
14:05
i rushed to find my own clothes that i
14:07
had left folded in a neat pile in the
14:08
corner somewhere
14:09
and i was stopped multiple times by
14:11
other models who said things like oh my
14:13
god the designer noticed you and
14:14
oh my god you are so lucky and as i
14:17
fought to hold back the tears welling in
14:19
my eyes
14:20
i was confused because not only was the
14:23
designer’s behavior
14:24
acceptable it was enviable
14:28
and i don’t know how i knew it but i did
14:31
know
14:32
in that moment that if i wanted to
14:34
succeed in this business
14:35
i’d need to learn how to keep my mouth
14:37
shut and of course i wanted to succeed i
14:40
was 16 years old
14:42
and i just been invited into this elite
14:43
industry i was wooed by its promise of
14:46
travel and money and fame
14:48
of escape one month after i graduated
14:52
high school when i was 17 years old
14:54
i moved to new york city unknowingly
14:57
about to embark on a career
14:58
that sells sex before i’d even had sex
15:03
for the next three years i jumped from
15:05
market to market milan paris london
15:08
hamburg new york
15:09
and at first i loved it i shot for
15:11
countless magazines i wore high-fashion
15:13
clothes on the runway
15:15
there were vip parties complete with
15:17
celebrity interactions there were free
15:19
dinners free drinks
15:20
and yet when i was 20 i couldn’t keep up
15:22
with the pressures inherent in the
15:24
industry anymore like
15:26
the imposed thinness and the constant
15:28
relocation
15:30
before the internet living abroad was an
15:32
extremely isolating experience
15:35
which only compounded my feelings of
15:37
depression
15:38
and again i was confused because here i
15:40
was surrounded by all these things
15:42
you’re supposed to want
15:43
to have here i was surrounded by people
15:45
constantly telling me how
15:47
lucky i was and yet i didn’t feel that
15:50
way
15:51
fortunately my parents insisted i go
15:53
back to school which i did and i got a
15:55
degree in psychology
15:56
but the spring before i graduated i was
15:58
scouted to model again
16:00
and i figured that modeling could be a
16:01
great way to make some money in the
16:02
short term
16:04
i mean i possessed the skill set and i
16:07
figured that i was strong enough to
16:08
handle anything
16:09
the industry threw out me this time
16:11
around i was sucked back in
16:15
in the fall of 2012 i was 35 years old
16:18
living in new york and my job still was
16:21
model
16:22
and though the nature of the bookings
16:24
had changed over the course of my career
16:26
from magazine covers and campaigns to
16:29
what
16:29
those in the industry referred to as the
16:32
closet
16:33
i spent days sitting in a windowless
16:36
room sometimes as small as four by ten
16:38
feet
16:38
sometimes bigger sometimes alone and
16:41
sometimes with other models
16:42
and i’d wait until somebody brought me
16:45
an outfit or
16:46
100 to try on and model for the buyers
16:49
from upscale department stores
16:51
and boutiques in the adjacent showroom
16:55
now there are many times over the course
16:56
of my career when i probably should have
16:58
considered quitting
17:00
like that first fashion show for example
17:03
or when i was 19
17:04
and an agent invited me into his office
17:06
and told me to not eat anything for the
17:08
next two days
17:09
and over the next two weeks to really
17:11
watch what i ate but
17:12
drink a lot of water or when i was 25
17:15
and my agent suggested that i never tell
17:17
anyone i had a university degree
17:20
because it might make people feel bad
17:21
about themselves
17:23
or when i was 31 or when i was 31
17:28
and a designer spit in my face on set at
17:30
a photo shoot because
17:32
he decided he didn’t like me
17:35
and while all of those instances and
17:37
others made me
17:38
feel less than worthless more than
17:41
worthless
17:43
i never said anything because i had
17:44
learned from the start that to speak up
17:46
meant to be difficult
17:47
and to be difficult meant to be
17:48
overlooked for jobs jobs that sometimes
17:50
came
17:51
with a huge paycheck
17:54
and that’s the thing about modeling the
17:57
money isn’t always there
17:58
but the promise of money is
18:01
which is how i lasted in the business as
18:04
long as i did
18:05
that and as time passed i came to
18:06
believe i wasn’t capable of doing
18:08
anything else
18:10
on a monday afternoon in november 2012
18:13
as i stood out in the showroom
18:14
modeling my next outfit one of the
18:17
buyers looked me in the eye
18:18
an older man and he said that shirt
18:21
makes your belly look
18:22
big that wasn’t a big deal i was
18:26
so used to comments like that comments
18:27
dissecting my appearance and telling me
18:29
what was wrong with me to my face
18:32
i was numb to comments like that what
18:34
made this time so
18:36
special was that he said it to me as i
18:38
stood next to a model who had just
18:40
announced in the closet that she was
18:41
pregnant
18:42
five months along she hadn’t told the
18:46
client
18:46
yet and i got this because she like the
18:48
rest of us was hired for her exact
18:50
measurements
18:51
and to deviate even a centimeter meant
18:53
to possibly lose her job
18:56
so in cahoots with the dresser the woman
18:58
whose job it was to
19:00
help us get dressed uh the pregnant
19:02
model ensured that all
19:04
of the baggier clothes went to her
19:06
leaving me with all the form-fitting
19:08
ones
19:10
when i got home at the end of the day my
19:12
booker called ainsley
19:14
are you on your period yes i said
19:18
i lied oh good i assured the client that
19:20
must be the case but they still ask that
19:22
you don’t come back to work this week
19:26
now it’s important to note here that at
19:27
this time i was in my second year of
19:29
grad school getting an mfa in creative
19:31
writing
19:32
but i’m ashamed to say that up until
19:34
three years earlier i hadn’t even known
19:36
that an mfa in creative writing was a
19:37
thing
19:38
i had been so sheltered by this industry
19:41
i had remained so amenable to it
19:44
but i had gravitated towards writing
19:46
because i had amassed so many stories
19:48
and i wanted to learn the best way to
19:50
tell them but i still didn’t know what i
19:52
was going to do once my career ended i
19:54
mean it’s not like anyone in the
19:55
industry cares to help you figure out
19:57
what’s next you’re valuable to them
19:59
until you just aren’t
20:00
so it was as if i existed every day
20:02
living on a conveyor belt
20:03
a lineup of hungry women behind me
20:06
thinner younger
20:07
prettier versions of myself ready to
20:09
knock me off
20:10
at any moment and into the oblivion of
20:12
old age
20:15
when i hung up the phone with my booker
20:16
i started to cry
20:18
and i knew in that moment something
20:20
needed to change
20:23
a year and a half later my then
20:24
boyfriend and i left new york city and
20:26
moved to southeast idaho
20:28
of all places and into the house
20:33
and into the house that his
20:34
great-great-grandparents built in 1914
20:37
i’d never lived i’d never been to idaho
20:40
before but i’ve lived in many places and
20:42
i reasoned you can build a life anywhere
20:44
which is exactly what we’ve done over
20:45
the past five and a half years
20:47
and it hasn’t always been easy i’ve
20:49
worked so many odd jobs i was a
20:51
community counselor for a while
20:53
i was a substitute high school teacher
20:55
for three days
20:57
i did it wasn’t for me i
21:00
i do copy editing for a home healthcare
21:03
company i even worked in a retail
21:04
clothing store for a while
21:07
and with each of those jobs i was lucky
21:09
to get paid in two weeks what i used to
21:11
earn
21:11
in a day sometimes even an hour as a
21:13
model
21:15
and yeah that was tough to take at first
21:18
but now i can honestly say that even
21:21
though i have far
21:22
less i have never felt luckier
21:31
[Applause]
21:32
[Music]
21:36
that boyfriend became my husband we look
21:38
after each other our home and a dozen
21:40
animals
21:43
i have a garden i finally understand the
21:46
value of a hard-earned dollar
21:48
and i finally understand that my worth
21:50
as a human comes from more than being a
21:51
desirable object
21:58
and it wasn’t until i left the industry
22:02
that i understood the extent of the
22:05
psychological damage that had been
22:06
inflicted
22:08
this industry that had socialized me
22:11
this industry that had treated me the
22:12
same at 36 as it had at 16
22:15
and i was the ideal candidate i’m
22:17
ashamed to say i was an eager
22:19
malleable teenager willing to do
22:21
whatever it took in order to succeed
22:23
which is exactly what the industry is
22:25
counting on
22:26
but i’m more ashamed that i didn’t speak
22:28
up when i saw these things
22:30
that made me feel uncomfortable
22:34
and the things that i knew were wrong
22:37
in january i’m about to start a new job
22:39
i was recently hired by the college of
22:41
eastern idaho to create and teach
22:43
their first creative writing class for
22:45
credit taught on campus
22:48
and i can’t wait
22:50
[Applause]
22:53
i can’t wait to help my students
22:55
discover and develop their voices
22:58
but more than that i can’t wait to watch
23:00
as they discover
23:01
the transformative power that can come
23:03
from finally using them
23:05
thank you
23:08
[Applause]
23:14
[Music]
23:36
thank you ainsley
23:47
and thank you to everyone who is
23:48
actively listening
23:59
people who interrupt that’s not okay
24:07
[Applause]
24:09
think of it like this if you’re
24:10
conflicted it’s not consensual
24:21
john haynes was born and raised in
24:23
plains montana
24:24
[Music]
24:27
he lived in kumato japan for 10 years
24:31
john
24:32
currently works at ace hardware so he
24:34
can volunteer
24:35
at the museum of mountain flying
24:39
please note for the sake of clarity
24:42
the miss montana in the following story
24:44
is stunningly beautiful
24:47
she’s a 75 year old airplane please
24:50
welcome
24:51
john haynes
25:04
i am the volunteer coordinator out at
25:06
the museum of mountain flying
25:10
[Applause]
25:11
but it hasn’t always been that way on
25:14
january 3rd
25:15
of this year was my first day
25:17
volunteering at the museum
25:20
i opened up the door and i saw a 75 year
25:23
old dc3
25:25
well a nearly 75 year old dc3
25:28
it first came off the assembly line with
25:30
the purpose of hauling people on cargo
25:33
during world war ii it didn’t see
25:35
service beyond the american borders
25:37
but it would have a great life ahead of
25:40
it
25:48
johnson flying service bought it as a
25:50
surf surplus plane
25:52
in 1946 and used it for smoke jumping
25:55
and and hauling cargo all over the
25:57
region in
25:58
uh very rural areas
26:02
what i saw on that night was that we had
26:04
a goal of getting it
26:06
to fly by march which was interesting
26:09
because
26:10
it had no engines on it
26:13
the the interior was taken apart
26:16
and waiting for modern amenities like
26:20
good insulation and avionics to be
26:22
installed
26:23
there is no operational avion
26:26
or controls for the the flight it was
26:29
basically a shell of the plane that it
26:31
was about to become
26:33
with that in mind my first job there was
26:36
to build
26:37
shelves for the red shed in the museum
26:40
and i thought well
26:41
that’s not too sexy
26:43
[Laughter]
26:46
but when i came back later a lot of the
26:48
tools and paperwork that were screwing
26:50
across the floor when i got there were
26:52
in the shed and organized and you soon
26:54
realized
26:55
that it doesn’t matter what job you are
26:57
doing
26:58
it is all important for the big picture
27:01
my second job that i can remember doing
27:03
was getting onto one of those scissor
27:05
lifts and going up
27:06
into the nose of the plane with it in
27:09
mind
27:10
to take some of the hoses out that were
27:12
connected to the
27:13
the back of the dashboard that measured
27:15
things like fuel and oil
27:17
and i was supposed to put the labels
27:19
that were written on the hoses
27:21
onto the ports that they’re connected to
27:24
which became
27:25
interesting fast because i saw two or
27:28
three labels that said the exact same
27:30
thing
27:31
left engine fuel possibly oil
27:39
well february and march came
27:43
and went and we had a lot of progress
27:45
but
27:47
the plane hadn’t flown in about
27:51
sometime in april our lead mechanics
27:53
parents showed up from arizona and they
27:55
drove up in their rv
27:56
and were they intended on staying for
27:58
about two weeks
28:01
bill is one of those people that’s a
28:02
good example of the type of volunteers
28:04
we had out there he’s 70
28:06
plus years old and a dynamo he could be
28:09
everywhere at once
28:10
and working on just about anything on
28:12
the plane and feel very comfortable with
28:14
it
28:15
and he would tell you a good story the
28:17
whole time
28:19
his wife age and some health issues had
28:23
caught up with her
28:24
so what would happen in the afternoon is
28:27
she would need a break
28:28
and go back to their rv and stay there a
28:32
while
28:32
and when she wanted to come back she’d
28:35
honk the horn
28:36
and and bill would scurry off and wash
28:39
all the oil products off his hands
28:41
and bring her back out to to help us out
28:45
after a few rounds of the honk honk one
28:48
of our volunteers said
28:49
that’s love a few days
28:52
after that it happened we’d hear hong
28:55
kong and a chorus of
28:56
that’s love
29:01
april again a lot of progress
29:04
but it was not or miss montana was not
29:07
airborne yet
29:09
but we’re getting more and more
29:10
confident as time went on
29:12
in the first week of may now keep in
29:15
mind we’re having our send-off gala for
29:17
a plane that hadn’t flown on the weekend
29:19
of mother’s day
29:21
on the saturday before mother’s day in
29:23
the first week of may
29:25
we realized if we’re going to practice
29:28
our jump for the normandy
29:30
ceremony we needed a drop zone
29:34
in and i saw that as an opportunity
29:37
to pitch plains montana my hometown
29:42
it’s about an hour and a half drive but
29:44
a 20-minute flight so it was perfect
29:46
um now al charters who was our jump
29:50
master and i
29:50
drove up to planes and al got about a 10
29:53
minutes
29:54
noticed for this plan so he showed up to
29:56
the hangar and he said
29:57
al we’re going up to planes to find a
29:59
drop zone
30:01
mind you al isn’t very tall in stature
30:05
but he can fill up a room with his
30:08
self-confidence
30:09
and sense of purpose and i was a little
30:12
intimidated by it
30:13
um but i i was willing to take the risk
30:17
i’m back so
30:21
we drove up to planes and we talked to
30:23
the person who manages
30:24
the airport up there and we went out to
30:27
visit the airport
30:29
and and al looks around
30:32
and he says
30:36
it would work on a perfect day
30:40
and i think we both knew that a perfect
30:43
day is tough to plan
30:44
for so we drove back and talked to the
30:47
manager at the airport who is in
30:49
in high gear for lobbying for this
30:51
because he he wanted
30:52
an event like this to happen in little
30:54
old plains montana
30:56
and we said well maybe and i had the
31:00
idea of calling the people who owned the
31:01
holland ranch
31:02
just west of town the
31:06
so i called up daisy holland and i said
31:09
daisy
31:10
have you heard about the miss montana
31:12
project
31:13
and she said well yes i have i said
31:17
you know we need a drop zone for our
31:20
practice jump and we’d like to use your
31:22
field just west of town
31:23
i said well sure so basically
31:27
we had two 30-second conversations to
31:29
get yes so the support was there
31:31
and it was it was a really neat thing we
31:34
ended up meeting with daisy
31:36
and the manager of the airport and we
31:39
we got everything confirmed but we did
31:42
not know
31:43
what day this would end up happening so
31:45
we said we have to keep this a secret
31:48
for any of you who have ever been to a
31:50
small town the best way to promote
31:52
something
31:53
is to tell people to keep it a secret
32:00
so that was the first week in may we had
32:03
our send off gala
32:04
without the plane flying on a saturday
32:06
night and we
32:07
partied like it was gonna happen let me
32:09
tell you it was it was a really fun
32:11
event
32:12
that next sunday was mother’s day and
32:15
my mom is in the audience i’d like to
32:17
say thank you for allowing me to skip
32:19
mother’s day this year
32:21
because miss montana flew and i
32:25
got the techs at work and i took off
32:27
from work and i showed up to the airport
32:29
and for once i was happy that miss
32:31
montana hadn’t flown yet
32:33
we there was about 60 of us out there
32:36
and a lot of us were the long-term
32:39
volunteers there that that had put
32:43
some of us were working 40 hours a day
32:45
and volunteering 30 or 40 hours on top
32:47
of that and it was absolutely fun i
32:48
wouldn’t trade it for
32:50
anything and that evening
32:53
the plane took off and took its first
32:55
flight
32:56
in over 18 years and made it around the
32:59
valley of missoula
33:01
we were so excited it landed and for a
33:03
lot of us
33:04
there may not have been a dry eye and
33:07
you could blame it on the on the
33:09
springtime allergies
33:10
or maybe the cool breeze that was
33:13
blowing but i’d like to think
33:15
it was all that perseverance and
33:17
patience
33:18
and hard work and hong kong that’s love
33:28
that next day was a monday and they
33:31
still needed to get some flight time so
33:33
they took a practice flight up to
33:35
through my hometown the valley of plains
33:38
up to kalispell and back to missoula
33:39
without too much incident at least that
33:41
they’ll talk about
33:43
and that night i had driven up to planes
33:47
and we made it official we were going to
33:49
do our practice jump in planes and
33:52
i it was like christmas eve i was so
33:54
excited i could barely
33:56
sleep so i had contacted
33:59
a friend at the plain school system and
34:02
they had let the entire school
34:04
out to watch this happen and they got
34:07
onto the football field
34:08
at 8 30 and guess what we weren’t going
34:12
to show up on time
34:18
the plane had was going to fly
34:21
east to west so it flew over the entire
34:23
town
34:25
right over the school and it was also
34:27
conveniently located the flight path
34:29
right between the hospital and the
34:32
cemetery
34:33
thankfully we didn’t need to use either
34:35
one of those
34:39
the the plane was coming and and we were
34:43
able to track it on flight tracker but
34:44
the folks at the school didn’t know and
34:46
some of the kids and teachers were
34:47
getting a little impatient so they
34:48
started to walk back into the school
34:50
especially the younger ones and a friend
34:52
of mine texted me well where’s the plane
34:55
and i said i gave it a few seconds
34:56
because i knew it was probably
34:58
between quinn’s hot springs and paradise
35:00
and i said
35:01
listen and as that plane
35:05
came into the valley you can hear those
35:07
two 1200 horsepower pratt and whitney’s
35:10
and it’s a two-for-one deal
35:12
you feel it in both your heart and your
35:14
soul
35:16
and it came over town and did a loop and
35:19
came back out
35:20
and the first for the jump and the first
35:23
people
35:24
to come out of the plane were kim
35:25
maynard and amanda
35:27
holt kim happens to be one of the first
35:30
female smoke jumpers
35:31
ever and it was
35:36
damn straight
35:40
so she came out and landed and
35:43
everything went off beautifully and we
35:44
made a few more passes because
35:46
there was several jumpers involved and
35:50
by the end of it we all gathered
35:53
together and that people were actually
35:55
spread out and it took a while to get us
35:57
together
35:57
and a recently retired smoke jumper who
36:00
lived in plains
36:01
had brought vintage 1990 smoke jumper
36:04
beer for this special occasion
36:08
they say beer goes bad but boy it tasted
36:10
good at 11 o’clock in the morning
36:14
we’re the beer bottles were clanking and
36:16
we were
36:17
absolutely ecstatic that all systems
36:19
were a go for mechanically and with the
36:21
jumpers
36:22
and we came to realize right there
36:25
that we went from knowing that we could
36:28
do this
36:29
to actually proving it and miss montana
36:35
flew about 10 days later and left for
36:39
normandy
36:40
and believe it or not it left missoula
36:43
with
36:44
less than six or seven flight hours
36:47
and it made it to the east coast without
36:49
an incident and it took
36:50
the blue spruce route back to europe so
36:53
it went
36:54
connecticut maine up into canada and
36:57
newfoundland
36:58
and a few places in greenland that i
37:00
cannot pronounce
37:01
reykjavik iceland scotland and down to
37:04
england where they were staging for the
37:05
ceremonies for normandy
37:09
when it was all said and done and they
37:11
made it back to montana there was only
37:12
one minor mechanical issue that was
37:14
easily taken care of
37:16
if you ask me i didn’t do the work
37:21
um and it was absolutely amazing it was
37:23
only the start
37:24
throughout the summer we were involved
37:26
with quite a few events
37:28
and one of them was to help commemorate
37:31
the man gold’s tragedy that 12 smoke
37:33
jumpers and a firefighter passed away in
37:35
near helena
37:36
and it was very moving it happened to be
37:38
the 70th anniversary of that
37:40
and another one was toward the end
37:44
in september we were able to go to
37:46
florida and the bahamas
37:48
to do what the plane was built for and
37:49
help out the folks the folks that were
37:51
very
37:52
in had a tough time due to hurricane
37:55
dorian we were flying 20
37:57
000 meals a day and it was hot barbecue
37:59
stuff i’ve never been in a plane that
38:01
smelled so good
38:05
thank you so much and honestly the miss
38:07
montana project could not have happened
38:09
without the support of so many people it
38:11
was absolutely incredible
38:12
thank you
38:28
microphone must have fell down i don’t
38:30
know
38:34
thank you john
38:42
we have one more storyteller before i
38:45
introduce her
38:47
let me remind you about the next tell us
38:49
something event on march 25th
38:51
the theme is lost and found we are
38:54
taking story pitches for that right now
38:56
go to telesumming.org and click
38:58
tell a story to learn how to pitch your
39:00
story
39:01
all right let’s bring this home are you
39:02
ready
39:05
[Music]
39:05
[Applause]
39:08
molly bradford is the ceo and co-founder
39:11
at
39:11
gather board the makers of missoula
39:14
events.net
39:18
molly takes community connection
39:20
seriously as an active member of the
39:22
missoula startup ecosystem
39:24
in addition to her children’s scholastic
39:27
and community
39:28
endeavors molly is an avid
39:31
yet amateur gardener cook skier
39:34
and hunter who likes to put up mass
39:37
quantities of food for the winter
39:40
she’s a good friend to have
39:43
she likes to race her husband and kids
39:45
down the slopes
39:47
and makes telecommuting from mexico a
39:49
priority
39:50
please welcome molly bradford
40:03
six years ago i shot a doe on opening
40:06
day
40:07
just a moment before that i was leaning
40:09
into the wet sandy bank
40:11
with detailed certainty that a large
40:14
herd was going to
40:15
exit the forest and come into the field
40:18
at about sunset
40:19
i knew that there were at least three or
40:21
four monster bucks
40:23
in the herd i looked up and the sun
40:27
was about 15 minutes from setting over
40:29
the bitterroot mountains
40:30
which meant there were only 45 minutes
40:33
of hunting hours left
40:35
and my pocket vibrated
40:38
it was a text from my husband spencer
40:41
william
40:41
has been crying off and on for a couple
40:44
hours and he won’t take a bottle
40:46
how’s the hunt going
40:51
the hunt was going great until then
41:02
although my breast pump lay a couple
41:04
hundred yards away in the truck and i
41:06
was engorged under my camo
41:09
i thought to myself am i gonna call off
41:12
this hunt for the second
41:13
time today you see much earlier that
41:16
morning i had woken up before my
41:18
alarm in a state of shock wondering why
41:21
there was an
41:21
amplified baby seal barking in the next
41:24
room
41:25
but it was not a seal it was my baby my
41:28
son
41:29
he was actually struggling to breathe
41:32
and coughing with what would be his
41:34
first of nearly 20
41:36
bouts of croup i rushed to william’s
41:39
crib
41:39
and picked him up and luckily i was able
41:41
to pretty quickly stabilize his
41:43
breathing
41:44
and then the dread set in today was my
41:47
day to go
41:48
hunting it’s opening day i needed a day
41:52
off
41:52
and this hunt was a gift a friend of
41:55
mine with a farm south of hamilton had
41:57
offered me
41:58
an opening day mother’s hunt it was like
42:01
a sure thing
42:02
going to the going to go hunting for for
42:05
venison at the grocery store almost
42:08
and i thought to myself do i go on the
42:11
hunt do i cancel
42:13
is it fair to deprive myself of a day
42:16
off is it fair to leave my sick child
42:18
with my husband and daughter
42:19
do i cancel on taylor taylor and
42:22
meredith had taught me to hunt
42:24
a few years before that i primarily
42:27
hunted with other women and mothers
42:29
we had a long-standing relationship with
42:31
our produce
42:33
growing fruits and vegetables trading
42:35
them putting them up for the winter
42:36
it was a large group of women who wanted
42:39
a similar relationship with their meat
42:41
that they had with their produce so
42:44
spencer and i decided if william was
42:46
doing better
42:47
during the day and the hunt could be
42:49
postponed until the afternoon
42:51
that was a good alternative and so
42:54
here i was leaned in on the sandy bank
42:57
and i knew that the hunt was on
43:00
just a little while before i’d found my
43:02
position i had walked over
43:04
a well-trodden game trail with fresh
43:07
hoof prints in the sand
43:08
and droppings and tons of sign
43:12
of deer the hair was standing up on the
43:15
back of my neck
43:17
i was paying attention to the forest and
43:19
i knew i was in the right place
43:22
you see i take the decision to bring
43:25
life into the world
43:27
and the decision to take life from the
43:29
world pretty seriously
43:31
i had done a lot to prepare for this
43:33
hunt
43:34
sighted in my gun nearly perfectly at
43:36
100 yards
43:37
sourced local non-lead ammo i had on
43:41
camo
43:41
hunter orange a backpack a finely
43:44
sharpened
43:46
field dressing kit proper nutrition
43:49
and as i sat there thinking about all
43:52
this i realized that the forest was
43:54
quiet
43:55
the squirrels were no longer chattering
43:57
in the background giving up my position
43:59
in the forest
44:00
i could hear the wings of the raven
44:05
overhead before i even saw it reminding
44:08
me of the sound of breath
44:10
while giving birth
44:15
and then the deer appeared like they
44:18
sometimes do
44:19
a young spike buck ran out into the
44:22
field a scout
44:24
a couple fawns and does after that
44:28
a larger buck and larger does i knew
44:31
that this was not one of the trophies
44:33
but this hunt was not about antlers it
44:36
was about meat
44:37
so i sight i leaned into my gun and put
44:40
the scope
44:41
on one of the does just behind her front
44:44
leg where i knew the heart would be
44:47
and i calmed myself down so that it
44:49
wasn’t shaking before i took my shot
44:55
those deep breaths before the final push
44:58
that brings life into the world and the
45:01
pull
45:02
that takes it i shot that doe
45:05
on opening day and it was a great shot
45:08
on all accounts
45:09
i would find out later that i had shot
45:11
it through the heart
45:13
it jumped back a few yards and fell down
45:15
at the edge of the forest
45:16
the rest of the herd scattered i took my
45:19
time
45:20
calming down for a moment in that sandy
45:21
bank then i texted spencer and taylor
45:24
and the landowner to let them know what
45:25
was going on
45:27
and i approached the animal she had died
45:29
almost immediately
45:31
i slipped some grass into her mouth and
45:33
put my hand on her neck to thank her
45:34
for her sacrifice for my family and got
45:37
to work
45:38
laying out my plastic bag for the heart
45:40
to take home to eb
45:42
my field dressing kit no headlamp
45:46
it was supposed to be a morning hunt and
45:48
i’d forgotten my headlamp
45:50
and in my sleep deprived state no gloves
45:54
i had tons of baby wipes but no gloves
45:58
so i grabbed my knife with my bare hands
46:01
and started the incision down the
46:03
breastbone and through
46:04
the abdomen of the deer when i came to a
46:06
swollen
46:08
set of teats and i had to keep going
46:12
i sliced through and the milk spilled
46:14
into the incision
46:15
on my hands and my own milk spilled out
46:18
of my breasts and into my camo
46:21
taylor came up and she quickly talked me
46:24
down
46:25
off of what was about to be a bad
46:27
adrenaline trip
46:28
she starts she steadied the dough
46:32
and she studied me she told me i had to
46:35
get to work
46:35
it was getting dark quickly we had no
46:38
light and we were getting cold
46:40
i hastily and sloppily finished field
46:42
dressing the dough
46:44
i put the heart in a bag to bring home
46:48
while taylor found a stick to spread the
46:50
ribs apart
46:51
to help it cool off more quickly i
46:53
cleaned up my hands and packed my bag
46:56
we drugged the animal tired in the dark
46:59
with no light
46:59
stumbling around in the field back to
47:01
the truck convincing ourselves that
47:03
another doe would nurse that fawn
47:05
tonight
47:06
and threw it in the back of the truck
47:08
saying goodbye and thanks
47:10
to the farmer on our way out i dropped
47:13
taylor at her mom’s about halfway home
47:15
where we ran into some other friends
47:16
who’d been fishing that day
47:18
we swapped stories of success there were
47:20
high fives and cheers but i was pretty
47:22
sad they all tried to convince me again
47:25
that the fawn would be okay i got home
47:28
to a relatively quiet house
47:31
william was eager to nurse and we
47:34
drifted off into fit full sleep
47:36
the next morning eb bounded outside in
47:39
her pajamas and jumped right up into the
47:41
back of the truck with the dough
47:43
she was so excited to check it out did
47:45
you bring me the heart mama
47:47
i did we cut the back strap out of the
47:50
back of the dough to have later for
47:51
dinner and went inside
47:53
where she played with it in the sink
47:54
squeezing water in and out of the
47:56
different valves and putting her finger
47:58
through the bullet hole
47:59
that afternoon i took the dough and
48:02
william to the butcher
48:03
some years i have the bandwidth to do my
48:06
own butchering but this was not one of
48:07
those years
48:09
the butcher was so excited to see me in
48:12
fact he was about to do an interview
48:13
with the local news station about the
48:15
success of his female hunters on opening
48:17
day
48:18
as he told me his words not mine they
48:21
hunt with more finesse
48:22
and less ego he asked how my hunt had
48:26
gone
48:27
i told as i started to tell him his lead
48:30
processor came out from the back
48:32
hunched over with gnarled hands and
48:34
blood on his apron and a hollow wrinkled
48:37
face
48:38
and i told them about the fawn and the
48:40
dough and william and the milk and
48:42
i started to tear up and the hunchback
48:45
leaned over and he put his
48:47
hand on my shoulder and he said it’s
48:50
okay mama
48:51
you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve
48:53
harvested a fine
48:55
animal for your family
48:58
that fawn needed to wean so it could
49:00
survive the winter
49:02
and with that my suffering lifted
49:06
i loaded the baby into the truck and
49:08
headed home
49:10
that evening as i sat in our
49:12
hundred-year-old kitchen
49:13
nursing william watching my husband cook
49:16
fresh backstrap for dinner
49:18
and my daughter eager to help prepare
49:20
the heart for fritters
49:22
i was soothed by the rhythm
49:26
of the push and the pull thank you
49:29
[Applause]
49:36
[Music]
49:44
[Applause]
49:44
[Music]
50:06
[Music]
50:10
so
50:15
[Music]
50:23
you