Transcript : Neighbors - Part 1
[00:00:00] Marc Moss: Welcome to the tell us something podcast. I’m Marc Moss. We’re currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is lost in translation. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 You have three minutes to leave your pitch.
The pitch deadline is August 20th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch. This week on the podcast.
[00:00:27] Katie Condon: Is that your dog? Fran, being Fran, I said, Why? And he said, That dog’s been coming down to my shop. every day this summer.
like, okay, so I’m about to apologize for something.
I’m not sure what yet, but, and then he says,
[00:00:55] Reid Reimers: he was like, I’d love to take you fishing at this place that I know, but unfortunately tomorrow I have to go to a [00:01:00] wedding so I can’t take you guys. And I jokingly and a little drunkenly was like, Oh, we’re not good enough to get invited to your wedding.
[00:01:08] Pascaline Piquard: Don’t give it.
to her like one flower after another because this is not polite, right? So you just show the plate and she’ll take whatever she wants.
mommy, let’s go.
[00:01:24] Kaegan Bonstein: And so I go back out and then I make eye contact with one of the guys. So they definitely see me coming out of the men’s side. And then I go to just grab my bag and head on.
I’m like, okay, thanks man. And then it’s like, Whoa, Hey, do you want a beer or something? I was like,
[00:01:42] Marc Moss: Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme Neighbors. Their stories were recorded in person in front of a live audience, June 16th, 2003 at Ogre Park at Allegiance Field in Missoula, Montana.
We are proud to have partnered with Missoula Pride for this event, which featured six queer voices and two [00:02:00] allies at the event. I acknowledged that TE US something has a lot of privilege. We welcome all respectable voices and at this event, we used our privilege to elevate marginalized voices. And if I say that, I must in good faith give up the microphone, so I did.
Two members of the Missoula queer community took over the MC duties for the evening. To honor and respect the work that they did. They will follow up each story on today’s podcast. Cara Rivera and Devin Carpenter were the MCs that evening. Tell Us Something acknowledges with deep respect and gratitude that we are on the ancestral lands of the Pendlay, Salish, and Kootenai peoples, who have stewarded this land for countless generations.
Their profound connection to the earth and its resources has left an indelible mark on the landscape we now call home. In recognizing their enduring legacy, we are called to be steadfast stewards of this land, nurturing its diversity, preserving its ecosystems, and upholding the principles of environmental sustainability.
[00:03:00] May we honor the wisdom of our ancestors and embrace our responsibility to protect and preserve this precious land for future generations, fostering a harmonious coexistence with nature that celebrates our shared heritage. We take this moment to honor the land And it’s native people and the stories that they share with us.
Our first story comes to us from Katie Condon. Katie shares her story about an unlikely neighborly friendship. It’s an ode to neighbors, to Fran the dog, and to community. Katie calls her story the baloney house. Thanks for listening.
[00:03:37] Katie Condon: I met Fran in January of 2007. She had short, stubby legs. Dark brown eyes, the most expressive face, one black fingernail, and this band of black [00:04:00] in her hair, it looked like she was always wearing a headband,
velvety ears that dragged on the ground when her nose Caught a scent?
was the perfect representation of the Basset Hound breed. Which is why I was confused to find her at the pound. She was a year old. She’d been adopted and returned three times. And after 14 years with Fran, I considered returning her myself sometimes. Fran was notoriously naughty. You couldn’t keep her tied up.
I tried once, outside of Bernice’s bakery, right across the bridge there. She wiggled out of her collar, and found her way into the kitchen, and it was like a scene out of a [00:05:00] cartoon, like cookie sheets flying, and Parker House rolls rolling, and my wily hound dog, and seven different people chasing after her.
Fran made quite a reputation for herself among my community and beyond. So when I got the opportunity to go on a nationwide tour with my band, I knew I needed to find somebody specific to watch Fran. I’d heard through the grapevine that my old friend Lila was looking for some short term housing. I gave her a call.
Our dates matched. And she knew Fran well enough, so she took on the challenge. And I left with my band called Letter B. Thank you. I was in this [00:06:00] band with my little brother, Jordan Lane, and we just. Had the time. From here, all the way to Maine, down through the Carolinas, over to L. A., up to Seattle, and back home.
Over the course of six weeks, it was nuts. It was chaos. It was pure joy. A few weeks into the tour, I get a call from Leila, and she says, every day when I leave for work, Fran is inside. And every day when I come home from work, Fran is outside.
I think I just had a gas station hot dog for breakfast. I was probably hungover. My mind was spinning and I certainly couldn’t troubleshoot what [00:07:00] my hound dog was doing a thousand miles away. And I considered at this point in Fran’s life she had been to
And I thought, you know, Fran’s pretty savvy. She’s home when you get home. I think it’s okay.
So I get home from tour a few weeks later, and we’re having a neighborhood barbecue. And Fran’s checking in with me every once in a while. I had to honor the fact that Fran’s first priority was her nose, and I just… Pined to be her second priority. An older gentleman who lived down the road came up to me and he said, is that your dog?
Fran being Fran. I said, why? And he said, that [00:08:00] dog’s been coming down to my shop. every day this summer. I’m like, okay, so I’m about to apologize for something I’m not sure what yet, but and then he says I think she likes the cool floors. It’s been a hot summer.
Yeah, so then
I’m like, I gotta defend myself. I gotta keep my house cooler.
He doesn’t think I could take good enough care of her or something. And then he says she doesn’t like it. When I use the table saw. So I don’t use it when she’s around.
Uh, Uh, Okay.
My wife gives her baloney. I hope
Yeah, that’s fine, [00:09:00] and things are starting to come together in my head, and I’m realizing this is where Fran’s been going when Leila goes to work and when I was on tour.
And then I figured out some things in the house. She was busting into a bedroom. The door would quickly close behind her, and then she would jump up onto a chair, jump up onto a desk, and jump out. out the window and run down the road to the shop that we lovingly nicknamed the baloney house.
keep better track of her. I was kind of jealous and I didn’t think it was safe. So I tried to. build a fence, and that didn’t work, and I bought bologna. That didn’t work. I got to know the folks down at the bologna house because I was consistently going down there retrieving fran. And sometimes I would walk into the shop and Doug would be fixing something, anything.
And some days I’d walk [00:10:00] in there and he’d be building a birdhouse. And some days I would walk in there, and he would be painting illustrations of birds for the freaking Autobahn Society. Like, no wonder Fran
One day Fran and I are standing at the end of our driveway, and we see Doug’s truck coming down the road, this big white pickup truck with a ladder on the back, and he stops Leans over, opens the passenger side door, and Fran runs over, jumps in, and they take off down the road. And I chase after him.
Wait a second.
And he stops.
And I open the door and I get my gun. dog out of the truck.
went to McDonald’s.
She got egg McMuffins. She
got Fran one too.
That checks out. What am I gonna say, no? And don’t come at me with, you shouldn’t let your dog eat egg McMuffins. Because that dog had a stomach of steel, it was sewn into place, and we only had to pump it.
like, yeah, okay. Enjoy your breakfast with Fran. And Doug gets this, like, mischievous grin on his old man face. And he looks over at my dog and he says, let’s go Franny. And he takes off and Fran’s chasing his truck down the road. Those little legs are going, those ears are flapping. It’s her version of a [00:12:00] sprint and I’m standing there literally in their dust and I’m frustrated.
I’m frustrated and I’m also filled with joy and I’m frustrated because this
is not something that
I was expecting to happen. This isn’t what normally happens. I’ve been spending Fran’s entire life protecting her from neighbors, or protecting neighbors from her. And this situation was something I didn’t understand.
And that made me feel frustrated.
And the joy… The joy was seeing Doug become a child, and my old hound dog become a puppy. And when they raced down the road, I thought, this is a dog’s life.[00:13:00]
This is loyalty and compassion and playfulness. These are the values that I revere as a dog owner. And then I realized, these are the values of great neighbors.
Doug and Judy are here
and I just want to thank you guys for being so kind to Fran, to me, and to my family. I learned many lessons from Fran over the years, but I’ll leave you with this one tonight. Love thy neighbor, especially if they have baloney.
[00:13:58] Kerra Rivera: Katie
[00:14:00] Condon. Katie is a
humanitarian at heart. She believes in the connection of all things. Katie
is a lover of art and the simple beauty this life has to offer.
[00:14:09] Marc Moss: Our next story comes to us from Reed Reimers. Reed is recognized for his Montana accent during a trip to Vietnam and is then invited to a neighborhood family wedding.
Reed calls the story crashing a wedding in Vietnam. Thanks for listening.
[00:14:24] Reid Reimers: Uh, yes, as mentioned, I do love to travel. I became obsessed after a six week trip to New Zealand turned into almost a year. I’d lived in a van. I was a legal transient worker on a vineyard. I ended up with white boy dreadlocks because when I had hair, it was quite curly, not.
culturally appropriate if I just want to be clear. But my favorite time to travel is actually during February, February in Missoula in particular, always feels like a wake to me. Everybody walks around and just kind of nods at each other. Like, yeah, we’re all going through it, man. We’re all here. That little half rise smile at the grocery store is just [00:15:00] horribly depressing.
And so two very good friends of mine, Craig and Leah decided years ago to start what we lovingly and very appropriately call. Fuck you, February. And so we tried to travel for a couple months, leaving mid January, getting back mid March, and we’ve been all over the place. And one of those luscious fuck you February trips took us to northern Vietnam.
We arrived in Hanoi at, uh, dawn ish, and I’m sure any of you that have traveled from Montana to somewhere like that, when you step off the plane, it’s the thickest, thickest It’s not just the humidity. It’s not a temperature thing. It’s the fact that you’re near sea level and the air is full of oxygen. So even though you’ve traveled nightmarishly long to get there, there’s something invigorating about it.
And that’s what we found as we stepped off the plane in Hanoi early that morning. We knew it would be a dangerous mistake to try to sleep, even though we were exhausted. And so we decided to stay up, get [00:16:00] into the cycle of time, and ran around Hanoi, which is a beautiful city built by French colonialists, and now lived in by proper Vietnamese people.
The wide boulevards meant to be strut along and see and be seen became… Shops and restaurants and you walk in the damn street cause you’ll figure it out. It’s fine. It all works for them. And I really loved being there. At the end of our first night, as we got there, we had asked around, like what should we do?
We want to go get a little rowdy. We need to get a little messed up so we can get some sleep and start the cycle appropriately. And the answer from everyone was be a hoy. The be a hoy corner. Be a hoy is a low. Octane quick brewed beer that doesn’t have a long shelf life. So you kind of have to just chug it down.
Because of its quick process, it’s also quite affordable. So a single cup of Biahoy was about 20 U. S. cents. And you could buy an entire pitcher for a [00:17:00] dollar. She knows, you know, yeah. And Beahoy corner again, this beautiful built in the beautiful French style where three different streets come together is just a miasma of tiny plastic chairs and plastic stools and a bunch of people getting really sloppy on very, very cheap beer.
There was obviously a language barrier. I knew my please thank yous and excuse mes in Vietnamese, but that’s about it. But the lovely social lubricant that is alcohol, Instantly made us a ton of friends and the fact we didn’t mind dropping a buck 50 to buy a pitcher for the table next to us. So soon we were surrounded by all sorts of lovely folks, some students trying to practice their English, some locals that we couldn’t talk to at all, but as a teacher of mime, I’m really good, especially after a few beers, about explaining what I’m doing with frantic, throbbing hand gestures.
There may have been a couple beers spilled, but it worked out just fine. Um, and as we were sitting there though, So, this tall [00:18:00] white man, one of the only tall white boys we see, whenever we travel, we’re like tall white guy, we point him out, cause they’re not as common as you might think in a lot of places.
This guy comes up to us, and he’s like, asked me the weirdest question I’d ever imagined. He was like, excuse me, are you from Montana? And we’re like, yeah. And he was like, I grew up in Bozeman. Apparently the fact that we had dove in with both feet and we’re just chatting and gabbing with people openly had first caught his attention.
Then he heard our accent and he was like, that’s definitely Western, but Northern Western. We do say bag. You know, like he caught it all. And then my buddy actually I figured out later had a, uh, he runs a fly fishing shop and divide and he was wearing his hat. So the guy was like, there he goes. Uh, this lovely guy from Bozeman said we sat and had a couple of drinks.
He was like, Hey, you gotta meet my friend Ty. Ty was a local guy. He ran motorcycle tours up around the Northern part of Vietnam. It was just [00:19:00] an absolute treat. And so he was like, you gotta meet Ty. Come on over. And after that much be a hoy, things are a little fuzzy at this point. You’ll start going to see a pattern about this whole story.
Things get a little fuzzy after a while, but we went to Ty’s place. He was a consummate host. His English wasn’t super strong, but he was super excited to practice it. And that made us excited as well. And we’re sitting there and my friends are talking about fishing because they’re fly fishing guides and that’s.
All they talk about 90% of the time. And he was like, I’d love to take you fishing at this place that I know, but unfortunately tomorrow I have to go to a wedding, so I can’t take you guys. And I jokingly and a little drunkenly was like, Oh, we’re not good enough to get invited to your wedding? The entire mood shifts.
He stops everything, stares at me, and he’s like, Would you go? You have to tell me now if you want to go, you can go, but you have to tell me now and you have to promise to go. And we look at each other after this [00:20:00] crazy night. We hadn’t even been there for that than the country for less than a day. And we’re like, I think, yeah, right.
You don’t get that kind of invite every day. And so the next morning at 6. 30 a. m. found us dressed in our finest clothes. My buddy Craig, uh, is a Patagucci boy. So he had his fishing shirt and his fishing pants, kind of nice. I’m not. So I had this scrubby, like, sun shirt I brought along and my cargo pants.
Listen, I still support cargo shorts, but we all know. Cargo pants. And Leah, of course, that lucky duck had one of those tube dresses that can be like a hat or can be a scarf or she can just pull it over her luscious little blonde body and look absolutely fabulous wrinkle free. And I was like, you bitch.
So we’re standing out there on the sidewalk. Ty pulls up with his wife and his lovely little kiddo and we hop in a car and head out to this wedding. And again, as we travel through, you kind of see the old colonial built, uh, the French colonial built, uh, [00:21:00] Hanoi, slowly kind of break down into humbler structures, kind of hand built cinder blocks and corrugated metal that eventually gives way to just.
Emptiness of rice paddies. It was, uh, during a winter planting there, I assume. So there was kind of green about, but it’s mostly just kind of marshes as you’re driving down the road. About an hour later, we take a random right turn onto an elevated road through the paddies, heading toward this elevated part of land that had some houses and some trees poking up, just kind of rising above all of the, uh, paddies.
And as we pull up, Tai, in his best broken English, described that Vietnamese weddings last for six days sometimes. And we were there on day four. The groom’s family and the bride’s family have still not gotten together, so it’s just been the groom’s family for three days straight. And they are bored as all hell.[00:22:00]
So we pull up to this… much larger house than I expected. It’s a multi generational house. Probably 15 to 20 people lived there. Big house, all white tile on the inside and the outside. And we go in and Ty explains that as special guests, it was expected that we would take a shot of their kind of family made rice whiskey with the patriarch of the family.
Great. I don’t turn down shots even though it’s like nine 30 in the morning. I don’t mind. What we didn’t quite realize was that At a wedding, especially on the groom’s side, every male over the age of 25 considers himself a patriarch of the family. So instead of taking one shot with everybody, we ended up having a line of over 20 people waiting to come individually take shots with us as a welcome to their place.
Now Ty’s wife was pouring for us and they happened to store their homemade hooch in uh, reused plastic bottles. And so she [00:23:00] was… Usually giving us a shot, but every so often she was sneaking in water on ours. Because, I don’t know if you’ve ever taken 20 shots of homemade hooch before 10am on a head full of jet lag and general cultural confusion.
Listen, I can handle myself. But that was a lot. And from then on, I started being kind of nervous. I was like, Oh no, I’m going to be a sloppy jalopy up here. Like I’m going to, I don’t want to break any cultural norms. I don’t even know what the hell we’re supposed to do here. Everyone there was so excited and so inviting though.
And they ended up getting shit canned right along with us to the point that it just didn’t matter. And from that moment after our 20 pre 10 a. m. shots. Uh, everything again gets a little loopy jaloopy, but I do remember we snuck out with some of the kids to the Pomelo Grove next door and we’re stealing pomelos.
They’re like big grapefruits. Lady came out screaming at us and then she saw that there was like Three random white people in her yard. [00:24:00] It was like, oh, you must be here for the wedding. She gave us a crate of pomelos to take back. There was some really loud, terrible karaoke going on. I sang, oh, blah dee, oh, blah dah, which they didn’t recognize at all, but they found quite impressive.
There was huge trays of food that came out. My buddy Craig is allergic to peanuts, and usually he can kind of smell it, and he’s okay, but he… It into a bun and instantly stopped, set it down and ran outside to go spit it out. And he brought a whole jug of whiskey with him to rinse his mouth with. Well, little did he realize as he looked up when he was done, he was right outside where all the grandmas had been preparing all the food and he was there like seemingly puking it up out of a nightmare.
Uh, we got that explained. It was fine, but it was very, very awkward. Uh, At one point, Ty had brought his dad’s guitar, which hadn’t been played since the Vietnam War, because none of his family knew how to play. Craig knew how to pick a few things. And so they invited us up to sing a song. [00:25:00] And I was like, Craig, what songs do you know?
He’s like, not many. He’s like, what songs do you know? I was like, nothing you can play. So we decided on Wagon Wheel, which I knew almost none of the lyrics to. And I turned to him and I was like, man, I don’t know the ver I know the chorus. Everybody knows the chorus. I don’t know the verses. And he was like, they don’t speak English.
Nobody cares! So it turned into kind of like a heading down south to the watermelon place. And we’re going in to grab something for a face to see. Rum or Rack Me. Tire family gets so excited. At some point we need to go out to this, uh, temple that’s nearby. They were preparing for the Lunar New Year. And so we hop on scooters.
Craig jumps on his scooter, guns it, instantly shoots out from under him, and goes off the edge of the cliff into the rice paddies. Which was only met by like, Oh stupid drunk guy, ha ha ha ha ha It was fine, they knew how to do it, they totally back up. I hop on one and let me tell you, As a big awkward [00:26:00] asshole, I am much better on four wheels than two.
I did pretty well, but as I came around the corner, I skidded out, again to just cheers and guffaws from everyone. And I was assigned a driver, Which was a nine year old girl. It was quite capable about running a damn 50 CC scooter without any kind of issues. So, uh, the, the story continued. It was an amazing day.
We finally got back into Hanoi. We met up with the families there. And, uh, after the bride was hiding somewhere and the groom had to go find him in the family, find her in the family’s house and take her down. Um, we had a great party. We kind of ended at a fast food chicken joint. And we were walking back.
But what hit me as we were walking back home and sobriety started to rear its ugly, nasty head, I just thought, so many times when I travel, I feel like an outsider looking in. I feel like a voyeur in some ways. [00:27:00] As much as you can be invited into a place, you always feel like you’re outside of it. And what I realized is that those folks were just as excited to have us there to get their fourth day celebration going as we felt to be there.
And I just think that that touched me in a way I actually have trouble putting words to, which I probably should have prepared for, because I’m telling you all about it, but. I just love though, as a final thought, that somewhere above someone’s mantle is a beautiful professionally taken photo of all the bride and groom’s family and friends dressed in their finest, and randomly in the back is two scuzzy backpackers and a gorgeous blonde girl in a goddamn wrap dress.
[00:27:48] Devin Carpenter: Reed was born and raised in Missoula and has a master’s in theater from the University of Montana. You’ve probably seen him hosting numerous events around town, running [00:28:00] trivia nights or strutting his stuff on the stage in local theater productions, including Rocky Horror Live. He has a deep love for other cultures and climes, which has taken him to almost 50 different countries.
Because he travels on a tight budget, He has to get creative on those trips, which often leads to unexpected adventures. He also teaches theater to local kiddos, tends to his plethora of houseplants, and recently became a puppy papa to an adorable sociopath named Dewey.
[00:28:32] Marc Moss: Coming up.
[00:28:33] Pascaline Piquard: Don’t give it to her like one flower after another because this is not polite, right?
So you just. Show the plate, and she’ll take whatever she wants. Okay,
Mommy, let’s go.
[00:28:47] Kaegan Bonstein: And so I go back out, and then I make eye contact with one of the guys, so they definitely see me coming out of the men’s side. And then I go to just grab my bag and head on, and I’m like, Okay, thanks, man. And then it’s like, Whoa, whoa.
[00:29:00] Hey, do you want a beer or something? And it’s like, Yeah, sure.
[00:29:06] Marc Moss: Those stories after a word from our sponsors. Stay with us. Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, University of Montana Summer Office. Thank you to our story sponsors, Axis Physical Therapy and Hindu Hillbilly. Thank you to our accessibility sponsor, Blackfoot Communications.
Our next storyteller is Pasqueline Picard. Pasqueline takes the long way on a hike to harvest black locust flowers to fry in dough and make delicious donuts. A grateful neighbor unexpectedly receives the entire plate when offered. Pasqueline calls her story Mom’s Survival Plan with Le Beignet de Cacha.
Thanks for listening.
[00:29:51] Pascaline Piquard: Wow, very impressive. Bonsoir.
Alright, so most of my [00:30:00] life I have lived in big houses, surrounded with huge gardens, many trees, Once I got divorced, I decided I had to move to a smaller place. So I moved to an apartment with my two sons, Gaspar and Guillaume. And so we settled in this apartment, quite small for us. And um, in the springtime, we decided that We needed some snack around 4 p.
m. That’s a snack time in France. Yeah, for you guys sometimes it’s just dinner for us. It’s just snack time and then we have dinner like at 8, but anyway So I tell my sons. Okay, let’s go You know in the springtime you have this Trees in France, we call them Acacia and I think in English, it’s a black locust and it smells beautiful.
[00:31:00] It’s like this stem with like white flowers on it and it’s as big as grape. It smells delicious and it tastes delicious. And when I arrived here by the end of May, I had tasted some on your trees here in Missoula and so good. So anyway. I tell my son, let’s go and, uh, let’s grab some, uh, flowers so that we can make donuts out of them.
They love it. And my older sons, uh, Gaspar, he said, can we take a yacht? That’s his Turkish friend. Can we take him? Because I don’t think he knows. about these donuts. So I say, okay, let’s go. So off we go, and I don’t know about you, but me living with two boys, at that time they were seven and nine years old, always used to be in big houses, big gardens, and they were stuck in my apartment, so they were getting hectic, kind of.
So I needed them to [00:32:00] do some exercise and to practice, like just go and do some sport. So off we go, and I make sure that actually The walk will be very long, so that then when I need them to go to bed, I’m sure I’ll be on my own then. So we go, and we walk, and we take loops, and loops, and loops, and loops.
And the younger one, Guillaume, said, Maman, please, just, can we just go straight to the trees? Like, we can smell them, can we just go straight to the point? And then I was like, oh, no, no, that’s not good. That’s not good. Just one more, two more loops. So, we keep walking, we keep walking. And finally I decide after an hour that maybe time is off, like we should just get the flowers.
But they are small. And the trees, these acacia trees, the black locust trees, they are very, very tall. Very thin, very [00:33:00] hard wood. So I tell them to climb it. But it’s, they have to climb like 15 feet. So I take them and I put them on the tree and they grab the branches. And then they pick the flowers and they toss them on my head of course.
And then I pile them on my wicker. It’s a big wicker, like, very big one. And maybe it takes like 15, 20 minutes, and we have so many of them. So I said, okay guys, just calm down. And I could tell, like, looking at Elliot, my son’s friend, looking at his face, he was like, watering. You know, just imagine, these flowers, if…
If you were a bee, I think that would be the paradise for the bees because they smell so good and you just want to have all of them just for you. So we go back home, 10 minutes the walk
and we get home, it’s [00:34:00] about 5. 30, 6, something like that, and we start to prepare the dough. And then we dip the flowers.
It smells so good. Once it’s fried, we put it on a plate, and as, as I was piling them up, I could see the plate going bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger. Because maybe we had like 40 flowers, so it’s kind of a lot for just four people. And my sons are like, oh maman, please, can we try one? No, guys. Wait for me to finish it, because otherwise, once I’m done with the cooking, there won’t be any left for me.
I know you. So, yeah, and it’s true, I have to help myself first, otherwise I don’t eat. So we have these huge plates, and they are so eager to eat. And then I remember, oh, Madame Mani, she’s my… One floor down neighbor, and she had told me [00:35:00] the very morning that, um, her son in law had just died. And, uh, and I could feel that she was very, um, emotional, very sad about this.
So, before we started eating the flour doughnuts, I told, uh, I told my sons, Okay, guys, you know what? You know Madame Mani, she just lost her son in law, so what about you go down and you give her, like you offer her the plate and then she can take some, but please don’t give it to her like one flower after another, because this is not polite, right?
So you just… show the plate, and she’ll take whatever she wants. Okay, mommy, let’s go. So the three boys go down one floor, and I start cleaning the kitchen. Two minutes later, not even, they come back. They ring at the door, I open the door, and I don’t know, like, they look at me, [00:36:00] and I can feel something is wrong, but I don’t know what.
And they are half laughing, half crying, like I know that they don’t know how they should feel. So I ask them, okay, so, where is the plate? Okay, mom. The thing is, we rang at the door, and Madame Mani opened the door, and we told her that she could have some… Of the doughnuts. Yeah, good, and? Okay, the thing is, she took the plate, put it in the kitchen, she went back to the door and said, Thank you guys, you are so lovely, and she closed the door on us.
And so I said, but did you say that she could have some? Yes mom, but what I was supposed to do? Like, ask her for a plate back and just give it to her? You told her she could take whatever she wanted and I guess the 40 doughnuts [00:37:00] was good enough for her. But you know, Madame Mani, she’s maybe 85 years old.
So, I don’t know, but 40 doughnuts, when you’re sad, It’s a lot, right? Even if you are not sad, actually. But, anyway. So, I look at my sons. It’s 7 p. m. No snack. Dinner is coming on, but I have nothing prepared. Because I was counting on these donuts. And my boys are still expecting to have some donuts. So, I guess we have to go back to the forest.
And surprisingly, it was just 10 minutes long. So we go back to the forest, but we had already picked all the easier flowers. So we had to go to the further one. So they have to climb again. And at some point I said, you know what? We don’t need 41, like, we don’t need 40. Just get maybe 15 to 20, that’s fine.[00:38:00]
So we get the 20 flowers, we go back, we hurry, I make the dough again, I dip the flour again in the dough, and I fry them and we eat them, but we’re just so tired, like, it’s 8pm, man, and, is that a dinner? But anyway, we loved it, Elliot loved it, he had never eaten fried flowers before. And you should try, I will give Mark the recipe, so.
And, still, you know, we, we have eaten maybe 20 donuts, we were the four of us, and that was a lot. We were like, ugh! So, we go to bed, still wondering how was Madame Mani doing. Because, you know, she’s 85 something, quite fit. She always tells me about her vegetables and the fruits she loves to eat. So, I don’t see how the doughnuts and the vegetables fit together, but anyway.[00:39:00]
And the following morning, I wake up wondering if I had missed the ambulance, or, just to take care of her, you know. And then, suddenly, I see her in the staircase going to the market, because it’s Saturday morning, and I also go to the market, that’s usually where we chat. So, she sees me, and I’m like, Oh, bonjour, Madame Mani.
With a smile that says more than what I could say. And she’s like, Oh, Pasqueline, thank you so much for the donuts. You know, I just love them. Oh, so she ate all of them. You know, I had my son on the phone, and I told him how lucky I was to have you as a neighbor. You are so thoughtful. And they were so good.
It was my first time. Thank you so much. Then I realized she had, she had eaten the 40 donuts. And she wasn’t even sick. So she had a very strong stomach, I guess. And you know what? The thing is [00:40:00] that was six years ago and she’s still my neighbor. I am still her neighbor and I’m here for two months and a half.
And she’s taking care of my plants back home. I hope she’s not eating them, but now every time I cook something because I like to give, I have like, I live, my building is mainly full of like widows and so I’m by myself with them. So whenever I cook a cake for my sons, I keep some for them, but then my son always tells me, okay mom, remember first.
You give us some and you make sure it’s just one size, one person size of the cake. Thank you.
[00:40:55] Kerra Rivera: has been an English teacher in France for 15 years
and she is a [00:41:00] Fulbright grantee
attending a five week program in the U. S. about American history. Culture and politics. She is a lifelong learner, and she loves discovering new things, meeting people, and sharing experiences.
Her adventurous spirit and curiosity have brought her to
various places such as Jordan, Thailand, China, Italy, the UK,
[00:41:22] Marc Moss: Rounding out this episode of the Tell Us Something podcast, Keegan Bonstein, a short king, makes friends with a native Hawaiian family on the beach and feels safe and comfortable in his skin. Keegan calls his story, Short King, or Out of the Head and Into the Heart. Thanks for listening.
[00:41:42] Kaegan Bonstein: Out of the head and into the heart.
I’ve been in transition for about a year now. Um, been on hormones for the last six months and it has been a… Very revelatory experience. Just, uh, thank you. A lot of things, [00:42:00] thank you.
Um, Just a lot of things coming up and it becomes something where you just have time to look at all the things that you want to braid together about this part that hasn’t been expressed. And one of the things I was thinking about is the short king. Like, I want to be a short king, which is… Somebody of short stature that exudes confidence.
I’m like, alright, that’s aspirational. Let’s go for that. And so while I’m going through this process, I’m realizing, you know, I haven’t been out of town, like it had been since COVID, I hadn’t left or anything like that. So I’m like, I need something to like break up the rhythm a little bit and shake up the gumball machine.
And my friend, like about a year ago, was like, why don’t you go to Hawaii? And I was like, okay, I mean, you know, there’s so many places to go. And then I just kind of put that away, and then it starts showing up on people’s t shirts, and it’s coming up in conversation. I’m like, alright, universe, I hear ya.
And so, I book a ticket and go off to [00:43:00] Honolulu and land in Oahu. And I don’t know if any of you have ever been there, but when you land there, at least to me, the land is so… Vocal. You can feel it. And, so I I immediately went up to the north shore of Oahu, which is like the center of surf culture, and it was at the end of the surf season, it was mid April, and so there’s a lot of people there doing that, and I’m just kind of taking things in, and I end up in this little area called Pupukea, and in Pupukea is a beach called Three Tables.
And it’s just, it was awesome. It was this tiny little beach with two alcoves, one on either side, and one side has sand on it with some trees in the background, and then it slowly turns into like coral drop off and like cliffside. And so, uh, I spent some time there, and like, that’s where I ended up spending most of my time.
Um, I thought I was gonna island hop and everything, but I wound up staying put. [00:44:00] And as soon as I get there, there’s… At Three Tables, why it’s called that, there’s three stone slats out a little bit a ways. And I’m just watching the waves crash, and I’m just like… Fuck it. And I dive in and I’m swimming in this ocean and I start laughing hysterically.
And I’m just diving in and feeling this visceral give and take of the tide. And I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean and this was a whole other thing. Like it’s very vocal and wild and very clear that this is the biggest ocean on our planet. And when I was out there having this experience I was like, I don’t want to rehearse anymore.
I just want to dive in and get going and make each day matter more than I felt I had been at that point. So, I stayed in Pupukea, I made some really great friends, jumped off some rocks, and just had an awesome experience staying at a hostel, and then I prepared to camp there, because I brought my tent with me and [00:45:00] everything.
And so, at the end of my time staying at a hostel, uh, a friend of mine, we had gone on this hike, and had this very open hearted conversation, and I was, Really proud of myself that I had said how I felt. And he drops me off at the other side of Three Tables, which there’s a bridge. And then there are these stationary bathrooms there.
And he went off to meet another friend. So, I have my pack on me. And I see this Hawaiian family. And they’ve clearly been there for a little while. There was like, uh, tarp cover with a grill, couple blankets, a lot of folding chairs, and um, I was kind of like, alright, I’ll, I’ll ask these people while I use the restroom to watch my bag.
I didn’t really want to bring it in the bathroom, it was huge. So, um, and I was also, you know, kind of calling their bluff, like, people aren’t that nice. I don’t know. [00:46:00] It was a test. And, I went up to them and these two guys were sitting on the side in folding chairs and I go up to them and say, excuse me, would you mind watching my bag while I use the restroom?
And they go, oh yeah, sure, no problem. And I go in and I use the men’s side. And, while I’m in the bathroom I’m like, Alright, you know, just play it cool, if anything happens, just play it cool, cause like, being trans, in my experience, you learn to assess things very quickly, and you gotta figure out how to keep yourself safe.
And so I go back out, and then I make eye contact with one of the guys, so they definitely see me coming out of the men’s side. And then I go to just grab my bag and head on, I’m like, okay, thanks man, and then it’s like, woah, woah, hey, do you want a beer or something? And it’s like, Yeah, sure. Thanks. And he’s like, yeah, no problem.
Uh, what’s your name? And so, in an act of good faith, I introduced myself by my [00:47:00] nickname. Hey, I’m Finn. He’s like, hey, nice to meet you. I’m Uncle. This is Stan. And I was like, alright. So, making a little bit of chit chat, not too much, and I just slowly start to realize they’re like inviting me to sit down and enjoy for a while.
So I sit down, and I’m sitting down next to them while they’re in the chairs, and they’re just feeding me beautiful, perfect poke, beer, the biggest blunt I’ve ever seen. It, you know, I handled myself like a boss, but like, you know, it was something. Somewhere out there, Snoop’s proud. And I’m hanging there and they’re just like letting me be and like making a little bit of talk, but everything’s happening, you know, like the teenagers are giving flack to the young adults and like I’m watching Uncle help one of the aunties out with her chair that’s not working.
Oh, hold on. I’ll be [00:48:00] right there. Let me help you. And like, they’re just lovely hosts and up walks this guy and he’s like, Hey, I’m Brendan. Hey, Brenda, nice to meet you. He’s not much taller than me, and he holds himself with pride. Yeah. And we’re just having this conversation, and he’s just gently, but like, with some authority, advising me on how to Get my shit together And he’s telling me about like all these Certificates I can earn and just perspective changes and was a really awesome Generous gesture and at one point I look off to the side Where the sand is in three tables and I see like people on the beach, like surfers going in and out with the tide, people swimming and on the radio comes one love, one love, one [00:49:00] love, and the waves are perfectly in sync.
Boys thinking about life.
And I realized that these people created space. For me to create space for myself.
They made it safe to be here now, in this moment.
and I’m just totally blown away by the generosity and we all sit there and just slowly watch the sunset quietly, music’s playing, and as I start to realize it’s time to wrap [00:50:00] up I start to get my bag and then I walk over to the cliffside at the coral edge where there’s a bunch of trees. And so the drop off’s right there, two trees are crossed right over my head and right in the middle is the moon.
It’s a full moon. And I’m just holding my hands there and saying thank you to something I didn’t even know I needed. And as I’m leaving, one of the aunties hands me something. She’s like, here, take this. And it’s a loaf of bread of King’s Hawaiian. And as I’m walking off, I’m like, uncle, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
And he’s like, hey man, I’m with you.
And, at the end of it,[00:51:00]
they just gave me space to be, and showed me that there’s a strength in that. That you can be a short king. And a good king at that.
[00:51:19] Devin Carpenter: Keegan Bonstein is a lifelong performer excited to take a hand at storytelling tonight. He has 25 years of performance experience ranging from musicals to environmental theater to political demonstration. He is also a lifelong food service worker and energy practitioner. He’s very grateful to call Missoula home and for this opportunity.
[00:51:44] Marc Moss: Pretty great stories,
right? I’ll bet you have a story to share, and I’ll bet that you have a story to share on the theme, Lost in Translation. The next Tell Us Something live event is scheduled for September 28th. The theme is Lost in Translation. Pitch your story for consideration [00:52:00] by calling 406 203 4683.
You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is August 20th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch. Thanks to our media sponsors, Missoula Broadcasting Company, including the family of ESPN Radio, The Trail 103. 3, Jack FM, and Missoula’s source for modern hits.
You won a 4. 5 Float Missoula. Learn more at FloatMSLA. com and MissoulaEvents. net. Next week, join us for the concluding stories from the Neighbors Live Storytelling Event.
[00:52:32] Devin Carpenter: And as I wake up, I notice that there’s a woman standing outside my bedroom tapping on the window and holding this white bag in the air.
And then I get excited because I realize this is not just some woman. This is Mimi. This is my grandma. And what I need to do is go very quietly, let her in the house. And I go let Mimi in the front door. And we sit down and we open up this white bag and we share a couple [00:53:00] glazed donut holes. Just the two of us, before we go wake up everyone else.
The best explanation that I have for this is that it’s like I was walking down this path, and it’s nighttime, and queerness is like a house with the lights on, and I can see the people inside, and I want to go in, but I don’t know those people, and I don’t live in that house. And the door is closed.
And then I met Lewis.
[00:53:36] Whitney Peper: And he’s going, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, can I get a ride?
And Tracy’s like, yeah, get in the car! And I’m like, no!
No, no, no, no! And I, I like, barricade the door and trap him inside and Tracy’s behind me and JP’s standing next to me. And I go, J. P., call the cops. And J. P. ‘s like, no, we’re not calling the cops.
[00:53:57] Cathy Scholtens: And we see this hawk coming up the North [00:54:00] Ridge. And she’s floating on those drafts. And just floating and floating. And pretty soon, she’s right here. She’s right above us. If I had stood on my tiptoes, I could have touched her.
Now I’m not. No hug. Itty boogey. New age. Woo woo. Mystical girl. I’m not. Look at me.
Oh my God.
[00:54:24] Marc Moss: tune in for those stories on the next tell us something. Podcast. Thanks to Cash For Junkers who provided the music for the podcast, find them at cash for junkers band.com. To learn more about, tell us something, please visit, tellussomething.org.