Didn't See That Coming

8 storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Didn’t See That Coming”.

Stories are shared without notes. Each story is 10 minutes.

Your community. Your stories.

Tell Us Something: Didn’t See That Coming at Free Ceramics in Helena, MT
Tuesday, April 12, 2018

Get tickets here!

Tell Us Something welcomes all ages, however, parents, please be advised that stories sometimes have adult themes and storytellers sometimes use adult language.

Doors at 6PM, storytelling begins at 7PM, with a brief intermission halfway through.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of the show.

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

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming Part 2

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

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

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

[music]

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

[Marc Moss] This week on the podcast…

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

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

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

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

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

[insert land ack from live event here]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

[Marc Moss]

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

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

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

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

So we’ve been taken care of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, this is the last CanCan in Hamburg.

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

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

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

[Raymond Ansotegui]

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

I wanted to do anything for a day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hung it up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming - Part 1

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

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

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

[music]

[intro clip – x2]

[Marc Moss] This week on the podcast…

[clip x2]

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

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

[insert land ack from live event here]

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

[Rae Scott]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, mom.

[Marc Moss] Thanks, Rae.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

[Marc Moss] Thanks,Ann.

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

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

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

I was writing and reading messages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to our in-kind sponsors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we hear from four storytellers

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

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

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

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

motherhood,journey,parents,family,hiking,peace,liver,transplant,cargoplane,lifeanddeath,Togo,Africa,love,courting,romance,marriage,in-laws,love,marriage,hiking,hike,Hope,lake,Wisdom,LGBTQ,lesbian,complicated,gratitude,tellussomething,didntseethatcoming,yourstorymatters,livestorytelling,Missoula,Montana,storytelling

innocence,mtinnocence,innocenceproject,prison,jail,newyearseve,feedom,nazis,nohate,Germany,caberet,eatyourvegetables,lessons,prison,apple,carving,beauty,ugly,gratitude,tellussomething,didntseethatcoming,yourstorymatters,livestorytelling,Missoula,Montana,storytelling

In this week’s podcast, you’ll hear the brief history of a time our storyteller lunched with a famous physicist, a young girl’s history of being lucky in love and the story of an adventurous young woman who crosses the Atlantic on a freighter ship.

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming - Part 2

00:08
welcome to tell us something
00:10
jerry spencer first came to montana in
00:13
1979
00:14
when he got a summer job as a desk clerk
00:17
at a lodge in glacier park
00:20
that is where he met the love of his
00:22
life and partner janet
00:24
who is also with us tonight jerry is a
00:27
serial
00:28
entrepreneur he helped found kiss
00:32
which plays a role in this story and
00:34
janet helped found
00:36
tidbits for paper which is currently
00:38
published in over 180 locations
00:42
jerry is managing a project to
00:43
revitalize an old iron foundry in
00:45
indiana and splitting his time between
00:48
indiana and montana
00:49
please welcome jerry spencer so i didn’t
00:52
see that coming
00:53
a little bit of background uh before
00:56
this story occurred
00:57
a friend of mine rick uh used to work at
01:00
uh spring metal resources and and farm
01:02
in the dell
01:03
worked with the residents there and and
01:05
he enjoyed that he
01:06
he got to help them out and and uh one
01:09
of the the residents was was ricky
01:12
and ricky had some kind of an endowment
01:14
or some extra money that allowed him to
01:16
do
01:17
to take events and to to go to different
01:19
places and do things so rick and ricky
01:21
went out
01:22
quite often and i i saw them
01:23
occasionally i went went with him a
01:25
couple of times and i
01:26
got to know ricky a little bit he was
01:28
really sharp and
01:29
and very witty yeah you know just
01:31
physically handicapped was in a
01:32
wheelchair
01:33
and and pretty bad off that way but real
01:35
sharp and and uh
01:37
was good with his computers and sure
01:40
enjoyed his gadgets ricky had a lot of
01:42
gadgets
01:43
um so back in the 90s uh my partner bill
01:46
crane and i started the company uh keep
01:48
it simple systems that he mentioned and
01:49
we made solar power for portable
01:51
computers
01:52
a whole lot of fun we uh we took the
01:54
ride
01:55
yeah i would say in late early silicon
01:58
valley
01:58
uh we we went around and just had a heck
02:02
of time with
02:02
solar power for portable computers but a
02:04
small company
02:06
just bill and myself and we hired two
02:07
other people that did the computer
02:09
consulting
02:10
so in 1994 uh august 1994
02:14
we scraped together our nickels and and
02:16
barely made enough money to
02:18
and put it all into uh getting a booth
02:21
at the mac
02:21
world expo at that time was a real big
02:23
deal we’d never been one of these and we
02:25
couldn’t afford to take a lot of people
02:26
so it was just bill and i
02:28
and we showed up the day of the expo and
02:31
we went there
02:32
and our booth was in the back you know
02:34
and we didn’t know what to expect but
02:36
boy that thing started going and the
02:38
crowd was just crazy
02:39
it was just amazing we just couldn’t
02:41
take a break it was just
02:42
non-stop people coming up and it was
02:44
very exciting and and
02:46
it was just bill and i you know so we’re
02:47
not going to see the show we’re not
02:49
going to go to the to the workshops or
02:50
any of that kind of stuff
02:52
we’re just working our asses off and uh
02:55
went along for quite a while and then i
02:56
finally said bill i
02:57
i got to take a break so i went went
02:59
down and i left him in the booth and i
03:01
went to the little commissary and got
03:03
you know the chicken salad chicken
03:05
caesar salad in in the in the
03:07
plastic device and so forth and what sat
03:10
down at this table with a couple other
03:11
fellas we didn’t say anything or
03:12
anything they got up and walked away
03:13
after a little while so i’m sitting
03:15
there at the table by myself
03:17
and then come came along a fellow
03:20
pushing another guy in the wheelchair
03:21
reminded me of rick and ricky it was a
03:24
very disabled fellow in a wheelchair
03:26
with lots of neat gadgets hanging off
03:27
the wheelchair and
03:28
his assistant excuse me is this table
03:30
taken no no go ahead and sit down
03:34
and now i gotta admit that
03:38
later after thinking about this i should
03:41
have been in montana mode
03:42
you know in montana somebody sits down
03:44
at your table you’re going to talk to
03:46
him
03:46
you have a little bit of conversation
03:47
and just you know say hi how you doing
03:49
what do you think of the show or
03:50
anything like that
03:52
but no no i i was in big city mode
03:55
in big city you can sit at the table
03:57
people come up you don’t even have to
03:58
talk you just
03:59
you respect their space so maybe that’s
04:01
what i was doing i was giving them a
04:02
chance to just
04:03
eat their lunch in peace and i ate my my
04:06
lunch and piece and i
04:07
shoveling stuff in my face food in my
04:09
face and one point i did look around the
04:11
room and i
04:13
kind of weird just seemed like everybody
04:15
was looking at our table
04:17
okay that’s fine so i finished up my
04:20
lunch
04:22
i mean just you know kind of packed up
04:24
and
04:25
said pleasantries to the guys and walked
04:27
away
04:28
taking my my thing over to the trash and
04:30
somebody comes up to me man
04:32
well how was that what’d you guys talk
04:34
about
04:35
what what what’d you do man and i said
04:38
what
04:39
what are you doing do you know who
04:40
you’re just having lunch with
04:42
that’s stephen hawking he’s given the
04:44
keynote speech today
04:47
i didn’t see that susie holt
04:51
melta met the love of her life in new
04:54
york city
04:55
but wasn’t positive she was ready to
04:58
spend her life with him when he returned
05:00
from a trip around the world
05:02
he was emergency man and he wanted her
05:04
to move to montana
05:06
she also loved to travel and ran away
05:09
from him to have her own adventure
05:12
while she figured it out after four
05:15
months of hitchhiking across europe in
05:17
1964
05:19
she got a little more of both than she
05:21
bargained for
05:22
when she headed home please welcome
05:25
susie holt
05:27
well i’m 22
05:30
i’m in athens greece and i’m ready to go
05:33
home so i bought a trader
05:37
one of those that takes 12 passengers
05:39
and first five
05:41
cabins it takes 10 to 12 days to cross
05:44
the atlantic
05:46
only problem is not coming smooth
05:49
for another month and i’m really ready
05:52
to go home
05:54
so i kept bugging the shipping agent
05:57
can’t you find something that’s coming
05:59
through sooner please
06:01
and one day he said yes
06:05
is um one briefly stopping briefly and
06:08
tweet
06:09
and it’s leaving after tomorrow but
06:12
that’s okay we’ll fly you there
06:14
and you can catch it so then here i am
06:18
on the dock next to this big black ugly
06:21
framer but is that how like star
06:23
um painted on the bow it’s the right
06:26
ship
06:27
it’s the right day it’s the right time
06:28
where is everybody
06:31
where are the other passengers who’s
06:34
going to take my ticket and show me
06:35
where to go
06:36
but then a young seaman came by headed
06:38
for the ship and he saw me
06:41
and he didn’t speak english but he came
06:43
over and
06:44
kind of like can i help you and so i
06:48
handed him my ticket
06:50
and he kind of puzzled over it and just
06:53
you know indicated i should wait and he
06:56
disappeared onto the ship
06:58
i’m leaving he came back gave me
07:01
a smile picked up my little red
07:04
plastic suitcase and led me up the
07:09
wobbly gangplank into the ship down a
07:12
dark narrow passage to a door
07:15
that said when you operated
07:20
[Music]
07:22
so i go inside and it’s definitely not
07:24
first class but it’s
07:26
you know it’s compact it has everything
07:28
i need okay this is fine
07:30
so i started putting my things away and
07:34
then i could feel that we were moving oh
07:37
man i’m so excited i’m going to
07:39
stay across the atlantic on a ship and
07:42
um so i poked my head out
07:45
you know thinking i’d catch up with some
07:47
other
07:48
passengers
07:51
come on you’re seeing this coming right
07:55
so uh dark nothing
07:59
no signs to show me where to go so now
08:02
i’m really confused and i go back into
08:04
the cabin and sit on the bunk
08:06
and uh wonder what’s next
08:09
and then uh taso that’s the name of that
08:12
first young seaman he came
08:13
knocked on the door took me to the
08:15
captain’s office
08:17
the captain’s office is nice and
08:18
spacious it has a big old desk
08:21
and a short boyish looking
08:26
man behind it and he explains
08:30
how surprised he is that i have a ticket
08:33
on his freedom
08:35
he said this freighter doesn’t carry
08:38
passengers
08:45
[Music]
08:49
liberty ship its top speed is 10
08:52
knots will be a month
08:56
going across and we have one stop in
09:00
naples
09:02
a month only passenger
09:06
and we’re already outside of land
09:10
so that night i have dinner with the
09:13
captain in his private dining room
09:17
and we shared some things about
09:20
ourselves he said
09:22
this was his first trip across the
09:24
atlantic
09:30
he’s 35 and
09:34
not married and he’s been thinking about
09:38
it
09:39
and he knew that it was destiny
09:42
that put me on his ship now there’s
09:45
nowhere
09:46
to be his wife
09:50
i don’t love you
09:53
marriage comes first thankfulness love
09:56
but it was a good thing he felt that way
09:59
because the tall
10:00
dark and very handsome first mate
10:03
started putting moves on me right away i
10:06
said
10:07
oh no i’m gonna wait until i’m married
10:11
he said leaned over me and said i can’t
10:14
wait five minutes
10:21
i think the captain must have called him
10:24
off because he didn’t bother me like
10:26
that
10:27
again so we pull into naples
10:30
uh very crowded port ships from all over
10:33
the world
10:35
and it’s dirtier and it’s noisy
10:39
and the cruise starts loading six
10:41
thousand tons
10:42
of canned tomatoes
10:46
the captain takes me out into the city
10:48
though
10:49
and he takes me to a very elegant
10:52
private dining hall
10:55
i’m feeling a little awkward the best i
10:58
have
10:58
left is a very worn
11:02
faded red sleeveless
11:05
shift and yellow rubber
11:12
flip-flops
11:16
hiking around um
11:19
but he wasn’t faced he said really
11:22
it’s so good to not have to pay
11:26
for my companion
11:28
[Music]
11:35
i knew i wanted to learn how to play the
11:37
guitar so he ordered to buy one for me
11:39
i said no that’s too much i also knew i
11:42
was an artist
11:43
he said well what if i set up a room for
11:45
you to paint
11:46
you know we’ll fix everything you need
11:48
to do a painting and we can tell you
11:50
okay that’s good so we sail out of
11:53
naples
11:54
through this strait of gibraltar out to
11:56
the open ocean
11:58
we’re going to be there three weeks
12:01
but i didn’t have worried because i was
12:04
such a novelty
12:06
such a break in the monotony
12:09
they treated me like a pampered princess
12:13
i had the run of the ship
12:16
i explored every inch of it from
12:20
from bottom to top and from stem to
12:23
stern
12:24
my favorite was up in the crow’s nest
12:27
you may
12:28
know that that’s the very top of the
12:30
ship and
12:31
from there you have a 360 degree
12:34
view of the ocean out to the horizon
12:38
and it was just magic being up there
12:40
watching for ships or watching the
12:42
luminescence in the water or um
12:45
it was especially magical at night in
12:47
the moonlight
12:48
i spent a lot of time up there
12:52
then then those magical waves
12:56
started messing with us started tossing
12:59
us around
13:01
and i thought it was very exciting i ran
13:04
down to the bow of the ship and going up
13:07
and down with it you know
13:09
and it just exhilarated by the
13:12
the spray of the waves that were
13:15
crashing over the bow
13:17
captain came down pretty quick i said
13:19
that wasn’t such a good idea
13:23
that evening at dinner the storm was
13:26
building up
13:28
[Music]
13:30
and the plates on our
13:34
dining table just flew off the table and
13:38
smashed against
13:39
the wall um
13:44
that night the storm really got going
13:46
and i
13:47
the creeks and grunts of the ship were
13:49
really freaking me out
13:51
so i went to find some and i found them
13:53
the officers all huddled
13:55
together in the wheelhouse at the helm
13:59
singing boisterous and it made me think
14:02
of cub scouts out in the
14:04
out in their first camping trip you know
14:07
in the wild so i
14:11
knew this was bad and i went back to my
14:14
cabin and strap my
14:18
life preserver all over my clothes and
14:21
lay down in my bunk and just held on to
14:24
the hell by preserver
14:26
hoping the ship wouldn’t break up well
14:28
it didn’t
14:29
um
14:32
that bugs me
14:36
how am i gonna finish it didn’t break up
14:38
i went down to the
14:40
to this my studio and the paints had
14:43
come unsealed
14:45
and splashed over the walls
14:48
it was absolutely clean the next day
14:50
though
14:51
[Music]
14:53
so then oh i wanted to build a kite i
14:56
have to tell you about the kite
14:58
the captain and i built one and it
15:01
didn’t fly
15:02
but the next day there was one flying
15:04
and the crew had made it
15:05
and it was octagonal and it had two
15:10
black circles with glasses and little
15:12
nose and
15:13
two little ponytails
15:14
[Music]
15:16
the crew kept that flying for two weeks
15:20
so so okay we’re coming up to the
15:23
atlantic coast
15:24
and we have to find our way up to new
15:26
york and in a fog with broken radar
15:30
but we make it and the last night
15:34
the crew the captain unlocks
15:37
the beer sets it down to the deck for
15:40
the crew
15:41
the guitars come out the the zuki come
15:45
out
15:45
the singing and dancing starts and i i
15:48
can’t resist i head down to the deck
15:50
and i dance greek style you know
15:53
into the wee hours with the kite still
15:56
falling
15:57
so who could have expected any of that
16:01
and i but i still wonder if that
16:04
shipping agent
16:05
knew what he was setting me up for
16:09
so our next storyteller
16:12
is me uh we had a dropout so i’m gonna
16:14
tell you mine
16:16
didn’t see that coming story my name is
16:19
mark moss yeah he didn’t see that coming
16:22
my name is mark moss i’m from cuyahoga
16:24
falls ohio a little town right outside
16:26
of akron
16:27
i moved to montana in 1997 ended up in
16:31
gardner in 1999 which is where this
16:33
story
16:34
starts how many people have ever seen
16:37
bruce springsteen an e street bank yeah
16:40
so it is like it is like a gospel
16:42
revival isn’t it
16:44
you know he opens with a strong song and
16:46
it’s a lot of celebration and it’s a
16:48
party and then
16:49
and then he plays some of these songs
16:51
that are a little more heartbreaking and
16:53
a little more sort of working class and
16:57
maybe i’m not getting my dreams coming
16:58
true anymore
17:00
and then he celebrates again
17:03
and it’s a big party and he’s just
17:05
celebrating the
17:06
the joy of rock and roll and and of love
17:10
and of
17:10
snags and it is
17:13
incredible well in 1984
17:17
uh born in the usa came out and i bought
17:20
the tape
17:21
and i was 13 and
17:24
we were in i think atlantic city or uh
17:27
ocean city maryland when he came through
17:29
cleveland so we didn’t get to see him
17:31
and then when i got back to cleveland
17:33
the closest that he was coming was
17:35
pittsburgh which wasn’t that far away
17:36
but i’m 13.
17:38
so so i didn’t get to go see him there
17:40
but in 1988 i saw him for the first time
17:42
and it was awesome and i decided i was
17:44
never gonna not see a bruce springsteen
17:47
e street band show again
17:48
and so i saw every single tour up until
17:52
maybe a couple years ago i’ve seen every
17:54
single tour but in 1999
17:56
i was living in gardner montana and i
17:59
didn’t have a car
17:59
[Music]
18:01
and bruce springsteen announced uh the
18:03
reunion of the e street band
18:05
and they were gonna do a world tour and
18:08
the closest they were coming to gardner
18:10
was fargo north dakota
18:14
but i bought tickets i bought four
18:16
tickets and i had no one to go with
18:18
and i had no car and no way to get there
18:20
and so i go down to recipe booster and i
18:22
sit there and jay todd pours me a beer
18:25
and i said hey jay todd
18:27
do you want to come with me to seafood
18:28
spring city street band in
18:30
fargo north dakota and he said yes how
18:33
are we going to get there and i said we
18:34
could take your card he says have you
18:35
seen my car
18:37
he drove like a 1986 beat up subaru with
18:40
three flat tires and maybe one turn
18:42
cycle that worked
18:43
and i said okay we can’t take your car
18:46
and he said i’m not going you should
18:47
talk to john
18:49
john dundee’s sitting next to me and i
18:51
said john you want to go to the see
18:53
bruce springsteen and
18:55
he’s like who are you do you play bass
19:00
no so john wasn’t coming with me
19:03
so i have to go up the hill to
19:04
yellowstone national park where i worked
19:06
and i’m asking everybody i know and i
19:07
finally find
19:09
a guy with a truck who’s willing to
19:11
drive to fargo north dakota
19:13
if i give him the tickets
19:16
so i have to give him the tickets and i
19:18
do
19:19
and it’s mark beale and carrick gunther
19:22
and carrie’s girlfriend at the time
19:24
christy and so it’s mark’s truck
19:27
gary and christy sit in the front
19:28
there’s only two seats
19:31
and so mark and i have to ride in the
19:32
back in the bed of the pickup truck
19:34
there’s a topper that doesn’t have
19:38
really good seals on the windows it’s
19:39
also november
19:44
so we pile all these blankets into the
19:46
back of the truck and
19:47
and mark and i get in the bed kerry’s
19:49
driving i can’t remember how
19:50
many hours it is to fargo it’s like nine
19:52
or ten hours it’s crazy
19:54
and but it’s cold and it’s you know
19:56
tangling around you can’t hear each
19:58
other
19:58
really well and we don’t have cell
20:00
phones in 1999
20:01
and so there’s nothing to do we didn’t
20:03
bring any books so we do as best we can
20:05
trying to sleep
20:07
and we fail a lot of that but finally we
20:10
get
20:11
to fargo and we get something to eat i
20:14
can’t remember what we had some
20:16
diner greasy spoon food and then we get
20:18
into the venue and we have the nosebleed
20:20
seats way up at the top
20:21
and the nosebleeds for those who don’t
20:23
know are those cheap seats and they’re
20:25
so high up in the
20:26
arena that you might get a nosebleed
20:27
from the altitude
20:29
and so we’re way up there but i don’t go
20:31
to the seats right away
20:33
they go up to the seats i get sucked
20:34
into the merch table
20:36
and i’m looking and i’m thinking about
20:39
the cold ride back to
20:41
montana and so i’m looking at the
20:43
hoodies but they’re 90 dollars
20:46
and i’m looking in my wallet i don’t
20:47
have any credit cards and i’m looking
20:48
through my wallet
20:49
how much money i have to get home but
20:51
also how much money do i have to spend
20:53
here at the merch table i’m not gonna
20:54
get a poster
20:55
because that’s gonna bend i’m not gonna
20:58
get it so anyway i get a key chain
21:03
and i’m trucking back up to the seats
21:05
and i get to the seats
21:07
and nobody is looking at me mark and
21:09
christy and carrie are all just looking
21:11
straight ahead
21:12
and i sit down and i say hey yo
21:15
what’s what’s going on and they don’t
21:18
look at me
21:19
there’s a guy sitting behind us he’s
21:20
like nine feet tall
21:22
he’s got like a black suit with a black
21:24
shirt that’s buttoned to the top
21:26
and creases that you can cut diamonds
21:28
with i mean the creases in his pants
21:30
were just
21:32
and and so i turned around and i said
21:33
what’s going on he says don’t look at me
21:35
i spoke
21:35
[Music]
21:40
and he says do you want to move to the
21:42
front and i said yeah what’s that gonna
21:44
cost he said please
21:45
don’t look at me i said okay so
21:49
what’s that gonna cost and there are
21:52
these people walking
21:53
up the steps off to the left
21:57
and and he shouts at them stop following
22:00
me and they
22:01
sit in their seats they don’t even look
22:02
at their tickets and see if they’re the
22:04
right seats and stick in their seats and
22:05
they say we’re not following you
22:08
well they knew something that we didn’t
22:09
know and that is this guy behind us
22:12
works for bruce springsteen but we
22:14
didn’t know that he’s a stranger to us
22:16
and he says do you want to move to the
22:17
front yes we do
22:19
he says give me your tickets so we give
22:20
him our tickets this is a stranger
22:23
and he gives us new tickets that haven’t
22:26
been torn
22:27
which i’m like are these fraudulent what
22:29
is this and then he says here’s a
22:31
wristband
22:33
don’t lose it don’t sell it you need it
22:36
to get to your seats and he puts it on
22:39
our wrists
22:40
and i turn around to look at him and
22:41
he’s like disappeared into the ether
22:44
he said okay
22:47
so we go down to the usher and i’m going
22:49
oh
22:51
and so get to the usher and she’s she
22:53
tears our tickets and she says
22:55
these are good seats and so it’s like
22:58
great
22:59
and so she sends us down to the next
23:01
usher
23:02
and and the next session looks at our
23:04
tickets and says these are great
23:06
seats and
23:20
and we’re looking at each other and
23:21
there’s by the way so so mark and uh
23:24
mark and i are sitting over here there’s
23:25
two other dudes in the middle
23:27
that we’ve never seen before also all in
23:29
black and very serious looking
23:31
and then carrie and christy are sitting
23:33
over here for whatever reason these guys
23:35
had
23:35
those seats and we come to find out that
23:37
they paid 800
23:39
for their seats at a charity auction
23:41
because when bruce goes to a town he
23:43
tries to
23:44
give to some charity in some way
23:47
apparently he had donated a bunch of
23:48
tickets
23:49
and they bought them and they were eight
23:50
hundred dollars a piece and they were
23:51
just pissed off
23:52
that all these poor rednecks were coming
23:55
down from the upper
23:57
chief seats and they didn’t have to pay
23:59
any more than you know face value and so
24:01
they’re all just
24:03
yelling at each other and not paying
24:04
attention but what’s happening
24:06
is we’re watching everybody’s like
24:10
walking
24:11
down from the cheap seats because we’re
24:13
not the only ones
24:15
and they’re like confused and as they
24:18
realize what’s happening
24:20
there’s this moment of joy
24:23
that just washes over their whole body
24:26
and
24:27
and then then we start talking about
24:28
what’s your favorite record
24:30
did you see
24:31
[Music]
24:34
you know whatever and we just formed
24:37
this community and it was incredible and
24:38
then
24:38
bruce comes on the stage and he opens
24:41
with the ties that dine you know right
24:42
off the river
24:43
and it’s a party right from the
24:44
beginning and
24:46
have you ever been to one of these it’s
24:48
three hours long it’s a
24:50
it’s a ordeal and it’s a party
24:53
and we’re dancing and we’re just
24:54
soaked in sweat and he leaves the
24:57
station and comes back for the encore
24:58
you know thunder
25:00
and then he plays hungry hard and then
25:02
he plays like one of my favorite songs
25:04
open dreams this train carries saints
25:06
and sinners
25:07
this train carries losers and owners
25:09
this train carries horses and gamblers
25:11
everybody get on board and
25:14
so we are on board and they’ve finished
25:17
the show
25:18
and they come and they’re slapping high
25:19
fives and i got high fives with bruce
25:21
springsteen
25:22
and clarence clements and his hands are
25:24
so big
25:31
so the story really is about the
25:34
experience of getting there not about
25:35
the show
25:36
i didn’t see it coming i couldn’t have
25:38
imagined i don’t remember getting home
25:40
it wasn’t because of his journey thank
25:43
you so much
25:57
[Music]
26:09
you
26:15
[Music]
In this week's podcast, you'll hear a forgiveness story about a young student’s misbehavior, a young woman’s survival story, the kindness of strangers on a train and a lifetime of love stories.

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming (part 1)

00:08
welcome to tell us something
00:10
every tell us something event is focused
00:12
on a theme
00:15
tonight’s theme is didn’t see that
00:17
coming
00:20
aaron parrott is a professor of english
00:23
at the university of providence
00:25
he and his most recent book he he
00:29
has his
00:32
he’s an author and his most recent book
00:36
is maple and lead it’s a collection of
00:39
short stories with woodcuts by seth
00:41
robey
00:42
he also runs the territorial press in
00:44
helena montana
00:45
devoted to fine letter press editions of
00:48
handcrafted montana literature
00:50
please welcome aaron parrott i used to
00:53
be a really bad kid
00:56
uh and worse than that i hung out with a
00:59
lot of other really bad
01:00
kids and in eighth grade
01:04
it was sort of this perfect storm of
01:06
badness
01:07
and that we all ended up in the same
01:09
eighth grade homeroom and worse than
01:12
that the regular teacher
01:14
about a third of the way through the
01:15
year
01:17
i think she got sick or there was a
01:19
death in the family or something and she
01:20
left and so we got a substitute teacher
01:22
for the rest of the year
01:26
you can already see where this is going
01:30
um and we just treated this
01:33
poor teacher horribly miss
01:36
porzig was her name uh
01:40
and two things i remember really vividly
01:42
my friend rod storley
01:45
i think we all got into chewing
01:46
copenhagen around this time
01:48
and her strategy was the the worst kid
01:50
in the class she would put behind her
01:52
at her desk facing the rest of the class
01:56
but then she couldn’t see what that
01:57
person was doing
01:59
and so he’s sitting at her desk chewing
02:01
copenhagen and opening the drawers and
02:03
spitting into the drawers told you we
02:06
were bad
02:08
um and i ended up in the principal’s
02:11
office
02:12
because i think i discovered william
02:14
burroughs around this time also
02:17
and i would sit in my in my desk and
02:20
just
02:20
shake like this and say i need a fix i
02:22
need a fix
02:24
and so i ended up in the principal’s
02:26
office
02:28
but the thing was we go to the
02:29
principal’s office and the principal
02:30
says so what’s he doing
02:32
and then my teacher says i need
02:36
and it was so goddamn funny seeing my
02:38
teacher do this
02:39
but of course i laughed but the
02:42
principal didn’t think that was very
02:43
funny
02:45
and the really ironic thing is i don’t
02:47
remember what punishment i got
02:49
i do remember he called my parents and
02:50
that was probably
02:52
punishment enough but i don’t recall
02:56
what the punishment was relative to the
02:58
class
02:59
and that was really the last i
03:03
remembered of the class
03:04
those two highlights and then i went on
03:07
to high school
03:08
and became an even worse person
03:13
but then my biggest crime there was i
03:15
just skipped school a lot
03:17
and finally i got expelled or i was
03:20
about to be expelled
03:21
and instead of kicking me out i tried
03:23
the project for alternative learning
03:26
which changed my life it really
03:29
turned me around in the following way
03:32
the first day i went into this
03:33
project for alternative learning it was
03:35
on the may at the may butler
03:36
center on rodney street i sit in the
03:40
principal’s office there
03:41
and he says well what do you want to
03:43
what do you want to learn
03:45
and because i was kind of a smart ass i
03:48
said philosophy
03:50
and he said well we we don’t teach that
03:52
here but let me enroll you down at
03:54
carroll college
03:56
and he got on the phone and literally 10
03:58
minutes later i was signed up for
04:00
classes at carroll college
04:03
the the most important one and the one i
04:06
really remember was
04:09
i think it was an ethics class or survey
04:11
of philosophy with dr barry first
04:14
and i loved it he he was a great teacher
04:17
and apparently i was a great student you
04:20
know 16 years old in a juvenile
04:22
delinquent at helen high but
04:24
put me in the right atmosphere and
04:26
suddenly i turned around and
04:28
i remember he invited me to his house
04:31
for dinner
04:33
you know i’m 16 or 17 years old and just
04:36
was amazed that you know somebody was
04:39
taking me this seriously
04:41
so my girlfriend and i go to
04:44
to his house and knock on the door
04:49
and the woman that answers the door is
04:51
my eighth grade teacher
04:58
but she was very gracious and invited us
05:00
in and we had a great dinner
05:02
great conversation and at the end of the
05:05
night i think i fumbled some
05:08
some muttered apology for what i’ve done
05:10
in eighth grade
05:12
and to her credit she just said oh
05:15
i don’t think it’s as bad as you
05:17
remember and you seem pretty bored back
05:20
then i’m glad to see that you’ve
05:21
turned it around and found something
05:24
that interests you
05:26
and i guess this story is really about
05:29
forgiveness but also the power of a good
05:31
teacher
05:34
elizabeth rivard grew up in a very large
05:37
family in buffalo new york
05:40
she fell in love with stories at the
05:42
family dining room table
05:44
where they were a regular occurrence
05:48
being one of the youngest siblings she
05:50
was mostly a listener
05:52
her family still shares stories when
05:54
they get together
05:56
it’s one of their favorite things to do
05:58
they’ve got some doozies
06:02
elizabeth has changed the names of some
06:04
of the characters in her story
06:06
a quick warning for some of our
06:08
sensitive listeners
06:10
victoria’s story addresses sexual abuse
06:13
with frank language please welcome
06:16
elizabeth rivard
06:17
oh sorry welcome elizabeth
06:22
as mark told you i’m from a large family
06:25
it’s a large catholic family you know
06:28
usually it’s catholic or mormon
06:30
so um
06:34
i was born in 1962 and i have
06:38
three older brothers six older sisters
06:42
and a little brother who’s five years
06:44
younger than me
06:46
so when i was growing up it was the 60s
06:50
early 70s for this
06:53
story and um
06:56
my older siblings were teenagers
07:00
and my brothers were eligible for the
07:03
draft
07:04
but luckily they had high draft numbers
07:08
um and they were all good liberals
07:12
and out protesting the vietnam war
07:16
occasionally getting arrested and
07:19
on friday nights my parents like to go
07:22
out they played bridge and belonged to a
07:24
bridge club so they would go out on
07:26
friday nights
07:28
and my siblings would put the colored
07:30
light bulbs in
07:32
and have parties at our house
07:35
with music and dancing and drinking and
07:38
getting stoned and
07:39
occasionally tripping and while they
07:42
were babysitting
07:43
me and my little brother and a few of
07:45
the other siblings and whatnot
07:47
so this is this is the environment that
07:49
i grew up in
07:52
it was a great family loving family but
07:55
there was a lot
07:56
going on and not only that but my
08:01
grandmother lived with us so that
08:02
at for a period of years there there
08:05
were 14 people living in our house with
08:07
one and a half bathrooms
08:10
and i was the lucky one that got to
08:12
share a bedroom
08:13
with my grandmother and she was
08:17
going blind from glaucoma and
08:21
senile and not only that
08:25
she suffered from depression um
08:29
after her husband had died a number of
08:31
years before
08:34
and twice she had attempted suicide
08:37
while we
08:37
shared a room together one time
08:41
she slit her wrist and another time she
08:43
overdosed on sleeping pills
08:46
and i do have some vague memories of
08:49
that
08:52
so it was frightening for me
08:56
um so
08:59
fast forward to when i’m about 11 years
09:01
old
09:03
and there was a neighbor an older
09:06
gentleman
09:06
who was a gentleman i used that word
09:08
loosely but
09:10
he was a world war ii veteran and
09:13
he used to sit out on his porch and
09:16
sometimes myself or two of my
09:18
girlfriends
09:20
sharon and julie for this story uh
09:25
we would go on the porch and talk to him
09:27
and
09:28
he would ask us to go and get the
09:30
newspaper for him or a
09:32
quart of milk or something we would go
09:34
to the store for him and he’d give us a
09:37
a quarter or whatever and we would buy
09:39
candy and in those days you could
09:41
get a decent amount of candy for a
09:43
quarter
09:45
and then we started going in his house
09:49
and cleaning for him sometimes
09:52
the house was
09:56
pretty dank the shades were always drawn
09:59
so it was kind of dark in there
10:02
and i remember the furniture being kind
10:04
of sparse
10:05
and there were no pictures i can
10:08
remember
10:09
on the walls but he was kind of fun
10:13
because he would let us smoke his
10:16
cigarettes
10:18
um he had penthouse forum
10:22
magazines there which i don’t know if
10:24
it’s even still made but
10:26
it’s about the size of a reader’s digest
10:30
and i don’t recall there being pictures
10:33
in it but
10:34
um there were dirty stories
10:37
and so we would read the dirty stories
10:40
and some of them were just ridiculous i
10:42
i do remember one specifically i think
10:45
it was one a reader submitted
10:49
and the reader had an ant farm and
10:52
he was sleeping and he woke up and
10:54
having the wet dream of his life and the
10:56
ants had all gotten out and were
10:58
crawling
11:03
so i think even at the time i thought
11:07
that was ridiculous
11:10
but anyway you know things kind of
11:14
progressed
11:15
and um
11:18
at some point he started touching us
11:22
and exposing himself to us
11:25
and we were not always all there at the
11:27
same time you know there could be
11:29
different configurations of the three of
11:31
us there
11:34
um and this went on for about a year or
11:37
a year and a half
11:38
and um you know got a little more
11:43
intense as things progressed and
11:47
um i was going to catholic school at the
11:49
time like i said i was about 11 and so i
11:52
was in about sixth grade
11:54
um so
11:57
[Music]
11:58
i knew that this was wrong and i
12:01
shouldn’t be doing it
12:02
but you know i was a kid and i think i
12:05
had curiosity
12:07
i um maybe some of it felt good
12:10
i was getting some attention which i
12:12
wasn’t really getting at home
12:14
so much because there was so much going
12:16
on with the older kids
12:20
but at a point i just i couldn’t do it
12:22
anymore because i was just
12:24
so anxious and i ended up
12:28
growing up to be an anxious young adult
12:31
i had some anxiety and depression i
12:33
think i you know i functioned quite
12:36
normally i went to school i had friends
12:38
i went out but on the
12:39
inside i i really struggled
12:42
a lot i had a lot of shame and guilt
12:47
and i felt like i had a big secret
12:50
that i just could never tell anyone i
12:53
didn’t tell anyone in my family i was so
12:56
ashamed and i just thought god nobody’s
12:59
nobody would understand nobody’s been
13:01
through this this is just really bad
13:03
what you know and he was eating me up
13:07
inside
13:09
to be quite honest and um
13:14
i even thought about suicide a couple
13:17
you know when i was really feeling down
13:20
that
13:20
i mean luckily i never attempted it or
13:23
anything but that’s
13:24
just the angst that it caused me it was
13:27
like all my emotions were
13:29
tied up in a big ball and i couldn’t
13:33
understand
13:35
them it was only until many years later
13:39
that i
13:39
started to work out the knots of that
13:43
ball
13:43
and and you know
13:47
separate out my emotions and and learn
13:50
to deal with them
13:51
but um
13:54
i was about 21 when i
13:57
one morning i i had an apartment with
14:00
some other friends
14:01
and i woke up one morning
14:05
and while i was in that in between state
14:08
of sleep and wakefulness
14:10
i had this like a voice
14:13
and it was like in my right ear
14:17
and it said all the beauty of the world
14:19
can be found in the human heart
14:23
and it was absolutely a profound
14:26
experience for me i mean it
14:30
came with a flood of feeling and it
14:33
at the time it felt like jesus was
14:35
whispering that in my ear
14:39
and it just totally warmed me and
14:43
because i was i was able to see beauty
14:45
around me in the world you know i would
14:48
ride my bike over the peace bridge to
14:51
canada to the beaches up there by myself
14:53
or
14:54
ride down to the waterfront downtown or
14:58
appreciate the flowers and people’s
15:01
yards and
15:02
whatever but i couldn’t see any beauty
15:04
in myself
15:05
i was just so knotted up with shame and
15:10
guilt
15:12
so it was a bomb for my soul
15:16
you know all the beauty of the world can
15:18
be found in the human heart it was just
15:20
profound like wow
15:21
that’s that’s in me and that’s in
15:24
in everyone and that was the beginning
15:29
of my healing journey
15:32
so thank you for listening
15:35
chelsea rice moved to montana in 2011 to
15:39
join her partner
15:40
and within a year was diagnosed with a
15:42
rare and aggressive bladder cancer
15:45
it was then that she this is
15:48
not what i’m supposed to be reading i’m
15:51
giving away the story
15:53
oh no that’s not true this is what she
15:54
gave me
15:59
she’s an advocate for cancer patients
16:01
teens and misfits is a lover of arts and
16:03
literature
16:04
and writes nonfiction she believes in
16:06
resilience is a survivor and is also a
16:09
crazy bird lady
16:10
please welcome chelsea rice in 2012
16:16
as mark said i was diagnosed with a rare
16:19
and aggressive bladder cancer
16:22
it was october and in the weeks before
16:26
my partner and i had been sitting in the
16:28
capital rotunda
16:30
watching a buddhist monk tap out
16:33
a mandala made of sand and we were there
16:37
for
16:37
multiple days in a row watching this
16:39
beautiful process
16:40
unfold and i’m sure that i don’t
16:45
i’m sure that there was a intention that
16:48
was set for that particular mandala
16:50
perhaps it was compassion but for me i
16:53
just kept thinking
16:55
about impermanence over and over and
16:58
over again
17:01
one of those days we were up there was
17:02
october 5th
17:05
and we were just about a 15th
17:09
dates are really hard to remember when
17:10
you’re about to learn you have cancer
17:14
and we went to go see a urologist over
17:18
at st
17:19
peter’s um
17:23
that day it was a friday at about 4 30
17:27
p.m right before my 35th birthday
17:31
about two weeks before and when a doctor
17:34
tells you to come in on a friday at 4 30
17:36
p.m
17:38
beware
17:42
so from what i remember there was
17:46
my partner and i sitting and waiting and
17:48
i already knew that this was going to be
17:49
a cancer diagnosis but
17:51
when she pulled up the pilogram which is
17:54
basically a
17:54
black and white x-ray that just pulls
17:57
out
17:58
one system of the body and this was my
18:01
kidneys
18:02
my ureters and my bladder and she pulls
18:05
it up on her computer
18:07
and my partner charlie who i’ve been
18:10
with at that time for about
18:12
a decade is sitting next to me
18:16
and before she can even start talking
18:18
about the system as a whole
18:20
i already can see the lump
18:23
the tumor on the side of my bladder and
18:25
everything just
18:26
goes dead silent kind of like charlie
18:29
brown’s teacher
18:29
just but i can
18:33
feel the only thing i can feel is my
18:35
partner’s hand holding my thigh
18:37
just kind of lightly tapping keeping me
18:39
present for
18:41
at least a little bit
18:44
i remember sitting in the parking lot
18:47
after that diagnosis
18:49
thinking how do i go home
18:52
and call my parents how do i
18:55
how do we and i think i even said to my
18:57
partner charlie how does somebody get
18:59
this
19:00
diagnosis and then get in a car and
19:02
drive home
19:04
like how do you do that so i did
19:07
sit on the back porch that day and i
19:09
called my parents and told them
19:10
and delivered this terrible news i think
19:13
what was even more terrible is that the
19:15
bladder cancer
19:16
was a rare cancer that only two percent
19:20
of the diagnoses
19:21
in the united states are the other
19:24
98 are commonly related to
19:29
lifestyle drinking smoking
19:33
working in chemical factories mine was
19:35
due to environmental toxins
19:38
arsenic in groundwater
19:41
that’s a different story though so in
19:44
order to determine a treatment
19:46
for my bladder cancer nobody here has
19:49
the skill really and there are no
19:52
studies to determine how you would treat
19:55
squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder
20:00
so we had to go to a tertiary
20:02
institution
20:04
and what we decided that fall was
20:07
to go over to the mayo clinic what eva
20:10
enzler calls
20:11
cancer town it’s okay you can laugh
20:15
cancer is kind of funny
20:21
we at the time i was teaching part-time
20:23
as an adjunct professor between helena
20:25
college and carroll college
20:26
my partner is a high school teacher so
20:29
we were
20:30
totally making lots of money
20:36
and i was fresh out of graduate school
20:38
so i did not have insurance
20:40
and this is 2012. so
20:44
we didn’t have a whole lot of money so
20:46
we drove on a month after the diagnosis
20:49
we drove up to haver on a frosty
20:52
november day
20:53
to catch the train to rochester
20:57
however have you all been to the haver
21:00
train station it’s
21:03
one room i don’t think this really
21:06
exists but i think that there’s like a
21:08
dilapidated um phone booth on the
21:11
outside maybe by the turning tracks
21:13
yeah and it’s like a clapboard
21:16
exciting that’s all weathered there’s
21:19
like one person who shows up for 30
21:20
minutes and then leaves
21:22
when the train comes in when you depart
21:25
so my partner and i get on the train
21:27
and um you know it boards about midday
21:31
so you drive through
21:32
you go through the night on the train
21:33
and i don’t know if any of you have
21:35
ridden a train lately
21:37
it’s just barely a step above riding a
21:39
greyhound
21:41
just barely it’s cold
21:44
it’s really cold when you if you have a
21:47
seat near the window and you lean up
21:48
against it you can feel the winter
21:50
coming through the vents and against
21:52
your face and
21:54
lots of families in bulk ride with lots
21:56
of kids
21:57
and so it often looks like there’s the
21:59
kids have been like
22:00
licking the glass and then like rubbing
22:04
their snot on it
22:06
it’s pretty spectacular for a sick
22:09
person
22:10
so when we got on i um happened to see
22:13
where the conductors would sit we were
22:14
in the very back train car
22:16
and i noticed that they had lysol wipes
22:18
so i kind of stole a couple
22:20
and like took them to my chair and wiped
22:22
things down i was terrified when your
22:24
immune system is compromised everything
22:26
is scary
22:27
um you know we drove through the night
22:30
and
22:32
it was a solemn ride
22:35
those seats are really uncomfortable
22:37
they don’t go back all the way
22:38
you kind of sit you know scrunched up
22:42
there’s people like yelling there’s
22:44
people getting drunk it’s very noisy
22:46
lots of clamor
22:47
and all i can remember passing through
22:49
the night was going through williston
22:51
and north dakota and seeing the oil
22:54
fields on the horizon
22:56
and they’re really beautiful
22:59
it’s hard to say that but they’re like
23:02
little
23:02
candle wicks like staggered at different
23:05
levels along the horizon they’re
23:06
beautiful
23:08
and the workers from williston were on
23:10
the train with us and i mean
23:11
i’m a liberal i’m crazy liberal of
23:14
course i have a
23:15
same-sex partner um
23:18
and you know i’m pretty just i’m pretty
23:20
concerned about uh
23:22
fracking and oil fields and the workers
23:25
were so pleasant and they were so kind
23:28
and they had these
23:28
really even-keeled conversations with us
23:31
and
23:31
they were just riding the train back to
23:33
their cities
23:35
just trying to feed their families and
23:36
it was really a profound moment talking
23:39
to them
23:40
that night my partner and i had to
23:44
wanted to eat dinner in the dining car
23:45
and if you’ve ever ridden an amtrak
23:47
train
23:48
you don’t get to just sit with you and
23:50
your person they fill the seats up
23:53
and so we sat on one side in the dining
23:56
car
23:57
and amtrak food is very cliche it was
23:59
like pieces
24:01
farmed salmon with like a stick of
24:03
poorly steamed broccoli over it
24:05
you know it was very bland food it
24:08
looked good but it was pretty bland
24:10
but before we started to eat these two
24:12
people they were bringing these two
24:14
people to us
24:15
and i’m not gonna lie again with a
24:18
little bit of judginess
24:19
um there was a tall disheveled looking
24:22
man wearing like
24:24
outdoor gear and a smaller
24:27
woman of some asian
24:30
descent with a gold cross around her
24:34
neck
24:35
and i was like oh man i might have even
24:38
leaned into my partner and said boy
24:40
this is going to be an interesting
24:42
dinner
24:44
and they came and they sat down and
24:46
quite honestly again i don’t
24:48
remember what we talked about it was all
24:49
very superficial
24:51
um but i do remember that
24:54
she had on this really bright floral
24:57
print with like a cardigan and he had on
24:59
a blue columbia coat
25:02
and um it was pleasant we had a great
25:05
meal
25:06
and right at the end he said
25:09
you know what what are you guys doing
25:11
why are you going to minnesota
25:14
i said oh you know i have cancer we’re
25:17
going over there to get another opinion
25:18
and find out what the treatment is
25:20
and she was just immediately like
25:22
empathetic
25:23
and softened oh my god we went
25:26
we went through something similar he you
25:28
know he had prostate cancer
25:30
and you know it was so hard and we just
25:33
will be praying about you we’ll be
25:34
thinking about you and
25:36
you know we’ll our hearts are with you
25:39
and we kind of just tided up dinner and
25:42
said thank you
25:43
and went our separate ways and charlie
25:46
and i we went to the back of the train
25:48
and
25:49
sat down and kind of tried to cozy up
25:51
with those flimsy little amtrak blankets
25:53
and
25:53
get cozy and about an hour passed and
25:57
then we see the two of these people
26:00
walking towards us
26:02
they’re like oh my god we’ve been all
26:04
over this train looking for you
26:06
and trains you know amtrak trains are
26:08
too level
26:09
right you have like upstairs and
26:10
downstairs so these people
26:13
they’re you know they’re up and down
26:15
they’re looking all over for us they
26:16
have their own room
26:18
lucky them you can get a room on an
26:21
amtrak train get one
26:23
but they walk up and say
26:26
you know we just wanted to come see you
26:28
and give you a hug and wish you well
26:29
again and
26:30
we’re like oh thank you you know we got
26:32
up and we gave him big hugs
26:34
and while we were in full embrace both
26:36
of us
26:38
one of the the man shoved something into
26:41
my partner’s
26:42
pocket and the woman shoved something
26:44
into my hand
26:45
and we both pulled back from the hug and
26:48
we knew they had given us money
26:50
i mean it was very clear that they had
26:52
shoved money into our hands
26:54
and we were like oh gosh no no we don’t
26:57
need this we don’t need this at all
26:58
thank you very much
26:59
you know we tried to turn it down once
27:01
right
27:04
generously just once because we really
27:06
we were in a bad spot
27:08
um but no no no
27:11
please take it they said and so we
27:13
thanked them and said we really
27:14
appreciate it you know this is going to
27:16
be a hard time
27:17
off they went and we sat down and
27:20
looked in our pockets and i had two
27:22
hundred dollars in cash and my partner
27:24
had
27:25
a three hundred dollar check in her
27:26
pocket
27:29
um that was one of my first experiences
27:33
during my cancer journey with strangers
27:35
reaching out to us and giving us way
27:36
more than we even thought
27:38
was possible i later because the address
27:42
was on her
27:43
check wrote her thank you card and sent
27:46
it off to seattle where they lived
27:48
and i don’t remember her name and it
27:50
doesn’t matter
27:52
she sent a note back that basically said
27:55
we are so happy to have been able to
27:57
provide for you and you do not have to
27:59
keep up this relationship because of it
28:02
and we wish you well
28:05
[Applause]
28:07
bob yost’s regular daytime career has
28:10
been working with taxes in indiana
28:13
oregon and montana nighttime gib
28:16
gay gigs were spent playing the drums in
28:20
in bands brand x
28:23
jack daniels sodbusters and the last
28:26
resort
28:27
his greatest joys come from his family
28:29
and raising three kids
28:31
please welcome bob yost
28:37
god i love that woman rebecca
28:41
we have great sex
28:45
we do have bizarre arguments
28:48
but really do have great kids i would
28:51
say they are
28:53
they’re very beautifully unique
28:58
as is their mother rebecca she couldn’t
29:00
be here tonight
29:01
she’s an oregon i’ve been married
29:05
38 years
29:10
pretty amazing um i first met rebecca
29:13
and i didn’t actually meet her
29:15
we were both state employees
29:18
and i was sitting just on the other side
29:20
of the cubicle from her
29:22
she was on the other side of the wall i
29:24
could hear her talking
29:27
and she was talking about the new guy
29:30
who had just started work me
29:34
and and it was not very flattering
29:37
whatsoever um
29:41
but just hearing that voice i was so
29:43
intrigued
29:45
she had no i mean there was no filter
29:48
whatsoever
29:49
in whatever she said i learned more
29:52
about my co-workers and my boss
29:55
than i ever would of meeting them
30:01
that was a monday
30:05
the saturday before
30:08
susan who worked downstairs in the same
30:11
department
30:13
she had lived with her parents all her
30:16
life
30:17
that saturday morning she moved into my
30:19
tiny
30:20
little duplex apartment
30:24
that saturday afternoon we were married
30:29
by a pentecostal preacher
30:33
and it was also her
30:36
dad um it was surprising her mom dad got
30:40
that wedding together pretty fast
30:41
we were in a big uh big ceremony
30:44
a lot like this beautiful building and
30:47
just to give you an idea about it
30:49
the four groomsmen and myself
30:53
we are dressed and i’m not exaggerating
30:57
shoe to this
31:00
head to toe in matching rittle
31:04
outfits
31:08
and i was drunker than a skunk
31:12
i mean to the wall because i did not
31:15
love her
31:18
that next saturday in my tiny little
31:21
duplex apartment the phone rings
31:24
now this is way back before any kind of
31:27
cell phone
31:28
you know facts all that stuff right i
31:31
didn’t even
31:32
have an answering machine so my one and
31:35
only
31:36
landline which is attached to the
31:38
kitchen wall
31:40
rings i still love it so funny when you
31:44
think of those old phones right
31:46
rotary it had two
31:49
real metal bells in it with a ringer in
31:51
between
31:54
so i pick it up hello is susan there
31:57
it’s a female voice i say no i’m sorry
32:00
she’s not
32:02
oh is this her husband why yes it is
32:06
oh i hear congratulations are in order
32:10
you’re a newlywed i say thank you very
32:14
much
32:15
she says well this is the nurse from dr
32:19
middleton’s office the tests
32:22
are still all negative
32:26
susan is not pregnant
32:30
yeah i’m an idiot i didn’t see that
32:31
coming i married her because she told me
32:33
she was pregnant
32:35
that evening i was to meet her of course
32:37
her parents
32:39
at her house i show up now this is all
32:42
kind of foggy now
32:45
but i do remember going in the kitchen
32:47
and they’re there with susan i take the
32:48
ring off i set it on the kitchen table
32:50
some things were said
32:52
because it’s come to known i guess they
32:54
knew
32:56
but i didn’t as i am leaving
33:01
susan chases me down
33:04
she goes i can’t believe you did that
33:07
you ruined my mom’s dinner
33:15
needless to say that marriage lasted a
33:17
legal
33:18
90 days
33:21
i’m going back to that little duplex
33:23
apartment to pick up my stuff
33:24
and my brother and my dad come with me
33:26
and my brother he pulls it up and he
33:28
goes
33:29
he’s packing a nine millimeter he goes
33:32
you know just in case we have some
33:34
trouble
33:37
okay george we’re not gonna have any
33:39
trouble
33:40
get inside lo behold there are a few
33:42
things missing
33:43
but thank goodness my pride and joys are
33:46
there i had a
33:48
a big old magnavox tv and it was in a
33:51
wood cabinet man
33:53
and my stereo component system oh god i
33:56
love that thing
33:57
and my brother had made a whole wood
33:59
cabinet you know whole
34:01
records components my turntable you know
34:05
big speakers susan
34:08
had taken a can of spray paint and it
34:10
was
34:13
over everything classic i can laugh
34:16
about it now
34:17
um so we got our stuff loaded up
34:20
and my dad turns to me and god bless you
34:23
dad i love you
34:24
you know that um he turns to me now my
34:28
dad
34:29
loves a a good phrase like you know god
34:32
damn it yeah god damn it
34:34
and he’d use the hell word you know but
34:36
he turns to me and he goes
34:39
that’s the most expensive you’ll
34:41
ever have
34:47
now i will tell you
34:51
that is the only time never again ever
34:54
in my 90-year life with my dad that i
34:56
ever heard him use the f
34:57
word no i didn’t see that coming i’ll
35:00
tell you that um
35:03
fast forward susan out of my life
35:06
luckily rebecca we got married outdoors
35:10
underneath the woods it was glorious
35:12
just perfect wonderful
35:16
day and as i tell this story
35:20
i’m very lucky i’ve had the love of some
35:22
really
35:23
great women in my life for sure
35:28
we got to i got in the car one day
35:32
drove 1750 miles
35:35
from east to west right you know where i
35:36
ended up the mitchell building down next
35:39
to the capitol
35:40
because i had a job interview
35:44
took the interview took the written test
35:46
i did not get the job
35:48
okay two weeks later though another job
35:51
opens up in the same area with the same
35:53
supervisor
35:55
so i got to do it by phone and fax got
35:57
the job
35:58
we’re moving to hell in the montana
36:02
it was glorious pack up the uhaul
36:05
get here and we ran it for a while ended
36:08
up buying five acres out on bird’s eye
36:10
right
36:11
loved it little old trailer that first
36:14
winter
36:14
it hit a 40 below i mean it was 40 below
36:17
and i came into town tonight and i saw
36:20
the ak cafe whatever it’s alaskan cafe
36:22
used to be the red roof cafe remember
36:24
that and they used to have fresh eggs i
36:26
know why because when i used to go to
36:27
breakfast there
36:28
they would serve up a platter of the
36:29
biggest greasy fresh eggs because the
36:31
chickens were right outside the window
36:33
in a pen
36:34
and you know if my wife said hey i’m
36:36
going shopping
36:37
back then it was great oh honey were you
36:39
going
36:41
where was it if you’d been around here a
36:42
while it was the mall or kmart that was
36:45
it
36:45
there was nothing else here loved it
36:48
experience in helena
36:49
was actually a joy i’ll have to say are
36:52
there state employees here tonight
36:55
retired cool yeah i mean because i i’m
36:59
actually one of those
37:01
look at that yeah i so both of those
37:03
women
37:04
i met as state employees so i always
37:07
think that’s
37:08
kind of an interesting you know sidebar
37:10
to it
37:11
and i have to admit that first winter we
37:13
were in a little trailer and i was
37:14
feeding that red stove like crazy
37:16
you know keeping the pipes from freezing
37:18
i think that was my first inclination
37:20
that rebecca probably was not going to
37:22
like montana winners
37:25
at that point so anyway i’m going to
37:27
fast forward to like about chapter 99
37:29
out of all this stuff
37:32
great thing is wonderful kids
37:36
raising them all see them go off
37:40
they’ve done really well for themselves
37:43
and it’s been really nice
37:47
my wife goes you know what we love that
37:49
oregon coast don’t we and i go yeah it’s
37:51
really nice because we go out there to
37:52
visit
37:52
i want to retire there i go that’s cool
37:54
you know i do you know i got
37:56
i gotta wait till retirement health
37:58
insurance oh my god i gotta keep working
38:00
she goes i don’t care i go okay it’s one
38:03
of those yes dear
38:04
um so i go yep we find a little place
38:07
over there she loves it
38:09
and i mean blood sweat and tears we’re
38:10
tearing up stuff out the thing tore off
38:12
walls took out cabinets
38:15
remodeled a bunch of it i mean
38:18
oh gosh all new windows all new
38:20
appliances
38:22
got back had taken the lap what i hope
38:24
was the last 20-foot u-haul
38:27
back from there right because now i live
38:29
in missoula checking the u-haul in
38:32
sunday evening i get a text from her
38:36
i figures for sure it’s going to say oh
38:39
are you out shoveling snow
38:41
because i’m walking on the beach
38:44
she said i’ve been thinking about this a
38:46
while
38:48
okay she’d been to a lawyer’s office
38:52
she told me what the major settlements
38:55
would be
38:56
that i’d be served divorce papers i was
38:59
served divorce papers
39:00
that week at work up front
39:04
but don’t feel sorry for me i’ve been
39:06
very blessed
39:08
you know i didn’t see that coming but
39:10
there’s always two sides to every story
39:12
too
39:14
but thank you
39:30
[Music]
39:40
do
39:42
[Music]
39:53
you