Saturday, March 23, 2019

WHERE DO WE GO NOW?


Buyer's remorse
I often brag about the fact that we live about
two hours from the nearest Walmart. As any
former urbanite I abhor big box chains and
their negative impact on small town America.
Most of my readers know that I am fervently
dedicated to shopping locally if and whenever
possible. Be that a local business or national
chain. The exception being if you can't get
what you need in town. All of which seems
quite noble in theory. Yet in practice can be
more than challenging. Most crave immediate
gratification. Meaning if and when we need
something we want to be able to buy it now!
Be prepared
That's where rural life can be more than a bit
challenging. Therefore better safe than sorry
takes on new meaning if one lives in central
Montana. One can't assume that it's easy to
replenish basics or indulge in luxuries here in
the hither land. Instead we must plan ahead
and save for a rainy day. Or just do without.
Proof that limited options not only limit one's
ability to check of their list but require the
deft leverage of one's organizational skills.
Meaning that like it or not, more often than
not locals assume they have no choice but
to spend their money out of town or on-line.
Out of stock
Even when they'd rather not, Fergus County
residents claim they're forced to shop far or
wide by circumstances beyond their control.
This week the corporate owner of our one
"big box" store (well, actually a wee box)
announced they were closing all of its stores.
News that for most Americans didn't mean
a thing. However for Montanans, losing their
local Shopko is bad news at best. Especially
when the chances of filling said gap may take
years. Hence this loss of yet another option
further limits our ability to shop locally. And
the only folks celebrating work for Amazon.
Round about solutions
To put our crisis in context, consider those who
live in Roundup (1,857.) Post closure of their
Shopko pharmacy they now lack a local source
for fulfilling their prescriptions. Their choice
being to plan ahead and order on-line. Or drive
fifty miles to Billings. Hopefully their medical
center will figure out how to fill said gap. But
in the meantime, the parents of any sick baby
or those who can't remember to take, let alone
refill their pills will be all the more frantic when
a crisis hits. Proof that you don't know what you
have until... you literally lose it. And realize that
sooner or later you may never get it back.
Switching channels
Here in Lewistown we're not totally out of luck.
However Frank and I have been making a list
of things we'll no longer be able to procure in
town. Dumb basics like a mattress cover, bed
pillows, set of sheets, or towels. Or a new TV,
DVD player, or printer for your computer. Let
alone a CD or DVD for entertainment. Forget
about finding those basic chinos your employer
requires you wear. Or a pair of sneakers. The
good news is this deficit offers opportunities
for local business to cash in. The question is
will locals give them a chance? Or log on or
drive off to shop anywhere but close to home...
Here and now
The impact of losing our Shopko store is much
greater than an inability to comparison shop for
Depends. Thirty Fergus County residents were
paid to work there. Our local newspaper billed
them to insert weekly ads. Local utilities kept
their lights on. All that and more will soon be
gone. Leaving us literally holding an empty bag.
However YOU can make a difference. Rather
than add more profit to Mr. Bezo's coffers you
can change Lewistown for the better. Before
you go elsewhere, ask local retailer to fix the
gap.  It may take longer but isn't re-investing
in Lewistown worth the effort?

Friday, March 22, 2019

MY TIME IN THE SUN


Hello sunshine
This week we welcomed the first day of spring.
The sun shone here in central Montana with an
intensity that had the power to melt 6 foot high
mounds of snow and our hearts in the process.
And suddenly everyone had a brighter outlook
on life. Yet all that glitters isn't necessarily gold.
Which is why some of us have to learn the hard
way. Consider Icarus. He thought he could fly
high. That was until he went too close to the
sun and was burned in the process. While the
sun itself is more than a hot property, it can be
unreliable at best. Hence enjoy your day in the
sun while it lasts. Or burns you in the process.
Under cover agents
In hindsight I wish I'd listened to my mother.
Long before anybody even thought of SPF
she did whatever was possible to shield me
from the sun's harmful rays. Slathering her
son with a variety of potables and potions
along with a liberal swath of zinc oxide. All
which left me quite pale by comparison with
everybody else on the beach. No wonder that
if given the opportunity, I laid my soul and
virgin skin bare. Reaping the negative impact
of over exposure. And in said process, did
damage my skin to the point where it's now
little more than a melanoma factory.
Half-baked ideas
It's no wonder given I've spent ample time
in the sun. For decades I baked in its glory
sans consideration of the risks associated.
Too late I finally learned my lesson post
purposefully putting myself in such a bad
light. Now I do whatever I can to avoid
solar exposure. Recently we spent a week
in sunny Florida. Even if the weather was
lovely, we never put on our swim suits.
Better safe than sorry. Instead we put on
our sunscreen and took a long walk on the
shadiest side of the street. Hiding from -
rather than seeking sunshine or lollipops.
Drawing the line
At this point in my life I'm one of those folks
who hides their bushel under a beach umbrella.
Or anything else that insures I avoid getting
burned. A pasty white ghost haunted by tans
past. Rather than stroll the beach au natural
I visit my dermatologist to monitor whatever
has popped up since my last visit. All with
the knowledge that if I has listened to my
mother, all of this could have been avoided.
And yet I still remember what it was like to be
a bronzed adonis. No wonder that I still think
that my times in the sun were worth it. After
all... it was fun while it lasted. OR WAS IT?!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

WHERE IN THE WORLD?


Going our way?

You get what you pay for.
However with antiques that isn't always the case.
As luck would have it,
getting a bargain often depends
on being in the right place at the right time.

All the more reason to visit
LEWISTOWN, MONTANA
for the finest in
vintage and antique furnishings.

At prices that are well worth the trip. 

To see what's in store click here...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

CRAZY LIKE A FOX?


Animal instinct
Honestly, when will it end? Could it
be worse than when a President's key
advisor's hubby diagnoses her boss
mentally ill? As a Republican pundit
suggested, read Trump's fifty tweets
issued over this past weekend. Then
ask yourself whether you'd give him
four more years. While his delusions
make another gig implausible, some
think he is crazy. Like a fox. That in
fact all of this hoopla is strategically
planned. The plot of a mastermind to
distract us from the truth. Foxy huh?
Down the fox hole
The idea that Mr. Trump is cunning enough
to shift our attention makes sense. From the
get go his success was fueled by rumor and
innuendo. However having personally dealt
with delusional types before, I find it highly
improbable that there is a method to said
madness. Rather they are simply the rants
of an egomaniac. Written temper tantrums
of a "genius" gone bad. A man now trapped,
terrified, and victimized due to anybody but
himself. And who rather than ask for help or
confess his sins, prefers to go on the attack.
A tactic that hurts us more than he himself.
Tails of the shitty
Why slur a fallen hero? What's to gain but
the disdain of tried and true conservatives?
How can he suggest that another television
personality be brought back post spewing
prejudicial venom? Could that be driven
by his desire to not lose another of his more
vociferous fans? Can somebody explain
why within said streams of consciousness
he somehow forgot the massacre of fifty
people in New Zealand? Only to claim
that White Supremacy is solely the turf of
"a very few people." Is such foolishness
all that cunning? Or proof of INSANITY?
Out foxed
At some point all bad things come to an end.
Even the most fervent of conservatives must
be unnerved by Mr. Trumps shenanigans. Not
only is he an embarrassment. His inability to
act like the leader of the free world endangers
our democracy. Post reading his rabid stream
of venom one must come to one conclusion.
He has no conscience. No moral compass nor
ability to see things as they are. So much like
some rabid fox, the best thing is to trap the
crazed varmint and put him out of his misery.
Fortunately 2020 will be here before we know
it! The question is will America still be here...

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

WE CAN'T GO BACK


Past imperfect
We all have memories. Vibrant recollections of
times past. A dear friend spent some of the best
days of her youth in her grandfather's Floridian
orange groves. Where at his expansive Spanish
revival manse she sat amidst a verdant paradise.
However upon recently returning to the spot she
found no trace of said past perfect. Checking the
address, she was definitely in the right place.
Yet obviously at the wrong time. She found that
her childhood nirvana is now a sea of run down
tract homes. Proof that life is an ever changing
continuum. And our reminiscences fragments of
people, places, and times gone but not forgotten.
Faux real
Perception may be reality. However by its very
nature it provides a warped perspective. Each
of us recalls prior circumstances via our own
filter of events. Thus for some days long gone
were glorious. Whereas for others poisonous.
However we cannot rely on fantastical rumor
and innuendo alone. Instead it's often helpful
to put our past in historical context. To delve
into the reasons why things happened. Hence
a deep dive into family photos, ancestry.com,
census data, and all genealogical resources is
advised. If nothing else it clarifies who, what,
where, when, and why it is was what it was.
Wonderland
Recently an article was published about
lovely Lewistown, Montana. There within
the author puts the local post World War II
boom in context. Suggesting that the glory
days of our youth were an anomaly. That
from the start central Montana was a rough
spot. Indigenous people referred to our area
as a snow hole. Later on the Metis, and then
homesteaders, adventurers, and others came
here to start anew. Only to be confronted
by times of boom and bust. Droughts and
floods. Feast and famine. Wild success and
dismal failure. All challenging at best...
Blast from the past
Post World War I central Montana experienced
its hardest times. Crop and beef prices crashed.
Banks failed. Half of the population left. Then
the Great Depression hit. Thus by the time that
World War Two was over - the local economy
and its residents had survived all time lows.
Hence the positive benefits of national growth
and a booming economy greatly benefited this
community. Along with "Cold War" impetus
for an influx of people, cash, and missiles. All
of which made the following twenty years a
fantastical moment in time. A period that was
unique to central Montana and all too short.
Field of dreams
Like most humans, we all want what we can't
have. Hence rather than celebrate all that we
do have, we mourn all that we've lost. Which
is why it's easy to consider the here and now
inferior versus our childhood memories. The
question is was it ever as good as we think it
was? Or if it truly was that great, what were
the primary contributors to said success? In
hindsight, factors beyond our control fueled
those glorious days when Main Street was a
vibrant thoroughfare. Along with most of the
rest of these United States. And the chances
of that happening again is quite improbable.
Better than ever
All the more reason to do the best with what
we've got. Dwelling on the past perfect does
nobody any good. Rather we must celebrate
the here and now. Leveraging each and every
opportunity that both Lewistown and Fergus
County are afforded to make a difference.
Time marches on. Attempting to preserve a
fantasy benefits nobody. However leveraging
our past with the future in mind just might be
the answer. So before you say no to anything,
or reject new options, put whatever it is in
context. Do your homework. And accept
that even if you want to, we can't go back.



Monday, March 18, 2019

EXIT STRATEGY


Agent orange
At times I marvel at just how political I've
become. Sifting through the first half of my
2,303 blog entries prior, you'll find I rarely
went there. Until late 2015 when Mr. Trump
first entered said fray. Thus one might assume
the man alone drives my dissent. In part you
would be correct. Yet I prefer to consider our
President as proof that some folks bring out
the worst in us. And in the process nurture
all that is good in others. Given most of us
learn the hard way, is it possible that some
day we'll consider Mr. Trump's presidency
to be the best thing that ever happened to us?
Sounds of silence
Sadly little that Donald Trump either says or
does surprises us. Like some virulent germ he
poisoned our public psyche. Causing many to
turn away from their core values in an failed
effort to maintain some semblance of power.
Against all odds - said army of right minded
zombies, all formerly rational Republicans -
continue to make excuses for him. To a point
that even when he slurs dead heroes such as
John McCain, they remain silent rather than
speak out. And it's that deafening silence -
their purposeful acquiescence, their inability
to confront evil that will be the death of them.
Nothing to worry about
Such purposeful denial shouldn't surprise any
of us. Throughout history many have said and
done nothing rather than fight for what is right.
Allowing evil to usurp good. Somehow fooling
themselves with delusional propaganda. No
wonder average, every day Germans who lived
adjacent to Nazi Concentration camps had the
audacity to claim they "knew nothing." Hence
while Mr. Trump's efforts to destroy democracy
have not gone that far - the truth still falls on
many deaf ears. Yet somehow the worse it gets,
the better our collective opportunity to change
things for the better. To make a big difference.
marks the spot
Last week our House and then Senate voted to
reject Mr. Trump's false border "emergency."
Twenty five brave Americans transversed the
great divide to stand up against his power grab.
And while ultimately vetoed, their efforts were
not in vain. Rather they are indicative of a turn
in events. A not so subtle shift in politics. All
of which indicates that many Americans are
ready to do whatever it takes to insure that
HE doesn't happen again. Is the "right" ready
to fight HIS wrongs? Instead of reaching a
point of no return have they now found their
path to righteousness? Or is it just a detour?
Silence of the lambs
Many are speaking out. Joe Biden suggests
"our silence is complacency." Standing aside
in shock, allowing wrong to usurp right isn't
acceptable. Slowly we're starting to realize
that things can't go on as they are. Which
explains the seismic shift in Congress post
recent mid-term elections. Americans want
what's best for this country. While we may
disagree about the details, the majority of
us want liberty and justice for all. Thus it
seems the tide is rising against Mr. Trump's
national disaster. Could it be that his tsunami
of hate and dissension is quickly subsiding?!
Bully pulpit
And that in said process, many of us are rising
above our sad circumstances. The other day I
watched a Jeb Bush interview which greatly
encouraged me. Did you hear that? Jeb Bush
inspired this most jaded of leftists. He called
for all Republicans to face their Trump reality
and do something about it. Asked if his parent's
death was the end of their kindler and gentler
generation, he offered hope. Stating that young
people in America are already stepping up to
drive change. Given their views on food, the
environment, healthcare, and education - the
best is yet to come. They're ready to step up.
Out of the mouth of babes
Is Jeb right? Could it be that our offspring are
becoming our saviors? Parental errors aside,
if nothing else we gave them a distorted sense
of self-confidence. Beyond empowered, I'm
confident that they truly think they can make
a difference. And given the majority of them
live in a multi-cultural, diverse, and accepting
i.e. "kinder and gentler" world, it's probable
that they're over Donald Trump's foolishness.
Hopefully they're ready to step up and take
over. After all it's their future that's at risk.
Could it be Mr. Trump's presidency might
make America great again? After he's gone!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY


GREEN SCENE

One of the things we don't miss is the
St. Patty's Parade down Fifth Avenue.
Rather than dodge drunks
we'll fest on 
Corned beef and cabbage.
So wherever you are..
go forth and be green!