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Tribune Staff

There are times when, try as he might, a columnist just can't come up with a good idea for filling the 20 to 25 inches he is expected to produce for the next edition.

For this columnist, this is one of those times. The Muses just haven't visited my computer this week, and my imagination is sort of stuck in neutral.

This is a bit disconcerting, since it's late at night and I have to have this written by Wednesday morning, but it's not actually panic time. In fact, some of my personal favorite columns have been produced in just such a situation.

One time, for example, a flock of geese flew over my house as I was puzzling over what to write, and it inspired a column that I really felt good about. I don't know if anybody else liked it, but I did.

A few weeks ago, I was in a similar situation. It was the political season, but I wasn't in a political mood. I received no help from Canadian waterfowl, or anybody else, for that matter. As a result, I was forced to fall back on something I can always talk about, my family.

Thus was born the column about my grandchildren, Halloween, and my wife's determination to outfit the former for the latter, a project that kept her at her ancient Singer for hours on end.

Now, I have to admit, I was sort of lukewarm about the column when I filed it with the editor. My fellow staff members, who had to read it to make sure I hadn't made any dumb spelling or grammatical errors, said they liked it, but then they usually speak kindly of my work, and I'm sure they are sincere, although they may just be humoring the old coot they have to work with so he won't get too cranky.

I had additional concerns about the column because my real boss, the one who shares living quarters with me, played such a prominent role in the column. I have referred to her, and even featured her, in my column many times over the past 10 years, and she's never gotten upset by it, but, being a bit more reserved than I am, there's always the possibility she won't appreciate the attention this column sometimes draws.

And this one certainly drew attention, and Karen received all of it. A bunch of people have inquired about the work on the costumes and how they were received on the other end.

Surprisingly, she doesn't seem to mind the questions at all. In fact, I think she's gotten a kick out of it. I can tell because she's still fixing my breakfast every morning.

Anyway, it occurred to me that there might be people out there who are haven't had a chance to talk to my wife and are curious about the outcome of the costume caper. For those people, here's the final word.

All four costumes — two owls, one princess and one knight in shining armor — were completed and arrived at their destinations on time. I am happy to report that they all fit, with a bit of adjustment in some cases, and were a big hit with the grandkids. We haven't seen all the pictures as yet, but apparently the princess was beautiful, the owls looked appropriately wise, and the knight in shining armor was dashing, or at least as dashing as you can be when you're only 14 months old and don't even know what a knight in shining armor is. He wouldn't wear the helmet, but since there was no jousting required, that was probably OK.

In short, Grandma's long-distance tailoring project was a complete success, and she is quite happy to talk about it. She has expressed reservations about next year, but I'm betting that, next October, she will again be cranking up the old Singer for another round of grandma work.

Next year, though, I'll try to write about something else. Maybe those geese will show up again.

Until next time...

Back in 1944, writer Ernie Pyle described a group of American soldiers he accompanied into Cherbourg, France, with these words:

“They weren't warriors. They were American boys who by mere chance of fate had wound up with guns in their hands, sneaking up a death-laden street in a strange and shattered city in a faraway country in a driving rain.”

Throughout our history, many Americans could have been described in similar terms. They were just ordinary Americans who, responding to events beyond their personal control, became warriors.

They faced sudden death in strange places far away from home, enduring not only the cold rain of France, but the frigid winter of Korea and the heat of Indochina's tropical jungles or Middle Eastern deserts. When they came home, if they came home, they often brought permanent scars with them, some visible, some hidden deep in their emotions. Some became casualties long after the war was over.

They did all that, not because they wanted to, but simply because they were Americans, and their country needed them.

Thursday is our special day to honor those who have served. For most of us, it is an ordinary work day, and we will spend the day going about our ordinary tasks. Carrying out those tasks as best we can is, in a way, an apt tribute to our veterans, because their actions have made it possible for us to live ordinary lives in peace.

But sometime during the day, we all should stop, if only for a few minutes, and ponder the sacrifice of those who weren't warriors, but became warriors because they were Americans.

We urge everyone to take those few minutes to remember and express our appreciation. It's the very least we can do.

(Aug. 25, 1917-Nov. 6, 2010)

Ralph K. Davies, formerly of Powell, died Nov. 6, 2010, in Tifton, Ga. He was 93.

(April 16, 1943 - Nov. 7, 2010)

Robert J. Bass died on Nov. 7, 2010 at St. Vincent's Healthcare in Billings. He was 67.


Pausing in the darkened Draper Museum of Natural History, Mia Baxter (left) and Makenna Branstetter use their flashlights to fill out scavenger hunt details during the Powell Girl Scouts' sleepover at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

Girl Scouts sleep over at BBHC with nocturnal animals

Clutching a glowing flashlight and clad in fuzzy slippers, Sabrina Shoopman declares, “I'm nocturnal!”

Nocturnal indeed.

Having just met a real-life nocturnal owl, young Sabrina and 11 fellow Powell Girl Scouts are practicing their own night-hunting skills as they embark on a scavenger hunt in the darkened Draper Museum of Natural History at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.


City considers proposed school's potential effect on master street plan

Someday, Parkside Elementary students may attend school north of Clark Street and just east of Northwest College. Acreage currently used as farmland is being considered by Park County School District No. 1 for a new elementary school — but not for another 10-15 years down the road.

Clark man reflects on years of service

Having served as an Army Green Beret in the 1960s, Don Tolman of Clark has some interesting stories to tell.

But they're not stories of stealing into an area under cover or completing top-secret assignments.

R.J. Kost and Jim Carlson will join the Powell Hospital District Board in January after successful write-in campaigns.

Unofficial results from the Park County Clerk's office show Kost won 521 of the 1,652 write-in votes cast in the Nov. 2 general election race for four seats on the board.


Northwest College freshman Keithen Cast had an oustanding debut for the Trapper wrestling team this past Saturday, capturing the title of the 174-pound division. NWC hosts Montana State University-Northern on Wednesday night. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Cast wins at 174, TIernan second at 285

Freshman Keithen Cast captured the 174-pound title at the Northwest College Open on Saturday, headlining a list of three Trappers to finish in the top four of their respective divisions. Sophomore heavyweight Sears Tiernan also reached the championship round.

“Keithen did an outstanding job coming in as a freshman and winning the title in his first meet,” said Northwest College wrestling coach Jim Zeigler. “He came out and wrestled well.”

Conference changes mean more travel for Panthers

New conference assignments released by the Wyoming High School Activities Association likely mean more travel time for Powell High School athletic teams and fans, as well as more cost to the district. The new pairings, which will take effect beginning in the fall 2011 semester, were recently announced.

“Powell is probably affected as much if not more than any other school in the state by the changes,” said Panther activities director Timothy Wormald. “Cody's right here too, but it definitely had an impact on both of us.”

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