The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Teeny McMunn
The Times 

Back Home from 50th Class reunion


September 26, 2019

Times Business Manager Teeny McMunn recently traveled to her 50th class reunion in Miles City, Montana, this is the second article in a series.

I am back home, with almost 2000 miles on my car and half of Montana’s bug population on my grill.

I spent Friday and Saturday night in Spokane, and walked the fund -raiser walk Saturday morning. I left Sunday morning, traveling the route I had traveled many times, and it felt as comfortable as an old coat I found in the closet. I stopped at the $10,000 bar and gift shop, but they call it now $50,000 bar, which confused me. I made it to Butte and checked into a motel.

The next day I gassed up at a gas station close by and noticed it had three ways to get onto the freeway. When the signs say the number of the highway or just east and west, it confuses me. To be on the safe side, I approached a fella in the convenience store to confirm which way to go, so I don’t backtrack as I have been known to do.

Like most cars nowadays, it tells you how many miles you have left before you need to gas up. My car has the gas pump light come on when I have 50 miles left. When I got to Forsyth, about 40 miles from Miles City, I had 86 miles left so 50 miles from 86 miles, would mean the light would come on but I would make it. I decided not to chance it and gas up in Forsyth. Unfortunately I took the wrong exit, which took me thru the town and the gas stations were on the other side of the highway. I did my math again and figured I’d be ok. Sure enough I cruised into Miles and gassed up, with a half-gallon to spare. My Dad would have been shaking his head.

I checked into the Horton House Bed and Breakfast, a delightful old house, and called my sister. The next few days were full of visiting family, going to dinner at the Airport Inn for finger steaks, meeting with classmates for the upcoming event, and traveling around Miles. My old house on Clark Street is no longer there, having been replaced with a duplex, My Grandma’s house has been re-sided but I saw the corner where Grandpa’s rocks were. No one was home or I would have asked to check it out. A classmate’s wife met me at the high school to show me around. When we were in high school, there were close to 1000 students in the 4 grades. Now there are 400. Big change.

Some memories are best left as memories

I didn’t have time to go down by the river to look for agates, but I did go to the Saturday market and bought a beautiful heart shaped agate necklace, that the artist (an elderly Native American man) had made. He shared it came from the Wildhorse Mountains, now closed to the public. I also bought a few of his tumbled rocks, of which one was a river agate.

Thursday my schedule was open so I set off to Terry Montana, one of Montana’s many historic towns and like many, were busy in their day. It was only 36 miles away. I wanted to see the Badlands. I found myself at the Evelyn Cameron museum and as luck would have it, it was closed but one of the curators was walking by. Cameron was a well- known photographer in the early 1900’s. The curator graciously gave me a tour, including one of the building next to it, which had a few awesome dinosaur bones. While we were there, a fella came in who gave the museum tumbled rocks to sell. I bought a few and he gifted me with a fossil rock and a purple crystal rock. I was thrilled!! My curator friend, Greg, said it would not be a good idea to see the Badlands, as it had rained too much that day. I agreed to come back the next day.

I went back on Friday. We were going to go in his pickup, but a few ladies, who happened to be at the museum, wanted to go so they went with him in his truck, while I followed in my Ford Focus. The first mud pit we came to made me understand why yesterday was not a good idea. If you know what gumbo is, then you know how slick it gets when wet. The road was like mud that had a gallon of Elmer’s glue added to it. So he drove on, slipping and fish tailing. I waited for him then I followed suit. We continued with this pattern for 8 miles, and some 10 mud pits about 50 feet long. By the time we were on top I felt I had won the ‘bad ass” award of the year. Both Greg and the ladies were applauding me. I don’t think either one of us considered what would have happened if I had gotten stuck. I would have been as muddy as the car. We all took pictures of the amazing view and I was in rock heaven. It really was what made my trip. On the way down, by now, I’m very confident going through those mud holes, I thanked Greg and headed back to Miles, with a very muddy car.

When I got back to Miles, I just couldn’t wash my car as I wanted to brag about how it got so muddy! On Saturday, we had a meet and greet with the other area high schools 1969 classes. One of the classmates sang a ditty about Montana and in the song, said, if you ever get Montana gumbo on your vehicle, good luck getting it off Oh, shoot!! I took my car to the car wash, paid $14 for the deluxe of the deluxe, hoping they were wrong. The car washed up ok, but the wheel wells were caked with thick mud. I paid an additional $1.50 for the self-power wand which didn’t allow enough time to get it all off. Before I headed home, I used the garden hose at the bed and breakfast, and spent another 15 minutes knocking off the rest. Whew!!. Now I have an appointment at Jay’s Garage to lift the car and see if more is stuck under it. I profusely thanked him for my new tires that got me thru those challenging mud pits. My reward, though, is I’m sure I left a reputation in Terry, MT, as the lady who was not afraid to follow the truck up to the top, in her small red car

Friday night and all day Saturday was the reunion. It was like 68 year olds being back in high school. Priceless. Saturday afternoon, at the meet and greet, we had multiple choice quizzes to answer about our era and high school. Much laughter and conversation followed. I actually won two of them, totally by guess, certainly not by remembering!!

Sunday, I headed home another way, going through Jordan and ending in Great Falls to spend the night,with a friend, then headed home.

Next time I would like to drive to Ekalaka Montana,to dig for fossils

The reunion and trip was all I was hoping for and more.


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