It was chilly all week with only a couple days where the mercury got barely above freezing, but if the weatherman is right next week should be warmer.
President George H.W. Bush passed away at 94 years of age and most of the news coverage this week was about his two funerals and his burial at the Bush library in Texas next to his wife Barbara and their three-year old daughter that died from leukemia.
Sadly, there were three more deaths we learned about this week. Our old friend and rodeo buddy, Merle Clark, age 80, passed away November 13 in Billings, MT. His funeral was in Baker on the 19th and he was buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Marmarth. We hadn’t heard anything about Merle’s death until his obituary was in last week’s Eido. Merle’s father, Elmer Clark, judged a lot of rodeos in southwest North Dakota. Clark Spethman and Elmer were judging the rodeo in Marmarth when Reub scored the highest he ever made on a bareback ride – a whopping 98 points! That still makes us smile.
George Coyle’s mother, Anna Coyle, 98, also passed away on November 13 in Bismarck. Anna’s obituary was in the Corson/Sioux County News-Messenger. Her funeral was November 20 in Selfridge, ND, with burial in the St. Philomena Catholic Cemetery.
Our dear friend Gert (Vliem) Kooiman, 101, passed away this Saturday, December 8 on her granddaughter, Amanda Schuchard’s birthday. For several months I’ve been going to go down to Heier’s and interview Gert for a column in Range Magazine entitled “Red Meat Survivors”, but as usual, I procrastinated and didn’t get it done.
Taz and Reub worked on the new building this Tuesday while Casey welded on the gates for the new fence they put in down the creek. Rep. Sam Marty called to let me know that the Perkins County Predator Board was meeting in Bison that afternoon so we both attended the meeting in the Grand Electric Social Room. Several folks from GF&P were there, including the Perkins County trapper, Colton Taylor. Almost 600 coyotes were killed in Perkins County this year, along with a few fox. Those coyotes are everywhere! The predator board helps sponsor the county coyote calling contests. The one in Bison will be December 15 and the one in Meadow will be January 5th.
Galen Niederwerder came Wednesday morning to renew the insurance coverage on the ranch and our vehicles. He was able to fill us in on how well their granddaughter Piper is doing after her latest heart surgery. That afternoon Reub and I went up to see the beautiful bench that Bill Holt made using boxelder wood and deer horns. He also showed us a couple bowls that he made out of wood from a buffalo berry bush. The gravel roads were pretty icy under the snow and it took me two tries to make the hill going in to their place, but seeing Bill’s latest projects made it worth the trip.
The National Finals Rodeo started Thursday night, so we haven’t had much sleep this week. Harding County’s Jessica Routier has been doing pretty well in the barrel racing and she’s fun to watch.
Friday was the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. There are only five survivors of the bombing left alive, but this was the first year that none of the survivors, due to health issues, were able to make it to the memorial services in Hawaii. Sadly, there aren’t many WWII veterans left alive. My father and several other local young men joined the army in February of 1941 and after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the United States joined in the war. All of these local soldiers fought in the war until it ended in 1945 and all have since passed on.
Reub and I went to Hettinger after church on Sunday to hear the Borderline singers and the Northern Light Brass Choir perform at the Lutheran church that afternoon and attend the pancake and sausage medical benefit supper for Mel Eggebo at Scruffy’s that evening. There was a big crowd at both events and we got to visit with a lot of friends.
A few years ago, former Rep. Tom Hills sent me these quotes from Bob Hope about aging and his career in show business:
For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your grandparents. This is a tribute to a man who DID make a difference.
ON TURNING 70
‘I still chase women, but only downhill.’
ON TURNING 80
‘That’s the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.’
ON TURNING 90
‘You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.’
ON TURNING 100
‘I don’t feel old. In fact, I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.’
ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING
‘I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.’
ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR
‘Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as it’s called at my home, ‘Passover.’
‘I have performed for 12 presidents but entertained only six.’
ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER
‘When I was born, the doctor said to my mother, Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.’
ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
‘I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.’
ON HIS FAMILY’S EARLY POVERTY
‘Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.’
ON HIS SIX BROTHERS
‘That’s how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.’
ON HIS EARLY FAILURES
‘I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn’t for the stuff the audience threw at me.’