The Big Timber Pioneer (Big Timber, Mont.) 1983-current, December 19, 2003, Image 5
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Week of December 19-25, 2003 — BIG TIMBER (MT) PIONEER — Page 5 A C h r i s t m a s d i n n e r Crystal Morning Memory t h a t c h a n g e d a l i f e BY RONALD SLATER As Christmas is nearing and I watch the snow. I'm reminded of years lone when I was a hoy ol Hi n. the year 1959 I'm also reminded of my jge now. fit I years, ami my own mortality, and l reali/.c my story must somehow he written I came to your country m June. 1959 alter being hired by a ranJiei named Adams. He came all the wav to Seattle to pick me up aiul my friend Dick M . also We fell very special My pay was !>5 a day and room and board Very quickly I was intro duced to miles and miles of fence mending and repair. The work was very hard especially in rock Altera month or so I finally .started cattle roundup and working with horses. I loved it: today. I still have horses While loading calves into the branding shoots I was kicked hy a calf and received a serious broken nose. They packed my nose and finally the bleeding slopped. 1 was told to stand by and later I would be taken to the doctor in Big Timber, around 50 miles away. I decided to climb up on a rock hill to get a better picture of the roundup and branding. The rocks were smooth enough for me to slide on my chest, pulling myself for ward. Little did 1 realize the danger that was waiting. Just as 1 raised my head to regain my balance, a rattlesnake with fifteen beads — four and a half feet long, green in color — struck out. The head of the snake was so close to my check that I felt a small gusi of wind pass my face As the snake struck again. I jerked back hard enough to start my fall all the way down the rocky lull. I now had a broke nose, bleeding head, and a shock so violent I could do nothing but bleed and sob Later on. m the U S. Navy anil Army. I would witness grown men in fear and danger sob and reel the same way I never fell ashamed of weeping again Mr Adams later would fire me for a bail attitude The lack of steady food had made this job very unpleasant I lound my self on the streets of Big Timber taking diflerent odd jobs, playing cowboy, ruling the trams, and trying to meet eveiy girl around It was a summer of com plete intoxication Around July of 1959 I was m the minor section ol the (¡ruiul Hotel when 1 met a young girl from Livingston This girl of 1(5 rode horses, wore Levi's, and had the freshness of Ivoty Soap There is a lime in every boy's hie when he is given the privilege, the sailed opportunity, to have a mind-hrand- mg encounter with a gul so personal that nothing before or alter this brief episode of life could ever change it. I will lake her memory, and the memory of my wile of 45 years, to my grave with sincere humble grati tude I would see this girl until the end of August when she told me they would he camping in Yellowstone on the Madison River for a few weeks We said our goodbyes I was awaken around 11 - JOp.m by a severe earthquake I found out later the mountain above their camp site came down and buried over 28 people. I would never loci her breath, her body, or smell her fra grance again I had never fell such pain. I returned to Seattle in September of that year. As a school dropout I returned to Big Timber in November. 1959 to possibly find work. As niv money and employment prospects disap peared. I lauded a job .it the Banner's Coop Mv boss was named Bob Elgas This man would change my life forever. During the day I would load feed and do cleanup. At night 1 came through the lire exit at the (irnnd Hotel and would steal a room or tree bath My wages barely paid lor lood On (.'lilísimas Day. 19.59. Hob l-.lgas united me lot dinner I weighed 120 pounds and was veiy skinny On that day I would I mil a present under their tree, ice skate on their pond, and cat Canada goose I would be shown how to exercise muscle up. and I lecencd a strong warning on my lack ol education and achievement. Little did they know of the neg lect and abuse I had received for so long Little did they know of the Initigei On two occasions over the last 4- years I called Bob lilgas I told him of my failure as a Navy diver, and my success as a helicopter flight instructor Later I would become a Heavy Equipment Contractor - .Superintendent and land developer I served in both the U S Navy and the U.S Army honorably I cur rently own a 233 acre development Because of my good taste in women. I have been married -13 years and put two girls through college They live just down the street hut received a lot of my anger. I became a lifetime body builder and competed m Karate. Big Timber showed me life was not going to be easy It wasn't ever going to be a eake walk. But sometimes, when I smell the fragrance of Ivory Soap or see a young girl of 16 in Levis. I'm reminded of long ago when my con fidence. self esteem and desire would leap forward as I heard her words. “I've been waiting for you for a long, long tune\ after I said. I apologize lor loving you “ Mr Slitter lives tit Cle Eltiiu, Washington He /iliins to meet with Hob Elgas. u ho now resides in Oiegon. in the near future What the CDC does for you By ELLIE L RSI NO PAC Wc have been hearing news lately about the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as being experts on the flu vaccinations and other ill nesses throughout the country and the world. The CDC is the main agency that monitois specific infectious diseases affecting people and ani mals. This government-run agency offers “services and facilities for the investigation, identification, prevention and control of disease.” it also plays a role in the environ mental health of citizens at home, outside and in the workplace. The main control center is in Atlanta, Georgia and it is a branch of the Department of Health and Hufhan Services. The CDC director and primary spokesperson is Dr. Julie Gerbcrding, who we have seen much of in the past two years regarding the anthrax scare and, more recently, educating about the flu virus and immunizations. The CDC has 12 different departments which work together to help promote education, set stan dards of health, conduct research to help prevent outbreaks and the con trolling of infections and mysteri ous diseases, and set up immuniza tion recommendations. The differ ent departments include •National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities •National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion •National Center for Environmental Health •National Center for Health Statistics •National Center for HI V, STD and TB Prevention •National Center for Infectious Disease •National Center for Injury Prevention and Control •National Center for Occupational Safety and Health •National Immunization Program •Epidemiology Program Office •Public Health Practice Piogram •Office of the Director The CDC also looks at epidem ic areas around the world for illness and helps travelers get information. There arc CDC workers m many countncs that Ire assessing out- breaks, resistance to certain treat ments, and monitoring disease in locals and tounsts plus any threat of getting a particular illness. For example, malaria is still very common in third world coun tries and tropical areas. Before vis iting a particular area, the CDC can give information as to what preven tative medicine should be taken, if there is resistance to common pre ventative medicines, and what treatment may be needed if infect ed. Another example is to help travelers decide w hether they need immunizations against certain dis eases before going to a particular country. Updates arc constantly being organized on the CDC web site to help inform people about changing risks. The CDC is also working to maintain goals of Healthy People in a Healthy World, which is their pro jection of the future. If you have any questions, or arc interested in public health, dis ease picv cntion or progression and recommendations by the .Centers for Disease Control, tlicir website address is www.cdc.gov. The Pioneer cannot guarantee the quality of reproduction of computer generated photographs used in ads o r news stories THANKS! For Reading The Pioneer! If you com e when T h e Pioneer's not open, please u s e the s lot in the front d o o r to leave us your item . Thanks! By PAMELA DIMERCURIO Lacy, fragile ice crystals tena ciously cling to the window sashes as the morning sun arises in the East The sky is cloudless and blue and fair after its evening gray dusting of snow (lakes, u is pure and innocent The ground is glistening with cap tured sunlight, thousands upon thou sands of tvv inkling gold Hecks shim mer and small icicles begin to weep on the eves nl the countless dwellings m ibis small winter won derland culled Big Timber Montana I'd lorgoiten how much I missed the snow and its Crystalline beauty that Iranslorms everything it touches with its grace and white light purity A rusty junkyard is sud denly a fairyland of white and won drous shapes unrecognizable with a blanket ol flu fly white frosting This morning .is I gazed out ol my bedroom window I remembered that magical night m the mountains of Northern California We had decided to walk from Silver Fork to Kyburz to see my Grandfather at work at an inn up the road about a mile from our cabin I wax eight years old. and in that age before television, and before Santa Claus became just a legend ol Christmas. My (heal Aunt Lou was visiting from the \alley: my Aunt Laverne wax thcie along with m\ Grandmother Lola It was still on this night, so still you could hear the infinitesimal sashay ol a giant snowflake as n would glide close to vour ear. even though dial ear was half cm creel In a stoekmg-hal Giant |unc Decs lined the man. highway now covered with snow, so that it looked like a small path m an enchanted torest beckoning us lor ward. With Hakes xoltly descending, crunching and squeaking slightly under loot, the now haul-packed snow lent some small sound as we joyfully trudged toward our wintry destination. As we walked wc tried to cap ture a lew of those crystalline won ders onto our occasionally ptotrud- mg tongues, this act momentarily transforming all of us into laughing children This was a memory from childhood I savor each time the weather brings ihose silent sentinels of crystal wonder that blanket this pristine place called Big .Sky Country. 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