Big night in Miles City
By Don Schott, Miles City
From 'The Truth About Montana Winters', (p) 1976, Miles City Star
'Twas December 1945, or maybe January of 1946, I don't know for sure which. I was living at Terry and had a good friend, Ray Grossman, who worked for the SCS and was new in town, and really hadn't had a chance, as of yet, to 'Make his move.' His tears of lament brought Dave Rivenes to the rescue, and by golly, we had a blind date with two eligible young ladies from the big city of Miles City. Dave's taste in women turned out to be most discriminating and after wining and dining them at the Crossroads, that was it -- the evening was over and by 2:00 a.m. we were well on our way home.

I fell asleep and then Ray, who was driving, fell asleep, also and the car, lacking character, went into the borrow pit. Now having very little experience in traveling in borrow pits, we immediately awoke. Ray, after inquiring as to my health, informed me that he had everything under control and forthwith drove into a huge boulder and put the grille into the radiator and the radiator into the fan -- that really shut things down!

Now for the first time we noticed something -- it was dark and it was cold, and being true "gentlemen of the evening" both of us, we had not given much though to our attire, which consisted of light topcoats -- no hats, no scarfs, no overshoes -- no sense! Well, we sat in the car for awhile and then when the cold really started getting to us, we agreed it was time to start walking. We hadn't walked long when we were doing some serious soul searching -- "Where did we go wrong?" "Hey, is that a car coming?" "Sure is, Thank the Lord." In true western fashion this fine and noble person stopped and we piled into his car. I learned later that he was T. J. Saye. T. J. didn't have a heater in his car and an old rug was draped over his lap to keep him warm. Now, T. J. would have offered us his rug, but being a discerning man of considerable experience he could tell we were dying anyway -- so he kept his rug and we road on in silence -- but not for long! Would you believe his car quit? Well, it did, and that was that! Just froze up and quit, another car with no character! Boy, things weren't very funny. Surely a car or truck will come along, after all, we were on the main road. But nothing!

Finally, once again, it became time to walk. It's only three or four miles to Terry. After a quarter of a mile I figure it might as well be twenty miles; I'm not going to make it anyway -- I'm dead! Now, for the miracle! Out of nowhere comes an old Model A Ford and after taking up all the road to stop, it does stop, and there they are -- a beautiful old car and two drunks, man, now that's character! Being close to death, we recognized them, of course, for what they truly were -- two angels in disguise -- well disguised, I suppose you might say.

The rest of the trip was uneventful with one exception and it seems to stand out in my mind. As we huddled in the back seat one of our deliverers suggested that we needed a drink -- he produced a bottle of beer and bit the cap off and shoved it at us. When he did a small icicle popped out of the top -- we laughed all the rest of the way.

They dropped us off at the Kempton Hotel and disappeared into the night. The first thing we did after warming up was to check the temperature -- 15 below. Only fifteen below -- what a lousy thermometer -- Now that's a REAL LACK OF CHARACTER!

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