Babies and Beer Cans

by kfrego

We rented a mobile home in Belt, MT while working at Niehart and Hughesville. Linda was expecting our third child. Her sister Patti Ann came to help out with Jamie and Dori while I worked. Patti Ann’s visit was the first time Linda had seen her since she was critically injured in a auto accident. She was on summer break from college.

My drill was located a couple miles out of Niehart. We set up a plan so Linda could call the lady who ran the post office in Niehart if she needed any assistance. The post mistress would get somebody from town to come to the drill and deliver the message. The system worked perfectly as I received the message late one morning. I shut down the drill, sent my helper home, and headed for Belt. I passed through the little town of Monarch and broke out of the canyon into the prairie. One of the ranchers was moving about 300 head of cattle down the highway headed for the summer ranges in the Little Belt Mountains. This was a common occurrence on Montana highways. Working through the cows is easy when they are coming towards you as the cows will part for your vehicle. When the cows are going the same direction you are going it’s very slow working through them. They could care less whats behind them. As luck would have it the cows were going my way. I finally got close enough to one of the wranglers to let him know my wife was in Belt in labor. He pushed ahead with his horse and opened up a hole for me. I never thought I’d see the last cow.

Linda was packed and waiting when I got home. She said goodby to Patti Ann and the kids as we headed for the hospital in Great Falls. A few hours later our son Jody was born. His birth was without complications and Mom and son were doing fine. A couple weeks later Jody and Patti Ann made their first visit to Yellowstone Park at Gardiner. At the motel Jody spent the night sleeping in a dresser drawer while Jamie and Dori slept with Patti Ann.

Jamie and I took Patti Ann to a real, old time, wild west, small town, rodeo during her visit. When we arrived in town on Sunday morning the main street was littered six inches deep in beer cans down both sides of the tire tracks. Every window on Main St was boarded up and the juke boxes were the only furniture in any of the bars. We had heard about the parties, but never dreamed a town would go to such extremes to host a rodeo. The highlight of the rodeo was a cowboy with his performing buffalo. It was a great experience for Patti Ann to get up close to all of the events. We were glad we missed the Saturday night on Main St.

Niehart was a great little mining town……and they had a real full service post office.