Kvelve's Comments: Time for some new sayings

by CHUCK BANDEL
| September 2, 2020 12:10 PM

Life is full of sayings.

You know, “An elephant cannot hang over a cliff with his tail wrapped around a daisy,” “never pee into the wind,” “you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”

There are many such words of “wisdom” but none has been more important to me than one I relied upon this past week.

No, it wasn’t “when life gives you rotten bananas make some banana bread” or “you can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish.”

The age-old advice I turned to was tried and true and in the end I was laughing at a stressful, ego-draining week.

Come with me now on a journey through the halls of aggravation. It was one punch to the belly after another, one big buzz harshing event after another.

But least I sound like I’m whining, which I have to admit I was, I managed to climb out of the abyss of self-pity and see the light of “wow, dude, you let THAT get you down?”

For starters, I do love writing more than almost anything else. Cobbling together words into what I hope is reasonable prose means a lot to me. Of course, a cold Coors Light and football game also mean a lot to me. So does breathing and the love of a fine dog.

So when I was confronted by a few folks, all in a civil manner, about issues they had with how I described some events, it was like someone snatched that brew out of my hand and drank it right in front of me. I would not recommend doing that but I hope you get my drift.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon. My spirits were lifted somewhat by the thought of seeing a live football game. With Covid restrictions giving a guy like me a giant wedgie, here at last was a chance to be on a football field, to hear the crowd and smell the popcorn, take some pictures and get paid to write a story about football.

On the way out of town, I stopped for a man-sized soda, with lots of ice to ease the hot drive that lay ahead of me. Across the way in a parking lot was a really cool old stagecoach with powerful draft horses attached, complete with folks laughing and smiling at being able to ride in such a vintage method of conveyance.

I stopped, talked to them and felt that first flicker of joy quiver back into my wounded soul. How am I doing on the drama meter?

Buoyed by my talk with happy people, I climbed into my Dodge Ram and wheeled out onto Montana 200, noticing that having to wait five seconds for traffic to pass was not as bad as it seemed a few minutes ago.

While I was talking country with the stagecoach folks, a big bus with Plains painted on the side had passed by. Surely, I reasoned, that bus is on the way to pick up the Plains football team and take them to the same place I was going…Philipsburg.

Suddenly the thought of driving 150 miles to see a football game seemed like an even better idea than before. I drove 420 miles one-way last year to cover the state 8-man football championship game in Billings, then drove home after the game so I could write about it and turn in my offering to the editor in Kalispell.

Yes, I am that big of a nut about football. Played it, coached it, love it.

I will probably get to Philipsburg ahead of the Horsemen I thought. In about three hours I will be standing on a grass field, watching padded and helmeted athletes go through warm-ups and then, after eight long months of not seeing a live game, there I will be!

The Flathead River seemed even more of that turquoise color than normal. Even the thought of spending a few minutes driving around Missoula on I-90 did not seem so bad.

I had never been to Philipsburg. I’ve driven by the sign at Drummond pointing the way many times. Many people have told me it is a cool place. Now, at last I was going to see it myself and see FOOTBALL!

As I drove along the scenic Pintlar Highway (Number 1 on the signs) I was taken back by the beauty of the mountains, the splendor of Flint Creek and the lush green meadows along the way.

If I was Julie Andrews I would probably have stopped, run out into one of those green fields and broken out in song. But, thankfully, I’m not Julie Andrews. I can’t sing, she’s deceased and I’d look pretty goofy.

Before I knew it I was at Philipsburg, well actually about 1 mile outside Philipsburg, waiting for that damn construction light to turn green so I could actually get to Philipsburg.

Chuck, I said, don’t let this delay harsh your buzz. You are plenty early and the Plains bus hasn’t passed by. All is good.

I wound my way through Philipsburg’s bustling main street full of shops, bars and restaurants. I turned right at the blinking light as instructed and drove up the hill to the high school.

There, before me, lay one of my favorite sights….a football field, with scoreboards, bleachers and green grass that was marked with chalk!

I literally dove out of my truck and headed to the field. But something wasn’t right.

Shouldn’t there be someone other than me out here less than an hour and a half before game time? Where are the Flint Creek Titans, the home team, why aren’t at least some of them out here tossing the old pigskin around or doing preliminary warm-ups?

Hmm. I think I’ll go back to the truck and wait for the bus to arrive where I was parked.

Then it happened.

From within the school a guy dressed like a coach would be dressed, whistle and clipboard part of the wardrobe, came walking out slowly, his head down and a bummed look on his face.

Upon recognizing my “35” Sanders County license plate he moseyed over and somberly asked… “you from Plains?” “Yup, what’s up?”

“The game got cancelled. One of our guys showed up with flu or Covid like symptoms.”

With that, the heartbroken coach turned and drove off.

From deep within, I felt the surge of anger and disgust building. The arrow on my stress meter was starting to bounce toward “Dude are you @#$%$#@ing kidding me?”

But then something cool happened.

I started laughing. Yeah, this big Norwegian was sitting there laughing.

“God,” I asked, “what is it you’re trying to teach me?”

Chill out for one. Enjoy the fact you got to drive through a beautiful part of the best state in the union. No quotes but I’m pretty sure those thoughts were sent down from on high.

I laughed off and on most of the way home. And then it hit me, the old saying that summed up this latest disappointment in a week full of them.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Screw that. I’m going to take a bite out of that lemon and enjoy the sourness!!

Chuck Kvelve Bandel is a reporter for the Mineral Independent and Clark Fork Valley Press. Look for his “Kvelve’s Comments” column weekly.