It was a summer to remember in Plains, Montana

| September 16, 2020 12:00 AM

As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Not to be confused with Yogi Bear, who often said “what’s in the pick-a-nic basket Boo-Boo, Berra’s confused offerings have a ring of truth.

And it ain’t over yet, but the Summer of 2020 will be history by this time next week.

What a summer it’s been!

More than just a cruel reminder to those of us in the fall or our lives that yet another summer has whizzed by, put this season in the books.

In a few weeks or maybe a month or so, those of us who were cursing 95+ thermometer readings will be mumbling about how it’s colder than an Antarctica penguin’s behind.

For now, I will remember the good times and the bad of this June through September stretch.

It seems like just yesterday that I was griping about the cold rain that seemed to last all the way through June. Griping, I’ve come to realizing, is something I’m entitled to now that 65 is in the rear view mirror.

I will never forget what is generally considered the last real weekend of summer when I stood in amazed pride as the parade that wasn’t supposed to be became probably the coolest event of the season, if not the year.

The Trump mask wearing guy waving to the crowd through the roof of a vintage limousine, which was adorned with red, white and blue and a “Busch Light Matters” sign was a real hoot. Plains, for one town, still has a sense of humor.

America, not just Plains, needed a parade and this town put on a dandy show.

Meanwhile, over at the mostly closed up Sanders County Fairgrounds, hard-working young Americans strutted their stuff with a variety of livestock as the 4-H portion of the fair went on despite that virus.

Down the road, a group of determined folks stood up and asked to be heard in what was being called Trouble in Paradise by many.

Hardly trouble, and despite the eventual outcome, these folks showed that Americans can protest something they don’t like without tearing things down, setting fires or stealing from others.

“No Sewer” was their rallying cry. It was a stinky situation at best but these folks have worked hard to flush out the truth and stop what they saw as their town swirling down the drain.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

We, as in we Sanders County residents, even managed to sneak in a solid Monster Truck show before the Covid curtain came crashing down.

The bars reopened and the stores remained in business. Some wore masks, other preferred being able to breathe and speak without sounding like their mouths were duck taped shut.

The Clark Fork River still gave rides to a lot of river floaters and fish to fishermen. The town of Plains put into motion a project that will keep river floaters from the sewage ponds out of the river.

A few streets here in the town six miles from Paradise actually got paved…not temporary fillings…actual paving with more in the works.

The golf course and gun range were as busy as ever, capped by the zany Hack and Blast tournament featuring its legendary toilet tee on hole No. 1. Or was that No. 2?

Tourists, those loving dollar-toting folks from elsewhere, made their presence known, later than normal but here none-the-less.

The beer was still cold at the American Legion club and the VFW. The Chinese food truck showed up every Friday and was welcomed without xenophobia.

Now, with that slightly detectable cold edge to the warm sun being felt on foreheads around the county, fall is about to put all that in the past.

I’ve made the vow every year and there’s no reason to think I won’t make it again this year.

Sometime in mid-August when nighttime temperatures hovered in the high 70s and I was stuck to my mattress, I uttered my annual phrase…

“I can’t wait for snow, this heat is ridiculous!”

In a few months, I will no doubt utter my other annual phrase… “Damn, I would give anything for an 80 degree day”.

It happens every year. But this summer, with national stress meters maxing out all over the place I quietly acknowledged to myself a Yogi Berra like truth.

“Ninety percent of the joy of living in Plains is 50 percent mental.”

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