By Alan Sorensen
I just heard about Chairman Stump's death. Though we didn't always understand each other, I had high regard for the former chairman of the Chippewa Cree Business Committee.
Rocky Stump was tribal chairman at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation when I first got this job about 10 years ago. It was as hard for him to open his office to the press, I think, as it was for me to learn to sit at a computer instead of walk behind a dolly.
While Chairman Stump had an understandable suspicion of newspapers and honkies, he took some chances with us here at The Daily News. Unfortunately, I made one giant, unintended blunder in a story, and Chairman Stump reacted swiftly. He rose to the defense of his constituency and denied me further access to the reservation.
Though my ban was short-lived, it forced me to be more circumspect and precise in my reporting.
Thank you, Mister Chairman.
I learned a great deal about myself and my children during our few short days together earlier this week. Spud and Jessica and I met Jeremy and his lady, Brandy, at the Butte Airport on Saturday and headed straight for Wal-Mart. To them, it was a great shopping adventure. To me, it was like going to Kmart here.
I learned that they love to shop. They learned that I fear one of the primary causes of death among men my age: heart attack while standing in a checkout line.
After a couple of tough days on the slopes, I intended to take the older kids (Spud and Jessica had already come home to work) horseback riding. Not. As I was approaching the horse-renting stables, I saw a sign that changed my mind. No riders over 240 pounds.
Sure, I was disappointed at my ill fortune, but I figured maybe that will give me an incentive to lose 50 pounds before my next vacation a year from now.
I also found out that my extreme weight is the reason I can't ice skate as smoothly as I did as a child. The two times I tried skating at the Ice Dome, my skates stuck to the ice and I herky-jerked my way around the perimeter, staying close to the boards for support if needed.
My old college buddy Ray happens to be a hockey skate sharpener in Butte. He said my skates need a bigger arch (the words he used were more impressive) to support my girth. I'll take my skates back down with me so he can do what has to be done so I can once again glide gracefully across the rink. OK, so I was no Art Harada growing up, but I could stay upright most of the time.
Ray also gave me a ride on the back of his Zamboni at the U.S. Olympic Team's High Altitude Training Center. I got to meet Charlie, one of the top ice men in the world, who was preparing the Butte speed skating track for the World Cup sprint races set for Butte this weekend.
Charlie said this will be the best field of speed skaters ever assembled. Five world record holders and 22 skaters who medaled in the last Olympics will be there, including the current world champ from Japan.
Charlie pointed out that there are 93 possible world records in speed skating and that 74 of them are currently held on the Butte ice. The remaining 19 records are split among several other venues.
I'd say that is good enough argument to hold the 2002 Olympic speed skating championships at Butte.
I'm still on vacation, despite sitting here at 7 a.m. today writing this column. I came home so my nephew and his family could use my vacation home for a few days.
It's rather fortuitous that I did come back to Havre, because there are a couple of things I have to get done here, anyway.
I was about to sign over title to one of my condo weeks to my older son, so he and his family can have a place to go on holiday. When I went to get the job done, however, I learned that his mother's name is still on the title. I got the condo and she got the house in the divorce settlement 18 years ago, but no one bothered to notify the condo association. I have to go back down next week with proof that the condo is, indeed, in deed mine. And, of course, I'll have my skates sharpened.v