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November 10, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Party Like It’s 1918

I don’t get Halloween.  I just don’t get it.  Once you grow out of the stage where you can go door to door and score a pillowcase full of candy, what’s the point? 

This Halloween, Carli and Hersh were in town from Texas, because her grandfather (Jedo) turned 90 years old on Halloween.  Can you imagine?  Ninety.  I sure can’t.  I had a great-great grandma who lived to be 103…she was blind and deaf and in a wheelchair.  I have a picture of me sitting on her lap when I was two or three.  In the picture I was screaming and crying.  I guess I couldn’t imagine 103 then, either. 

I was very disappointed to miss the official 90th birthday party, but it was on a Thursday and I couldn’t drive all the way to Butte and back in an evening and expect to be coherent the next day at work.  Then I found out that I would get to see Jedo on Saturday evening, because Carli and her family were taking him out to the Wise River Club.  Carli’s aunt and uncle recently bought the Wise River Club in Wise River, Montana.  Now when I say “club,” don’t get images of Tunnel or Studio 54 or Nation or anything like that. 


First of all, Wise River is off the beaten path.  Way off the beaten path.  It’s a quaint Montana community along side a river. 

To make things more interesting for me, Carli and Hersh decided to dress up at the last minute.  This was not part of the original plans.  Did I mention I don’t get Halloween?  Carli called me at work to offer to get me a costume from K-Mart.  The first offer was to get some “cat ears.”  Okay, I could go along with some “cat ears.”  Maybe even a tail, if I wore my good jeans. 

Soon she texted me with new! upgraded! Halloween plans.  She and Hersh purchased a Dracula and a Wife of Dracula costume.  Did I want a fake mullet, so I could go as a trucker?  They were half-off.

I think I didn’t answer that text.  Then another text message popped up…the offer of another costume.  I can’t remember what it was.  I texted back and said to get me hoop earrings and a headband, and I’d go as a hippie.  I can do hippie.  Most of my clothes are hippie-like anyway, so it wouldn’t cost me anything.

Give Carli a task, and she is all over it.  She found earrings.  She found bandanna material, instead of just a bandanna, so I could create my own flowy. hippie headband.  She found some flower stickers for my face.  She also bought Wasband a flannel robe, a wife-beater, as well as the aforementioned mullet.  He would go as the robed trucker.  Suddenly Wasband was stricken with some illness (possibly Halloweenaphobia, but it seemed to be of the gastrointestinal variety) so he stayed home.  But we kept the robe.  And bonus: we have our very own mullet to wear whenever we want.

We left Butte around 5:30 in order to get there by 6 PM, just in time for the prime rib to finish cookin’.  The plan was to sit down and have dinner, then take Jedo and Baba back to Butte.  It would be around seven, seven thirty by then, and those old-timers would be ready for some much needed shut-eye.  It was then that the real partying would begin.  That was the plan.  After we dropped the old folks back at home for some Metamucil and rest, the possibilities were endless!  We could go back to the Wise River Club, or maybe stay in Butte.  Something crazy will happen if you go out in Butte.  It’s just the way it is.

We sat down to dinner and most of us ordered the Prime Rib. 


As we were waiting for dinner, a man in a werewolf mask came out of the bar area and started to sing Happy Birthday to Jedo.  He pulled off his mask, and I was surprised to see my eighth grade English teacher, Mr. K.  Carli was in that class too.  Sometime I will write about Mr. K.  I’ll say this: the man is lovably eccentric and has a diamond embedded in his tooth. 

More people flowed out of the bar, and sang Happy Birthday to Jedo. 


Everyone clapped and hollered.  And suddenly, the entire room broke out into the Serbian National Anthem. 

The Serbian National Anthem. 

Hersh and I, the only ones in the room of non-Serb heritage smiled politely and nodded our heads to and fro.  It was nice and lovely, but I don’t flippin’ know the words to the Serbian National Anthem so what else can you do?  I’d never encountered a party where everyone burst into song, let alone foreign song, so I was at a loss.  But it was loud, and it was family, and it was awesome beyond description.  Soon the prime rib arrived and the singing stopped because you can’t sing with a mouthful of cow. 

After dinner, we offered to take Baba and Jedo back to Butte so they could get tucked in with their heating pads and Ben Gay.  But much to everyone’s surprise, Jedo wanted to stay.  We all made our way into the dark, wilderness-themed bar area.  Jedo and Baba sat down at a table, and Carli, Hersh and I started taking pictures of the fun Wise River Club decor, such as the antlers and bear rug on the ceiling, the giant stuffed trout over the fireplace, the fake blood all over the beer cooler (I’m thinking it’s just for Halloween), and the restroom doors (labeled Pointers and Setters, natch).


Not much was happening.  Soon “the band” that we had been hearing about showed up.  It was a one man guitar show with a laptop karaoke program.  I sound like I am about to be sarcastic, but he was actually pretty good.  He did a lot of cover songs (all country or 70’s classic).  I could have done without the “Check You For Ticks” song though.  If you haven’t heard this gem of a country classic, here is a sample of the lyrics:

I know the perfect little path
Out in these woods I used to hunt
Don’t worry babe I’ve got your back
And I’ve also got your front
I’d hate to waste a night like this

The only thing allowed to crawl all over you when we get there is me.

I’ll keep you safe you wait and see

‘Cause I’d like to see you out in the moonlight
I’d like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I’d like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I’d like to check you for ticks.

Lots of bar-goers were in costume.  Among them, a lovely (albeit larger) woman who wore a too-short court jester costume.  She kept dropping things.  And every time she bent over, the joke was on her.  And it was truly frightening, which was appropriate for Halloween I suppose.  We kept checking in with Jedo to see if he was getting tired, but each time we did, he insisted on staying. He bpbbed his head to the music, he clapped at the dancing of Carli and Hersh, and he smiled at the loud music and the lively crowd. 

The best costume of the evening went to “Boob Lady” who was actually a man dressed up as a very fat (think spherical) woman with enormous knockers.  The knockers were balloons on springs, so the bouncy effect was quite hilarious.  The man was having a grand old time out there, playing with his chest-balloons.  I’ve heard men say things like “Boy, if I had boobs, I’d never leave the house, I’d just stay inside any play with them all day.”  (I’m willing to bet if you are a woman who has ever had a conversation with a man, you have also heard this).  And Boob Lady proved that it is true.


The dance floor at the Wise River Club was a riot.  We avoided the Court Flasher Jester the best we could, only to be faced with a man who was very drunk and very alone, and possibly very shady.  We quickly labeled him “Parole Guy.”  Parole Guy couldn’t stop dancing with Carli’s mom.  Carli’s mom had dressed in her best Harley clothing and really looked biker-babealicious.  This must have appealed to Parole Guy.  He followed her all over the dance floor, song after song after song.

In the meantime, Jedo and Carli struck up a game of pool. 


Now until this Halloween, I had never seen anyone using a walker play pool.  I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but as it turns out, the walker helps balance the cue on certain shots.  Pretty soon Jedo was having trouble hitting the balls with the little end of the cue, so he turned it around and started using the big end.  Props to “Pool Shark” Jedo for improvising.  I hope to be half as energetic at sixty.  And after the tiring pool game, Jedo STILL didn’t want to leave.  The funny thing was, I was getting tired.  My party mojo was getting its ass kicked by a ninety year old man wearing a Texas Rangers badge (He loves Walker, Texas Rangers).

Then Perv Guy hit the floor.  Picture a sixty-something man groping everyone he could on the dance floor with his hairy, white fingers.  That was Perv Guy.  Somewhere in the bar he found a large stick, I’m not sure what it was, but it looked like a hockey stick topped with aluminum foil…well Perv Guy started riding it like a horse, then he started doing the ol’ “in and out” pelvis thrust while atop the stick, like you might see a twelve year old boy do on the playground.  Where the hell is a video camera when you need one?  The whole while, the local Wise River kids were filtering in and out of the bar to trick-or-treat (bar trick or treating is VERY popular in Montana, I remember it fondly).  I hope Perv Guy wasn’t offering candy.

The bar had a raffle, and when Carli won a pink camo hat labeled “Bugs and Bullets,” she went up to claim her prize at the stage and Perv Guy came up behind her and groped away.  Hersh looked on from the table, amused.  I won a vodka-brand T-shirt and a Budweiser hat.  Other prizes available included canisters of beef jerky, beer coolers, beer floats for rafting, and fold-up chairs with beer holders on the arms. 


Finally Father Elvis (a guy dressed as a priest with an Elvis mask) went up on stage to thank the sponsors of the evening. 


The speech went something like this:

Thanks everyone, thanks for coming out for us tonight!  I’d like to thank the sponsors of tonight, the guys who gave us all these great gifts.  Did everyone get a hat?  If you didn’t get a hat, just come up and get a hat, already.  Still got some hats. 

Let’s see, we gotta thank Thompson Distributing, (loud cheers and applause) and we gotta thank the folks at Bugs-n-Bullets for some of these great hats, (loud cheers and applause) and let’s see, who else? 

Oh yeah, we definitely gotta thank the sausage guys…what are their names again?  Does anyone know?  Thanks gotta go out to the sausage guys up the hill. (loud cheers and applause)

Baba and Jedo still wouldn’t leave.  They were outdoing the rest of us.  I was falling asleep in my chair, slipping into a Halloween overload coma.  I didn’t want to sleep for fear of dreaming about Elvis dressed as a jester checking me for ticks.  Finally, we convinced Jedo that we should all leave at 10:30 because WE were getting tired.  Reluctantly, he agreed. 


After we made it back to Butte, Carli, Hersh, Carli’s mom, and I decided to hit the wild streets of Butte for some more Halloween fun.  We headed for the Depot.  The Depot is an old train depot revamped to be a giant bar with many rooms.  I had never been there…by the time I was old enough to (legally) imbibe I was living in another state, so my actual bar-hopping experience in Butte is rather limited. 

We arrived at the Depot just in time to see a yellow schoolbus pulling into the parking lot.  The bus was full of ghosts and ghouls of the adult variety.  A banner on the bus declared that it was “PARTY BUS” but someone had taped it on poorly and you could still read “School District #1.”  We found out later the “Party Bus” was making the rounds from bar to bar all over town.  By this time my camera was fully dead and I cursed Halloween for not being able to photograph such golden people-watching.

Inside the Depot, it was a madhouse.  There might have been three or four people over the age of 21 in there.  The band was so loud and the place was incredibly crowded.  We were definitely among the oldest people there, save a woman who was passed out and drooling on a table next to the bar.  We actually held our hands under her nose to check to see if she was still breathing.  She was.

The highlight of the Depot visit was that I saw some guy dressed up as a tampon.  Creative.

We decided to drive to the Five Mile bar, waaaaaay on the other end of town.  They were supposed to have a band too.  We got there, and the two people at the bar were watching football.  The dance room was in the back, they told us.  Hersh, Carli and I went over to investigate.  

Picture the saddest dance room you’ve ever seen.  It’s dark, it’s stinky, it’s empty.  The size of the room is only magnified by the fact that there are only  four or five really drunk people dressed as vampires dancing by themselves near the boom box.  Yes, the boom box.  From the boom box, a tinny-sounding version of “Whoomp! There It Is!” plays.  The definition of irony occurs to you.  A “disco light” the size of a tennis ball hangs in the corner of a room, just off-centered enough to piss anyone off whether they have OCD or not.  That was the Five Mile experience.

We went back to the truck and pondered what to do next.  Where to go?  What wild adventures to take on?  Deep down, we already missed the antlers on the ceiling of the Wise River Club.  I’m not sure which one of us said it first:

“Just take me home.  Screw this.  I’m tired, and I wanna go to bed.”

And thanks to the sausage guys up the hill.



Leave a Comment
  1. Sharon / Nov 10 2008 5:36 pm

    I seriously want a bugs and bullets hat!

  2. Carli / Nov 10 2008 3:03 pm

    Hahahahahahahahah…..once again you’ve outdone yourself! What an incredible night. I believe the only part you left out of the documentary was at the Depot when the incredibly cool dudes in the pickup truck (complete with full mega-suspension, those above the roof fog light bars, and glass packs) yelled out “hey girls…show us your t*ts”…only to be surprised when my lovely husband turned around, grabbed his chestacles and said “you wanna see some t*ts…I’ll show you some t*ts!” Needless to say, they sped outta there in a jiffy. What a fun night. Thanks for putting it in writing. Until next year….by the way, I actually wore my pink camouflaged “bugs and bullets” hat to the grocery store today. It rocks!

    I have no idea how I managed to leave the “chesticles” part out. But I guess I don’t need to go back in and edit. Thanks for posting this! That was probably the funniest part of the night…well, one of them.

  3. bluesuit12 / Nov 10 2008 9:11 am

    Phew! Sounds like quite the night. The tick song sounds disturbing! Loved the pics though.

  4. teeni / Nov 10 2008 7:53 am

    Oh my gosh – this whole post just cracked me up. Seriously, there is a tick song? Well, at least it sounds like you had a blast making some memories. 🙂

  5. crisitunity / Nov 10 2008 6:56 am


    -I don’t get Halloween either. Why is it an excuse to get drunk? The dots don’t connect for me.

    -Pointers and setters?

    -He looks awfully good for 90.

    -I cracked up at your description of Five Mile. I think I’ve been to that “club” before.

    -To sum up this post: Montana is a singular experience.

    Hunting dogs, I guess. Have you been to an outback, where the bathrooms are labeled “Sheilas” for the ladies? I forget what the men’s room is labeled. It was hilarious for an evening.

  6. Christine / Nov 10 2008 6:48 am

    And bonus: we have our very own mullet to wear whenever we want.

    ROFLMAO! 😀


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