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COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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Soapweed
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COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby Soapweed » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:46 pm

COLD WEATHER INCIDENT
By Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

As I am writing this, the thermometer is hovering near the zero degree mark. It is supposed to get well below zero tonight, and nearly 20 below for the next two nights. Highs for a couple days will not get up to zero. This bitter cold weather at the end of December conjured up a memory from about 35 years ago.

Carol and I got married in the summer of 1979. It was New Year’s Eve in either 1979 or 1980. We had spent the evening at John and Ingrid Fairhead’s house north of Merriman, playing cards, visiting, and seeing in the new year at midnight. The temperature was 20 below zero when we headed for home, but there was a pretty bright moon lighting the snowy landscape. Highway 61 was a noticeably lonesome road that night as we traversed the 18 miles south of Merriman to get to the ETV tower, where we would turn to go another mile west to where we lived.

We were within about four miles of our ranch when we happened upon a car in the middle of the highway. The engine was off, but there was a lone occupant sleeping face-down on the steering wheel. I recognized the man as Red Dunn. Red was the cook at the Minor Ranch, which was another 15 or 20 miles further south. Red was a good cook, and he had even concocted a specialty product called Red Dunn’s salad dressing, which was sold in some local stores. Red was also a fairly proficient drinking man. He had celebrated the coming of the New Year quite rambunctiously before heading back home. Now his car had conked out, and all he was wearing was a light jacket.

I got Red shook awake. He said his car had stalled out, and so had he. The car wouldn’t start, but I had some jumper cables along. We turned our pickup around, and jump started his car. Red took off driving, but the car killed out within a hundred yards. We jumped it again, and I told Red to move over, that I would drive his car and him on to the Minor Ranch. Carol followed along in our pickup.

By the time we arrived at the Minor Ranch cookhouse, Red had sobered up a little bit and was becoming more coherent with his speech. By then he realized the direness of his situation, and was very grateful for Carol and me seeing that he got home. He mumbled that we had quite possibly saved his life, and then invited us in. He said he would cook up the biggest steaks in the house to feed us in payment for our efforts. We politely declined, saying that we had been snacking all evening and would now probably make it until time for breakfast. We also figured it would be the Minor Ranch that would be supplying those tasty steaks.

As we traveled back along Highway 61 to our turn-off, we didn’t meet a single vehicle. Poor old Red might not have fared so well if we hadn’t happened to come along.

Here is another story that combines drinking and cold weather. It is from the book TRAILS OF A WILDERNESS WANDERER, by Andy Russell--Alfred A. Knopf Publishing, New York, 1971

Page 32-
These are the words of Andy Russell:
“When my grandfather first came to Fort Macleod in 1882 while working on the survey, he made the acquaintance of the local blacksmith, a man known as Smiley. The biggest part of Smiley’s business was shoeing police mounts and repairing the ironwork and chains that went with the freight wagons and bull teams owned by the I.J. Baker Company. This company hauled all the freight from the steamboats on the Missouri at Fort Benton in Montana, which was the main source of goods coming into the country at that time. Smiley prevailed on my grandfather for a loan, which was given to him upon transfer of a note. When the loan came due, Grandfather went to see him one snappy cold morning in November. He found the blacksmith asleep in his shop, snoring and dead to the world on a work bench. It turned out Smiley had a drinking problem. Heading for his shack the previous evening very drunk, he apparently became a little confused and went instead to his shop. There, in lieu of going to bed, he lay down on the bench beside a pile of chains. It was near zero, and as the cold penetrated, he began hauling chains across his middle. When Grandfather found him, he was snoring under enough chains to load down a big mule and blue with cold.”

Stay warm everyone, and if you go out in the cold, wear a big coat.
Last edited by Soapweed on Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby George » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:12 am

It was -6F last wednesday about 11 PM very windy causing a -30F wind chill - - - I was due to get off shift at midnight - - - headed back to the jail to finish paperwork and there is a young lady ( 26 ) walking down the highway in yoga pants, light jacket, no hat , no gloves and a backpack. Yes this is enough for me to suspect something is wrong.

I pulled up and ask her if she needed help - - - no she was walking to a friends house ( a couple of miles away ) - - - I had her get in and it became clear she was not feeling bad at all. I radioed dispatch and notified I was going to transport to her destination. She could not give me an address and she could not find the house of her friend.

Plan B - - - the accomidations at the jail were not what she expected but she was warm and safe for the night - - - I know she will not appreciate it but even in a drug induced stupor I feel she would probably not have survived the night if I had not stopped. I did not arrest her - - - we can provide over night accomidations in severe weather - - - just a bunk and a blanket and 2 dounuts and coffee before they go on their way in the morning. If she had had drugs on her she would have been arrested - - - if she causes disruption then the jailers can get a warrent for a blood draw but if she behaves herself she just got a free bunk for the night and a free breakfast - - - I hope she can get her life in order but I will probably never see her again.

Helping people weather they appriciate it or not is the part of the job I like.
Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby Soapweed » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:23 am

You did the right thing, George. She might appreciate it, and she might not, but you did the right thing. Many times if a cow is rescued from a bog hole, even though her life has been saved, she will come out on the fight.

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby gcreekrch » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:37 am

Soapweed wrote:You did the right thing, George. She might appreciate it, and she might not, but you did the right thing. Many times if a cow is rescued from a bog hole, even though her life has been saved, she will come out on the fight.



LOL, that's quite the acronym Soap.

There have been more drunks freeze here than one cares to think about. Mostly our Native friends.
Don't tell people your problems, half of em' don't care and the other half are glad you got em' We can all run the neighbors better'n our own

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby cow pollinater » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:05 am

Good on you, George. It might take her years to figure out that you helped her but you most certainly did.
I don't drink enough to get myself in trouble anymore but my buddies and I used to say that if God pities fools and drunks we were doubly blessed...

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby Silver » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:23 am

You wouldn't last long in this weather unprepared.

Image

This is on the porch this morning and it always reads a few degrees warmer than actual.

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby Faster horses » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:58 pm

Oh my, Silver. Now that is COLD.
Good for you, George. You can certainly look at yourself in the mirror knowing you helped someone in dire straits, even if they
didn't realize it at the time.
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

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Re: COLD WEATHER INCIDENT, by Steve Moreland, December 29, 2017

Postby jodywy » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:00 pm

Why home from college Dec. 79 I stopped in to see my GF from college, Spent the night and part of the next day then went over the mountain to home for Christmas. Was invited back for New Years. Well went over new years eve, seem GF had found a new friend, and Mom wasn't too sure about me. Well we all went to the community dance hall, pot luck supper BYB bar, live band. I just kind of wandered around all night. Get up the next morning to go home but truck wouldn't start it was -65. Was along day and night. Called home , dad had a new pickup and everybody thought it be warmer to feed with it then hook up the team, they could get from the road to the stack to the feed ground.... problem was radiator froze up thermostat stuck and motor over heated. They had a long day but still not as long as mine.
"Every once in a while, I’m overwhelmed by the feeling that I’ve done something REALLY STUPID." -Hank (Hank the Cow Dog ,John R. Erickson)


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