Archive for the ‘Butte’ Category

FAMILY FUN AND OTHER STUFF

~ CHAPTER ONE ~

FAMILY FEUDS OR HOW THE WORLD ENDS

Every family has one or two or half a dozen or more, those family feuds that can last centuries – Uncle A cannot stand Aunt B and such.

Seemingly, the holidays are the perfect time for these feuds to begin.

Take for example in my family; in 1958, or sometime in those hazy times, when the clouds form inside the brain fogging out the reason for the feud but giving it still a hint to know there is a feud, Great Aunt 1 took a piece of cake and began eating it.

“This cake is kinda dry.” she whispered to Great Aunt 2 who, unbeknownst to Great Aunt 1, had made such cake.

Great Aunt 2 huffed and puffed and  threw her hands in the air.

“How rude!!” And stormed out of the house to never speak a word to Great Aunt 1 for close to 50 years.

A feud soon started over chocolate cake.

I guess wars have started over less.

My aunt, my pop’s sister, will not speak to my uncle, her brother and hasn’t since basically time began.

I was born in 1971 and they weren’t on speaking terms since before then.

It always puzzled me and I asked both sides what was going on.

My uncle would tell me, “I have no idea! I’ve tried to mend the relationship many times! I love my sis!”

My aunt would reply, “He knows!” and then would hang up the phone angrily.

My pop would smile slyly and reply, “I think it’s over her bike that she thinks he chopped down into a chopper. I did that!”

Years have gone by, Presidencies have changed hands more than I can count, and still, my aunt will not speak to her brother, my uncle.

I got a reason this summer, as I stayed a few nights in a motel room in Butte, Montana.

I had bought a bottle of Black Velvet and was drinking it with diet coke(I have to watch my shape and yes, round is a shape) and soon found myself dialing my aunt.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Jello!”

We both laughed.

Why?

I have no idea.

After some small chit chat about cousins, friends and other stuff, I approached the topic easily, with just a touch of harshness to make it seem like a grill session at the police station.

“Why do you hate your brother?” I half yelled drunkly into the phone.

“I don’t hate him, I hate his wife!” the truth came out, though, my aunty S, had figured that out many years before.

Apparently, on a Christmas Day, back before the dinosaurs or 1958, the family had gathered at my grandparent’s place, a place that does not exist any more, even the town it was in is now gone, swallowed up by The Berkeley Pit.

After a feast, the family moved to the living room, for conversation and homemade beer.

Something happened that day, a fight of words broke down between my Aunty S and my grandfather; hiss growl, you, no you!!!

And soon the great rift between the family would begin; though no one remembers what started the fight, I believe it was over chocolate cake!

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Butte – A grand city of bars and prostitutes, according to a random tourist at the Safeway store.

Well okay she didn’t say grand.

I can’t say what she called Butte.

We were someplace around “The Pit” when the drugs began to take hold.

I kid.

There were no drugs, not even a we, except for my imaginary friends.

I was drinking whiskey and cokes in a room at the Motel 6 in Uptown Butte.

In a few days, I’ll be leaving Butte for the 2nd greatest city in my life, Louisville, Kentucky.

Butte is the city that made me who I am today.

A drunken writer.

I’ll miss this town.

She isn’t for everybody.

But maybe that’s what makes her so great.

She isn’t a typical tourist trap.

She ain’t no beauty but she has a huge heart and a brilliant beautiful soul.

She is pock marked hard with a long mining history.

But without Butte, a lot of “better” cities in Montana and even the USA wouldn’t even exist.

Many family fortunes would not have been gained off the backs of the Butte miners.

My grandfather being one of them miners.

He raised a family here.

His son, my dad, Rudy Giecek, saved part of Butte’s “wanted to forget” piece of history, The Dumas Brothel which he bought from the last madam, Ruby Garrett back in 1990.

He kept trying to save it till 2012 when his health finally wouldn’t let him.

Me?

I just write about her.

A lady, a tourist, came through another checker’s line at my store.

She was pissed.

“There’s nothing but bars and prostitutes in this town!!”

She had read on some website that Butte was a great town to bring kids.

She stormed out of the store yelling about giving Butte a negative review on Yelp.

I think Butte should market her bars and prostitutes.

And our casinos.

We have the best casinos.

No, I don’t know which bars have the best prostitutes.

I was once hit on at a bar by a mother of the bride to be.

We were both pretty drunk.

I almost went with her on a bar cruise but instead I stumbled off my bar stool and wandered off.

I fell into the Blacktail Creek instead.

My fiancee laughed at that story.

Butte should be marketed as a writer and artist colony.

Wander the streets and the alleys and discover the real Butte.

Its heart and soul.

Butte is a historic town.

And yes she is still rough from her years of mining.

But she will always be my city, my hometown.

I love her bars and prostitutes.

And okay, she has some pretty good people in general.

Remember to “Tap ‘er light” and see ya later Butte, I’ll be back!

I’ve always been horrible at goodbyes.

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I am just a common man, working a common job, almost enough to afford a common pad!

I wouldn’t ever run for a political office as I can’t smile that fake nor are my teeth that white.

I do know there is a homeless situation here in the fine city of Butte, Montana, my home town.

There has been for a while.

With or without a shelter, people, mostly good people, families even, down on their luck, are out there, living on the street.

You just have to wander Uptown Butte any time of the day, and look, really look, and you will see the issue before your eyes.

Even ride the bus, as a commoner, and see the issue.

Do I have the answer or the solution to this problem?

No, I do not.

With or without a homeless shelter, the problem still exists as we close our eyes to the main problem.

“Not in my neighborhood!” I’ve had lots of people say to me.

The problem is, they are already there.

I am one!

Good people, people who work, but who don’t make enough to afford housing,

They smile as they bag your groceries.

They laugh as they give your hamburgers.

They nod as you state your views about how “These bums should get a job!” or stop living off the systems.

A lot of them can’t live off the system, they are making too much at $8.80 an hour.

The waiting list is too long!

They smile but deep down, they are crying.

Yes, the system is broken.

Yes, there are the bums.

The drifters.

The fakes, the men and women who panhandle aggressively, who put their 50 bucks an hour through Coinstar, but honestly that is a very small percentage of the masses out there, living on the streets.

We must all remember we are only one step away from being one of the homeless masses.

One of the bums, who gets hot coffee thrown in his face.

Yes, it happens, I’ve seen it.

I know, I am on of the homeless masses, the dirty ones.

I am lucky.

I have friends who are there, who give me a bed.

And a shower, a place to shave, so I don’t look like one of the homeless.

I do know there are good people out there, providing meals on a limited budget.

I have helped them, shh, don’t tell my manager, I gave them ten cents off some rotten peaches!

We must remember what would Jesus do!

I am not a religious man but I have giving my last dime to a desperate man with three children, to buy milk.

I will be leaving my hometown of Butte, the place I call home, with tears in my eyes, as a proud man.

I love you Butte but…..