How Paradise Dies – Sheridan, Montana

Sheridan, Montana in the Ruby Valley of Southwest Montana USED to be a very nice place to live.

When I first discovered it in 2004, I’d become so weary of living in cities that I couldn’t wait to depart from Missoula and relocate happily with a few truck loads of furniture and tools, clothes, etc…

The main reason for relocating to Sheridan at the time was I’d been hired by the public school system to be there “Head of Maintenance”.  Without that job waiting for me, I wouldn’t have attempted to live in Sheridan.  Even with that job, the pay was barely enough to tolerate the cost of living, which was fairly congruent with almost anywhere else in the state.  To be brief, the pay was LOW, but I had a good benefit package.  It was do-able.

The population in 2004 was between 900 and 1,000 people.  Horses, tractors, and ranch vehicles graced the dirt streets, and life was pleasingly slow, “sleepy” even.  Moreover, I’d never seen, let alone lived with, so many and varied species of wildlife, most times right outside the window, right in the yard.  Beautiful.  Sheridan was a “sportsman’s paradise”, I wrote to a friend back in Missoula, where I’d moved from.

After 50 years of living mostly in major population centers, slowing down to the pace and lifestyle of Sheridan, Montana back then was truly like dying and going to “heaven”.  I never missed the higher salaries and other perks that jobs in major cities provided in earlier stages of life.  The trade-off for living in this beautiful mountain community was lower pay, slower pace of life, and quiet, blessed quiet.  Crime was practically non-existent back then in 2004, and the only siren(s) a body ever heard was the daily 12:00noon sounding, and perhaps once or twice throughout any given year, maybe an ambulance roaring by as they transported someone who had injured themselves, to a larger hospital, like the one in Dillon, or Butte, or in the worst cases, Bozeman (which is another, nightmarish, “paradise lost” story).  Life was a sleepy, beautiful dream back then, and I wanted for nothing more.

14 years have passed since then.

It’s the second quarter of 2018 now, and that “beautiful dream” is fading quickly.  Day by day, month by month, year by year refugees who are fleeing the cities in search of “better” life have somehow discovered this little mountain community, and are flocking here in droves.

It wouldn’t be so bad IF they could leave their city-fied lifestyles, thinking, greed, and attitudes in whatever population hell they came from, and acclimated to life here, as it has been for over a hundred years.  However, that does not happen.  The refugees come in all colors and beliefs, but the main belief is that they THINK they need just as much money as they had where they came from.  They can’t understand that living here requires a trade-off.  They are not, apparently, willing to slow down on the highways and in the town’s dirt streets.

They “want it all”.  They want to live in this mountain (former) paradise, AND have their money, and have their former frenzied lifestyles.  They, collectively, seem to be oblivious to the havoc, and enormous stresses their presence in Sheridan foists on us long time residents, residents who came here to get away from the very type of human ills they now bring here, daily.

Those in city and county government are all in favor of the exploding population in the Ruby Valley, and in Sheridan, in particular.  Sure!  The store owners are all too wiling to accept their business!  $$$ Money! Yea! More money.

Those who are in the higher socioeconomic bracket(s) around here just sell their properties in the town proper, and move higher up the mountains, and farther away from the melee as it builds ($$$ Money!).  THEY can get away from the riff-raff, the rising crime, the morons with their un-muffled diesel trucks as they ignore the 25 mph speed limits in town, and roar through with little or no regard for the people who live there.

How does “Paradise” die?

It dies just like the way I’m describing in this blog.

So, if you are reading this, and you happen to be one of the recent refugees from the major population centers in the USA, including Bozeman and Missoula, I’m asking you to acclimate to what life here in the Ruby Valley already IS, and slow down, think of your neighbors rights as well as your own, and settle in for what can be a good life for everyone who lives here.  And, if you’re not willing to do that, please go somewhere else, and soon.

Reality Check for Young “Adults”

Very young children, the mentally ill, and fools believe in magick, and in fairy tales.
Everyone else (this means YOU), at some point in life, has to come to grips with the stark realities of being adult, and accept that they must do the best they can with what they have to work with.
This is especially true when two young adults bring a child into the world.

Reality is simply that you will work your ass off your whole life, and be unappreciated, at best.
No one will care how much you have already done, already given, or what you already know.
You will only receive atta boys for the moment.  They don’t last.

And when it’s all over, and you are in the grave, you won’t be remembered except by one, maybe two people…and even then, not for very long.

A series of one-sentence statements that are universally true, seem to be in order here.

Time Marches on.

Each moment is infinitely​ short, and once it is gone, it’s gone forever.

Nothing is free.

The government does not care about you.

Police carry guns to protect themselves, not to protect you.

There is almost always more to a story than meets the eye.

God exists.

Satan exists.

We are not “all God’s children”.  Some humans on planet Earth are born into Satan’s dominion.

Sexual orientation is determined by the plumbing you are born with, NOT how you perceive yourself!

Life is hard for everyone.

You will not win the lottery.

There is never enough money.

You are not as good as you think you are.

You are not as bad as you think you are.

If you don’t take care of your own business, someone else will take care of it for you.

Say what you mean, and Mean what you say.

Children grow up.

One never gets back equally, for the effort they put into life, there is always loss.

Life is not fair.

Regardless of how bad things are, it can always get worse.

Men and women think differently.

Most people are stupid.

Most people are lazy.

You can’t make people “like you” by kissing their ass.

People who “like you”, will “like you” no matter what you do.

People who do not like you, will not like you no matter what you do.

What goes around comes around.

If you do wrong, bad things result.

If you do right, good things result.

There is no Fairy God Mother.

You cannot get away from the results of wrong living.

Wherever you go, there you are.

Possessions are NOT the measure of a person’s worth.

If an asshole drives a new car or truck, he or she is still an asshole.

If a good person drives an older car or truck, he or she is still a good person.

There is a great deal of really stupid people with college degrees.

Knowledge is a tool, it is NOT a measure of intelligence.

Every day you live, you are one day closer to the end of your life.

There are nearly infinite ways to state the realities of life, and the above list should give this writing a good beginning.

If you have a spouse, your number one responsibility is to your spouse.
If you have a spouse and a child with that spouse, your own importance is #3, at best.
In other words, your child and spouse are more important than you are, so act accordingly.

Paradise Lost, Redux

Refugees from American cities are now flocking by the thousands to more rural areas of our homeland.

When they do this, they bring their money with them.  Local businesses are all too happy to take their city-born money, and make allowances for their presence, because of their money of course.  The city-refugees also bring their fears, city-centered lifestyles, anxieties and attitudes with them.  The “curses” of the city accompany those refugees who are now flocking to rural America to escape the ills that permeate large population centers.

Those “curses”, those “citycentric diseases”, and the people who mindlessly bring them to rural America, are the topic of this blog.

I will not use or quote needless research in this blog to support my assertions unless absolutely necessary.  It’s obvious to anyone who cares to look beyond their smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer, or television what is happening.  There is a mass exodus happening right now, and has been for several years.  Sewage from the cities is being pumped into rural America, and causing the Paradise to be Lost, gradually, over time.  The smell of their money is masking the stench of their polluted thinking and lifestyles, so that at the first, most people cannot detect what lies beyond their green camouflage, their money.

I’ll include a poem that I wrote years ago.  1994, I believe it was, while living in Muskogee, OK, I had a brief period of time when I actually felt like trying my hand at poetry.





Money is the tie that binds
Elusive stuff it clouds the mind
Desire of it distorts the will
Lack of it a bitter pill

A phony GOD the dollar stout
Few have enough but most without
Our lives but wither, money remains
It never sees our strife and our pain

And what of our souls the temple within
Is not the worship of money a sin?
Shattered stockbrokers have jumped from the roof
Lamb by lamb they fall prey to the wolf

We who remain still grab for the green
Like was said in the ’60’s, it is a bad scene
Don blindfolds in morning, start up our cars
Return in the evening wearing new scars
(don’t even THINK about stopping at bars)

Another sun sets we’re safe in our homes
In final analysis we are all drones
Like bees in the hive we live for the queen
Millions of eyes that see only green


Well, in my defense, I didn’t say it was “good” poetry.


I’ll be back….

Return to today?

Lot of time passing.

Can’t see past my nose these days.

Thinking I should probably get some things written down and linked, so that after we’re passed, IF anyone want’s to know what we were thinking before the “end”, then they at least have the opportunity to come here and read some of them…the thoughts, ya know.

Don’t have time today for more than this, these words.

Will be back…hopefully soon.

The Least Of These

In 1999, I wrote a book.

The book was about my involvement in the lives of a family.  The family had problems, to say the least.  One of the problems this family had was their daughter, to whom I was married at the time.

The title of the book, “The Least of These” is a reference to a passage in the Holy Bible where people who are being “judged” by God are asking for a reason they are being judged harshly.  To their pleas, God replies:..

oldranger53Read More »