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By MICK HOLIEN

There is just not anything like Sunday at Augusta … the usual packed gallery …the pomp and circumstance on a beautiful Georgia day,

But a huge part of the Masters tradition was lacking this year because of the first-time absence of one of the sport’s mainstays.

With no deference to Gary Player, who joined ageless Jack Nicklaus for the traditional tee-off but it marks the first time since 1955 that Arnold Palmer and his congenial smile was noticeably not present.

Player hit his tee shot a little shorter than the 77-year-old Golden Bear who tipped his hat to the skies in recognition of his old friend who died last year at the age of 87.

Admittedly I have unfortunately never been to the Masters and confess I wouldn’t be able to describe the difference between a five iron from a three or a seven.

There is a difference right?

A half dozen years ago though I stood outside waiting anxiously for Palmer to arrive at the awards dinner for the National Sportswriters and sports broadcasters association in Salisbury, N.C.   

While representatives from most states were in attendance it was a social affair but I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to catch a few comments with the golfing icon.

He graciously stopped before entering and was kind enough to give me and my pal Gwen a few minutes but took the opportunity to reach around her waist to her backside where I would say he just gave her a little palm nudge.

He was in his eighties.

Please don’t be offended but if you knew Gwen, who has since lost her long battle with cancer, it wouldn’t surprise you to know rather than being upset she smiled and reciprocated.

As a dinner guest Palmer was seated with Jim Nantz, who was again being honored as National Sportscaster of the Year.

Since I have attended a few of these banquets since first winning the state award in 1988 I have come to know the cordial Nantz, who himself is easily approachable.

Later as dinner was approaching I noticed Palmer get up and walk across the entire venue approaching another table where I noticed another familiar face.

Nudging Gwen to get her camera ready here comes Arnie to embrace Furman Bisher, the iconic renowned former sportswriter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Palmer was well into his eighties and Bisher in his 90s and to me it represented a rare occurrence when a superior athlete pays homage to a media member who simply like Palmer was the best in his profession and whose eloquent words were respected as much as was Palmer’s golf game.

It was a touching moment and was my headline for the three-day event.

Several weeks later came an email from Nantz at CBS Sports calling my description of that moment in a Flathead Beacon column one of the finest he had ever read while capturing an “important moment” in his life.

Surprised I was thankful that I recognized what was happening.

Arnie signed a baseball for me that night and while I had no real reason to his absence and the presence of his widow made me appreciate even more fully than usual how it isn’t always all about what happens between the lines)

Just sayin’





Memorial

I want you to think about writing this down because when Memorial Day arrives next Monday – that’s right just three plus days from now you are going to wish you had listened better or wrote this down. That’s at least always my problem.

There are two parades in Ronan and Polson with the Ronan event starting at 10 a.m. followed by Polson at noon.

I say this only because is there nothing better than a small community parade and no finer annual get-together than Memorial Day.

And true it is another of those three-day weekends that we sometimes get confused.

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Float Mt Boat

By MICK HOLIEN

It is about this time of year I begin getting itchy feet to ready some things for summer even though the weather has just begun to venture into spring.

While it certainly is not unusual for this time of year it sure seems like there has been a more days of precipitation and threatening and gloomy skies.

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The Final of Three

By MICK HOLIEN

So here we are on day three of the Mt St Helens odyssey to travel to Kentucky.

And it has only taken us the better part of three episodes of imo where I again humbly request your indulgence.

Now scrambling for an explanation that would convince a patrolman to allow me to travel about 14 miles down I-90 through Spokane to the valley where I lived, I just did what anybody would do – I lied. No not really I basically reasoned through my entire day trip through the mounting ash and the need to get home in order to head back out to make it to the ABC bowling tournament in Louisville.

Communicative as I am he eventually relented and both my journey and the story continued as I made it to my valley exit and started contemplating the next leg of my journey.

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Just More Volcano

By MICK HOLIEN

If you have never been across the North Cascades, it’s a trip you just have to make as much like the Treasure State one encounters the nuances of small-town life in a variety of different scenarios.

But my last trip between the Seattle area and Spokane presented a few less than normal situations mainly because Highway Two actually was closed to sll but emergency traffic.

Hold on as we make the trip almost four decades later.

I wasn’t going to allow the mere eruption of Mt St. Helens to curtail my customary trip to the ABC Tournament.

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Just a Volcanic Delay

By MICK HOLIEN

Sometimes I am kind of surprised that anniversaries of dates that loomed so important in my life pass by without a thread of notice.

But I am fortunate to have a forum where I can later recount such occurrences as they come to mind even if just a few days past tense.

Thus is experiences surrounding the eruption of Mt St Helens which we all have some remembrance even after we approach the 40th anniversary.

I first recall something had occurred as I glanced at a television in the lounge of a bowling center in Tacoma, Wa. Where I was competing in the state mixed championships.

Glancing at the images with other startled patrons came the picture of a street light illuminated at mid-day in Yakima, a couple of hours driving time away, where falling ash from Mt St Helens had caused night lights to illuminate unbeknownst at the time to me and drastically changing not just my day but a week of travel plans.

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Golf Today

By MICK HOLIEN

Well golfers as you listen it is not too late to participate in Friday’s Golf for the Griz event in Ronan.

And besides with proceeds assisting athletic scholarships to the University of Montana there is plenty of reason to jump aboard.

And I’ll be there to check you in at 11 a.m.

This annual event at the Mission Mountain Golf Course is always a popular outing promising plenty of fellowship, competition and just plain enjoyment.

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An Annual Trip

By MICK HOLIEN

So how far does one have to venture out of the valleys of western Montana to encounter Ides of May snow?

Well it turns out that rather than venture to Glacier National Park over the weekend maybe I didn’t have to travel anywhere.

Because as it turns out some are forecast to pick up a little white stuff maybe as you are listening  or reading this.

But IMO went in search anyway even if that wasn’t the primary reason for heading up the road.

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Did You Know?

By MICK HOLIEN

Did you happen to catch that there was a Roullier drafted last week in the National Football League.

Yes even though the family dropped the first i, he is related to Tim Ryan Rouillier, Nashville and St Ignatius’ own who soon will bring his symphonic presentation, Play Me Montana, June 17 at the Dennison Theater.

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Never Another like Chris

I gave you just a taste recently of my old buddy Chris Walterskirschen who recently died.

But I thought it turned out to be less about him and more about me and that was not my intent.

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Another RIP

We all grieve differently.

I have a great friend who attends seemingly everyone’s funeral even if he just knows a relative of the diseased.

That causes me to kiddingly relate that I think he just goes for the buffet.

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Mother

By MICK HOLIEN

Sometimes the cynic in me is convinced, I’m sure like many of you, that annual celebrations are bout a ruse of the greeting card company in order to line rows of racks filled with specialty cards.

But I have to admit from a guy who keeps stacks of cards so I don’t get caught needing to rush to the grocery store at the last minute to send a usually belated card, come on folks honoring motherhood is one we all should be quick to participate in.

Since I don’t have a blood relative mother of any type remaining, this one just about slipped past me.

But thanks to a boys and girls club mid-week meeting when a conflict arose did I realize I hardly knew that May Day had slipped past let alone that Mom’s recognition also was at hand.

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RIP Your Honor

By MICK HOLIEN

Fortunately for me I’ve only been sworn in by a Montana or us. District Court Judge and not sworn at but appearing in front of his or her honor can well be an imposing scenario.

But it has been several years since C.B. McNeill, who recently passed, looked down at me sternly from that bench in the Lake County Courthouse reciting to me my sworn duties as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children/Guardian ad Litem.

And while I entered his courtroom as a routine matter, there quickly was little doubt just who’s courtroom it was.

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Recycle

By MICK HOLIEN

Electronic recycling is upon us as items may be taken to the Transfer Station of Reservoir Road Saturday, the 20th but am I the only one while pleased there is somewhere I can take these things lament that in the case of printers it is less expensive to buy another device rather than replace the cartridge.

Talk about discouraging as I sit here with three different printers on line and now have purchased an additional device that arrived of course without an accompanying ink cartridge.

What can I say?

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Play Me Montana!!!!

By MICK HOLIEN

A lifelong dream of Tim Ryan Rouillier reaches fruition this summer with an abundant dose of pomp and circumstance in his life story as told with symphonic music.

“Play Me Montana,” to be presented at the George Dennison Theater on the University of Montana campus June 17, utilizes the talented Hall of Fame musical writing of Alex Harvey and Charlie Black who parlay with Rouillier and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra to weave the story of Rouillier’s young life as the grandson of a Salish Indian at St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

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Big Tilly

By MICK HOLIEN

It seems I keep encountering folks who share stories from the past of folks relatively well known in the state.

But one of the most bizarre I have heard in some times came from the person it happened to and has since then been confirmed several times.

Along the lines of just in case you haven’t heard; You imagine how the stories flowed when the Butte boys arrived at the Football Hall of Fame inductions recently to share remembrances of Griz great Bob O’Billovich.

Hoop teammate Dan Sullivan probably waxed the most profuse but that’s for another time as this is a story about Mike Tilleman who departed school a year early to sign with Minnesota in, 65 the start of a four-team 12-year NFL career.

His professional career is certainly well documented including being the recipient of the Comeback Player of the Year after a 15-sack season returning from a bout with benign tumor.

But it is the off-the-field story that was most interesting to me and maybe more noteworthy.

Mike lived in Chinook, some 22 miles down the road from Havre where GMC was encouraging the big man to move his car dealership.

Well Mike, as I’m told, had no interest in doing so because he loved his three-story Chinook house and preferred to stay right where he was as a sugarbeeter.

GM kept after him and finally asked just what it would take to get it done and Tilleman advised them he wanted his house moved from one town to the other.

Like what I am sure has happened to many of us the company just said that’s no problem and even though power line etc had to be moved the Tilleman residence made it way down Highway Two to its current location.

Thus Tilleman Motors remains a Havre GMC dealership, one of several business enterprises the Tillman’s operate.

Yearly he brings a group of former NFL stars to go bird hunting on his property to raise money for MSU-Northern’s athletic program.

In New Orleans in 1970 Tilleman was named team MVP as an original Saint and was responsible for the block of All Pro Alex Karras on the record setting 63 yard field goal by Tom Dempsey at Tulane Stadium securing the victory over the Lions.

A bit of trivia eh

Just sayin’


Music n Optimism

Music to me is a faith healer and while I can’t attend all of the available offerings I get itchy feet this time of year and begin to figure out where I might lose myself for a few days.

My wanderings have decreased somewhat, especially since this medication that works so well puts me to sleep sometimes even standing up.

Altering the dose hasn’t seemed to be the answer because then it doesn’t effectively treat the malady.

And so tonight feeling a bit down in the dumps I knew right where to turn.

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Mick's Tim Ryan Rouillier's Story

By MICK HOLIEN

A lifelong dream of Tim Ryan Rouillier reaches fruition this summer with an abundant dose of pomp and circumstance in his life story as told with symphonic music.

“Play Me Montana,” to be presented at the George Dennison Theater on the University of Montana campus June 17, utilizes the talented Hall of Fame musical writing of Alex Harvey and Charlie Black who parlay with Rouillier and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra to weave the story of Rouillier’s young life as the grandson of a Salish Indian at St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

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Anger Revealed

By MICK HOLIEN

I have long had a problem with anger.

And in my younger days, it was the root cause of a lot of problems.

And while I gave some thought about seeking anger management shortly after I got out of the military, I just never did and all these years later sometimes I am a ticking time bomb.

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About Writing

The nice thing about writing a pre determined multi day series is you know exactly when and hopefully what you are going to pen.

Thus a bit about short form story telling.

The precursor to blog, column or for that matter IMO writing occurred at a Poynter Institute seminar in Portland.

Dave Johnson, a reporter for the Lewiston, Id Tribune had published a soft cover book with his best columns entitled Everybody Has a story.

While the idea stuck the ideas fell by the wayside until I decided to research his column idea which amounted to calling names in the phone book until you foundf someone that would allow an interview instead of feeling an imposition.

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A Little Storytellin'

By MICK HOLIEN

You have no doubt heard about writer’s block – that malady that temporarily sidelines anyone who writes for a living,

It happens to me only on occasion but it can leave you idly sitting at the keyboard wondering whether the words are ever going to land on the end of your two or four or maybe six fingers.

You can from that description easily discern what type of typist I am.

But eventually if you are writing a column vs. a news story where the facts of the situation rule something will come to mind and the next thing you know today’s assignment quickly reaches fruition.

And now 100 words in that is where I was today.

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