Centennial Plus Seven

By Mick Holien

What is it that they say: How quickly time flies when you’re having’ fun.

As I glanced at on on-line headline last night, I couldn’t help but recall where I was and what I was doing 28 years ago on Nov. 8.

The state of Montana was christened as the 41st state on that date some 128 years ago and the Treasure State celebrated the 100th on the north lawn of the Capital in Helena.

The occasion marked the second time in a short pe4iod where I requested and was granted press credentials to cover George Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States.

The couple hour commutation actually took place on Sept. 18, 1989 President Bush had landed Air Force One in West Yellowstone three months earlier on June 17-18 to survey the fires of Yellowstone..

Prior to term limits, Gov. Ted Schwinden, first elected in 1980 opted not to seek a third term, opening the door for Stan Stephens, the former Republican president in the Montana Senate.

The state was about to turn red for the first time since 1964 when Stephens, a former Canadian and American journalist and Havre radio station owner, defeated Tom Judge in the general election becoming the state’s 20th and first Republican governor in the more than two decades Former Secretary of State Jim Waltermire of Missoula seemed to be the Republican frontrunner, but he was killed in a plane crash some two months before the general.

Stephens prevailed beating Judge by a solid five points.

Much like Mike Mansfield’s last speech at the Adams Center, I don’t remember much about President Bush’s speech as I filed a late afternoon story and struggled home from Helena.

I was to make that trip often during my eight year Missoula radio career.

Nothing can replace the immediacy and efficiency of radio news especially when long form programming allows in depth reporting and analysis.

Ironically after almost 30 years many of those reporters are still around doing what we do.

Squaring up I thought is this not the greatest job on earth the one that doesn’t seem like a job.

Just sayin’


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