The Snag Hole

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by Randy
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on Saturday, 29 April 2017
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"Elvis is king, but Bo Diddley is his daddy"..Tom Petty



    Early in his evocative, essential memoir
"Just Dead I'm Not Gone," an eighteen year-old Jim Dickinson , on the cusp of a unique and varied
career in music, already mature in band experience (The Regents, others),
recreational drug use (beer to grain alcohol to speed to acid), and getting there
with girls, gets the chance to open for Bo Diddley at a fraternity-sponsored fall
dance at the National Guard Armory in Memphis, in 1959. The night was charged, for
rumor had it that Diddley had "caused" a riot the night before in Nashville, when a
white girl jumped onstage to dance. Adding to the tension—to the thrills—was
Diddley's and his band's very late arrival at the Armory. Dickinson's band is
vamping and elongating their thin stage set to compensate. "It got later and later,"
Dickinson writes. "We stretched out. The audience was getting crazy. Finally, we got
word Bo had arrived." We stopped playing and went out back door. Two Chrysler stations wagons had pulled up and parked on the sidewalk. They were covered with randomly placed pinstriped hot
rod decals and a hand-lettered sign that read BO DIDDLEY BAND.


   Two giant black men
in thick fur coats were driving. The three-piece band unloaded their drum kit. Bo
argued with the frat-boy promoter. Ricky, Stanley, and I walked up. The frat boy,
irate and overly agitated, shook a performance contract and screamed, “It says right
here you are playing two hour sets and taking one break.” Bo Diddley slowly reached
in his pants pocket and pulled out a wadded up greasy piece of paper and unfolded
it. Sure enough, it is the contract. “Yeah,” he says. “It say that in my contract, too.” He wads it up and puts it back in his pants. He points at me. “He could have been Bo Diddley.” He points at
Stanley, who is in true racist near frenzy. “Or he could have been Bo Diddley,” he
continued. "But I is Bo Diddley and Bo Diddley is taking three breaks."That was it. I agreed to play the breaks for an extra $150; the proceedings commenced.



   The hour struck and the witch man, great raiser of the dead, had arrived
with an amplifier that looked like an icebox lying down and an orange guitar shaped
like a Ford Fairlane. The trio wore knee-length red coats. Bo turned on the amp and
tuned his guitar at full volume. The crowd screamed. Bo laughed and laughed, and
kept tuning. Then he started, drums laying a repeated pounding rhythm, maracas
filling up the holes. Jungle sound filled the armory. The world stood on its head and
screamed. No one was dancing exactly; the crowd moved like one great sheet. On a
pedestal ten feet over the crowd's heads, mad men were rain dancing. The night
stopped being pink and became flaming green. Everything was orange, like methylate
spilled in a bathtub. Football disciples down front had six-pack beer cartons on
their heads and whooped the Indian dance, hearing the organ grinder, hearing the
mating call.

                HEY, Bo Diddley

                                  Bo Diddely 1965

                Bo Diddely Mona

                HEY Bo Diddely 1968





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by administrator
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on Monday, 24 April 2017
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   Back up at The Outlet the next day the Montana sun shone wide and bright. The sheriff, game warden and a handful of local folks stood along the creek bed. A couple of Jenny Bishop’s high school kids were there along with the Town newspaper reporter. The Bozeman TV station sent a small news crew.

   The original tributary to the Madison had been restored and the water was flowing deep and clear. The main pool filled back up and once again took on its old shape with thin seams of current wandering through the dark center, easing over to caress the overhanging bear grass along the undercut bank, finally converging into a gravely riffle as it made its way downstream to the main river. The glassy surface revealed tiny midges fluttering on top, dancing, skittering, doing a delicate balancing act in the air, finally landing and floating tenuously with the S curves of the meandering current.

   At the very end of the pool, in the tail-out, the faintest dimple broke the surface of the water, a nose poked up and disappeared leaving a ring of the rise that slowly expanded into a concentric circle and vanished.

   A couple of school kids noticed and pointed.

A meadowlark balanced on an old fence post and sang, melodic notes drifting through the creek meadow, floating through the air, riding with the summer breeze on the way down to the Madison River.

   I stood in the back of the crowd and smiled.






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by administrator
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on Wednesday, 19 April 2017
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   If Corky Furillo knew anything, he knew about blowing up shit. Two tours in Iraq will do that for a guy… IEDs, RPGs, land mines, booby traps, suicide vests strapped on teen-aged girls…explosions were a way of life over there. So when it came to the task of blowing up a couple of dams made of dirt, gravel and rocks…no problem.

    It would be a night job. We met up at the old abandoned Gypsum Mine

 …me, Corky, Skeeter, Lonnie, One Fly and Huey.

 We would move around 11pm. Canoes would be used – quiet, fast, set up and get out. Doc would drop us off at the old boat launch above the cattails and pick us up two miles downstream at the cottonwood patch. Zero hour would be 2AM.

   Corky had rigged two packages: each held two full sticks of dynamite rigged with wires. He used a countdown timer in a black box with a digital face.        We loaded up the canoes with the packs of explosives and slid silently into the Madison River. With no moon and tough viz, we zigged and zagged, bobbed and weaved around rocks and arrived at The Outlet right at midnight. Canoes were beached. Me and Corky snuck up the dry channel to the main dam… Skeeter and Lonnie proceeded down to the second dam, while Huey and Lonnie stayed with the canoes.

   Using a trowel, me and Corky quietly dug two holes about four feet apart and sunk in the dynamite. We checked the detonator switch which was taken from a remote control model airplane and set the dial on the digital timer at 2 AM.

    Down at the second dam, Skeeter and Lonnie did the same. We all met back at the canoes, double checked that everything was in sync, and set off down the river.

    Doc was waiting for us at the cottonwoods. We loaded the canoes in the long box of the pick-up, strapped them in, and headed back home.

    We were pretty sure nobody saw us.

   At two AM on the button…KABOOM, BOOM! Even though the blasts were miles upstream, everybody in town including the passed out drunks heard it. The bars had just emptied out and the late night partiers froze in their tracks. WTF was that? A few thought: meteorite, terrorist attack, the end of the world.

    They would have to wait until morning.




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by administrator
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on Monday, 17 April 2017
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   Jenny Bishop’s Ladies Fly Fishing school this month was for local girls…high school kids that wanted to learn fly casting, trout habits, stream habitat, bugs & stuff. She was doing it for free to give back to the community and help the kids. It was an annual event the whole school looked forward to, a highlight of the summer.

       She asked me, Corky and T-Bird to help her with the group of eight students. The plan was to spend the morning showing the kids the basic fly cast and then float fish downstream on the Madison until we got to The Outlet, stop there for some wade fishing and lunch. There was usually some fish rising in the main pool at The Outlet and it was also a good spot to turn over some rocks and find some insect life to show the kids.

   We had a fun morning catching some trout on dry flies…the weather was pleasant, partly sunny, high 60s at mid-day. I was lead boat down. I eased over to the East bank and headed for the mouth of the Outlet. As I got nearer, something did not look right. The landscape looked different. A blue heron and some magpies flushed. I left my two girls in the boat, walked up the bank, wriggled through some scrub willows and looked over the edge to check for rising trout.

   There weren’t any. In fact there was no water!

   The stream was bone dry except for a shallow puddle a couple of inches deep where the main pool used to be. I walked over to see a dozen dead trout belly up, with a couple more barely twitching in their death throes. Raccoon and bird tracks were everywhere as I continued up the channel. Around a bend and up 60 yards to where the former tributary forked off I saw an electric fence…and a sign “No Trespassing, Keep Out”.

   And a dam.

   Not a beaver dam, a man-made dam. It was about sixteen feet long and four feet high. Someone had brought a back hoe in and carved out the bank of the spring creek, filling in the Outlet channel and blocking it from flowing to the Madison River. The dam included rocks and gravel, the kind you see in driveways or parking lots.  I followed the electric fence downstream and found another dam where the second channel formerly entered the river.

   By this time Jenny, Corky and Skeeter and the rest of the high school girls had caught up to us. They were scattered up and down the creek bed checking out the dead and rotting fish.

“What happened? The fish are dead…the creek is dry.”

   We were all struck with dismay and disbelief. Who would commit such a disgusting, disrespectful act? And why?

   I had an idea.DSCN4626

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by administrator
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on Thursday, 13 April 2017
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   Otis Wilson was down on his luck. His cattle ranch had gone sour - he borrowed against his mortage, refinanced, doubled down and finally went broke. The bank came and took over the whole shootin’ match, then his wife got fed up and ran off with one of the local fishing guides

   Things got so bad he had to take a handyman job at the Lone Vista Dude Ranch cleaning rooms, scrubbing toilets and raking horse manure. His drinking had gotten worse - now he carried a flask of Jack Daniels with him wherever he went. He had the job at the Water Board but it didn’t pay much. Because he’d been around so long they gave him the title of Director meaning all the requests for permits had to be approved and signed by him.

   And now he sat in the parking lot of the Sundance Campground in his beat up old Ford pick-up waiting for his meeting with Dexter Prescott.


   A secret meeting.


   Prescott had phoned Otis with a request. He needed a Code 12 permit to dam up and block off two channels of his spring creek that fed directly into the Madison River. Otis said, “no way, you can’t do that, they are natural feeders, no way you can get a permit to do that”


Prescott told him it was a natural disaster, he was losing water, there was ice damage, stream erosion, act of God, a horrible situation, very stressful. He pleaded with Otis, if he somehow could get him the permits…he asked to meet him at the campground.


   The black Hummer pulled into the campground and rolled up next to the Ford pick-up. Prescott motioned for Otis to get in the vehicle with him. Once again he told his story. Once again Otis was reluctant.


   Prescott said, “look I’ll level with you Otis, the main problem is people accessing my property, they are fishing the creek and I know it’s legal and all that but I want to lease the water for a fee. Just the other day I saw some local fishing guides stop their boat and fish the creek. It’s a big thorn in my side.”


   “Fishing guides”? asked Otis. He took a swig of Jack from his flask


   “Yessir, you know, some of those dudes you see hanging around the Wagon Wheel all the time.”


   Otis’ expression changed.


   “What’s in it for me”?


   “I thought you’d never ask” smiled Prescott. He pulled a thick manila envelope out from under the front seat and handed it to Otis.

   It contained $50,000 cash in hundred dollar bills.rb_shadow_2




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  • My man
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    My man says
    Otis You are on fire. Go RB go!!