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In a Sow’s Ear

by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

This is a livestock column, sort of … The action takes place in Yellowstone Park where buffalo roam. The characters are musicians, young, ambitious, eager and inexperienced in the ways of roaming animals.

The musicians ” two guitarists, a drummer, a bass and a twangy-voiced singer ” didn’t know what name to call themselves until after they acquired an old bus.

The five of them spent months removing the rows of seats and replacing them with posh, comfy upholstered benches along the sides. They installed overhead storage bins for canned goods, utensils and kitchen items. They polished everything. The twangy-voice singer sewed cute curtains for the windows. They outfitted large cargo spaces on the sides underneath the bus for instrument storage. Best of all they painted the outside of the vehicle an eye-hurting bright silver with purple accents.

“Looks like a silver bullet,” said the bass player.

“Hey,” said the drummer, “cool name.”

“Yeah,” chorused the guitarists.

“How about we call ourselves, “The Silver Bullet Band?” said the singer.

“Right on,” they all agreed. “We’ll dress up in silver shirts and silver belly western hats.

We’ll be a sensation.” They gave each other high-fives.

Their first gig as The Silver Bullet Band was to take place in Jackson, Wyoming. The most direct way to Jackson from their home in Montana was through Yellowstone Park.

That’s where the livestock enters the picture. The scenery was grand, they saw lots of animals, took pictures like any tourists. The trouble started as they rounded a curve and there in the middle of the road, lay a big bull buffalo, sunning himself on the blacktop.

The driver slowed, then stopped. The bull blinked, not particularly interested. The driver revved the motor, tooted the horn. Slowwwly, Mr. Bull climbed to his feet and meandered toward the bus. More horn toots. Mr. Bull looked disdainful, moseyed along the side of the vehicle, then suddenly made a stiff-legged bounce, snorted, backed up 5 feet, snorted, pawed the ground, snorted and CHARGED! He smashed into the side like a wrecking ball slamming a building. The bus rocked. Inside, all the storage-bin doors flew open; the contents spewed forth like bats leaving a cave. The singer squeaked, “Oh, my.” The bass player said, “Hey!” The guitarists shouted, “Golly!” The drummer yelled, “What the!” (Well, okay, their language was actually a bit stronger, but this is a family column).

It seems Mr. Bull had seen his reflection in the shiny silver side and decided he needed to fight the stranger. He rebounded, shaking his head with what had to be a whopper of a headache.

He paused, slightly unsteady on his hooves. Before Mr. Buffalo could gather his scattered mind for another attempt, the driver edged forward, stepped on the gas and skedaddled.

Late that afternoon, the band reached Jackson and pulled up at the nightclub where they were to debut The Silver Bullet Band. Unfortunately, Mr. Bull had dented the side of the bus and jammed the cargo doors where the instruments were stored. They wouldn’t open. Three borrowed crowbars and three hours later, the musicians finally took the stage for the debut of The Silver Bullet Band.

They opened and closed the show with: “Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam …”

Moral: In Yellowstone, a buffalo can roam wherever it wants to.


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