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500 Miles And/Or 2 States Away Might Be Far Enough

Today’s Tuesday & that means I’ll be reading “Montana History” to some of the residents at 6 this evening at the Marias Heritage Center here in Shelby. We are finishing up “Behind Every Man-The Story of Nancy Cooper Russell” by Joan Stauffer & I’ve come to the conclusion that if “this woman” (Nancy Russell) was behind her man (Charlie Russell), I would only pray that she was MILES behind the kindly old western artist. I mean, “headstrong” & “opinionated” might be too mild of terms for this bossy broad. Example: the Russell’s enjoyed a summer home over the mountain in the Glacier Park area. They were long & good friends with their neighbors, the Lewis’s. Nancy decided she was too busy running Charlie’s life & needed a “handy man” to drive her around & do her chores. She “stole” the Lewis’s handyman, hired him on the spot, & left it up to him to give her “friends” NO NOTICE before quitting them. Later on in the story, he paid a visit to the Lewis home, noticed a western painting by Olaf Seltzer on the wall, & demanded that they take down the Seltzer piece immediately OR she would take back the Charlie Russell painting that she had sold them! This all took place with Charlie in the other room, having no idea what was going on. We have reached the point in the book where old Charlie dies & what does Nancy do? She kicks it up 10 notches & goes full speed ahead planning & putting together “ThE Funeral of Funerals”! This is the theme throughout most of the book, Nancy trying to live in the best house, in the best neighborhood (4th Avenue North in Great Falls), trying to impress all of Great Falls & be “one up” on the local citizens & her fellow church members. All I can say is, “Charlie, rest in peace, you deserve it man”. No wonder the guy was wandering down to the infamous Mint Bar every chance he got! Check out the book, it’s a good read & is available at the C.M Russell in Great Falls. See you this evening at the Heritage.

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