Old Town / New Town: Talent Plus Just Ask

Jerry Schuster

This is definitely it, I will not tell you again that my wife and I are “in transition,” having moved from Wolf Point, Montana (old town) to Bozeman (new town) for “semi-retirement,” whatever that means. So, please fix that in your mind if you are able.

Anyway, we have experienced some things in Bozeman that are, well, quite different from other areas of the state, particularly eastern Montana. Oh, this is Montana and all, home of independent free thinkers, so this isn’t to lambaste anyone; just reporting observations, so relax. If you can’t take it, go read some other article or make some lentil soup or something.

Let’s get to today’s topic, which is about the absolute abundance of super talented, educated, world class, and experienced people in new town as compared to old town. You don’t need to take my word for this, just ask around.

Back in old town and surrounding area, folks are smart, educated, very down to earth, and considerate. They can handle what life brings without too much fuss. Some have college degrees and others are trained in the skills needed for their work. Thing is, they don’t talk about it much. You might know someone for fourteen years before you find out what they studied in college, tech school or the military.

Now, when we meet people here in new town, we first discuss the local weather for three hours and sixteen minutes on average. Then we might have conversations about former places of residence, then dogs, kids, and grandkids, in that order. I’ve heard much about California, which is where people move from when retiring to Bozeman. I have previously written about dogs in old town and new town, so you can go back to that article. Don’t want to bore you here.

We’ve lived in Bozeman for a sufficient period of time, so I am allowed to mention our family with various degrees, skills and interesting occupations. Our family is degreed and talented in the various fields of engineering, medical, social services, teaching, physics, writing, business, and just plain living. They have done well in life and we are proud of all. But wait, in new town it seems that kids and grandkids are so accomplished, there is no need to bother with my mention of such seemingly trivial matters.

In a discussion with a retiree (from California, of course), I was commenting on an interesting old town family with Ivy League-educated kids and all—much accomplished. But, I was quickly informed, this person’s daughter had a Ph.D. in nuclear particle physics, with post-doc lab work, now employed by NASA, but couldn’t say more because her work is top secret and I didn’t have a sufficient security clearance to hear more. I whimpered away quietly.

Stopping to visit a new home site this past summer, I mentioned to a person laying sod that our family has a strong and proud agricultural history, including degrees and real life experiences. This person abruptly informed me that he has a double Masters and Ph.D., with a thesis on Montana sod soil composition. For this project, I queried? Yes, clean soil only, no “weed-n-feed” ever allowed. Note well: one must be twenty-one to step on new grass here; no kids allowed to play on turf without special permit. Special permit can be obtained at city office, “fee required in advance.” Dogs allowed on turf, no permit needed.

Another conversation, some weeks later, with a recent acquaintance in new town. So, said I, (after the mandatory weather discussion – see above) my son Michael is getting to be a really good cook. Does a lot of interesting things with barbeque, braising and the like. Well, said the braggadocio, my son is a nationally recognized (might be international) barbeque chef, with a Ph.D. in the ontology of the metaphysics of charring. He apprenticed with the famous Chef Arno Smokeouthousesky and now is head smokemaster at Café de Ultima Ribs in New Orleans, which apparently has its own barbeque zip code. I slithered away sullenly.

We have five wonderful, beautiful and talented grandchildren (world’s greatest, of course.) I was recently visiting with a neighbor about our grandkids’ many talents, including academics, music, and athletic skills and abilities. Well, huffed he, my granddaughter, age four, speaks three languages fluently and can do high school geometry and calculus (no doubt). Also, advised me that his grandson, age six, is quarterback of their “Little Guy” football team and can run the hundred meter in about 10 seconds, etc., etc. He was so busy bloviating about all of this that he probably didn’t notice I had gone home. Went by the area a while later and he was still going on to some invisible listener.

You are probably getting the picture about this ultra-talented community. I could go on, but you are probably getting:
•      Nauseated and bored
•      Disgusted and angry
•      The idea that this article is purely facetious
•      All or none of the above; you choose, but the “correct answer” is (c). Don’t tell others, don’t want to spoil their fun.

What do I love about Bozeman? Other than the abundance of talented and degreed people, all the choices we have here.    

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