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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Column: A new shirt


August 7, 2019

A few years ago, I was covering a Class B State Track meet in Butte and it was a typical Montana spring day that featured just about all four seasons.

When I left the house in the morning it was frigid and appeared it might snow at any minute. This really isn't unusual so despite the fact it was near the end of May I put on a heavy sweatshirt and beanie and made the trip over Homestake Pass. Shortly after arriving the weather slowly started to improve and by noon it felt like this was a pleasant and crisp autumn day with zero wind and no longer a need for a sweatshirt. By the time 1 p.m. hit I was really questioning my decision to wear a hoodie. It was now warm, and the wind was whipping at a frenzy.

I'm glad I did leave the house in a sweatshirt because I was able to meet one of those people that make my job worth it. I've met a lot of amazing people of the years through journalism and this was once again the case. This type of encounter was much more fun than someone angry or entitled who can really ruin somebody's day in a heartbeat. I'm so over people being entitled about everything 24/7 and it takes some joy out of what I do, but this day in Butte was the opposite.

I used to think I had a pretty good style but as I get older my colder month attire is hoodies usually ones supporting my favorite sporting teams. It seems like I get about two or three new ones each Christmas and I really don't mind. It's very convenient to throw one on without having to worry about carting around a bulk coat.

On the day of the state track meet I was wearing a University of Wyoming hoodie. I must have about 10 of them so this was no real surprise to anybody who knows me. I had just entered the stadium and was trying to figure out what event I needed to be at when I was approached by an older gentleman who was volunteering at the meet.

He told me he liked my sweatshirt and was a huge fan of Joe Glenn who coached at Wyoming for several years after leading the University of Montana to a national championship. He said he knew Glenn pretty well over the years and was once given a Wyoming shirt by him.

Our conversation was quick, but we both told some great stories about Glenn who certainly had a way with people. I had met Glenn at the pep rally the night before a bowl game in Las Vegas and really enjoyed chatting with him. Wyoming was able to upset UCLA the next evening and in the wee hours of the morning I passed by Glenn at the Golden Nugget Casino and he remembered me by name and took time to talk with me. He was a good guy and I wish Wyoming would have given him more time before they sent him down the road. In his last year he took the Cowboys on the road to Tennessee and they won so I'm not sure what else you could ask for in Laramie.

My conversation in Butte came to an end after a few minutes and it made my day.

Jack H. Smith

A few weeks later the same gentlemen wondered into the office. I was really surprised and even more surprised to see that he had brought the shirt Glenn had given him. I could not believe he had done this, and I was excited to get the shirt. We spent a few minutes talking about newspapers and both Wyoming and Montana and he was on his way.

One of the silly things about meeting him is he never gave me his name, nor did I with him. He just knew what I did for a living and where I worked. It was fine this way; we were friends without having to get into details.

A few more years would go by and then one day he wondered into the office again. This time with a Wyoming coffee cup he had found. He wanted to take a drive, so he thought he'd bring it by to me. He said he had plenty of cups. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised!

While I'm sure not everyone that walks into the office is going to give me presents, these types of encounters make it all worth it.


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