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Montana History Returns To The Heritage

Today is Tuesday, & that means it’s “Montana History” reading this evening at the Marias Heritage Center here in Shelby. I’ll be there at six to continue with the book we’re currently enjoying, “Behind Every Man-The Story of Nancy Cooper Russell”, Charlie’s wife AND boss! Joan Stauffer, who’s performed her one-woman stage presentation of the life & times of Nancy Cooper Russell more than a hundred times before enthusiastic audiences across the country, has penned quite an engaging tome. Nancy & Charlie got married back in 1895, & this woman helped turn this journeyman cowboy & ranch hand who sketched & sculpted in his spare time into a full-time artist who sold & exhibited all over the globe. In “Behind Every Man”, scribe Stauffer serves up the 1st biography of the person whom Charlie called “the best booster & pardner a man ever had”. Stauffer reveals that Nancy & Charlies’ union created a practical synergy. Always an advocate for her husband, a steward of his art, & a liaison to his admirers & critics, Nancy’s greatest contribution may have been the inspiration she provided Charlie. Besides that, I note in reading this book, that Nancy only allowed old Charlie to have TWO drinks when he went down to the Mint Bar in Great Falls in the evenings. I’m not sure if this was moderation or that the woman was a control freak! She would always ask Charlie when he returned from the Mint, how much he had & he would usually hold up 2 fingers. Who’s to say if Charlie was really being truthful or just plain smart when he held up 2 digits! Looking forward to my visit this evening to the Heritage Center. Probably best that I don’t stop for more than 2 amber brews on the way home this evening from the Heritage. I’ll take a cue from Charlie. Check out the book at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls…it’s truly GREAT reading! By the way, if you want to check out some of Charlies’ great painting, stop in at Borries’ Supper Club in Black Eagle some evening.

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