A most pleasant surprise arrived in the mail last week. Former Polson resident Doris Putnam sent a copies of the late Golden Bibee's poetry books — Golden Treasures, A Peep at People, In the Realm of Flathead Lake, and Ranch Ramblin's.
Also enclosed were several letters and cards that Golden had sent Doris and her husband, the late Bud Putnam. All were excellent examples of the point I was trying to make in this column a couple weeks ago when I recalled that Big Arm Park caretaker Golden Bibee was perhaps the best ambassador of good will that Montana ever had.
He would send out cards and letters, probably by the hundreds, to campers he had befriended. In many of the messages would be original limericks.
His poetry booklet Golden Treasures contains an true life account of one Albert Fly and his encounter with some bears at Many Glaciers.
Titled Three Bears, here's how Golden told it:
I would like to tell a story,
One you haven't heard before,
And I'll start at the beginning
Sixty years ago or more.
In the hills of old Wyoming
Just a lad named Albert Fly
Was learning every detail
Of the West as time passed by.
Then he drifted to Montana
And he brought what serves the best,
Judgment, guts and brains and honor
Underneath a man-sized vest.
Now the camp at "Many Glaciers"
Needed someone that was tough,
One the people could depend on
And that grizzlies couldn't bluff.
For the bear were making trouble
'Til it went beyond endurance,
And a man to put 'em runnin'
Would be very good insurance.
So the need was circulated
And tho' many did apply,
The job without a question
Was assigned to Albert Fly.
Though the bear with supper plenty
At the garbage pits were blessed,
They would often raid the warehouse
Just to mutilate the rest.
Al declared, with less assumption
Than his big ten-gallon hat,
"In a very pronto order
We shall put a stop to that."
Now Al was sleeping soundly
to the patter of the rain
When his wife called, "Al, the bear,
They have broke a window pane."
Al was up in just a minute,
And with set determined frown,
He was opening up the warehouse
In his long-tailed sleeping gown.
There was bruin, he was chewin'
On a precious picnic ham.
Al, he grabbed the ham and slapped him
With a big haymaker wham.
And again in that same instant
Whacked him soundly on the rump.
Like a flash he cleared the threshold
With a swift and mighty jump.
And behold there was another
Coming from the pickle kegs,
And he made his dash for freedom
Right between the boss's legs!
Al had rode some tough old broncos
But them rides could not compare
With that fraction of an instant
Ridin' backwards on a bear.
Al was not a man of silence,
But he'd not a word to say
When with very slight resistance
All the buttons gave away.
At the finish of the ruckus,
Al dropped the slippery ham
And he grabbed with desperation
At the swiftly passing jamb.
Al was clinging to the doorway,
Like a flash the bear was gone,
And he took into the darkness
All the clothes that Al had on.
Now the whole camp was alerted,
Bright beamed lights began to play,
And the gruff old captain ordered,
"Turn them lights the other way."
Those two bear had met their master,
As I'm sure you will agree,
And the camp's own supervisor,
He became bare number three!
A friend of Golden's illustrated the saga with this cartoon drawing of Albert Fly ridin' backwards on that fleeing bear.