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Politics + Spring + Butte = Montana Democrats’ Prom

On Saturday I attended that time-honored American spring ritual: the prom. Granted, I'm ten years too old for the real thing. But the beauty of this particular prom is that the older you are, the cooler you are—because this was the Montana Democrats’ version of prom, the annual Mansfield-Metcalf dinner in Butte. This prom featured coiffed mullets, shiny curls, and stiff Stetsons. Diamonds set off battered-looking bolo ties. Ballgowns swished next to Wranglers, and minks sat next to Carhartt coats—usually on different people, too. My take on the night's theme: “sequins and denim.” As Hillary Clinton said in her speech at the dinner on Saturday night, the only party to rival Butte’s infamous Saint Paddy’s Day is the Democratic Party. And, boy, was she ever right.

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The Skeleton in my Closet Wears Mink

“One day all this will be yours,” Grandma once said, sweeping her saggy arm before rows and rows of china teacups and saucers. I was speechless. No one I knew in the whole wide western world drank tea except Grandma, her twin sister and their lilac-powdered friends, ladies with silver curls who ate cucumber sandwiches and kept their lace hankies ironed. After Grandma’s death, the teacups were sold but my brothers sent me her mink stole. I was living on the Navajo Reservation, hardly opera or theater country.

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