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Things, Ideas & People . . .

The latest report from the Wibaux Visitor Center, which is located east of Wibaux along Interstate 94, says it recorded its best month of the 2020 season in August. It recorded 1,346 registered guests during that month. That was 92 signed-in visitors more than July and 417 more than June. Comparing this August to the same period last year, there were 1,140 fewer registered travelers (2,486 in August 2019). Of August’s guest total, 1,339 were U.S. citizens, two were Canadians and five were from foreign countries (Russia 3, Costa Rica 2). The U.S. figures had 372 visiting Big Sky Country from Minnesota, 128 North Dakota, 101 Montana, Wisconsin 86 and Michigan 57. States not represented during August were District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico and Rhode Island. — mike



Some of you might remember Paul Williams playing the part of Little Enos Burdette in the 1977 action-comedy Smokey and the Bandit, with Pat Mc-Cormick playing his father, Big Enos Burdette. Big Enos hires the Bandit (Burt Reynolds) to bootleg a tractor-trailer full of 400 cases of Coors Beer from Texarkana to Atlanta, with the Snowman (Jerry Reed) trucking the illegal suds and the Bandit driving the Pontiac Trans Am as the blocker. Sally Field jumps in with the Bandit and Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) is in high pursuit of them (an aside is the movie was the second highest-grossing domestic film of 1977, earning $300 million on a $4.3 million budget, second only to Star Wars). Williams also acted in Smokey and the Bandit II/III movies.

However, those are just the tip of the iceberg of the extremely-talented Williams, who turned 80 years old Saturday, September 19, 2020. This *T*I*P* could run right through to page 5 of this issue if going into depth, so an effort will be exercised to keep it somewhat short.

Williams has: appeared in 26 motion-picture films, including The Muppet Movie, and 38 television shows, including Hawaii Five-O, The Gong Show, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Odd Couple, Fantasy Island and The Midnight Special (1973-76 as host); done voice performances on 17 television shows; been part of 11 musical albums, 7 movie soundtracks and 4 compilations.

He has won a Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award and Academy Award and was president and chairman of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

His Wikipedia page headline says: Paul Williams (songwriter). His genres are folk, pop and soft rock and he also plays the keyboard. His big break came when teamed with Biff Rose, who was instrumental in getting Williams hired on at A& M Records, owned by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. From there things really took off, eventually landing in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Some of the notable songs he wrote shooting up to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Adult Contemporary charts include: Evergreen (Love theme from A Star Is Born) sung by Barbra Streisand; I Won’t Last a Day Without You, We’ve Only Just Begun and Rainy Days and Mondays by The Carpenters, You and Me Against the World by Helen Reddy and Talk It Over in the Morning by Anne Murray.

Perhaps his greatest piece of lyric-writing was Out in the Country, which the group Three Dog Night took to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 11 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts in 1970. Here’s a few lines:

Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away
I find a quiet place, far from the human race,
Out in the country

Whenever I feel them closing in on me,
Or need a bit of room to move,
When life becomes too fast, I find relief at last
Out in the country

The moral of this *T*I*P* is just go for it because, like Williams, you’ll never know what rainbow you could land on. In addition, take Williams’ advise and get out in the country to clear the mind; there’s actually some very beautiful sights, sunsets and sunrises to see on the backroads of Daniels County and northeastern Montana. — mike



“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” — Soren Kierkegaard