If it’s steak, it must be somebody else’s reunion

By John Owen | Aug 29, 2013

"I recognize the guy with the red tie.  I think he was a Sigma Chi," I informed my wife.

"I think the girl in the green dress was in my sociology class, but I forget her name," Alice commented.

It was several years ago, and we had been greeted at the entrance to the hotel party room with friendly smiles when I asked, "Are these the Grizzlies?"  My words produced a few smiles and bear-like growls. When we walked over to the bar and ordered drinks, the bartender wouldn't take our money. "It's all included with the dinner," he informed us.

This was a pretty good deal, we decided.  We didn't renew acquaintances with a lot of old friends from the University of Montana, as we had anticipated, but what the heck, the drinks were free, and when we sat down to dinner we were confronted  by large, crab cocktail starters, with a promise of choice New York steaks to follow.

I tried to start a conversation with the guy next to me wearing a "Hi, my name is Clyde," identification sticker, but we found we had nothing in common.  He finally asked, "Are you with our Seattle office?"

"No I work for the local newspaper," I responded.  "Glad to have you aboard," he said with a friendly smile.  But I started to wonder.

"This is the Montana alumni banquet isn't it?" I whispered to a waitress.

"Goodness no," she said.  "That was switched to another hotel a week ago.  Didn't they send you a notice?"

By that time we were halfway out of our seats, headed for the other hotel, two blocks away. When we finally found the Grizzlies, they were about to sit down to modest portions of fruit cocktails. And we quickly learned that if we wanted a drink, we'd better bring cash to the bar.

If there is something to learn from our experience, it is, "Check your mail."  But if you still end up at the wrong party, find a "My Name is Clyde" lapel sticker, and you can munch appetizers and gulp free drinks while roaming the cocktail rooms on the mezzanines of almost any major hotel. Just don't get caught before you have finished your crab cocktail.

We weren't surprised to find out the Montana alumni are less generous with choice edibles. That may be why we are more familiar with an entree like "Grizzly Bear Stew" than with New York Steaks. Try it, you might like it.


Grizzly Bear Stew


2 onions

2 pounds beef stew meat

1/4 pound fresh mushrooms

2 cups carrot chunks

1/2 cup red wine

2 potatoes

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon dry basil

1 can tomato soup

salt, pepper, parsley to taste


Peel and chop the onions and potatoes, then fling everything into a stew pot, cover and shove into a 275 degree oven for four hours.  Go Grizzlies!

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