The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Tess Fahlgren
For The Courier 

Sunny Skies at Bjornberg


Tess Fahlgren / For The Courier

L-R: Will Eklund, Terry Korman, Sid Simonson and Larry Simpson enjoy the company of family and friends at the Bjornberg Picnic Sept. 20.

The annual Saco/Hinsdale community picnic at the Bjornberg Bridge came off without a hitch on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Under the shade of the cottonwoods on the north bank of the Milk River, a lasting tradition stood strong. A long table laden with dishes from every family in attendance split the grass. Beyond the spread of desserts, Mark and Mike Johnson served pork, beef and lamb with Bernie Hart.

If the food and company are what draw a person to an event like this, it's the music that keeps you around. Cap Holter dominated the stage with his daughter, Joyce. She played the bass guitar and sang, from memory, seemingly endless classic tunes with a perfect country voice. Her brother Curt was also onstage, trading with Tommy Watson on the fiddle.

Players filtered off and on stage all afternoon. They included Warren Taylor, Leonard Swenson, and Virgil Vaupel. Jason Holt on harmonica held the stage as steadfast accompaniment, and even his daughter Zora and son Linden took their turns at the mic.

Cap Holter is legendary in this area. His ability to play the accordion is a testament to the traditions, such as the Bjornberg Picnic, this community works to keep alive. He learned to play the accordion by going to small country school dances where he sat on the floor and studied the accordion players' fingers.

When his mom sold some chickens to order a small button accordion from the Sears-Roebuck catalog, Cap was only seven years old. He learned to play that one, he says, and a few years later he got another. He went on collecting accordions, and now has seven despite giving three away.

Ron and Rose Stoneberg cut up the dance floor, trading off between one another, daughter Sierra, and grandkids Zora and Linden. The dashing Dale Dasher, who has been dancing since he was nine years old, offered his hand to all the young women.

Jean and Sid Simonson drove their 1914 Buick to the picnic. Jean, an impressive figure in a fringed denim jacket, offered rides to the crowd of admirers, mostly knowledgeable young cowboys who helped her haul water to cool the radiator. When asked about the origin of the car, she diverted the question. "Oh, it's a complicated story," she said, eyebrows raised behind her large sunglasses.

Gossip in the crowd claimed her daddy had bought the vehicle brand new. To hear it from Jean, however, the Buick changed hands a few times before it was purchased into the Simonson family in 1915.

The party wrapped up with music until the very end. A horseshoe tournament took place throughout the afternoon, with Jed Korman and Elena Sudbrack as the champion team.

To wander this crowd chatting with faces as familiar as family, the sense of a community was something to be proud of. Like everything in an agricultural area such as ours, the people work hard every day to simply be. We should be grateful every day for the lasting traditions such as these that persevere in our little corner of the world.


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