Reviewing the Past

Sunday, June 6, 2021

25 Years Ago

Hard times can grind away at the spirit until a person sees only the drab monotony of everyday problems, but a 91-year-old Glendive artist has lived through those hard times and found beauty and joy in the simple things in life.

The sixth of 13 children born to Dan and Sarah Miller, Ezra Miller grew up on a farm a few miles east of Bloomfield. The family had little money and a lot of mouths to feed. He remembers times when food was short, and his mother would go without so the children would have a little more.

When they had time to play, he and his brothers would set up miniature farms using rocks for toy animals and sticks for fences and corrals.

The imagination that created their entertainment as children still lives in Miller the artist. He cuts an agate and sees the face of a dog or the shape of a bird. He finds a stump with a hole in it and creates a beautiful end table inlaid with agates.

He has never taken an art class, never sat with an instructor, but he has trained his eyes and hands to capture the beauty of the world around him.

About 30 years ago, he purchased equipment to cut and polish his own agates. He uses them to make belt buckles, key chains or other small items. He carves animals and birds from them.

One time he and his brother were hunting agates along the Yellowstone River at Intake when a man from Utah joined them and started telling them how to look for the rocks. They didn’t find any that day, but when they left, the Millers invited him to stop by their place and they would show him some they had found. When he saw their collection and what they had done with the agates, the man was embarrassed that he had tried to give them advice. That encounter led to a story about Miller in a lapidary magazine, he said.

His faith in God is also a predominant theme in his work. For years he has designed the cover for a quarterly church magazine, but his love for the Creator and his creation shows through in all his work. “I thank the Lord for this wonderful gift he has given me,” he said.

50 Years Ago

Do you ‘sink like a rock’? Get water in your nose while swimming? Or just not go near the water? If you do, register for the swimming lessons which will get underway in the Gate City, Wednesday, June 9.

Those interested may register at the city treasurer’s office in the city hall. However, you may join the program anytime during the summer. Intermediates and swimmers will use the pool from 10 to 11 a.m., and beginner and minnow classes will be held from 11 a.m. to noon.

The ‘station method’ of swimming will be used, and this method allows for more individual attention. With the minnow class, swimmers six years and under will be able to receive instruction.

Parents will be able to follow the progress of the children at intramural swim meets held twice during the summer.

Jack Hanson, swimming supervisor and lifeguards will appreciate anyone wishing to volunteer to help with the swimming instruction program.

100 Years Ago Boys’ Camp.

Dawson and Wibaux counties will have a joint boys’ camp on the banks of the Yellowstone river opposite Glendive. This will be a summer short course for boys in agricultural subjects and will commence on June 21 and continue for the remainder of the week. The boys must furnish their own towels, linen and other apparel. The camp management will provide tents and other camping equipment. About 80 youngsters from the two counties will attend. The work will be under the leadership of the club leaders of Dawson and Wibaux counties, Herman Dickman and I. J. Axtel, respectively, assisted by Dawson County Agriculturist D.W. Mendenhall. Among those who will act as instructors are the following from the Montana College of Agriculture: Charles Potter, state club leader; Miss Mignon Quaw, state recreation specialist; O.J. Ogaard, agronomist, specialist, and Athletic Coach Graves.

The Dawson County Commissioners have already contributed $100 towards the camp and the Glendive Chamber of Commerce will also donate generously to insure its success.