In my last blog, I took the opportunity to post about my friend, Rich, knowing that if I didn’t, he would cry like a damn baby, feel under appreciated, and I’d never hear the end of it. So, out of guilted pressure and a sense of menial obligation, I wrote some garbage about my “feelings” for him, putting aside the tales of my own adventures with my “real” family, so he wouldn’t whine about it. 

And if you think that sounds mean, you should see what I deleted BEFORE I posted…

The Fredeens’ road trip was going to continue, but not before we did some very important things first. For five years while in Keystone, SD, we have eyed the Presidential Wax Museum and have wanted to go. But with Rudy being pretty young and barely interested in years past, we waited. This year, we felt it was finally time. He posed for me at the presidential podium, and I asked him to address the nation. At first he read some script on the podium about the deficit and such. Then I said, “No! I want to hear what you would say to the nation if you were president.” Without hesitation, President Rudy Fredeen launched into a patriotic speech, demanding waffles be eaten every day, syrup blimps would provide the maple sauce for the mandatory waffles, “non-shitty” toilet paper would be provided in all restrooms that had sub-par wiping paper, and the sloth would be declared the national animal. We felt they were all solid proclamations and we both vowed to vote for him!

We were given handheld listening devices that guided us through the museum through which facts were provided on each of the presidents. Dad filled in when the mechanical lady got quiet. Between the two teachers, we preferred dad, but we did learn quite a bit from the recorded voice, and Rudy said he really had a good time. I’m glad we waited until he was a bit older. He was engaged, asked questions, and had several things to say and add. It was a way more enjoyable time than I originally thought it would be. 

So the other thing on the agenda for the day was to catch the final Indiana Jones film. (Jared here: It’s called “The Dial of Destiny”. Show some respect.) This was really important to Jared. As not only a fan of the franchise, you’ve already heard about his John Williams love. Since this was the final for both John and Indiana, Jared was NOT going to miss it. Yes, we could have waited and just caught it on streaming, but Jared let us know that he had NEVER seen an Indiana Jones film in the theaters, and he was determined to make this one happen. We wanted to see it in Durango once we picked Rudy up, but that didn’t happen. Then we had planned to see it at the beginning of the week but that wasn’t in the cards for us. When we checked the listings for Friday, it said it was NO LONGER IN THE THEATER!!! Jared’s heart sank. We knew the reviews were’t great, and the length of time it would hang out in the theaters was limited. So we checked a theater in Rapid City with a shred of hope remaining. Bam! It was playing and we were GOING! Jared got the last three seats together in the theater…

I tell you, we all really liked the film. It checked all the nostalgic boxes that an Indy film should have and then some. We felt that the characters were played well, and Harrison let Indy be his age, not an actor in his seventies with a thirty-five year old body double. We enjoyed the story and the action, and Jared got to sit next to his son and applaud the Indiana Jones franchise coming to an end. It was worth all the bits of worry that went into being able to see it. Was it a cinematic masterpiece? No. Was it a dramatic, life-changing piece of art? No. Was it just what we needed? You bet. 

But here’s something interesting…while we were in the theater watching the movie, it got about two thirds in, and there was a complete stop on the screen. Theater lights came on, screen went blank. (Jared here: IT WAS MADDENING!! Right in the heart of an action sequence, someone shouts “Indy! The gun!” then nothing. Blank screen. AAARRRGGHHH!!!!) Eventually (about ten minutes later) we got sound, but still no picture. After about three seconds, Jared got up because he didn’t want to hear spoilers and not see them. Rudy joined him. Ok, ok, I will get up too. Half of the people just stayed in their seats. Apparently, the whole theater had lost bits of power here and there, struggling to AC the place from the more than 100º heat and run all of their movie screens. At this point, Jared just kind of threw his arms up in the air, wondering if the universe was conspiring against him to make it impossible for him to see this full movie. We all wandered the theater halls and sat around while the staff rushed to fix the problem and keep customers fed, watered and happy…and NOT demanding their money back. Within about fifteen minutes, we were all back in the seats enjoying the ends of our movies. Then it happened AGAIN. This time a total blackout. COME ON!!!! My sweet husband dejectedly huffed out into the hall, with his little duckling following him.

(Jared here: I gotta hand it to Rudy. As I tried to keep a cool facade, he started getting angry on my behalf. I calmly told him not to get upset. These things happen, it’s nothing that anyone did (Jared’s inner monologue here: EXCEPT FATE THAT APPARENTLY DOESN’T WANT ME TO SEE THIS F*#^ING MOVIE!!), and the staff is working hard to fix the problem. And he said: “Yeah, but I know how important this is to you, and I hate that your special experience is being ruined!” I can’t fully express how much I love my family, but after that, I didn’t care if I ever saw the rest of the movie. I had these two.)

I would have sat in the darkness, content to play a mindless game on my phone, but then my brain began to really mess with me. “What if there’s an active shooter in the building just messing with the system to get all the people in one place?” “What if they come in HERE and shoot us, and Rudy and Jared are in the hall?” “What if they kill all the people in the halls and run out?” Screw this. If anyone is dying tonight, we’re doing it together, dammit! And that was enough to get me to almost run out to J and Rudy. Feeling a little foolish, I just kind of sat down and waited. This time, maybe five minutes passed, and they got the movies up and running again. We went back into the theater, all alive, and finished the movie. Jared even sat through the entire credits (even though some patron yelled “There’s no tag scene after the credits!!!”—Thank you, kind citizen). He just wanted to enjoy John Williams’ final goodbye to Indiana Jones and a lifetime of writing soundtracks that helped shape several generations of movie watchers, writers, makers, and players. It was nice to sit in that completion.

We wrapped up our night at a quiet rest stop with a beautiful sunset. Somewhere in the distance, a whip cracked while an orchestra played.

The next day was just driving. A LOT. This was us celebrating a hotel room where we could decompress for one day with no social obligations, gigs, miles to roll, movies to catch, shopping to do, or ANYTHING. All we knew is there was a pool, and we were gonna USE IT…tomorrow. But tonight, we’d sleep! (Jared here: AFTER we enjoyed watching some classic MTV videos with our boy, who was absolutely FASCINATED by which songs came out when, did we know these songs, which ones he’d heard before, etc. We don’t have cable, and in this age of on-demand everything, the opportunity to be surprised by what came on next was really special to him.)

Pool fun all to ourselves! Perfectly hot, but with a cloud covering so we didn’t feel the full wrath of the sun, we were able to spend a few solid hours diving for toys, playing keep-away, and Marco Polo-ing until we were exhausted and had worked up an appetite for a restaurant we’d been wanting to try for five years, “Jakers”.

The billboards in Montana and Idaho say something on them like “You haven’t been to Montana (Idaho) until you’ve been to Jakers!” Well, these have always been a crack up to us and, of course we’ve spun the phrase many ways, spiraling the joke so far as to say, “You ain’t been BORN until you’ve been to JAKERS!!!” So, I guess it was just time we were all born! 

We honestly had an incredible meal there. Rudy tried all kinds of new things, including sesame encrusted ahi with spicy mustard, coconut shrimp, sirloin steak, and loaded baked potato. We finished with a decadent piece of butter cake to share and ’slowly’ made our way back to our hotel to rest and ready ourselves for the early morning and afternoon gig ahead. 

I shared my martini with Leonardo…he’s such a lush.

Thanks “Jakers”. Now we can say we’ve truly “Been to Montana”.


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