Having just passed my 77th birthday, I decided it was time to disperse my archives and winnow my bookshelves. A lot of what I’ve stored has to do with my ten years of Unitarian Universalist ministry. The proud centerpiece of 1982 to 1985 was the Unitarian Universalist Montana Ministry and the flagship of this four-fellowship effort was Missoula, humanities capital of Montana, richest members, the only one at the time with a building except for Billings who scoffed at us. (They’re still mad at ministers.)
When I began to look for people who could tell me where to send their old materials, Missoula was first. I went to their website. The online newsletter had not been updated since 2014. All sub-categories (leadership, religious education, etc.) were password protected. The leadership was named and phone numbers provided but none of the phone numbers worked except the one in the fellowship house where messages are taken off once a week. I found a couple of email addresses and left messages.
Hooray! A response came from Susan Snetsinger, a cheerful Millennial mom who works with demented people — like ME!
Alas! There has been so much turnover in the past decades that all history has been lost. With it went so much loss of status and confidence. The UUA, even at district level, seems out-of-it and unaware — no history there either, no plan, no mental picture, no interest.
Probably this buttinsky blog will make a lot of people angry, not all of them in Missoula or even Montana. That’s been my most successful modus operandi over the years. It’s my cure for depression. Missoula is the most depressed place I know of. It’s the weather. Sealed under a thick gray layer of cloud, Missoula suffers through inversions every year. At least now that the paper plant went bust, it doesn’t stink so much. When I chose the title of “DOWN in the Valley,” I was aiming at "bein' down".
But there are other meaning as as well: like when you “get down.” Urban Google says it means: "enjoy oneself by being uninhibited, especially with friends in a social setting. "get down and party!” Cambridge Google says: “to start to direct your efforts and attention towards something”.