One Hundred or Bust


As a kid at our mountain cow camps we played “one hundred or bust” after dinner to determine who did the dishes.  The cards are dealt and starting at zero, cowboy number one adds to the count by playing a card from his hand.  The count proceeds around the table until the first unlucky player busts one hundred.  They are the dishwasher.  Restarting at zero, the game continues until the second person busts.  They are the dryer.

With everyone else on down time, the two winners heated water on the cookstove to begin cleaning up the kitchen.  We also played the game around the family dinner table in the valley but usually reserved it for special occasions.  This tradition began with my grandparents and possibly even earlier, but those generations are long gone.  Sadly, another piece of family history is slipping through our fingers.

In my father’s later years, he became fascinated with local history and educated himself extensively on the Bozeman Road and the Little Big Horn, Rosebud and Connor Battlefields.  To him it was personal as many of the famous military skirmishes and massacres of the late 1800s happened just over the hill and here is why this is pertinent.

My great-great grandparents, Tom and Millie Powers, and their five children left Half Rock Missouri on September 7, 1886, with two wagons and one hired hand.  The second oldest child, Rose, was 13 so could remember their 61-day trek west.  Their first Wyoming Thanksgiving was in a dugout overlooking Columbus Creek and my history buff father later regretted not quizzing his grandmother, Rose, about all she had seen on the trail.  As frequent losers of “one hundred or bust,” their hours together at the kitchen sink slipped away.  Now to today.

Because my younger two children and their families are elsewhere, our Thanksgiving is smaller than usual.  However, my oldest, Meagan and husband Tim, will be joining us with their ten mini-Kimmels plus one overwhelmed French exchange student.  It will be epic.  However, our dishwasher’s flood control switch has failed so we will pick the kitchen help via “one hundred or bust,” and this brings me to my point.

Your descendants learn the values of rights, responsibility, worship and work by watching you live your life.  Those values are reinforced in conversation across the family dinner table, but they are cemented with dish rag and dish towel in hand at the kitchen sink.  Care to play?

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