Day 184: Shillings in Billings

Laetitia and her group left Red Lodge, bypassing Billings initially to tour the Little Big Horn battlefield. Returning to Billings in the afternoon, they went for a drive along the rimrock overlooking the town. Luther Sage (Yellowstone) Kelly is buried there. Kelly was a real western frontiersman, trapper, surveyor, and Native American scout, who became a fictionalized hero in novel and film.

Laetitia got to the bar where she was meeting her group for dinner a little early. The bartender, Franz, was a native of Austria. He told her about coming to Billings with a friend back in the days before the Euro, when Austrian currency was the shilling. His friend had come from Austria with him to Montana hoping to meet a cowgirl. One evening while bar-hopping, his friend was elated to meet a woman in a cowgirl outfit, complete with boots and spurs, who was not only good-looking, but very friendly. He bought her several drinks, and they left the bar and went to his hotel room. All seemed to be going well until she asked him for money. At that point he was disappointed, but he was so enamored with her in her cowgirl outfit that he would have paid her fee. Unfortunately, he had spent all of his American dollars on drinks and had only shillings left, which she wouldn’t accept. He was so devastated that he returned home to Austria. Meanwhile Franz found a job and decided to stay. The story of Franz’s friend became the limerick of the day.

On a night of carousing and swillings
An Austrian fellow in Billings
Was vexed by a hooker
Who was quite a looker
But wouldn’t take payment in shillings.