From the shelter to an apartment
Thankful and ornery Cortez man has been on both sides of living situation
Crotchety, cranky, cantankerous, grumpy, Monty Fogle evaluates each word trying to determine what best fits him.
Sitting in his favorite chair, in front of the TV with the furnace spewing warm air, Fogle doesn’t smile much. Maybe all those words work.
He says he’s the last person you want to mess with. But he uses more colorful words laced with a profanity or two.
“I’m anti-social, that’s all I can say. I don’t like people. I don’t like people messing with me,” he says, grunting out the words.
Ornery? That might fit.
He retrieves a cold can of Busch beer from the refrigerator and pops the tab.
Monty is a character — plain and simple. Born and raised in Cortez and named after western film star and rodeo hall of famer Montie Montana, this Monty can be seen walking around Cortez in his trademark unique cowboy hat.
“I’m the guy in the green hat. That’s what they say. But it’s not really green,” he says examining the headgear.
“I don’t need a car. The grocery store is down there, the library is there and the liquor store is over there,” he says pointing in three directions. “I have all I need right around here.”
He was sharing his thoughts on life from his home a few blocks north of Main Street near downtown.
It’s a small cozy one-bedroom apartment. It’s a big difference from where Monty lived for years.
He called the Bridge Emergency Shelter home for several seasons, and he had a campsite north of town.
“Some guy said I could stay there, so I built a campsite with a rock fireplace. I liked it. I’d be out there right now if it wasn’t so cold,” he says.
Coming up on 64 years old with a trademark long salt-and-pepper beard, Fogle doesn’t mind talking about his past. He’s come to terms with his mistakes, missteps and life decisions.
Four failed marriages, four kids that he doesn’t stay in touch with, and again, his anti-social character.
But as much as he tries to pigeonhole himself into the cantankerous definition, he slips up and confesses a few things. He does have some good friends and likes to dog sit for a couple of neighbors.
“I like dogs, I just don’t like people,” he grunts.
“OK, I guess I don’t really dislike people, I’m just anti-social,” he says, finally with a bit of a smile.
Fogle is a Vietnam veteran, serving from 1965 to 1968. He says his time in the military was like life — some good, some bad.
“Mostly good, I guess.”
As he wandered the streets of Cortez, camping out and staying at the shelter, he says life was OK.
“I don’t need much,” he says taking a swig of Busch.
Back then, some shelter staff members started looking into whether or not Fogle qualified for military veteran’s benefits.
He did and soon after, he bid the shelter a final good-bye.
“I guess I’d say thanks,” he says about what he’d say to all those people who helped him secure those benefits.
He thanked them back then too.
The military benefits helped him get out of the shelter and into his apartment.
He admits that a roof over his head, a soft chair under his butt and TV in front of him is kinda nice.
It’s been a few years since he last stayed at the shelter. He’s not really the type who shouts out thank yous. But he still sees the goodwill of the community. He frequents the soup kitchens of Grace’s and Hope’s and even has an opinion of which one is better.
But he says they are both very good.
His 27-inch TV was even donated to him.
He enjoys watching sci-fi and westerns, and reluctantly confesses that he’s seen those Kardashian women a few times on TV.
He admits that he enjoys taking care of his neighbor’s dogs. There’s “Chloe” who lives with her master next door, and there’s a little dog down the street named “Flacko.”
“They’re good dogs. The one down the street (Flacko), she’ll escape and come up here and scratch on my door wanting in,” he says, with an actual smile.
He says he doesn’t plan to get a dog of his own but likes watching after Chloe and Flacko once in a while.
The shelter was a means to an end, Fogle admits.
“There was good people there. Probably still good people there,” he says.
Fogle was ready to make the rounds of the day. A stop at the library, grocery store and a restock of Busch, then back to his comfortable abode. Maybe even bumping into an old friend along the way.
Even though he says he’s an anti-social dog lover, and a “badass,” there are a number of words that he says could be used to define him.
After going from homeless to living in an apartment, one word seems to fit pretty well.
Reach Dale Shrull at firstname.lastname@example.org