Basco loves Jordan

Meet Arnaud “Basco” Elissalde, 82. He watches over the fire hall in Jordan, Mont.

Basco is from the Basque region of France, which he left in 1950, landing first in Miles City, and finally Jordan in 1968. He’s done a lot of odd jobs and ranch work and he even spent  10 lonely years as a sheepherder on the east Montana plains.

Basco says he spends a lot of his time these days sitting at a table waiting for a cribbage game or card game to walk in. Once in a while, he gets back to France to visit his five sisters, most recently two years ago.

Still, his heart remains in the austere region he calls home and others know as The Big Dry or The Big Empty. “I’ve never seen as nice a place as this one,” he says of Jordan.

He says he’s never married. Kids? “I hope not.”

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