Leaving Montana

A good friend will help you move. But a really good friend will help you move a body. And Lily is just one of those friends. I mean, she may ask a few questions. But at least she’ll ask while we’re digging. And let me tell you, I am grateful to have her in my life.

Pegasus and I spent a week in Kalispell, Montana with Lily and her beloved and no, we didn’t dig any holes. But I would have if she had asked! This of course made more time for driving through Glacier National Park and some serious Downton Abbey binge watching. “Nothing succeeds like excess.”

And a huge shout out to her beloved who fixed the lock on Pegasus’ driver side door. I no longer have to open the driver door by crawling in from the passenger side. Which was only an annoyance when I imagined myself in an action film and wanted to make a fast get-away. Or when I happened to be parked next to a nice-looking man. Evidently the key had worn down. Well, I suppose after 20 years of use, that is bound to happen.

Within hours of leaving beautiful Kalispell, I find myself once again submerged in gratitude. Chris, the guy at the place says the shift cable on Pegasus snapped. I think it happened about two hours outside of Helena, Montana, while on Highway 83. One of the most beautiful highways I’ve ever spent time on. We rolled over a yellow plastic box. Couldn’t avoid it. The car ahead had a higher clearance and never touched it. By the time I saw the flash of yellow it was too late. Oncoming traffic to one side and no shoulder on the other. I lined up Pegasus’ center and rolled over it with the intention to avoid puncturing the wheel.  Are you ever astonished by how quickly your mind pulls in information and makes decisions?

It’s possible the yellow box had nothing to do with it. Maybe it was just the cable’s time to go. Doesn’t matter. And doesn’t change the fact that I am awash in gratitude. Grateful because Pegasus made it to Helena. Grateful for Ben, the tow truck driver who arrived in less than 20 minutes. A man who moved to Montana from Wyoming to stop fighting with his ex-wife and be closer to his kid. A man upset because of all the liberals moving into his adopted town. “They’re changing things to be how they were from where they left. If they liked it so much there, why don’t they just stay there?” he asked. There is no satisfactory answer to that question.

Just as there is no satisfactory answer to the question of why people feel free to discuss politics within minutes of meeting someone new. I subscribe to the advice of Grandma Williams, “In polite society one does not discuss sex, politics, or religion.” Can we get back to that?

Grateful for Chris, who took on the responsibility of fixing Pegasus. Grateful for credit cards and hotel rooms available at the last minute and good weather and Ivan. And grateful that I was quick to see that this entire situation falls under the category of “small potatoes”.

Grateful that we really can choose how we respond to situations. It doesn’t mean we won’t wake up in the middle of the night worried. It doesn’t mean we won’t second guess our decisions and actions. But it does mean that in choosing our response means we can make the space to freak out. And then, after freaking out in that protected space, we can then move forward, find perspective, and find gratitude.

I am grateful for an extra day in Helena, Montana. If only to learn how to properly pronounce it (stress on the first syllable please: HEL-en-uh), drink Amber beer, and discover that even after a trip to the museum, I still do not know nearly enough about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

And I am grateful to once again, be on our way.

1 thought on “Leaving Montana”

  1. OK Catherine! I have read about your time with nieces and nephew and am more impressed about the antics you failed to report (as there has to be more – Remember I raised seven) as those you did.
    Also, apologies to this aunt are totally not needed since whatever transgressions you think about have long since been forgotten and therefore forgiven.
    And, by the way, thank you for the pix you sent of the kids! They are beautiful as flowers and growing like bad weeds, and the best pictures I have of them. (Note to your brother: surely your school takes annual school pics)


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