POTD: Something Interesting

POTD: Something InterestingSomething Interesting Lewistown, Montana 2014

Stopped at a rest area outside Lewistown, the Fashion Queen was reading the history signage while I was inside “resting” when she heard a male voice off to the side say “You want to see something really interesting?” Her first reaction was “that’s not the kind of line you want to hear from some guy hanging around the restrooms at a rest area” but she looked over anyway and saw this guy, Dana Kenneth Johnson, and his giant lizard, Slick, sitting there. More formally, Slick is an Australian Sand Monitor. He’s about five years old, with a life expectancy of 18 or more years. Dana had Slick on a harness (made for a cat) and a leash, and like many a pet owner at a rest area, was hanging around waiting for him to poop.]]>

POTD: The Good Old Days

POTD: The Good Old DaysThe Good Old Days Highway 191, Montana 2014

Nothing spectacular about this particular scene, just a shot of a lonely highway (my favorite kind) across some wide open country on a warm spring day in Montana. With nothing else on the agenda over Memorial Day weekend, we took a little day trip to Lewistown, Montana. We didn’t do much of anything except wander around and enjoy the fine day. Sometimes that’s all you need to do to be content. By coincidence yesterday I happened to leaf through a novel I read recently, By the Lake by ¬†John McGahern, and came across a passage I had marked that seemed apropos to this feeling:

The days were quiet. They did not feel particularly quiet or happy but through them ran the sense, like an underground river, that there would come a time when these days would be looked back on as happiness, all that life could give of contentment and peace.

That in turn reminded me of the line from the Carly Simon song Anticipation: “stay right here ’cause these are the good old days.” Here’s a video of her singing that song back in 1971. (I had some good old days back then too–wonder if I thought so then.)


POTD: Sunza Beeches

Sunza Beeches Bozeman, Montana 2012

Breakfast with the boys, a traditional geezer activity all across this country–one which I participate in myself almost weekly. One of the guys shown here was relating an incident that occurred to him recently. He was burning the weeds along an irrigation ditch when one of his new neighbors from out of state came over and started complaining that his fire was also burning some fence posts that may or may not have belonged to the neighbor. (The two had strikingly different opinions on that.) The guy telling the story objected to his neighbor’s attempted interference–strenuously. After some choice personal accusations suggesting the neighbor participated in questionable sexual activities with family members, he started on a more general rant that I’ve heard regularly since moving to Montana thirty years ago. It goes something like this: “I wish they’d build a fence on the god-damned border and keep those sunza beeches from California out of this state altogether. All they do is drive up the damn property prices and try to change every damn thing from the way we’ve been doing them around here forever.” In spite of not being a Montana native no one’s ever called me a sunza beech for moving here–at least not to my face. I think they more gladly make room for you if you grew up in a place like Kansas as I did because, out here where mountains are considered a form of supreme being, anyone coming from such flat country is considered a refugee.]]>

POTD: Big Damn Country

Big Damn Country Big Timber, Montana 2012

Back in the last century when I first knew the Fashion Queen and before she became Dr. Fashion Queen I went to her baccalaureate graduation ceremony. Other than there only being about 30 people in her graduating class at Alaska Pacific University, about the only thing I remember from that occasion was the story the keynote speaker told. Actually I only remember the punch line not the entire plot which had something to do with Teddy Roosevelt and a friend who liked to get out and ride around in the expanses of the American West. But it was entertaining and the punch line was a quote attributed to Teddy Roosevelt when he and his friend rode up to the brow of a hill overlooking a vast scene. Reacting to the view, Teddy said “Big damn country” to which his friend replied “Good to get out.” Every since then, whenever I come over the brow of a hill while out driving around and am confronted by a scene such as this view of the Crazy Mountains near Big Timber, I will say to myself or the Fashion Queen if she is with me “Big Damn Country” to which she will reply “Good to get out.” How’s that for the lasting benefits of a college education.]]>