Day Six: Man Shopping in Glasgow and Runaway Brides
So it's not every day that I get complimented on my feet.....
When: Thursday, August 18
Where: Dodson, Mont. to Glendive, Mont.
Highlight: Breakfast at the Stage Road Inn
Miles Traveled: 263
Best Thing We Ate: Sourdough Pancakes
Song of the Day: Love's Been Good to Me by Johnny Cash
“Well I had my wedding dress in the back seat on my way to the church with a girlfriend,” our tall, vibrant B&B owner started.
It was Wednesday night and mom and I were seated around the kitchen table with our nonconformist-generation hostess, Sandy Calk, on a ranch out of Dodson, Mont. Upon hearing about her once-blind artist late-husband, I’d casually asked how they’d met.
She tilted her wispy red head to the side, patting away an invisible bug from her blouse.
“So we were sitting there, and I called up the man I was supposed to marry, and told him I wasn’t coming.” She said. “And well, he (the artist) was there too, so we just took off together.”
I knew this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
While mom and I were settling into our room, we heard a quiet voice from around the corner.
“You guys can use both rooms, you know.” Sandy’s son James, who has served a couple decades in the music and film industry, poked his head around the door.
“We’re not jerks,” he started. “Well, I’m not. Mom is.”
My mother thanked him and fed him some snarky remark about my tendency to steal sheets and giggle in my sleep, none of which is true, I assure you. He replied, saying that at least now any sheet stealing, though possible, would at least be more difficult for me.
All was forgiven, however, when he shared his love for art and deep-dish pizza with us later.
I sat at the table with Sandy until long after mom had gone to bed, listening to her tales of hiding her identity from terrorists in Lebanon and plucking chickens as a maid in Malaysia. After getting a degree in Home Economics, she’d condensed her entire life into one suitcase, said goodbye to her ranch, and toured the world, working odd jobs and living her life in color.
The next morning I woke to bacon singing from the kitchen, where I found mom and two men of Sandy's’s era in wranglers and plaid button-ups, Joe and John, sitting around the table that Sandy kept piling more food upon.
I took a seat between Joe and John, helping myself to a stack of hot sourdough pancakes. John had been visiting Joe from Alberta, and Sandy had invited them to join us for breakfast.
“Ah, you’re from Oregon,” Joe said, setting his coffee on the table. “You ever met Doc and Connie Hatfield?”
Because you know, of course out of the 4 million people that live in Oregon, and the 70 countries he’s been to, he just happens to have gone to vet school with the grandparents one of my best friends.
“Sure do. I just went camping with their granddaughter, Lizzie, last weekend!”
As we continued to share basic introductions and the diminishing pile of pancakes, John spoke up.
“And you’re moving to Manhattan?”
I nodded over a bacon-stuffed smile.
The handlebar mustache that folds into the smile-lines around his mouth swished from side to side in disapproval, and his bushy brows rose up to his hairline. “Say, kid, you’re going to wake up in New York City one day and ask yourself ‘what the hell am I doing here?’”
John hasn’t seen as many corners of the world as Joe, but his family’s multiple businesses from frozen veggies to shopping malls has led him all over the continent. His early years in the cowboy business brought him face to face with rattlesnakes, gunfighters, and Ian Tyson himself.
“I drank my first beer with that man.” John said. “Bought some real good horses off him too.”
I sat, swirling the remaining chokecherry syrup on my plate as Mom and I vicariously dined with the Knights of Malta at the Vatican and explored the globe with mothers-in-law and long haired guitar players.
It was nearly noon by the time we tore ourselves from the fun and were curled up in the cozy Montana patchwork once more.
Due to moms affinity for all things Scottish and the fact that our snack supply had pretty much dwindled down to four mushy pears, we decided to stop in Glasgow, Mont. to split a sandwich.
A girl could dream that while dining in a cafe in the “real” Glasgow, a tall Scotsman with sandy hair and blue eyes would come up to her table, speak of her ravishing beauty, and ask to buy her a drink.
Well apparently, in Glasgow, Mont., it almost works that way; but with a few key differences...
I was about bite into my half of the sandwich when a
tall… (so far so good)
African American man with Austin Powers teeth… (Powers is British which is basically Scottish right?)
came up to my table… (spot on)
told me that I had pretty feet… (?!?)
and proceed to take a bite of my sandwich??? (!!!!!!!!!)
“Mayonnaise?! I don’t eat Mayonnaise!” He plopped the sandwich back onto my plate, before stomping out the door.
After checking the back seat and underneath the Jeep for non-Scotsmen, we immediately decided that man shopping in Glasgow needed to be confined to the United Kingdom.
We watched out the window as a third of the nation’s wheat and thousands of sunflowers paved the next 300 miles of our voyage in gold, making it to our final destination in time for supper.
We stayed that night with good friends, Alan and Kathy Doane, on their ranch down a five mile dirt road out of Glendive, Mont.
After Alan’s daughter Sami, her husband Blake, and two year old daughter, Paisley had joined us, Alan regaled us with stories while his gracious wife Kathy prepared our dinner.
Most of the tales were of Alan and my dad staring as resourceful, but not always safe, or dare I say, smart, young men, starting families in rural Oregon.
“Once while we were balancing a 20 ton beam, building a hayshed, I told your dad I was in a much better situation than he was,” Alan said.
“Oh?” Dad had asked.
“Yep. Because I’m working with a certified EMT and you are not.”
Sami was still the beautiful, sweet girl she’d been when she’d carried me on her hip at Paisley’s age, and the years of friendship between our two families were prominent as our parents discussed their pasts, their losses, and their identities in Christ.
To sum it up, the sixth day of our journey consisted of meeting and eating. Meeting and talking to people of all forms of the word “interesting," and eating. Eating; except at lunch when for some reason or another I didn’t finish my sandwich.