Sitting outside the only laundromat in town, watching the cars that occasionally drove down main street as dusk fell. Talking about other places, idealizing the "outside world."
Getting to the doughnut shop early to snag one of the morning's two raspberry bismarks.
Lounging in the back of the community theatre in the dark of rehearsal.
Coffee at 6 AM at Frontier Cafe, when it was still 5 cents for a bottomless cup. It went up to 10 cents at 7 AM. Listening to the farmers and "old-timers" who couldn't fathom us doing calculus in the booth in the back smoking room before breakfast.


When I was in elementary school, we went on a class field trip to the Ravalli County Museum in Hamilton. There were the usual rooms dedicated to Native American beadwork and cradleboards and other rooms of old rusty farming implements, but by far the most interesting part of the trip was the tick room, devoted to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and its unpleasant little hosts, ticks. I have a distinct memory of standing next to the two-foot model of a tick in the center of the room, feeling quite vulnerable as it looked at me with its small black eyes. We learned everything you never wanted to know about spotted fever, as well as how to tuck your pants into your socks, and how to check your friends' hair for the little critters. And the fact that you would never feel quite safe walking through the woods ever again.

Later, in high school biology class, our teacher once brought from the dusty jars of floating dead creatures along the back wall a jar with an enormous tick, bloated to perhaps the size of a cherry from gorging on some poor creature. I can't remember if it was the biology teacher it had fed upon, who had dealt with spotted fever twice, which might have explained a few things about his personality.

Sometimes I miss Montana.