And now for something completely different

June 11, 2010

Because it’s Friday and I’ve been thinking about this lately, and for no other reason that I can think of, here’s a brief list of things I learned growing up in  Montana:

  1. Rain is a good thing.  Seriously.  Every time it rains, I think, “Oh, good. Rain.”  I may sympathize with you because of missed or ruined events, I may be sad for my own missed or ruined events, but in my secret deathly-afraid-of-drought heart, I will always welcome the rain.
  2. You know those cooking shows where the chef runs to her amazing local market, picks up American caviar, squash blossoms, and puff pastry, and then assures you dear viewer that these things are all available at your local grocery store?  They aren’t.  Not even the puff pastry.
  3. If you’re going to have guns around, it’s good to know how to use them.  I’m not joining the NRA any time soon (or ever), and N and I have decided not to have guns of any kind, including water pistols (and we’ll see how that works out) in our home.  But I know what to do with a rifle, and I wish that, if people were going to carry guns, they all had to go through a program like Hunter Education.
  4. If you talk to the winds, sometimes they’ll tell you stories.
  5. F**k can be used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb.  Especially when something is really wrong with the tractor your father and grandfather are trying to get to work again.
  6. People who refer derogatorily to other people as hicks or rednecks show a profound ignorance of the skills, knowledge and heart that go into agricultural labor.   Also, they tend to be close-minded snobs.
  7. If you have a good library, you never need to be bored.  Even in a town where the most exciting activity known to high school students is driving up and down Main Street looking at other high school students who are driving up and down Main Street.
  8. Don’t run away from bears.  Don’t feed bears.  Don’t surprise bears.  Don’t taunt bears.  Don’t get between a mama bear and her cub.  Don’t walk up to a bear with your camera.  Let the bears be.
  9. If you find yourself being asked questions along the lines of, “Are there escalators in Montana?” the best thing to do is to just give in to the urge to spin a tall tale.  Tell about how the first escalator in the state was just installed five years ago and people came from all around to see this wonder of modern technology, and how this started a state-wide three-day-long escalator festival, and how your mom’s gopher stew took the blue ribbon at the festival last year.  The secret ingredient was rattlesnake.
  10. Plants and trees have names and stories.  Some smell like vanilla.

What did where you grew up teach you?



  1. And I didn’t even know you from Montana.

    Love the rain, spent a couple of weeks begging it to actually stay for longer than a burst, and then praising it the last couple of days when we got a delightful, much needed soaking.

    We’ve had a number of bear encounters this year, more than usual. One day recently Kathleen sat stuck in our chair. Mama bear was about 15 feet away . We waited to see which way she headed to avoid any chance of getting between her and the cubs trailing behind. She headed around the other side of the house and we hustled in the door and watched the cubs cavorting on the side lawn.

  2. This was such a fun post.

    For me,

    1. The ocean is scary. It can kill you.
    2. Anything about 15oC (57oF) is hot.
    3. Any commute longer than 10 min is too long.
    4. Appreciate the sun.
    5. Music makes things better.

    I could go on and on!

  3. Oh I liked reading this. Montana sounds terribly exotic to me, sitting here in England. When I was little my mom used to play a John Denver song about Montana and it made it all sound terribly wild and free!

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