Oh, Montana! Wherefore art thou so distant to Indiana?
California is still higher on my favorite states list, but one could make a solid case for the big skies, rolling green plains and rugged mountain beauty of Montana.
A driver hauls the eight of us from St. Ignatius to the train station in Whitefish. We’ll be traveling east from here on out.
Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
I imagine some of the strangers we’ve met on this 17-day trek would wholeheartedly agree with that.
Throughout this entire trip, we eight, well, the four boys at least, have enjoyed catching people who don’t know us off guard with unorthodox pronunciations and generally acting ignorant. It’s while boarding the train in Whitefish that a stranger catches me unaware. Let me explain.
Many people, when happy, will show it by whistling, humming a tune or singing a song. I am just as apt to exhibit my happiness to those around me by breaking into an auction chant. My friends are used to it. My sibling are annoyed by it. Strangers are confused by it.
I bring up the rear as our eight climb the stairs inside the train car just after boarding. Another man is behind me.
Absentmindedly, I launch into an auction chant while filing down the aisle.
The man behind me gets my attention and reassures me. “Just keep taking your medication,” he says without a hint of a smile. “It will be all right.”
I’ve heard that line 81 times since then from my siblings.
We enjoy God’s scenery in Montana from the train today. As usual, we spend quite a bit of time in the lounge car playing games. We play more chess and schnicklefritz the rest of the way and less Settlers of Catan.