Sow’s Ear: You know you’re living in a small town when …
by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.
A friend sent me a list of how many ways to know you’re from Montana (read that small, rural, isolated country town anywhere) that I’ve edited, modified and adapted. Feel free to add your own observations and mail to all your city friends.
You know you’re living in a small ranch-country town when:
– A traffic jam is driving behind a car behind a combine behind a tractor.
– It takes an hour and a half to drive to the city whether the distance is 80 or 150 miles.
– You haven’t been to a play production in the city, but you’ve never missed the annual 4-H Fair, the rodeo or the bull-a-rama at the Fairgrounds.
– Your pickup has bashed in places where either the bull has taken offense or a deer has committed suicide.
– Two pickups stopped in the middle of the road or the middle of Main Street means the drivers are having a conversation and the pickups are sniffing one another.
– The seasons of the year are feeding, calving, haying and shipping.
– Going away on vacation means reading back issues of the National Geographic.
– Kids ride the school bus an hour each way.
– Vehicles seemingly abandoned along the county road are merely parked waiting for the school bus.
– At a funeral, the dead man is wearing the only suit he ever owned ” the one in which he got married.
– You have no idea where the keys to the house are stashed.
– Eating out means chicken fried steak at the stockman’s cafe.
– You give your old bib overalls to teenagers who consider such garments “cool,” especially if they’re torn, stained and grungy.
– The upper shelf in your refrigerator contains seven sizes of syringes, three kinds of animal vaccine, a trigger-operated vaccine gun and a pan of Jell-O salad.
– You know a “ditch” means either the irrigation canal or a libation of whiskey and water.
– You never take the keys out of your vehicle ” that way you know where they are.
– Everybody’s pickup wears a trailer hitch on its bumper.
– You’re convinced the four major food groups are salt, sugar, caffeine and steak.
– Your vehicle slides off the county road on a snowy, slushy day and the drivers of 15 or 16 cars and pickups stop to help pull you out.
– One or more border collies, blue heelers, or labradors ride in the pickup bed or the passenger seat of pickups.
– Watching tourists strolling along Main Street is a favorite hobby.