This past weekend, while our youngest son was in Washington for a school trip, my husband and I went to Bozeman to see our oldest son. We had previously only seen him (once) for a few hours in the last two months. My mom heart was so happy to hug him and to see Bozeman from his eyes. We saw one of the spots where he likes to fly fish. Surrounded by the snow covered mountains, the sounds of the river, the crisp air and the beautiful yellow leaves of fall – it was easy to see why he loves it there. Of course we treated him to some food that wasn’t made in the cafeteria and filled up his truck. We got to see his shop class and also tour where he has been working.
He mentioned a critter calling contest and a wild game feed in a nearby town. We agreed to check it out. We slowly (because we were behind a hay truck) made our way to Ennis, MT… a small town of 850, southwest of Bozeman. We parked at the top of the hill and walked down towards the wild game feed. There were 20 or more tables set up along the main street with wild game samples. Mostly elk based chili items in small sample cups were passed out until they ran out. “Be sure to vote for #18,” or something similar was said as they handed us their samples. People hugged in the street and visited at the park. The realtor office gave out ice cream and there was an exhibit in the park about bears. The local chamber had a booth promoting their town.
A tourist town, mostly supported by hunters and fly fishing expeditions, it felt like we stepped back in time. It reminded me of the movie “Groundhog Day.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth your time. Bill Murray is a weatherman who is reporting on the
Groundhog shadow tradition in the small town. They have a festival in the town square where they everyone gathers and has a great time. He gets stuck in Punxsutawney – reliving the same day over and over until he “gets it right.” Ennis reminds me of Punxsutawney. Nobody looked at us like we didn’t belong. They thanked us for coming and encouraged our son to sign up for the critter calling.
The local distillery, run by a veteran, set up a stage behind the bar. They had a panel of judges and prizes for each category of critter calling. Youth categories ranged from kittens to ducks to cows. Adult categories were either farmyard animals, predators, waterfowl or upland game. And they called in a Yeti, which is apparently a town mascot of some kind.
We won the waterfowl calling contest and got lots of compliments from the locals. He’s more like my husband so he talked to everyone. It was fun to listen to all of it and see the excitement.
The next day brought us back to Ennis for a fly fishing adventure. Dallas had been river fishing before, but not float fishing & Cam hadn’t done either. We arrived early so we could get the license and get fitted up for waders etc. After they took off with their guide, I wandered through town. It was so great to have 4 hours to just look in the stores and not have to be in a rush. I felt like I was in a movie set. I walked into one store and the two ladies were cleaning up from all of the traffic the night before. I got some compliments on my glasses and visited about the beautiful weather. I strolled slowly through each open store. I had lunch at the soda fountain/pharmacy/gift shop and enjoyed a huckleberry shake. I walked through the gift shops, clothing stores, thrift shops and art/mercantile. I stood at the end of Main Street and took in the mountain views and listened to the creek running through town. I sponged on some conversations, loving how charming the town and the people seemed.
At the mercantile, the shop owner said she is also from Minnesota. She mentioned that she recognized me from the calling contest the night before. We visited for a bit, which is kind of out of the ordinary for me. Then I went back to the soda fountain for a chai latte and took it to a table outside to read a book. The guys came back in the afternoon. They had a good time, caught some fish and had seen a moose in the river. We wound our way at back to Bozeman so we could start our journey back home. If the price of homes wasn’t so high, I might consider relocating.
I just had to share part of our journey. Since I mention peace weekly, this was sure a peaceful place. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. I wish you the opportunity to slow down, take in your surroundings and step back in time a little.