Montana Calling

Back in Texas, and unpacking from a recent trip to the Smoky Mountains, my ringing phone flashed “Montana Calling” across the screen. My longtime friend, Jethro, is the only person I know currently living in Montana. Talking with him is always entertaining.

I answered my phone joyfully,

“What’s goin’ on cowboy?”

Jethro, in a sad tone,

“Hey Miss Ann, not much going on here, I just had to call and tell you something”

Me, sincerely concerned,

“What’s wrong?”

Jethro, dejectedly,

“You hurt my feelings.”

Me, truly alarmed,

“One of the last things in this world I would want to do is hurt your feelings Jethro, what on earth have I done?”

Jethro, a little more energy in his voice, “You went traipsing around the countryside again and didn’t come see me…again.”

Me, astonished,

“Have you moved recently?”

Jethro, sadly,

“Nope, I’m still right here in Montana, waitin’ for you to come see me.”

Me, chidingly,

“well Jethro, I realize you aren’t the-brightest-bulb-on-the-Christmas-tree, but I know that even you are aware Montana is a long way from the Smoky Mountains.”

Jethro, growing more heated as he spoke,

“Miss Ann, I am not only the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, I am the damn star-on-top-of-the-tree and that’s how I know there are planes that fly from Texas to Montana. You could have flown here, stayed with me and galavanted around these mountains and streams. We have trees here too Miss Ann and waterfalls. We have lots of things in Montana that you could have taken pictures of!”

Me, laughing in spite of myself,

“I’m not sure about that whole star-on-top-of-the-Christmas-tree thing you are proclaiming, but if you wanted to see me so badly those planes you are talking about fly to Texas the same way they fly to Montana.”

Jethro, seriously,

“And you know I ain’t gonna get on an airplane! And I cain’t take time off work to drive to Texas and back, so you are gonna have to come here.”

Me, contemplating,

“Maybe I’ll accept your invitation and visit in the Spring. Just make sure your latest-flavor-of the month knows I’ll be camping on your doorstep.”

Jethro, laughing,

“I done told this one all about you Miss Ann, and you’re gonna like her. She’s more than the flavor-or-the-month, she’s lasted the whole year and I’m hopin’ she’ll stick around for next year too.”

Me, surprised,

“WOW, that’s an accomplishment for you, I am happy to hear it. What exactly did you tell her about me?”

Jethro, whimsical,

“I told her about your poetry, how much you like to dance, that you are a workaholic and that for me you’re the one that got away but we have remained good friends.”

Me, incredulous,

“Don’t you have to catch something before it gets away?!”

Jethro, sincerely,

“That’s just a technicality, I caught you in my mind. I can hardly wait for the Spring to get here! Let me know when you are comin’.”

Me, smiling,

“Okay, but be warned, one of the reasons I haven’t traveled out west yet is because it may be difficult for me to leave once the scenery gets a hold of me.”

Jethro, happily,

“Don’t worry Miss Ann, you’re always welcome with me.”

Me, chuckling,

“Later cowboy.”

Jethro, chuckling too,

“Later Miss Ann”

As I hung up the phone visions of Montana’s majestic mountains flashed through my mind. Springtime may not get here fast enough.

E.A. Fussell

11-25-2018

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