“Hey, you are back. Welcome back!!” Ralph and Eric hollered in excitement.
This was my second time at The Cow aka Stoney’s Lounge & Casino, a pub at the Clearwater Junction, Montana.
Constant downpour and cold temperatures restricted my outdoor activity. Besides spending my time reading, writing, fishing and fire gazing, I tried to bag as many miles as possible on bike and foot. In the evenings The Cow was my to go place to grab a beer and meet some cool locals.
Just as I took off my jacket and scouting for a seat, Mary bought me a drink.
“We heard about your tales through our neighbors who were in the pub the last time when you were here. It’s so good to have you back.” Mary and her husband Dave welcomed me with open arms.
That’s been my Montana experience ever since I got into this beautiful state.
While having a great conversation about fly fishing, hunting and other crazy sports I noticed that Mike, the bartender, was upset and swearing at the TV. The TV has been throwing some random errors and the only way to fix it would be to turn On/Off the cable box. Not good! especially while watching NFL and the TV would crap out leaving the audience, some very drunk, in frustration.
“Hey Mike, can I see the remote for the TV and Cable. I’ll take a look and see what’s going on.” He wasn’t expecting that response and handed over the remote in suspicion.
Did a quick google search and read through forums of other disgruntled customers and how to fix the issue. The systems firmware was out of date and several other settings were disabled causing it to shut down every two hours. After making a couple of settings and reboots, we were live and the TV had no issues.
“Hey Mike. Here you go. Its done.” I handed over the remote back to Mike.
“Yup and here’s the menu you want to go to if it happens again” and showed him how to fix it.
He held the remote and hollered “Yeehaw! This guy fixed our TV. No more interruptions.”
The entire pub erupted in applause, raised their glasses and one of them hollered, “Get that boy a drink.”
Though I declined the offer, I had four pints of Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, a Montana classic, and several whiskey shots in front of me. It was a fun evening and amazing conversations ensued with some epic folks who’s been calling Montana home.
Soon we noticed a gentlemen, who has been partying hard all night, having trouble in driving back home. Dave knew where he lived and offered to drive him home. I tagged along and helped the guy to get in the car safe. After driving him home and we drove back to the pub to continue the party. As soon as we entered the pub, the bartender gave us a drink on the house for being responsible and taking care of a fellow local. That’s what I love about the small mountain town communities. They treat each other like family and take care of one another.
“I have been married to this guy for 50 years now, you know?”.
“That’s awesome. Congratulations. How has it been?”
“It’s great but I am kinda bored now”
“Well you have my card and you know where to find me”, I said that winked 😉
Dave and Mary have been married for 50 years and they acted like they were just married. They were full of love and adoration for each other.
She looked at Dave and said, “If you mess up, I am leaving to New Zealand with Naresh. You better behave yourself”. Saying that she burst out in laughter and winked back at me.
It was already past midnight. I stepped out to realize that it’s been pouring cats n dogs. I still had to ride my bike to the cabin in pitch darkness and freezing cold rain. I stepped in to say goodbye…
“Ah ahhh. You are not riding your bike in this rain. Throw your bike in the truck and we will drive you home.” Dave said that with full of love and care.
“Guys, I live in a cabin and it’s a pretty gnarly dirt road”
“Doesn’t matter. That’s why we have a 4W drive. We will get you there”
Mike hollered and gave a warm handshake.
Soon I exchanged hugs and goodbyes with the rest of the pub and hit the road. Eric and Ralph were going to fly back to London in a week and they extended an invite for me to visit them in London.
I threw my bike in their truck and Dave and Mary drove me to the cabin. What would have been a 30 minute cold and wet ride turned into a 10 minute sweet ride to the cabin.
“You better come back again next year, OK?. You have a home here in Montana. When you come back next time, give us a call. We will have the bed ready for you”, saying that Mary and Dave gave a warm hug, wish me luck for all my future adventures and drove away.
I tucked myself by the fire inside the cabin and pondered at how awesome Montanans are. It’s wonderful encounters like these that makes my travels so rich, blessed and full of memories.
About my first night at The Cow, that’s a whole story by itself. Soon…