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Apr 21
Three Forks Montana
                                         July 22nd, 1998

Headed south from Helena on Rt. #287, it was early on a bright sunny afternoon and I needed to stop.  The bike and I were both empty and needed a rest.  I was also that ravaged kind of hungry that only four hours of Montana scenery can create. We left Glacier National Park early this morning, and except for one quick pull-over for gas in Choteau, this little town of Winston Montana would be our first real stop.  Real stops are where the helmet and jacket come off, and the crushed soda can goes under the kickstand to keep it from sinking into the soft asphalt.

It was incredibly bright and warm and now thirty-five minutes past the lunch hour.  That’s what the hostess told me at the only Café in town as she was closing up until supper.  “We reopen at 4:30, but for now the bakery’s the only place in town that has anything at all, and they’re only open for another twenty minutes.”

It was twenty minutes till two as I hurried down the street. Just as the hostess had said, the bakery was still open. It had only one person working behind the glass cases, which were all empty as I walked in through the screen door.  Of strange interest to me was the pool table that sat in the middle of the bakery floor. It was in the middle and surrounded by eight small tables, each having two chairs apiece.  The ***** were all stacked neatly inside the rack, and there were two cues laying side by side on the green felt in the center of the table.

“All we got left is pie, and that’s only if you like blueberry,” the waitress said, as I walked toward her.” The bell on the screen door was still ringing and she had one hand on her hip.  She started to smile as she saw the look on my face. “I’m not kiddin, it’s all we got,” as she stared right into and through me as if she had known me all her life. “All you got is just about perfect I said, and can I get coffee along with it,” she not knowing that blueberry pie was a favorite of mine.  

The first time I ate it as a child I broke out with the hives, but it was so good I couldn’t help myself and I went back for more.
Aren’t many of life’s best things just like that!   The hives never happened again, but I still think about it every time I order blueberry pie. I always wonder if I’m going to leave the diner or café all swollen and red in the face, having trouble breathing and headed for the nearest E.R. for the EpiPen injection.

         From The Looks Of Things, This Town Had No E.R.

I sat there in the bright sunlight with the ceiling fan spinning slowly above me offering up a quiet thanks to whoever is in control of things like this.  With blue stains on my teeth and mouth, I went back up to the counter and asked the waitress if I could have just one more piece, and more coffee too.  She looked at me squarely and said, “I have only a quarter of a pie left.  How about if I give you this piece here and wrap up the last piece to go at no charge? If you’ve got a travel thermos, I’ll fill that up with the last of the coffee, it’ll only save me from having to pour it down the drain.  It’s pretty strong by now, but you already know that cause you’ve come back for more.”  “Strong is the way I like it” I said, and with a smile formed over a thousand miles, I thanked her again.

As I sat at the table eating my second piece of pie it reminded me that sometimes, just sometimes, the second time really is the charm.  Today, this second piece of blueberry pie was even better than the first.  I asked the waitress her name as I cleared my table, paid the check and tipped her.

“Agnes, she said, and you ride safe on that bike darlin, you hear.”

Walking back outside I still wasn’t ready to leave, so I put the pie and coffee in the bike’s trunk and started to walk around town to get a better feel for the place.

Dead still and quiet in the mid-afternoon sun, the Winston Montana shopkeepers were all safe behind their windows and doors. There was no traffic on the street.  It reminded me of those Twilight Zone episodes on T.V. from when I was a kid where everything seemed so familiar while at the same time being so strange. I walked the perimeter of the town and ended up back at my bike.  I slowly put my jacket and helmet back on, and in the glare of a south central Montana afternoon, I rode away.

The memory of that blueberry pie has stayed with me all of these years as a reminder that the best things in life are almost always honest and good.  In our daily confusion, we often get off track and forget the bounty that is right there before us — gifts that are usually just inches away from what we already know and are sometimes afraid to admit.  Afraid, because it might not meet someone else’s standard. We too often live in search of false glory — that which is often stolen from a ‘world of consensus,’ and that which is most likely now lost to us in its deception.

                       As For Me, I’ll Take The Blueberry Pie

If I could structure my life like the pie that Agnes served in her bakery in that remote Montana town, I would create an unfolding trinity of one for now, one for later, and then one for just in case.  ‘Just in case,’ is the great maybe, or mystery, contained within the possibility of our spirit. It’s in the knowing that something better is out there, and believing that that something is going to be good that allows us to hope.

The ‘now’ and the ‘later’ control our daily lives.  It is the ‘maybe, or the just in case,’ that gives us the great hope to go on when the place we now find ourselves in just doesn’t work. Like the three persons in one God, acknowledging the ‘maybe’ in our lives, provides the Holy Spirit for all vision and promise to appear.

The great Chiefs, Joseph and Crazy Horse, knew this inside them, as they led their people to strive even beyond the borders of their own beliefs.  Their pie for today and tomorrow had been taken from them, but they believed in their hearts that they would in fact eat again. In the land of the Great Spirit, and the home of their Fathers and Grandfathers, they knew they would some day feast around the Council Fires of those who had gone before.

From the mountaintops to the canyons, to the bakery in that small Montana town, people still search for that last piece of pie ‘to go.’ They wait patiently for the sweet taste of tomorrow to return, while trying desperately to hold on to the belief that — tomorrow will ultimately be good.

               And Tomorrow By Its Very Nature Will Be Good!

As I head further South on #287 the radio plays Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin In The Wind.’ In the song Bob asks once again “How many roads must a man walk down?”  

             Just One Bob, As Long As It Leads Back To Today  

Kurt Philip Behm
Kurt Philip Behm
Written by
Kurt Philip Behm
   Nick Moore
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