The words for today are: Denton, Montana. It’s an hour or so out of Lewistown (don’t ask me which direction; I wasn’t driving!) through stunning countryside. I kept expecting John Wayne to come riding across the rolling hills. This beautiful country seems to create beautiful people. Wanda Lucas is the 1st grade teacher (4 students) who orchestrated my day. And what a day! I started out chatting with the kindergartners/first graders, moved on to the quilting ladies (all of whom had read Hattie Big Sky; one of them didn’t like it), then the 3rd-6th graders, then the junior high and high school kids, some of whom came from nearby Stanford.
At lunchtime, Wanda and fellow teacher, Susan, took me to lunch at the Shady Oak Cafe where I had an incredibly delicious and hearty soup (barley beef); it was such a big bowl, I couldn’t eat the sandwich that came with it. Thank goodness for to-go boxes.
Because I forgot my camera cable, I can’t share photos – yet!– but it was an amazing several hours. The little ones, of course, wanted to tell me about their pets as I tried to tell them the story of Bobbie and Bob Cat; the middle group wanted to know why Nubs’ ears got cut off and what happened next for Hattie; and the 7th graders hung around long after the presentation was over asking so many questions, I can’t remember them all! But here is my measure of true authorial success: after impulsively hugging on sweet 7th grade boy, they all lined up for a hug from Kirby. Everyone — especially the boys! — wanted a sequel to Hattie Big Sky.
I can’t let them down, can I?
After a full day in Denton, kindergarten teacher (5 students), Shari Grubb drove me back to Lewistown. The hour or so drive flew by as we solved the world’s problems. After she dropped me at the Yogo Inn, I changed into some warm clothes (the weather has turned sharp and cold) and wandered downtown for a walk. After I stretched my legs, I treated myself to a matinee at the immaculately remodeled Judith Theater where, for $5.50, I got my blood pressure raised several notches watching Ben Affleck’s “The Town.” Back to the Yogo Inn (“discount for hunters”) where I zapped my sandwich in the room’s microwave for dinner. I ate an apple, too.
Can’t think of a nicer day I’ve had in a long time.