Posted by: pendrops | January 25, 2008

big sky country (some old dream)


I slowed my step as I passed the off-white Jeep-like vehicle in the parking lot. I’d never seen a Montana license plate. Crazy…I’ve seen Hawaii and Alaska plates, Maine and New Hampshire plates, even Vancouver and Ontario plates, but never a Montana plate. (Am I the only one who can’t figure out how Hawaii cars get here?)

The plate was pretty. Blue. The color we think of when we think of Montana, if we think of Montana. The DMV has indeed captured the spirit of its state and I couldn’t help lingering to admire it for a small moment alongside the tall, gray-headed gentleman with rugged, wrinkled skin.

We didn’t say anything – only studied the so-real-to-life plate together. Is that an actual photograph, I wondered. Then I moved on with grocery bags in hand.

But the gray man didn’t move for a few long seconds. When he did, he walked to the front of the vehicle, stooping to look for a plate on the front bumper. A quiet smile spread across his face as he searched. Not finding one, he came around to the back again and gave a final glimpse to the blue-sky picture.

As I closed the back door and prepared to climb into the driver’s seat, I saw him at his own car. He also prepared to climb in, but turned to see if maybe the owner of the vehicle had returned. He might like to talk about Big Sky Country, I thought to myself.

But that wasn’t all I found in his faded blue eyes. He wasn’t just searching for the Montana resident who happened to be in town. He was searching for something else, some old dream that had resurfaced for a brief instant, resurrected in a parking lot thousands of miles from its burial grounds.

He smiled again, close-lipped, and slid behind the wheel. A hope stirred for endless scapes and skies. And an aching for home.



  1. I just wanted to tell you that this really touched me. I can almost see you two standing there looking at that plate. And I have felt like that old man many times as I teared up looking at a tag from Lake Tahoe or TX or something like that that reminded me of home or memories that I treasured. I love looking at life that way- smiling at the little things in appreciation for something so much bigger. 🙂

    Love you girl!

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