Posts tagged cycling

Just another Montana Town or Is It?

The summer heat beating off the asphalt of the highway can be suffocating at times, but I must say the scenery around me helps keep my mind off the increasing temperatures. I’ve learned to pack enough water to get me from town to town so I don’t dehydrate myself. And as I look towards Bozeman’s city limits I’m grateful that I’ll be off the road for even just a day.

Bozeman looked like it was going to be just another one of those Montana towns, and for the most part it was, but as I’ve found so many times on this crazy trip of mine there’s always that one person that will leave a mark on your life forever. And that person came from a most unexpected person, a college student with pink and yellow hair and a chain going from her ear to her nose ring.

I met this young gal at a local restaurant I was eating at. She overheard me asking my waitress if I could replenish my water bottles. My waitress, in that oh-so-kind way and I am being sarcastic, told me that I’d have to buy my water at a grocery store like everyone else. I thought to myself “whatever!” and figured this gal probably hated her job, hated her life, or was just having a lousy day. So I gave her my order and went about my business of figuring out how to get to the park at which I was supposed to be staying.

That’s when Carin came up to me and said “Don’t mind her, she’s always a crab. I don’t know why they don’t fire her.” Well, she actually ended her sentence with an expletive but I’ve decided not to print that. Anyway, Carin told me she’d be happy to fill my water jugs then asked where I was from. I told her my tale of trekking across the United States on a bike. She just thought that was the coolest idea. She asked where I stayed while traveling. I told her that I had camping gear, but there were times I’d stay in hotels or cabins just to get off the ground. When I told her where I was supposed to be staying that night she looked at me horrified.

“You don’t want to stay there. Not only is it a pretty bad place as far as the possibility of being robbed, but they’ve had a lot of reports of wild animals. You look like such a nice lady, I’d hate for you to get a bad impression of this town because of where you stayed.”

I smiled at her thinking how nice she was to forewarn me, but I think she took my smile as an old person thinking this young thing with a chain hanging off her face was yanking my chain. Carin said, “I know I’ve probably already given you a bad impression, what with my hair color and this,” pointing to the chain, “but believe me you don’t want to stay there.” I told her I was thinking nothing of the kind, that I was thanking God that He brought her to me. Carin was the one taken aback this time for she said “You are the first person your age who hasn’t made fun of me. I mean not like I was saying you’re old, but more like someone who’s older than me.” She made me think of my nieces who often times changed the color of their hair and would have more earrings in their ears than I owned. I asked her if I could give her a hug. She obliged me, then went on to tell me about the Silver Creek Cabins which weren’t too far from where I was supposed to stay, but was a lot safer and a whole lot more scenic. She got me their number which I called half expecting them to say they were booked up, but to my astonishment they had an opening.

As I sat in my cabin that night watching the news, they talked about a bear attack at the park I was supposed to be staying at. When they showed pictures of this park I was horrified, as Carin said I would be, of the condition of the park. I guess you can’t believe everything you see on-line. I looked around this fabulous cabin and thanked God for sending this little sweetheart my way and giving me the guidance and direction I needed to keep me safe. It impressed upon me that we can’t look at anyone from the outside only. Like the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

My waitress fit the mold of someone who looked like she was caring, well groomed, well dressed, and spoke articulately, but she was nothing more than a mean, nasty person. I can say that because I saw her yelling at a family whose toddler had spilt some food on the floor and was telling them that she was tired of having to clean up after other people’s rugrats. If you saw Carin on the street your mind would automatically think, drug user, smart mouthed hoodlum, but after talking more with Carin before leaving the restaurant I found out that she also worked with special needs children at a local agency, she sang in her church choir, and she was attending college to become a counselor/social worker for the elderly and disabled. It takes a good heart to take on like that  a life commitment.

And in my real world I’ve run across a lot of people who have surprised me by being someone they didn’t look like. How many of us have run across that person who talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk; those smooth talkers who are dressed to the nine’s, drive the smart vehicles, and talk with a finesse that could astound Webster. And then you find out that they’ve cheated on their spouse, bilked their employer, sold or used drugs, or any other immoral act and did so in the name of God.

I’ve learned to not judge a person by the way they look or act. We must get to know people before making an opinion about them. It may be some bum on a street corner who pulls you back from stepping out in front of a turning car, or it may be a high school student wearing all black and looking angry who comes to your rescue when your car breaks down, or it may be a foreigner who looks suspicious who steps in when that smooth talker tries to cheat you out of something. We need to remember that God has placed each and every one of us on this earth and expects us to treat each person with dignity. It doesn’t matter to God how good you look, how much money you’ve attained, how famous you are. What does matter to God is how well you treated people here on earth and how you lived your life. May we all treat each other with dignity and live our lives according to God’s plan.

And, as always, let’s keep going the distance!

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