Montana has lots of wide open spaces,
magnificent big skies, bountiful wild
fish and game, and hardly any people.
Overall just about one million humans
live in our state. Finland is about equal
in space to Montana's mass with a five
point five million population. Germany
spans a similar scope as Montana yet
eighty two million call it home. Eight
point five million call New York City
home making it America's biggest town.
Whereas our biggest burg - Billings has
one hundred and ten thousand residents
Way out west
Life depends on one's perspective.
As Steinberg's New Yorker cartoon
(left) illustrates, Manhattanites can
be quite myopic. When I announced
that I was moving west to Chicago
my Mother literally said "Isn't that
somewhere to the left?" For those
who live in America's most urbane
city, all others pale by comparison.
Over the years I've slowly shed my
prejudices and have realized that it
doesn't matter where one lives. But
rather it's all about HOW you live.
Boulevard of dreams
At one time I thought Brooklyn was
a foreign land. However nowadays
it has evolved to become the eastern
equivalent of Paris. Here in Montana
many consider Billings to be our city
of lights. While that may seem odd -
it's understandable in a state where
one's neighbors are deer and coyotes.
Hence strolling down the flourescent
flooded aisles of Walmart is akin to
strutting down the Champs-Elysees.
Let alone that nirvana better known
as Costco... Mon dieu MONTANA!
Out of the box
To date Frank and I have yet to find
a reason to trek two hours to Target.
We easily buy the majority of what
we need in town. Whatever we can't
purchase in Lewistown are also not
available in Billings. Montana retail
is all about the basics. Thus what we
could easily grab on Fifth Avenue is
out of reach on the wide open range.
Obviously one can buy anything on
the web. However unless one knows
how to spell Birkin, you may search
for naught. Shopping is never easy.
Do we feel deprived living in rural
Montana? If one craves fois gras
you must find a goose given Dean
& Delucca is thousands of miles
away. Fortunately since first hitting
Lewistown twenty years ago our
culinary resources have improved.
We've a decent cheese assortment
at our grocer. While not Murray's
on Bleeker, one can find enough
options to make any happy hour
happier. The beauty of this place
is worth risking lactose limitations.
As I stated at the beginning of this
missive, how one opts to live is of
much greater importance than where
they reside. It's impossible to know
what you're missing if you've never
seen it. Thus we all need to stretch
our wings. Which requires that one
be willing to try something new. So
if you can't get fresh oysters from
Cape Cod, why not nibble on a few
Prairie Oysters? All sorts of exotica
is easily within reach wherever you
life. Why not grab life by the balls?