To Helena Handbasket

It was just the three of us. Me, Pat, and Milo (whose name is actually Richard, but we call him Milo for short). Three men, driving to Montana. Only that day, we weren’t just men. We were men who were going to Montana.

Why would three men want to go to Montana? What would possess them to borrow a 1979 Oldsmobile Aircraft Carrier (a car into whose backseat one could easily fit the entire population of Montana), leave their friends and responsibilities, and drive six hours to Montana? I don’t know. Let me know if you can think of any reasons, because we sure couldn’t come up with any.

Well, we did have one reason. It was reading days at BYU, and we knew that we would never get any studying done if we stayed at Deseret Towers, where it is against the Honor Code to study. So we thought we’d go to Pat’s house in Dillon, Montana (population 4,500), where we knew it would be peaceful and quiet and boring, and we wouldn’t have people bursting into our rooms and ordering us to come play cards or go to Denny’s or fill up someone’s room with popcorn. Yes sir, we were going to STUDY, by cracky, and study we did, for a combined total of about two seconds.

Which is odd, considering there really was not much else to do. Dillon, Montana is not exactly America’s Fun City. There are very few “chain” businesses — a Subway, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are about it, although a McDonald’s is supposed to be there within the next few months. And believe you me, you’ll not find a group of people anticipating something more than the residents of Dillon, Montana, when they are told that a McDonald’s is on its way.

The highlight of our tour through the town was at the Great Harvest bread store, where they give out free slices of bread on Thursdays. From what we could see, the whole town turns out for this celebrated event each and every week, although I suspect the enthusiasm may die down when the McDonald’s arrives.

The big news story while we were there was how some of the busybodies in the state legislature were trying to start a sales tax law in Montana. That’s right, they want the citizens of Montana to start paying sales tax like everyone else! Those jerks. Believe you me, you could not get the residents of Dillon, Montana into a bigger tizzy if you told them it was raining sheep dip. This story was on the front page of every newspaper we saw, always in big, smug letters, because the bill had just been defeated, thank goodness (one paper said it was in its “death throes”). I personally had a difficult time feeling sorry for the citizens of Montana, not just because I’m a heartless cretin, but also because I’m from California, where sales tax is currently 38 percent, and you don’t hear us complaining.

So the three of us had a swell time in Montana. Much of our time was consumed by the laborious tasks of watching movies on tape and eating. We also went to the local Mormon church, where I played the Doors’ “Light My Fire” on the organ, which is something I have wanted to do since birth. We also did a lot of hanging around. Also, Pat and Milo did their laundry, having brought every article of clothing they own expressly for that purpose.

We were men. We drove around in a manly car (defined as being one that gets approximately two miles to the gallon) and did manly things, such as watching “Mary Poppins” on video. We all got extremely manly grades on our finals, too, and I don’t think we need to go into what that means.

(Eric D. Snider is currently taking a two-year break from BYU. He is from Lake Elsinore, Calif., where they already have a McDonald’s, and no one really cares.)

That was a fun trip. It was really spur-of-the-moment, too, and the spontaneity was enhanced by the fact that none of us owned cars. No sir, we borrowed Kelly Hull's car to drive to Montana and back in. Quite a trusting soul, that Kelly Hull. (Kelly Hull later married Braden, who is mentioned here and there in these columns.)