Independence Day reminds me that I am the smart one.
Just over 21 years ago today, my parents relocated to Montana from our former home nearby Scottsdale, AZ. To say that it was culture shock is a bit of an understatement but not for any of the reasons one might expect. This was no Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210 fish-out-of-water experience where I was the cool cat now in a schoolyard of local yokels. Montana was the place where name brand clothes came from Sears and the closest Target was 400 miles away. If there was a divinely created opportunity for a chubby, socially-inept 12-year-old to fit in, Montana was it.
Mother was in a tizzy with the small-town down-homey community events. They had never allowed us younger ones to go to the state fair, the park, shopping center carnivals, talk to neighbors, or anything similar because they were afraid we’d be kidnapped, molested, or exposed to drugs. But with moving to Montana, that all changed. Suddenly, Mother was organizing walks after dinner time, visits to the neighbors, and coordinating our attendance at community events including the 4th of July festival at the local historic fort.
This was definitely a subset of society I hadn’t been exposed to before. Not only were there dozens of other families but vendors of elephant ears and cheese fries, and the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism featured jousts and demonstrations in the art of courtly dancing. Smokey the Bear and his ranger handler presented on the dangers of forest fires with the local smokejumpers. Read the rest of this entry »