13 March 2014
Suspended, Missouri Headwaters State Park, Three Forks, Montana
When chinook winds gently reduced our snow forts to languid farmyard water features, this signaled perfect timing for a spontaneous dessert trip to the W & E drive-in. These days, we never consider transporting more bodies than there are seatbelts in a vehicle - oh, the horror! But in the idyllic era of my childhood, the art of condensed transport was highly refined by our family of nine. You’d be amazed how many people can stack on a pick-up truck bench seat and still allow enough wiggle for the driver to shift gears. And any leftovers rode in the back with the dog - oh, the joy! - for the mile ride to town.
Our sardine-like forays to town yielded two treats: a creamy, soft-serve ice cream sundae, and its long, clear plastic serving dish. I say “serving dish", but it was really a boat, perfectly designed for drifting on the placid waters of Barnyard Lake. (C‘mon - I was five; it truly seemed vast enough that I was afraid of falling in.) Hunched along my own little shore, feet clad in red-toed rubber boots and imagination fueled by tales of The Borrowers and Stuart Little, I would play play play until called in from the gloaming to wash up for bed. Children don’t require reminders to seize the day.