Last week we decided to go visit my husband's brother, Bob, who lives in Boulder. Since we wanted to spend most of the week with him and it's a 400-mile drive to his home, we left on Sunday and drove as far as Havre, where we stayed overnight with our niece.
When we visit Bob, we always go to the secondhand stores in Helena and Butte. Bob and I thoroughly enjoy hunting for "treasures."
This trip, Bob suggested we take a day trip to Anaconda. I'd never been there, so I was all for it. We started off by driving through Whitehall Pass -- an always enjoyable drive.
Arriving in Anaconda, we began searching out secondhand and antique stores. The first such store we stopped at did indeed hold treasures – a white mink coat, rugs made from lynx, a white wolf, bears, and bobcats. There were fur coats, jackets, vests, pillows, and blankets.
I saw an old washboard that brought back memories of using one when I was a child to scrub my brother's diapers, white handkerchiefs and the collars and cuffs of shirts on wash day. I had many a scraped knuckle from that washboard.
Following a great meal in a restaurant where the booths were made of logs, we discovered a small shop on a side street that proclaimed that gifts and treasures were inside. But the real treasure inside was a visit with one of the owners. She told me that she and a friend decided they wanted to do something different so they opened their gift shop two years ago when they were 76 and 78 respectively.
As we chatted about our lives, I was impressed with the lady's enthusiasm and determination. She spoke of how she'd volunteered her time over the years to quite a list of organizations. She went on to say that even though she was busy and enjoyed what she did, she was bored at times and wanted to do something more ... something exciting.
Our visit with Bob came to an end after four days and we headed home. After we'd had lunch in Loma, we were on our way again. Wrong. Starting the car, I went to shift it into gear and it didn't move. Going back into the cafe I inquired if there was a mechanic in town. A waitress said there was and she'd call him.
After a frustrating hour and a half and several phone calls, the problem was fixed enough so we could get home. When I asked the gentleman what I owed him, he refused to take any money. I replied that I most certainly was going to pay him as he had taken time away from the work he had in his shop to help us. In the end, he accepted payment.
On the way home, I was thinking of the cheerful little gift shop and how impressed I was with the lady's optimism, courage, and willingness to take off on a brand new adventure at this stage in their lives.
I also reflected on the generosity of the mechanic, of how he took time out from his day to help a couple of stranded travelers.
All three of these remarkable individuals reminded me that you can always find a way to make a dream come true and that enthusiasm, generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness do not have an expiration date.