It’s the first night that I arrive into Missoula. I drove in from Hailey – about 6 1/2 hours. For some reason, whenever I do a long-ish drive, I feel that I should end the day with some sort of junk food that I would otherwise not consider as part of my regular diet.
Anyway, I very quickly spot “Big Dipper Ice Cream” and decide this is it.
I drive in, park my car, walk up to the window, and order my usual cookies ‘n cream shake. Yum! A woman to my right is listening to my order and responds with an affirming “that sounds good!”
I then ask her what she ordered.
“A huckleberry shake.”
Blank stares all around.
“What’s a huckleberry?”
To which she looks at me like I’m from…somewhere not on this planet…and responds with:
“A huckleberry? You don’t know what huckleberry is??? Oh yeah…well…ummm…it’s, yeah, it’s a berry. Sort of like between a blueberry and a blackberry.”
“Oh! Ok. I thought it was just a Hound…!!”
Funny, funny. Funny!
Huckleberry Woman Without a Sense of Humor: Nodding her head, a little disappointed looking. “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Me: “No, not really.” Dearly hoping that I didn’t offend. Maybe the huckleberry is something sacred in this town?
And with that, she grabs a little clear plastic cup from behind the order window, fills it up about half way with huckleberry shake, and hands it over.
“Welcome to Missoula, darlin. Here’s some huckleberry…not the Hound type.”
And as I take a swig, I know immediately that I’m going to like this city.
The shake does indeed taste like blueberry and blackberry. And it goes down smoothly… warming my heart.