I met my new friend, Dan, while eating my Wop Chop (fried pork chop sandwich) at the Freeway Tavern in Butte, Montana. Soon after I sat down, our eyes locked and we smiled warmly at each other as he cruised in his wheelchair from the counter to the video poker/keno machine, situated right next to my booth.
We hit it off instantly and had wonderful conversation. He swore he’d known me from somewhere and was surprised to hear that it was my first trip to Butte. When he asked where I was from, I answered with “Missoula” (of course), where apparently he’d been for many years, way back in 1940 (“100 years ago!”). While in Missoula, Dan had chopped wood (“when timber was all over the place”), worked on a train (“you did what you had to do”), and just generally took on any work that was available (sounds familiar). His ex-wife and two of his sons still live in Missoula… “a great town.”
During our time together, Dan spent about $15 on video keno, told me about 6 or 7 times what a lovely lady I am, and when I stood up to pay my bill and get back on the road, asked very enthusiastically if I would consider putting him in my trunk and taking him back to Missoula with me.
I chose to decline the offer, but was happy to have had such delightful company while I inhaled my perfectly delicious fried pork chop sandwich.
I really like places like this.