Lexi and I were putting the final polish on a silver belt buckle when the gallery door opened. John, one of our great customers, entered. I said, “You are just in time, we just finished your buckle.”
Lexi slipped it into a beautiful wood box and handed it to him. He opened it and his eyes sparkled as he looked at it. “It’s magnificent! It will be a perfect gift for my friend.”
John gave us a check and went out the door in a world of blinking Christmas lights.
Exhausted, we turned out the lights and put the closed sign in the gallery window. It was cold and snowy outside but our Christmas lights glowed like Las Vegas.
I had put about twenty strands of different lights in a small area. It looked like an electric Jackson Pollack painting.
Light dazed, we drove home in a Christmas blizzard. We had been invited to the Beartooth Fly Fishing Lodge for Christmas Eve. We washed the polishing compound off our hands and changed clothes.
I hurried to the market to get French silk pie and ice cream for the dinner. As I drove through the blizzard big eighteen wheelers rumbled through Ennis. Their lights were bright and they reminded me of Christmas trucks.
While walking through the market, those big truck lights kept sticking in my mind. I suddenly decided to stop at our storage unit on the way home.
With flashlight in hand I was able to unlock it and shove the sliding door upward. I moved the flashlight around piles of boxes, bicycles, skies, shingles, slabs of hardwood, and old furniture.
Fighting my way through I found our red Honda generator and one last box of old Christmas lights. I put them in the back of our pickup.
Shortly I was home again and Lexi was ready to go. As we drove down Main Street the blizzard Christmas lights lit up our spirits.
Driving south we crossed the Madison. Dim moonlight sparkled in the icy cold river. Schools of trout lay deep in the pools waiting for warmer days.
With the heater blasting, we followed the blinking lights of a huge snowplow to the small town of Cameron. A blue neon moon and beer signs lit up a small parking lot.
Puzzled, Lexi asked, “Why are we stopping here?”
“I have something to do,” I said. “Could you get me that roll of duct tape in the glove box? We are going to string lights.”
I got out of the truck in the blue neon light with the roll of duct tape and pulled strings of Christmas lights from the old cardboard box. I plugged several strands together and laid them out in the snow.
The generator had not been used in awhile, but started after a few pulls. With a deep breath I plugged in the lights.
Wow! The parking lot lit up like Sugar City!
Lexi, wearing her fur-lined gloves, helped me with the duct tape. We strung and taped lights around the back of the pickup, over the cab, across the front, around the sides, and back over the cab until we ran out of tape and lights.
“What do you think?” I asked. A big smile told the whole story and off we went in the Montana Christmas blizzard.
It was hard to drive with the lights reflecting all over the windshield, but we slowly made our way. As we passed a ranch house we could see a small dim light. Suddenly the whole house lit up.
With a smile I said “I think they like our Christmas pickup.”
In the distance we could see the Beartooth Lodge. It was hard to see the driveway in all the light reflections.
In four-wheel drive we plowed through several drifts and made it to the lodge.
Dan was at the front door wondering what all the lights were. With pie, ice cream, and gifts we entered the lodge in a swirl of snow.
The smell of elk stew was a welcoming aroma on a cold Christmas Eve. As we walked through a maze of fly rods, reels, waders, and flies Dan said, “I just love your Christmas pickup! At first I thought it was several big eighteen wheelers coming down the driveway!”
Upstairs was a huge Christmas tree Dan had cut at Indian Creek. We talked about fishing the river and all the big fish we had caught or lost.
We had a great dinner and exchanged gifts. The girls fell in love with their silver rings we had made.
Late in the evening we said our good byes and Dan turned the front lights on so we could find our pickup.
The snow had stopped falling and you could see millions of stars. I pulled the generator cord and the lights turned back on.
Dan and his family watched us drive away. Our twinkling Christmas lights slowly became smaller and smaller until they were a small glittering star spreading Christmas joy along the Madison.
Anglers and friends are invited to subscribe to Brown Trout Delight.
Copyright © Bern Sundell 2007. All Rights Reserved.