We spent several days with Cousins, enjoying our sightseeing time in and around Bozeman. Best of all were our mealtimes and evenings together, which were filled with laughter and talks about our shared family histories, and skeletons in the closet. One night we got to thinking about movies we loved, and we discovered that we all loved “Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. Cousins had the video, so they got everything hooked up, and the four of us spent a glorious ninety minutes watching that crazy movie, laughing like lolos.
You know, when you’re having a wonderful ʻohana time, as we were having with Cousins, it’s really hard to leave. Just being together like we were, as if we’d never been apart for a good part of our lives, was such a special time for all of us, and we forged strong bonds among us all.
Yet all too soon it was time for us to leave. We had experienced delightful weather and incredible companionship. Cousins are wonderful hosts, and we all worked together well in the kitchen preparing meals and cleaning up. Actually, Nolemana and I cleaned up so that Cousins could have some together time out in the living room…good guests are not intrusive, yeah?
I took two more photos of “my” trains chugging their way through the foothills of the Bridger Mountains; I would miss their horns blowing through the days and nights.
My auntie carved this head of my uncle years ago, and Cousin put his cap and sunglasses on him. Ho da funny. The carving is an excellent likeness of Uncle. Even without da cap and glasses. And it even looks a lot like my own papa-san. Which isn’t surprising, seeing as though they were brothers.
This view of the Bridger Mountains! Every day we got to look out and see their beauty.
Puff, Cousins’ pōpōki, was a spitfire, and we all loved her. I was sad to learn that she went over the Rainbow Bridge several years ago.
Is that snow coming?? This is Montana, after all, and snow can appear anytime during the year.
This was our last sunset in Bozeman; this view is out Cousins’ dining room window.
The next morning, Cousin excitedly called down the stairs as Nolemana and I were waking up. “Moki! Come look!” We looked out our window and hurried upstairs! It was snowing!! Cousin knew how I’d been wishing for snow.
I took a video outside, even though it was so cold and I didn’t even have a jacket on. You can hear a robin singing in the background even.
As a mahalo nui loa to Cousins for their hospitality, Nolemana and I wanted to take them out to eat. Their choice. They chose Cafe Zydeco, a Cajun restaurant. And they wanted to go there for breakfast. Shaka. So after we got ready, packed our bags, and cleaned the bathroom, (me feeling wai maka at leaving), off we went.
It was still snowing lightly, but the snow wasn’t really sticking because it wasn’t cold enough. Here we are, leaving Cousins’ driveway.
We followed them down the road.
See the buildings ‘way over the fields? That’s where Auntie used to live. I remembered all our happy times together.
Once in town, we saw this cool feed store.
And here’s Cafe Zydeco. Doesn’t look like much, does it?
Cousins knew the menu well, and recommended “The Big Mamou”: eggs, ham, smoked sausage, and pepperjack cheese, on a French hoagie.
Another recommendation? Beignets! French style doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar. We’d never had them before, and absolutely had to try them. OMG.
They reminded me of malasadas, but different. I got powdered sugar all over my chin. So did everyone else. Ho da ʻono!!
But all too soon, it was time for us to get back on the road. This kind of aloha is really hard for me. Cousin and I had lost track of each other for so many years, and I tell you, the bond that we had forged between him and his wife and me…hmm, how to describe it? You know how you can have two magnets, and far away they’re separate, but get them close to each other and zap! They’re together? Lidat. So saying goodbye, well, it wasn’t easy. ʻOhana. And when we were together, like we’d never been apart.
After hugs and hugs all around, and mahalos, then more hugs, we waved goodbye and headed down 7th Street toward the freeway.
The snow had turned to rain and I had wai maka…hard to tell the difference. Rain on da road, wai maka in my eyes. But not so much that I couldn’t see to drive.
We were going to head west. Makai. Toward the sea. Heading home.
That final turn out of Bozeman is always a tough one for me. Aloha ʻoe, ʻohana. A hui hou. Till me meet again.
Alongside the freeway was this old barn.
Poor thing, yeah?
Train!! That perked up my spirits a bit.
It’s not like I didn’t want to go back home again. More like I wished we’d had more time with my beloved family.
It wasn’t too much longer before we saw another train.
And another sign that we were still in ranching country.
We’d be in Butte in less than an hour.
Oh Montana, Big Sky country, I will miss you. Yeah. This island girl will miss someplace far from the ocean.
I will miss your snowy mountain peaks.
And the Jefferson River.
And where it can snow anytime of the year in the Tobacco Root Mountains.
Almost to Butte, and more close to home. I hoped that Cousins could feel the love for them that I’d left behind.