rural MontanaWelcome to Rural Montana! No, not small-town Montana or rustic Montana; I mean authentic Rural Montana.

Rural Montana, where there are no fast food restaurants, 24-hour convenience stores, or gigantic retail franchises. Where there are no skate parks, no amphitheaters, and certainly no collegiate or professional sports venues. Where you cannot even see the house of your nearest neighbors from your front porch. Where you often go days or weeks without seeing them at all.

Yes, I am talking about that Rural Montana. Austere, remote, serene and teeming with treasures.

We do not have the shopping diversity with which most Montanans are accustomed. If we need aspirin, milk or batteries later tonight, we better hope our neighbors are still awake to help out. But we are fortunate to have businesses that strive to provide all the items we need. You see, every store in Rural Montana is a convenience store. Do you need fresh pastries, lottery tickets or a new fridge? We have one store which provides all of that and more.

Are you looking for something unique not found on the shelf? Not to worry, many of our merchants can have it delivered within a day or two. Was your item of poor quality or did you simply change your mind and no longer want it? No problem, they take returns with no questions asked. Here in Rural Montana we may not have superstores or malls, but we are bursting at the seams with convenience.

We do not have entertainment districts or sports stadiums. In fact, many people believe there is no entertainment at all. But a friend recently noted that in urban areas people pay money to be entertained, while in Rural Montana we actually do the entertaining.

Would you like to take your wife on a date to a symphony orchestra? Great, join our prairie symphonette and make your own music. Are you interested in attending a sports event? Fantastic, come help at the invitational basketball tournament or bring your snowmobile and compete in the sled races. You can volunteer at our pioneer museum, join the Texas Hold’em League, or bring your family to participate in a rodeo or demolition derby. Oh, and the hunting and fishing? To die for! In Rural Montana we are overflowing with entertainment.

We do not have neighbors we can wave to from our back yard. But when you need them, they will help in any and every way possible. While you are away on vacation, your neighbor will feed your livestock, keep your furnace running, and check your mail.

What if you have surgery, lose a family member to illness, or have a fire in your attic? Friend, you better be ready because those neighbors will arrive in droves. They will bring meals, share a memory and a hug, and take care of your children. They are going to donate replacement furniture, fix your car, and even help pull 200 feet of water line to replace your pump. Around here everyone is your neighbor. Sure, we are sparsely populated, but we are jam-packed with neighbors.

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