Never been so happy to see a face! This is Dan. We knew him way back when and always wondered whether we’d see him again. He was the rentals guy at the Big Mountain base lodge–before it was remodeled and became Whitefish Mountain Resort. We used to call ahead on homeschool ski days. He’d have six pairs of skis and boots lined up and waiting for us with our names on them when we arrived. He was always happy to see us, and we were always thrilled to see him. The others were just doing their job. After the remodel, we didn’t see him anymore, and then we moved.
This weekend, we decided to take the chairlift to the top of the mountain and hike down. (We’re still feeling it. It’s a lot easier and quicker to ski down.) We’re exploring and reconnecting with our old haunts in this beautiful, friendly, heavenly state.
We caught the last chair up, so the hike down was inevitable. They were just closing down the summit lodge, but we popped into the breezeway to use the bathroom. Workers were shuffling out to close down and catch the last chair down. One woman impatiently hurried us along. The man behind her made friendly wisecracks to soften her delivery.
Then we saw his face. We were stunned. His eyes got big, and he shouted, “The Bonds! It’s the Bonds! The Bonds are back!”
I threw my arms around him and didn’t want to let go.
“I was just thinking about you guys the other day and wondering how old the littlest one is!” he said, hugging me tightly. He still does rentals in the base lodge on weekdays, which explains why we missed him during our two weekend Christmas visits.
It’s been ten years since we last saw him, but it’s like yesterday in our memory. He represents everything good in the world, everything I love about Montana, and everything I hope heaven will be.