Our Cute Old Grandparents

Trip Start Dec 28, 2006
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Trip End Mar 01, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Montana
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Our grandparents are so sweet and old.  My dad's dad Grandpa Russell Mommer remarried when his wife Lois died back in the 70's.  His second wife, our Grandma Hope Mommer, is just as sweet as he is.  They live in the small Montana town of Dillon where, except for the smaller neighboring town of Twin Bridges, the nearly-barren western mountains roll on for hundreds of miles in every direction.  We arrived in Dillon shortly after an unusually large snowfall hit the area.  Grandpa even commented that, after all these years living there, he and Hope at last got to see an Iowa snow storm in Montana. 

They couldn't have been happier when we arrived.  Pete and I described our adventures over
supper and they listened with a big smile on their faces in the way only sweet old grandparents could.  We watched Red Green build an elevator out of an old telephone booth and duct tape while we sat in the living room talking about family and our education.  Living in Montana all these years, grandpa wasn't able to spend a lot of time with his grandkids in Iowa, nor were we able to take frequent trips to Montana.  Spending time with them on this trip, then, was a great experience for all of us. 

During the day on Sunday Peter and I explored the town of Dillon, and in discovering a bowling alley, we decided the only civilized thing to do was bowl several games.  While bowling with Erin and Jesus in Renton, Peter bowled a 218, completely crushing the rest of us.  It seems the more he drinks, the harder and straighter he throws the ball, and the more the pins explode when the ball hits them.  I have more fun spinning the ball, but have yet to score anything close to 218.  My best in Renton was 164, so when I scored 188 in Dillon (even though its far from 218) I was psyched. 

When we finished bowling we headed to Safeway and picked out a birthday card and a DVD for grandpa's birthday; he was born February 26, 1916, making it his 91st birthday on Monday.  Hope offered to take Grandpa Russ, Pete, and I out for a birthday dinner at The Lions Den, a quaint little restaurant in Dillon.  While we enjoyed prime rib and Moose
Drool, a microbrew from Billings, MT, grandpa entertained us with stories of World War II.  He was stationed in India and worked alongside the Nepalese army and also spent some time in China with other U.S. Army units.

We had grandpa and grandma wake us up at 5:30am because of the 20+ hour drive ahead of us.  Luckily, we narrowly escaped another winter storm that promised to bury the highways and trap unsuspecting drivers in the barren Montana countryside.  On the drive through Montana there were signs advertising the Little Big Horn/ Custer's Last Stand National Monument situated within the Crow Indian Reservation.  We stopped to look around and take pictures, knowing it would be our only such stop on the long drive home.  There is a graveyard at Little Big Horn where soldiers and their families from just about every war in American history are laid to rest.  Pete and I searched in vain for Custer's grave, eventually conceding he must be buried somewhere else. 
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