Hamburgers, Fries and Guilt

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BY BRYCE ANGELL

Bryce Angell – The outdoors has always been a large part of my life. My father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years and I was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. We took many great trips into the Yellowstone area. Even now that I’m older, we still ride into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. My poems are mostly of personal experience. I am now retired and enjoying life to the fullest. I plan to do more riding and writing.

Get ready and listen ‘cuz I’m about to tell you the story of my ride from my humble home to Idaho Falls. The travel time is about 90 minutes, give or take 30 minutes depending who is driving, me or my wife. Truth is, my wife likes being behind the wheel so usually gets the honors.
We have grandkids over that way so we make the trip often. And what’s a trip to town without going to Scotty’s Drive In? Scotty’s ain’t just burgers and fries, they are the staff of life, I’m telling ya.
So, after being dumped on by a foot-and-a-half of snow, and pushing and piling from hell to breakfast, I decided a trip to Scotty’s was in order. It is a long way just for a hamburger, but I’m retired, so what the heck.
Sadly enough, my wife was, I call, trapped in the clutches of the sniffles. Her doctor called it pneumonia. It didn’t take me long to figure I’d be the one driving. Acting reluctant, I left her, promising to bring back a delicious burger and fries.
I combed my hair with a washrag, put on my Cabela’s hat, pointed my Chevy truck in the direction of Scotty’s, and headed out. I made a quick stop at Elk Creek Station for a jolt of Red Bull and a large bag of peanut clusters. Essentials for any journey. Those two items were also on the staff of life list. This day was to be my moment of solitude.
I immediately turned on SiriusXM with its 200 stations. I tuned into Radio Classics and was absorbed in the tale of Jimmy Stewart’s “The Six Shooter.” After half an hour of gunfighting suspense, I noticed I was passing my hometown where I graduated 53 years ago.
I thought it might be fun to take the drive through memory lane on the route we called, back then, “dragging main.” While dragging main, we would listen to the radio station KOMA Oklahoma City. Even though the station was 1200 miles away, it boomed in clear as a bell at night.
KOMA was so popular at our school, and the surrounding schools, we decided to advertise our Ag Ball through that radio station alone. I still remember the KOMA DJ hollering out the upcoming Ag Ball in St. Anthony, Idaho. What a thrill to hear our small town being advertised over the radio waves. The advertising was a huge success. Many students showed up from other schools for our Ag Ball.
Consumed with memories, I found my way back to the road and drove to Scotty’s for the “staff of life.” With a belly full of nostalgia and Scotty’s hamburger, I headed home. Funny. Something was not sitting right.
As I walked through the front door, I noticed my wife was up and looking as spry as a brand new colt. I tried to play it cool, bragging about my adventurous day. And then she said, “The thought of your sweet gesture bringing home delicious Scotty’s hamburger and fries inspired me to get out of bed.” Her words hit me like a truck full of smoldering manure that had been sitting in the July sun for a month. With horrible guilt, all I could say was, “I’ll be back in three hours.”