In the Midst of a Pandemic, Here’s What We’re Grateful For

For this first time in many of our memories, we’re facing a pandemic unlike any other. But we have to tell you, through it all we are more grateful that ever to live where we do. (In case you’re a new reader, Mills Wilderness Adventures of Montana in headquartered in Augusta, Montana, a small town along the east side of the Rocky Mountain Front.) It’s a town that’s filled with some of the most beautiful scenic views in every direction, but more than that, it’s full of beautiful people. People who care about each other, watch out for each other and want everyone to be okay and make it through this current crisis that we’re all staring down together with hope, dedication and sacrifice.

While we always feel gratitude for Augusta, Montana, being the place we make our home, over the last few weeks those feelings have come to the forefront and we wanted to take a few minutes and say thank you and share some of the things that people and businesses in our town have been doing to help each other along.

1. Buckhorn Bar
A local watering hole, the Buckhorn isn’t just a bar. It’s a place where people gather to socialize, fill their tummies and chat with the Dellwo family. They already had remodel plans scheduled for their kitchen in March and are now working hard to get the kitchen completed so they can start offering food for take-out (which I know our family is really looking forward to). Plus, they are the type of people who are reminding us that we’re all in this together and we’re all looking forward to hugging each other again soon. Here’s a video that Tammy put out on their Facebook page that was a day brightener.

2. Latigo & Lace
Latigo is owned by the Levine family and is one of those shops that you wouldn’t expect to find in a town of 350 people in rural Montana. That, along with a few other reasons, is why we love it so much. They kept their storefront open as long as they could, but with recent directives from Montana’s governor had to close the physical store for a bit. But never ones to just close up shop, Latigo is focusing more on their online store and recently did a blog about “5 things to make staying at home more comfortable.” They also share glimpses of their made-in-Montana merchandise (and beautiful pictures from our town) regularly on Facebook and it’s a nice reminder to know that we’re all in this together.

3. Augusta Service Station
In a town the size of ours, we’re so grateful to have a gas station. Augusta Service is owned by Mike and Susan Carlstrom and they are a bright light along our little Main Street. Through these last few weeks, they continue to greet everyone with a smile and work hard to keep gas pumps clean and disinfected.

4. Allen’s Manix Store
Built in 1902, Allen’s has been owned and operated by the Allen family for more than 45 years. And while we can’t imagine what it’s like to run a grocery store during a pandemic, our local store owners have kept us all in groceries. We’re not quite sure how they did it, but Susie Ford has managed to maintain a flow of goods that has given us a place to shop locally, find groceries and get what we need. But more than that, they’re delivering pertinent information on what they’re doing to keep the store safe and clean while also reminding us of what we need to do to also keep it safe and clean, which gives us peace of mind. They’ve also been offering grocery pick-up and delivery, as well as food to go. If we had to guess, we’d imagine they’re a tad tired and maybe even feel a little stressed in making sure they can provide what our town and residents need, but you wouldn’t know it…and for that, along for a variety of a hundred others reasons, we’re so grateful for Susie and Steve and their family.

5. The Helpers
When times get tough, we like to look for the helpers. The people who bring us hope, deliver smiles and pitch in without being asked. Truth be told, we’re lucky and blessed to personally know people and organizations right here in our town who are best described as helpers.

A few of note:
-Our county nurse Sarah Howe-Cobb who makes pharmacy runs weekly for folks in town, helps keep our food share stocked and organized a COVID team who helps make sure that people in Augusta are well taken care of.
Flower fairies. Last weekend, flowers were delivered around town by a couple of local girls with the following message, “You are loved.” In times like this when we can’t physically see friends and family and many feel isolated, having flowers dropped on doorsteps was a light to start the week.
-The Great Augusta Safari of 2020. Our local chamber of commerce organized a “safari” event where locals placed stuffed animals, drawings and sculptures in their windows so families could head out for a few hours, all while practicing social distancing, for local fun. One resident commented that she and her family counted 102 animals.

While the world spins on and we stay home and safe, we’re more grateful that ever to be able to hang our hats here in Augusta. To our friends, family and our sweet little town, thank you for showing us that we can and will get through this together. And from our family to yours, we look forward to coming out of this stronger, more grateful, more helpful and more caring. And most of all, we cannot wait to see you all again in person.

With love and a hope of seeing you soon,
The Mills Family