posed of close family and out-of-town friends and the wait staff at The Sunset, who were accustomed to dealing with school sports teams (several were already seated), quickly rearranged tables to accommodate. Edna was delighted that so many people had come out. At the center of the long table she ordered fish and chips with a side of cottage cheese instead of slaw and enjoyed the conversation all around. Having made do with very little for most of her life, she was now surrounded by stories. She preferred to listen rather than talk, but she chimed in whenever someone asked, “Edna, do you remember that?” “Oh yes,” she’d say. “And how about the one where…” To an outside eye she might have looked cautious, even frail. But there was none of that about her: only a precious conserving of energy, the patience of time. An Idaho cowboy whom Edna had known in his younger years quietly paid the bill, and as the thirty-or-so guests got up around 9 o’clock Edna didn’t seem any worse for wear. She took a few steps toward the door before asking someone to grab her cane. “Did you have a good time?” she asked the young woman at her elbow, gracious but reluctant, twelve hours into her party but in no hurry for it to end. And no one in the crowd was old enough to remember her as a teenager 85 years ago when she’d ridden all day—35 miles on horseback— with her boyfriend, Glenn Smith, from Red Lodge to the Beartooth Lake barn dance, danced all night and ridden home again at dawn. “I’ve had such fun,” she said as she left the Sunset House, “I just want to keep going.” She might have been referring to the evening, or the past century. The night, after all, was young.
is the author of Horses That Buck, winner of the High Plains Book Award. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Tablet Magazine, River Teeth and The Los Angeles Review, among other places. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and is the recipient of awards from the Ohioana Library Association, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and 4Culture.
106 Margot Kahn
The Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art