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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Column: Don't eat the gas station egg salad sandwich

 

January 25, 2023



When I first decided to move to Montana nearly eight years ago, I ended up staying for a few weeks at a hotel.

I was very excited about my new adventure, but looking back, I did not enjoy my time at the motel. The hotel room was the type of dirty that housekeeping could not fix, the walls were thin enough that I could hear the people next door even if they were whispering, and I felt bad for my cat, who had no idea what to think of the situation. The room also didn’t have ESPN, which was just weird, especially when I was trying to watch an NBA playoff game.

After Peaches and I roughed it out for a week, the girls came up for a visit, and within moments of arriving at the motel room that smelled like a cross between an NYC Subway car and a dingy roadside bar, they exclaimed they were hungry.

I had just purchased a newspaper and was overwhelmed, so I was delighted with their suggestion that we go out to a nice dinner. After a challenging week of trying to learn a new town and job, I was craving a steak and quite possibly a few ice-cold beers too.

The dinner was just what the doctor ordered, and afterward, we all returned to the hotel.

As much as I loved having the company, the already claustrophobic room was even worse now with four people and a confused cat.

There wasn’t much to debate about regarding watching television because they only had about six channels, and the girls would not have picked ESPN even if they had it. Instead, they played around on their electronic devices as we readied to spend the first night together as a family in the Treasure State.

Even though we had just eaten an enormous dinner, within about two hours, one of the girls mentioned she was already hungry. Of course, it was the teenager who I’m pretty sure I had just witnessed devour an entire steak moments ago.

After about an hour, the complaints of hunger started to intensify.

I knew after my brief stay the week before the town did not have a pizza place, so we walked over to the Town Pump next door so they could get something to eat.

I can still remember Mya grabbing an egg salad sandwich.

I was shocked. I thought she knew the rule, you never get an egg salad sandwich or sushi at a gas station.

As much as I warned her, she did not listen.

A few minutes later, we all wandered back to the room with way too much food. Of course, this included the egg salad sandwich she finished within seconds of returning to the room.

The next hour we spent eating junk food and figuring out where to find somewhere to live, which was a lot easier in 2015 than today.

Flash forward to two hours later, and Mya was in the bathroom, courtesy of one gas station egg salad sandwich. I tried to warn her not to do it, but sometimes you have to live and learn.

Probably not the best life lesson when you’re sharing a small hotel room with three other people.

The smells of that experience still haunt me.

We would find a house in the next few days, so there were no stays at a motel for a while.

The next time we went on a road trip, Shayla looked closely at the gas station sandwiches. I think it was Mya who told her not to do it. Hopefully, Shayla can pass this sage advice down so she does not end up with a sick kid in a car or motel room.

 

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