Lost Horse

While in Darby, Montana to finish writing The Business of Being, I passed this Lost Horse sign on my weekly drive to Hamilton to buy groceries. The mischievous side of me was desperate to strike through the word “lost” with a black marker and write “found” instead. I’m happy to report that the better part of me won out.


And though I didn’t lose a horse while on sabbatical, I lost some preconceived ideas and found better ones to take their place. For instance:

All males in Montana are not fashioned after the Marlboro man.
Not every public place in Montana has a spittoon.

There’s an incredible French bistro—Taste of Paris—in Hamilton, Montana. Who knew?!
The libraries in Montana (I visited four different ones) are amazing!

While there I learned that “creek” is pronounced “crick.”

On a Montana fun facts and trivia website I additionally learned that “the word ‘ditch’ can be used to order a drink. It means ‘with water.’  ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s ditch, please’ means, ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s and water.’ This is not a joke. In fact, all you really have to ask for is a ‘Jack ditch.’ Try it out the next time you find yourself in a Montana saloon.”

What have you lost and found lately?

© lauriebuchanan.com

53 thoughts on “Lost Horse

  1. Is Lost Horse the name of a place or a horse sanctuary? I love Jack ditch, although I lived very close to Montana growing up, I have never heard this expression. I lose and find things every day, sometimes it’s my mind!!

  2. I was also confused by the Lost Horse sign.
    With all the reading and researching I do, I like to think I find new things every day–new words, new poetry forms, and then often some information that is not so pleasant. Here’s a fun fact I learned yesterday while driving home from a doctor’s appointment and listening to NPR–the actress who plays Anna in the touring company of the “King and I” said her gown weighs 45 lbs. (but that it’s beautiful).
    I’ve heard “crick” for creek, but I’ve never heard of this use of “ditch.”

    • Merril — Forty-five pounds? Holy Toledo! I can’t even begin to imagine wearing something that heavy.

      Lost Horse is a National Forest (and lake). The posted sign is right by the turnoff.

  3. Laurie,
    Everyone should go on a road trip to experience something other than the everyday stuff of life we take for granted.
    I am not sure I have lost or found any one thing today yet always open to being inspired or informed my way of thinking is not the only way.
    Or maybe I lost fear? Yesterday I began Robin Rice’s writing workshop, Speaking your Sage, Writing your Wise, without any thought of fear or doubt about placing my words in a forum where other story tellers are posting their own.
    I found my voice again…

  4. It is so hard to resist your wicked voice sometimes, isn’t it? Yes, we’ve all been there, I am sure.
    I truly think I am losing my mind sometimes and I’m not sure if it is me or all the others, but quite often things just don’t make sense any more, which makes me question my good upbringing, morals and ethics.
    A few years ago, rummaging through my wardrobe, I found a bag full of yarn and my crochet hooks. After many years being busy with bringing up baby and making a home for ourselves, I had forgotten all about it, but since I found it, I haven’t stopped making things.

  5. I grew up with a crick running through our farm in upstate New York. Country folk some times use a different inflection in speech. While spending a month in eastern rural Kentucky, it took me to understand anything said to me.

    • LakeAfton — I know what you mean about inflections and accents. When I was in the UK it was difficult for me to understand their words even though they were speaking English. They said I had an equally “strong accent.”

  6. Laurie, I love your gift of humor! Our family is gathering for a family reunion with our Canadian cousins near Calgary, Alberta. In our reunion brochure, we were given a list of Canadian terms we should know. Here are a few of those terms: TWO FOUR a case of 24 beers; you may know a Loonie is a $1 Canadian coin but did you know a TOONIE is a $2 coin; a KEENER is a brownnoser. I moved to Wisconsin from northern Illinois in 2003, there were language idioms here as well: “Where-a-bouts” – when asking someone for directions—They may answer you with “Pert neer” meaning “pretty near.” Another thing people may not realize is that the Mosquito in Wis-can-sin is also known as a “Skeeto” and you don’t scratch your “Skeeto” bites or they’ll get infected. FYI – The prior Wisconsin translations provided by Owlacation.
    As to lost and found, I’ve lost my winter inertia and found a spring in my step!

  7. Laurie, I tend to make note of where I leave my belongings so I am not usually searching for for a “lost” book or pair of glasses. I do seem to be losing my Know-it-all attitude towards gardening…what worked in the East is not going to work in the West. All is not lost though, I am finding new (to me) techniques and methods of xeriscaping, a form of water-wise gardening, that will put me back in the game.

  8. I LOVE signs like this. About 50 miles down the road from here is a tiny little town named “Tight Squeeze.” I’ve never had the time to stop and ask how it got it’s name but one of these days I will. I may lose some time on the road to do that, but I will find an answer to my question, I hope!

  9. Over the mountains there is a sign that says “Lost Creek” with an arrow, like your “Lost Horse” sign. I always wonder how the sign can point to where the “lost” creek is – if truly it’s lost. I’m familiar with crick, with skeeter (for mosquito), probably more that I do not recall.

  10. LOST: One iridescent journal with Tiffany cover design dating from May 2016.
    FOUND: Said journal with unique lists and carried-over fact tallies of renovations, travels, and special events since 1989.
    DISCOVERED: In a zipped pocket of my computer bag when I was looking for something else. Apparently I inserted the journal into the bag absent-mindedly during our move last August. Did a happy dance!

  11. I’ve not been to Hamilton in years, but my aunt has a friend who keeps a bunch of Morgan horses there. I’m not sure if she’s still into show jumping though. It was a great place to visit as a horse-crazy kid. There’s a Lost Girl Road near my family’s property on the Bull River in Montana. It’s the title of my novel that I’ve stopped working on for the time being.

  12. Laurie, what interesting Montana tidbits. I have an uncle and aunt who live out there, and my family’s visit to them is one of my favorite memories.
    Lost: Winter cold
    Found: Green grass and budding trees
    It’s a great time to be alive!

  13. This was wonderful, Laurie.
    For me, LOST: Early last year, I realized I had lost a really striking necklace I bought from the artist many years ago. Looked high and low and for the life of me could not find it.
    FOUND: My husband pulled out his winter jacket later on in the year and, in the course of the evening, put his hands in his pockets. Yup. The necklace was in there. I had given it to him, for safe keeping, when I was being admitted to the hospital. Key words: For Safe Keeping……

  14. I found 944 spam in my work email inbox this morning, but lost your post Laurie, I found that I had to hand delete and move to the spam folder everyone of those spams and I found that Norton Anti-virus was going to help me solve this problem. I lost most things with attachments like several e-books that I need to download to my Kindle for review. I am getting help at trying to find them. We believe that someone who emails me has a terrible virus attached to their email system and it is transporting hundreds of spam to others and we are going to find the culprit so that we can lose the problem and find a solution. For right now it is very time consuming…. Enjoyed the post. I just “ditch” – no alcohol – alone.

    • Patricia — Goodness gracious! All total, I don’t think emails in my spam folder have ever totaled that number. I’m sorry you’re going through that mess. I hope that your computer stays safe and sound through the process.

  15. Lost my confidence to fly in an aeroplane but found that insufferable urge to visit your beautiful country again . Especially since reading your wonderful description of Montana 😩Want to visit 😀 Have no idea why I haven’t really …I will one day you can bet . Love the Jack Daniels ‘ditch’ story .

  16. Oh my! A “Jack ditch” does not sound the least bit appealing….. says the person who is watching the new growth on the for trees and thinking about a cup of steeped citrusy tasting spring tea. However, I am not sure I have found anything lately Laurie but I did loose a good friend recently. Will take some time to find peace with this I am guessing even though it wasn’t unexpected nor do I wish he hung on any longer. His battle was long and epic and he fought it with honour and lived well. That is the best any of us can do. All the best Laurie and will catch up with you again next week.

    • Terrill — Many times living well means dying well, and from your description, it sounds like he did both.

      I’m so sorry for your loss. May the constant love of caring friends soften your sadness. May cherished memories bring you moments of comfort. May lasting peace surround your grieving heart.

  17. Ha, Laurie, for the umteenth time I lost my cell phone, but later reclaimed it at bagel shop where I always pick up my breakfast – egg whites and spinach on rye. I’d lose my head it it weren’t attached. 🙂

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