By Peter Anderson
“How long are you going to be around?” my 13-year-old daughter asked Hester who was ringing up our groceries at the Mercantile. Some years ago, Hester, left town for a while after her husband died. More recently she returned and now has her old job back. Though I don’t know for sure – we are really only acquaintances – I think she went back to Montana to get a little family support, while her son, who had been pals with my older daughter, was making his way through high school. He’s doing well now, I learned, as I ran my credit card through the machine that I have never quite mastered. Credit? Debit? Slide? Insert? Graduated from high school, Hester’s son is apprenticed to an auto mechanic in Missoula who works on Fords, Chevies and Subarus. All good news. But it was her reply to Caroline’s question – how long she would be around – that really caught my attention. “For the rest of my life,” she said.