Apr 13, 2004
Three strangers strike up a conversation in the airport passenger
lounge in Bozeman, Montana.

One is an American Indian passing through from Lame Deer. Another is
a Cowboy on his way to Billings for a livestock show & the third
passenger is a fundamentalist Arab student, newly arrived at Montana
State University from the Middle East .

Their discussion drifts to their diverse cultures. Soon, the two
Westerners learn that the Arab is a devout, radical Muslim and the
conversation falls into an uneasy lull.

The cowboy leans back in his chair, crosses his boots on a magazine
table and tips his big sweat-stained hat forward over his face.

The wind outside is blowing tumbleweeds around, and the old windsock
is flapping; but still no plane comes.

Finally, the American Indian clears his throat and softly he speaks,
"At one time here, my people were many, but sadly, now we are few."

The Muslim student raises an eyebrow and leans forward, "Once my
people were few," he sneers, "and now we are many. Why do you suppose
that is?"

The Montana cowboy shifts his toothpick to one side of his mouth and
from the darkness beneath his Stetson says in a smooth drawl . .

"That's 'cause we ain't played Cowboys and Muslims yet, but I do
believe it's a-comin'."