Today we head south. Not south enough, however, to live in the RV yet. The boys have never had Christmas at my parents in Wyoming so we thought it would be nice to make that happen before they start college. My parents run a small cattle ranch and they have an extra house where we will stay. I know, who has an extra house? Out there, in the middle of nowhere, it's not uncommon and it comes in handy for hunters and long term guests you don't want live with. They are also renovating it for themselves as a sort of pre-retirement project. Since we've been living in 300 square feet since June it will be nice to have a bit of space. Did I mention there is no cell phone service, no telephone, no computer access and no television? My parents do have phone, tv and computer in their own home but, are you ready, it's dial up! They literally cannot get anything else because they are so remote. And forget about cell phone. My mom has called me from her cell phone by standing in the back of the truck. One time Donald made a call in the dead of winter and he had to find a hill, in a snowstorm, surrounded by cattle. If Donald's iPhone functions there, I think
AT&T should do a commercial!
Let me paint a geographic picture of how remote we will be for the next month. 60 miles to the nearest Happy Meal. 110 miles to the nearest mall. Shoot, it's 30 miles to the nearest gallon of milk, which can be found in the town where I went to high school. Go Tigers! We will be a mile from my parent's house and about seven miles from Grandma Ruth, the closest neighbor. There is a small town 10 miles away but it only has one bar, one church, one post office and one tiny, two room school where I attended from 3rd-6th grade. You can get educated, drunk, churched and post a letter but that's it!
Inconvenient? If you run out of milk, definitely. Disadvantages? Nope. It is a beautifully barren countryside that is so quiet you can hear the grass blow in the breeze. Not kidding. Deer and antelope come into the yard frequently, along with the odd bobcat, porcupine, raccoon and other critters. The coyotes will put a chill down your spine if you are fortunate enough to hear one howl. The natural land formations are striking along the skyline, some resembling distant castles and towers. I have never seen a more open sky, especially at night when the moon and stars are so close you can reach out your hand and almost touch them. It is a place where boys can be boys, the way God intended. Dirty, wild, noisy and happy.
It's a place where people know me and where change is slow. I may run into my Sunday school teacher in the grocery store and a friend's mom in the hardware store. They will coo and cluck over my boys and they will be reminded of me, at the same age. I will see children I used to babysit with children of their own. I will read the once-a-week paper, all 10 pages, and I will inadvertently proofread it because it will be awful! My family will eat in the diner that has changed owners many times but still has the best chicken-fried steak in town.
This where we will be for the next month, in the middle of nowhere but among family and friends and all that is familiarly "home."