"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, December 10, 2010

Of outhouses and mountain goats, of vertebrae and speed

Lewis Carroll mastered stringing together unrelated objects and calling it poetry.  He became quite famous for it in his own time but is most well known for "Alice and Wonderland."  I doubt this blog will make me famous but it is my attempt at stringing unrelated objects together in order to catch you up on the last weeks events.  My title is a play on Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter," should anyone care!

One month ago yesterday we left Virginia and it feels more like six, according to Donald!  We've traveled nearly 4,000 miles already.  We have two stamps in our National Parks Passport.  Shakespeare (the dog) is still as neurotic as ever.  We've scrapped this years carefully planned history program and we are going to focus, instead, on the history of the places we visit.  Yesterday it was Mt. Rushmore.  Growing up practically in its shadow, I've been there dozens of times.  It is still majestic.  We didn't have nearly as much time as we wanted so we will go back in order for the boys to become Jr. Park Rangers.  This is an excellent, free educational program available at every national park or monument.  And, they get a badge!  We waved at the six mountain goats wandering in the parking lot (virtually empty) and went on to Rapid City for lunch with my brother and shopping at the commissary.

I've attended three major social functions since arriving:  a Christmas tea, a Christmas bazaar at the county fairgrounds and Sunday church.  The tea was nice but I'm pretty sure the pastor's daughters and granddaughters outnumbered the rest of the attendees.  Still, I won a prize for getting the most words out of "Christmas."  86, by the way and if you can do better I'll mail you my prize - a green and red hotpad.  The Bazaar is an annual event and I had a great time running into friends from highschool.  19 years since I've seen them!  Sunday church is always social and more so when you return after a long absence.  Everyone wants a hug and to talk about how I'm doing.

Donald has taken up using the outhouse on a regular basis.  Yes, my parent's have outhouses, one at each house.  This is NOT the main form of plumbing.  Just extra in case the inside loo is occupied.  Or you are outside and there is an emergency.  Anyway, Donald likes to go out there, with the dogs, and he leaves the door wide open so he can "watch nature."  I do have his permission to write this, by the way!  I never use the outhouse - I'm a squat-on-the-ground- kind of girl as my aunt Jackie can confirm.  My boys like to pee anywhere.  At any rate, there is never a good time of year for outhouse usage, in my opinion.  In summer you share the space with spiders and in winter, you could freeze your, well, everything!

My next topic is an example of how WY is perfect for boys to be wild and dirty.  I walked to the edge of the creek bank two days ago to call the boys home.  They had been down there playing for hours.  After a minute their stocking-hatted heads bobbed into view and I burst out laughing.  One had an entire spinal column hanging off his neck like some macbre neck tie!  The other had several different bones draped around his neck; he resembled an druidic priest.  They were wielding various bones in their hands as well, and pretending the bones were armor.  After I recovered from laughing I took a moment to be thoroughly grossed out!  I ask you, who puts dead animal bones (likely deer or antelope) around their body? Little boys with excellent imaginations!

I leave you with this last item.  My parents now have high speed internet!  After 25 dial up minutes just to pay my cell phone bill (for which I have no service) I looked up hughes.net.  This is an internet service specifically designed for folks like my parents who live in the middle of nowhere.  It's actually cheaper than what I paid in Virginia for Cox and now I can check my email without taking half a day.  Which I'm going to do, now!


  1. DENISE!!!! Write more! I love what you have to say. What a great trip! And the boys with bones....what a crack up. Almost as humorous as the outhouse!Oh my - write more stories and then publish your book :) I can't wait to see you.

  2. Caught the "Walrus and The Carpenter" things. Not sure how I feel about the rest. Children playing with animal bones, husband chilling with nature from the outhouse, and well, I don't know about how I feel about the visual of you squatting on the ground either!

    Yay for high speed internet though!

    When are you coming my way ... seems like it's been forever again!