Yesterday we had pop-in company which was our son, J., and his girlfriend. I was busy that morning vacuuming and clearing out the dining area to scrub when they walked in, "Surprise Mom!" Girlfriend was a bit worried, not knowing that J. hadn't called ahead to tell us of their coming. No worries though.....I hugged them both and sent them downstairs while I finished.
Then there was the company that we knew were coming after lunch. This family consisted of R., a 70-something mother (widowed) and her daughter, M., who I'm sure was my age (unmarried) and a son, J., and his son who would be 8 in February. (I asked) This family has bought bulls from us for the past 10 years or more. They have a small ranch and so their need for bulls is sporadic and they only buy when the old bull(s) they have dies. They missed our sale and so Hubs invited them to come look at the few bulls we had left.
What I loved about this close-knit family of ranchers was their genuine love for what they do. They truly enjoy ranching and love their livestock as "members of the family." I appreciated their simple ways, happy attitudes, and their honesty. The mother, R., in particular, was a ray of sunshine in my day. She was delighted when they came back into the house after looking at the bulls to find a pot of hot coffee and banana bread set on the table. She wasn't shy about saying, "Yes, coffee please, with cream," and "Oh my! Banana bread! I haven't had banana bread in a long time." For us, coffee & banana bread are staples at our house, but it tickled me that it delighted her so. We had the nicest visits about cattle, in particular, Herefords (the best kind, of course), family, veterinarians, and Bud (R's deceased husband). I found it so heartwarming and dear to hear her talk of this man, who has been gone a long, long time, as if he were just away on a short trip. I knew that he had been a rancher/cowboy and she and her daughter had carried on ranching long after he died. R. told me that there was a picture of Bud behind the bar in one of the old-time bars in Miles City, and she asked if we had ever seen it. No, I hadn't. She said they went to Miles to look at it one time, but since they didn't care to go into bars and weren't sure of which bar it was in, they didn't ever see it. I told her that when we go to Miles City next time, we'd look for it (not that I'm much for bars either, but I am a lover of Western art and nostalgia).
R. also reminisced about the last time they had been to our ranch. On the way home they were driving down our gravel road, which at that time was 35 miles of gravel -- long, and winding -- and she said, "I asked God if I might see a cowboy with a black hat and chaps riding an Appaloosy horse. And do you know, I saw one!" I smiled and wondered if our neighbor-cowboy might have reminded her of her beloved Bud. She also spoke of her bout with diabetes recently and of how her family tricked her into going to the doctor by telling her they wanted her to go with them to the pasture to look-over the cows. Many a crusty rancher in this vacinity will not see the doctor unless someone ropes drags him in -- kicking and thrashing all the way. I doubt that R. acted that, but they did have to gather up a posse to get her to town. And now she says, she's grateful they did it. How humble of her to say so in front of me and her grown children seated at the table.
Before the family left, R. asked me if she might take a couple slices of "that good banana bread" along with her. Again, I was delighted. Is there any better compliment than someone who feels she can ask her hostess for a take-along-bag? I happily packed the rest of the bread for them. I wondered if M. would have to ration the sweet treat out to her mother after I so generously sent it along?
I just wanted to share a little bit of my day with you -- a conversation of one ranch wife to another. It warmed and refreshed me.