Summer Road Trip Part 1
There is something about Montana. The sky just feels bigger and that is saying something because I am from Colorado, which boasts a pretty huge sky. We finally reached I-90 and headed west towards my dear friend Ruth. She has been my friend since I was sixteen. Back then we both lived in Chester County, PA. She shared with me her wisdom of the world and I babysat her son. We have both managed to move west, a little farther apart than I would like, but still only a days drive. She lives on a ranch in Southwest Montana, a magical place that is alive with a love of the land, the critters that call it home and the energy of Ruth who, at almost 70, can still maneuver a pasture gate from the seat of her horse. We have not seen each other in a few years and for several months Darren and I have been talking about laying eyes on her. So we made it happen.
Reuniting with old friends is one of the greatest things in life I think. It’s a reminder that there are few things more valuable than a friend who loves you through the years and life’s changes. Geography makes no difference and you can pick up right where you left off with a little catch up and fill in the blanks while on the back of a horse or over wine on the porch. We did just that. She got to know my kids again (3 years older) and I got filled in on all the beautiful people in her life. We spent 2.5 days chillin’, making meals, grooming horses, riding horses, collecting eggs, playing with Bull and Crew and swimming and fishing in the river. And in the last hour of our visit something totally perfect happened…
…the cows got out. Three babes escaped the fence line.
As I packed our bags to load in the car, I heard Ruth yelling to get the horses ready. Now I know they did not need me for this little round up, but they indulged me nonetheless. I was in shorts and flip flops ready to jump into the car for part two of our summer family adventure, when Ruth yelled, “Leenie, get on your jeans. You’re gettin on a horse!” Darren was busy getting things ready to hook up the camper and said, “Go have fun, I will take care of this.” Oh how I love him.
I arrived in the barn smartly dressed in my running shoes and skinny jeans (FYI to non horse people – not the perfect outfit for herding cows) and Ruth handed me her personal cowgirl hat and her horse ready to go. Tami, Ruth’s friend and right hand, guided me out to round up the three little cows that were going to top off what had been an already fantastic visit with a little dream come true for me. You see, I spent most of my childhood on the backs of horses. I have managed to experience a lot but never moving cattle and never in Montana. There I was atop a skilled cow horse, complete with appropriate hat (which distracted from my sneakers) in Montana rounding up cows.
Darren chased me with the camera and I was beginning to wonder if Ruth, always being an exceptional host, had let the cows out for my benefit and photo op. I didn’t really care though as I cantered down the field to heard these babies because you have to start somewhere.
As we latched the gate behind the happy babies whose mothers stopped whining, Ruth smiled knowing that those few minutes on the back of her horse taking instruction from Tami where a total thrill for me.
It could not have been a better ending to my reunion with my dear friend. We left each other knowing that now that the kids were bigger the time between visits would be shorter. Darren and I both drove away vowing that, when seventy, we would have Ruth’s same energy and love of life. xo