Hospitality is a super important part of our life. Sometimes I think I am a fraud as a ranch wife, I couldn’t saddle a horse if my life depended on it, like I can’t quite get my head around all those straps and bits that are part of the bridle and bit part. To be fair, I haven’t actually tried to get my head around, but I watch from a distance and don’t know what I am seeing. The fact that I have no sense of urgency to learn this is definitely a part of the feeling I have that I am an imposter. But there is more to the story, of course, I mean we have been married for almost 22 years so clearly I am a ranch wife. I guess Russ and I have our own recipe for a ranch marriage, a big part of that is hospitality. With Russell’s big and warm personality he attracts people who want to experience ranching. When all is said and done, we gather at our table. That’s where I fit in. I serve up food and drink and hopefully an atmosphere of welcome. I get to utilize all the tricks and traditions that my Mom and my mother in law imparted to me, I work alongside my kids and with the willing hands of friends many days we pull off some minor miracles. At some point I slide into my spot at the table and soak up the reality of all the different people gathered with us. I don’t know if I am just in a good mood or what, but today, after the morning we had, I do feel like one of the luckier women in the world.
This morning the alarm went off at 4:50am. We needed to be out of bed so that Russ could get going and get to the barn before Laurie got there. That is Russell’s personal challenge to himself. I was getting up extra early so that I could tidy. Our house was showing some neglect. We had a new friend joining us and for some dumb reason, at the age of 54, I am still trying so hard to make good impressions. The cowboy crew was heading down to our river pasture to move a herd of cows from one pasture to another. Last year when we did this work we had Liz Griffin on hand and she grabbed these beautiful pictures.
We had a great crew this morning, everything went smoothly, we are always grateful for that. Here is a video Russ took of the crew getting the herd from one pasture into the gate at the next.
The team was back for breakfast right when Russell hoped they would be, about 9:40am. That is when I got to meet the newest rider at the Bar MW Ranch. Our new local doctor Mehdi Shadmani connected with Russell recently and this led to Russ knowing that we needed to invite Mehdi out to ride with us. I have never hosted one of our local doctors before! Mehdi did great in the saddle and Russ said he made a fine cowboy. He was gracious about giving me permission to post about his visit on the blog.
At breakfast having a new guy there gave us a chance to tell and to hear some of the good ol stories that always make us laugh, with David at the table the ice cream tattoo and the cinnamon bun story both got told. We never tire of them.
There are two things I personally want to highlight after the morning.
I was gifted this morning. David’s wife Linda joined us, she had already had breakfast but shared a coffee and the conversation. She arrived before the cowboys which gave her a chance to offer a gift to me. It was one of those, “I saw this and it made me think of you” gifts.
If you read a recent blog of mine about Ava’s gift, you will know I love these kinds of gifts. Linda said she was in our local thrift shop and found this dove stained glass. She said that one of her worries was that I had been the one that donated it to the thrift shop. I wasn’t! Maybe the person who did is reading this. Anyways, she showed it to David and said, “who do you think I bought this for?” He said, “Kathy.” I love being known. Linda and I found an initial spot for it and got it hung up. Then I got back to cutting up fruit. Thank you Linda!
Sometimes I stand in awe about the fact that so much has changed in my life. One of my truths as a young woman was that I was surrounded by women. I was blessed by grandmas, aunts, sisters and of course my Mom, who frequently sat at our table. My Dad and my brother were the only men for the longest time. Cancer and dementia took them from us early. Linda’s husband Stu joined us, but for so very long the women greatly outnumbered the men.
My life has changed. This morning found me surrounded by kind men and greatly outnumbered. I have noted this exact thing several times over the years on facebook, but it seems I am just not done. Jill, Linda and I were a minority. I found this to be an impacting part of my morning.
I do a lot of thinking about what makes life good. For me time at the table is a huge part of the recipe. There we experience good flavors, like cinnamon. We experience stories, they make us feel alive and connected. We are invited to know worlds beyond our own. Hopefully, safe space is created to simply be human. It has been a while since I had to extend our table out to its maximum length, today we did, it was a good morning!