There’s a group of people I’m not supposed to write about.
It’s a personal thing, so before some start judging me on “professional integrity,” cool your jets.
This comes by way of Teresa Hammond the community member and some kindness I found myself on the other side of. But just as I’m not supposed to write about them, there’s a little something about me they each know I’d rather not be talking or writing about as well.
Oh man, this is all starting to feel a little like the hit television show Yellowstone, yet completely opposite. These aren’t secrets of killings, crimes and crookedness, but rather love, kindness and community.
Our family did get sucked into the Yellowstone craze, however, and as rough as some episodes might be, it’s been fun traveling the majestic countryside of Montana for an hour or two each week as a family.
We were late to the party viewers, so marathoning really has been a thing in our home, these past few months.
Television happens to be my best sleep aid, so as I type this my daughter and I just finished re-watching Season 1. Yes we saw the final episode of Season 4 and yes we’re technically up to date, however my famous “asleep in the chair” pose would beg to differ. So we’re “revisiting” if you will and I’m absolutely not mad about it.
Early on in our marathon viewing my daughter announced to the room that her grandfather hates the show. While most were stunned, I was not surprised.
Her dad’s father is a native of Wyoming (Montana’s neighbor) and spent the greater part of his career as ranch manager for a few “cattle outfits,” as he would say aka to me, as a cattle rancher.
Watching the show, with 20 years of exposure to the ranch life as part of my history it’s fun to see the parallels and then there’s Hollywood. Those who have lived the ranch life and watched the show understand what that means. All the same, it’s been fun watching a current depiction of a livelihood so many seem to know so much about.
I’ll never forget my first exposure to “calving season” as my former father-in-law would call it. His son and I newly in love and me on holiday to Wyoming to meet the family for the first time. The majority of that trip to Wyoming that ol’ cowboy – if found in the house – was in one of two places: at the table catching a quick meal or in his recliner catching a quick nap. His focus and passion that entire trip was watching his cattle and being present if help was needed.
He wasn’t a rich man, financially speaking, but that was indeed the first time I, as a city girl, got an inside look at the richness a life on the land can offer a person. Everything was very simple on the ranch, yet also unimaginable to a girl who grew up around asphalt and tall buildings.
A day or two into that first visit, I was bewildered by how much land we were surrounded by. Only buildings in sight were out buildings of the ranch. A customary barn, meat house where all the butchering and curing took place and a few more. Bunk houses were “over yonder” if you will, not for the eye to see but for the cowboy to rest in when they set off for “cow camp.”
I inquired on just how much land were we on. Not one to talk in acres, my newly found love simply shared, “as far as your eye can see that way (gesturing left), that way (gesturing right) and that way (pointing directly ahead of us).”
I’m still not sure how much land it was exactly, but it left an impression I’ve never forgotten. Yellowstone has somehow taken me back to a bit of that time. A city girl, who fell in love with the idea of the countryside thanks to a few cowboys.
That exposure also taught me about community, which Yellowstone also depicts in its own way, which now brings us full circle.
Late last week as I was presented with the kindness of the above mentioned community members I’m not supposed to talk about, I found myself extremely overwhelmed. I’m used to sitting on the other side of this type of kindness. I write about these types of things, I’m never the recipient.
But as the saying goes, things change. And just as this city girl, has found herself graciously adopted by this small town community, she has now become a beneficiary of its kindness.
In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about; community and kindness, life in its simplest of forms. What a gift to be given that and know it firsthand. God bless you all.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.