About Me

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Born in Santa Monica, California, I was raised in the small bedroom community of Sunkist Park that borders Culver City, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice. I attended Venice High School, West LA Community College and California Institute of the Arts. My studies included English, English Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, Choir, Classical Voice, Shakespeare, Musical Theater, Television and Film Acting and Art History. In 1980, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and in 1982 I married Kurt Wolf in Corvallis, Oregon. During the course of our long journey together, I have remained devoted to not only my husband, but to my friends and family, and the arts. What defines me most is my passion for expression through art. I’m an avid reader, writer and poet.I also enjoy painting and photography. Additionally, some folks consider me a pretty good cook.

Email Susie Rosso Wolf

If you have any questions about "New Prairie Woman", "Saving Susie", my "Phoetry", Montana, or writing in general, please email me directly at: GrumpySusie@msn.com — Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy "New Prairie Woman". ~ Susie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

09.S03 Chapter Nine, Snippet Three

Cutter, Lilly and Dinky -  Walking on the Prairie, October 2006.


New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Nine, con't


We sat and talked for a few minutes while the dogs slept at our feet then Brenda stood up and walked to the door. “Do ya wanna come over to the house to visit me and April and the baby? I’m gonna make some breakfast burritos.”
“Sure, that sounds good! Is the washing machine empty? I need to run a load if it’s okay?”
 “I don’t really know Sue, I think April has baby clothes in there from last night but we can check it out.”
“Oh, that’s okay I can always run into Three Forks to use the laundry matt.”
“Come on you old lady, get up and come with me, I’m hungry.”
I grabbed my cell phone off the little kitchen table as we walked out the door, hoping I would hear from Kurt if indeed there actually was a storm coming in. As we walked out the door I grabbed the two water jugs and dropped them off at the water hydrant on the way to the back door. Inside the house April was tending to Bella so we walked softly and quietly through the hallway past her bedroom suite trying to be quiet by chance Bella was napping again. But there was a loud distinct “Mom!” coming from the nursery inside the bedroom.
“Whatdayawant?” Brenda asked as she slurred all of the words together in her deepest North Carolina accent.
“I’m hungry!”
“I know, hang in there something’s coming soon, hang on to your panties, woman!”
“Ah! Such love between you two,” I said.
“Aunt Susie? Is that you?”
“Indeed, it is.”
“Come and see the baby!” I walked into the bedroom suite to see my great niece lying on her back on the bed and April standing over her changing her diaper. She was so beautiful, and growing. Her eyes were darting around the room and she smiled as I sang to her the little song I had created for her alone, “Miss Bella oh Miss Bella your beauty oh so rare!” Bella laughed again, a tiny little new baby laugh and my heart beat fast as I watched her squirm while April dressed her in an infant nighty.
Brenda’s breakfast burritos were delicious and I devoured two but could have stuffed three in my mouth. Since we had moved to Montana Kurt and I were famished all the time because of the hard work we were doing across the road to prepare our land for the upcoming build of Kurt’s work shop/garage and the house, and because of all of the walking back and forth, to and from the land to the trailer and to Rob’s house. We were both burning calories and it was challenging to cook in the trailer without water. So we went without proper meals sometimes, only ate snacks and pastries and fast fried food from Three Forks Market’s service deli. In Three Forks, there wasn’t a drive thru to dine at, not one. No Taco Bell, Burger King and certainly not a McDonald’s. Feeding ourselves was my daily responsibility and most dreaded challenge in our tiny little trailer kitchen. 
I finished the burritos, had another cup of coffee from Brenda’s ever going coffee maker, talked with both Brenda and April for a while, kissed Bella good-bye and then walked back to the trailer after filling up my water jugs. The dogs were anxiously circling the gate as I walked through it and Lilly howled and sang a little song for me as she ran and circled my legs when I stood to greet them. “Want to go for a walk?” Lilly woo woo wooe’d and Dinky jumped up with her front paws kicking out and Cutter barked and walked over to the trailer door where on the inside we had their three leashes hanging. I hooked them up, put the girls on my right and Cutter on my left then set out to walk over to our new property to stretch our legs and dream about living in the house that would be built and the beautiful front porch that I specifically requested so that we could sit and watch the mountains change in color, minute by minute, before our eyes.
The moment we walked onto our land I felt a sense of freedom. Although we hadn’t been in Montana long the idea of becoming a resident of Three Forks became more and more enticing and I was looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends. As we walked the land we laid down a bit of a trail through the sagebrush and prairie grass and tall stalks and weeds and cactus all the way up to the farthest corner of our property line. There was a bright orange plastic marker on the barbed wire fence that represented the division between our land and the next lot for sale, a four and a half acre parcel that I had my eyes on. I felt such a sense of peace up at this corner of the land, looking out at the Tobacco Roots and the Spanish Peaks that were already snowcapped and were rich in color and dimension. The mountains fascinated me particularly close to sunset. It was eerie and more quiet than I had ever heard in my life, standing there looking out, it was, well…it felt Holy. So Holy I began to pray each time I landed on my little dent in the soil up top of the corner of our land and it moved me so, I decided to make this my little chapel, my church where I would be able to come to pray and commune with God. Yes, this would be my place to meditate and chant and sing my devotional songs and to sort out all of my fears and troubles and to cry my eyes out if need be. This would forever be my place where I would receive the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the great sages and gurus throughout ancient history and the healing powers of the native chiefs and medicine men throughout more recent history. There was a vibration here on this spot that I had not ever felt in any man made church, there was something out there, calling me and drawing me in. I didn’t know if it was Indian spirits or simply the magnificence of God’s love for all mankind through nature but there, I vowed to stand on this spot and open my heart up to all of the love from God so that I could receive Him.
As I stood and prayed I watched the mountains swaying in vibrant hues of black, purple and dark green while the hillsides beneath them were glowing in glorious golden brown and orange colored trees in the near distance stood tall and lonely on the prairie floor. As I watched this scene of mystery before me, I noticed a stronger breeze cover us and Lilly’s long black and white Husky mane lifted and flitted as she looked up and smiled. We stood there for a while longer and the breeze became an actual wind very quickly and the sky slightly darkened to the north. I thought of Kurt out there on the lake and prayed for his safety.  



Saturday, December 3, 2011

09.S02 Chapter Nine, Snippet Two

"Blackie," pulling "Yellow Boat."

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Nine, con't

It was a beautiful day on October 10th, 2006, not too terribly cold just a brisk chill early in the morning but by eleven o’clock the sun brought soothing warmth to my bones and I relished the feeling as I dreamed of home and my gardens. My roses were all potted in five and ten gallon heavy-duty black containers now that sat behind the trailer looking completely out of place in their new surroundings.  About a week before the big move from home Kurt went into my rose garden, cut back each plant to bare bones and dug up every one of them, refusing to leave my babies behind. To say it was an act of love in its purest form is an understatement and I felt the depth of his love for me as I watched the man who spent weeks building this garden, breaking his back digging all of the many deep holes for the planting, then installed the elaborate drip system and the purple bearded iris garden and set up my rose lady fountain and then helped me to plant my beautiful ground cover that elegantly crept over the soil. To witness Kurt tear apart the beauty that he lovingly provided, to exhume the roses, brought out raw realization within me which instigated the emotional heartache I was still feeling after we arrived in Montana. So many feelings to deal with in the last few months caused a sensitivity within that was unlike anything I’d experienced ever before and sometimes I felt as though I was functioning as a total stranger, unrecognizable from the inside out.
The truth was though, that I was to blame for the raw emotion that drove me to my secret nervousness. I went along trying to act as though everything was copasetic when in fact, I was scared to death but that was my tough luck because I didn’t have the nerve to tell Kurt no. When all of the conversation about moving was going down, I clammed up each time he asked me what I wanted to do. When I wanted to scream at him and say no no no…I said, whatever. I chickened out. I played it cool, too cool. I actually told the man it was something I could not be involved in, the decision, that is. It wasn’t fair, I told him, for me to decide, because it was he who would be sacrificing so much to bring me up there to my family. It was he who would do most of the work, planning, negotiating, job searching, and making drastic financial sacrifices and taking many serious risks. Moreover, it was Kurt who would have to explain to his mother that we were scrapping our plans to eventually move back to Oregon. So, I took a neutral stand and told him this was going to have to be his decision, not mine, and that I would do whatever he wanted to do because all I cared about was that he was happy. Which, if you think about it is hysterically amusing because he was trying to make me happy by gifting me with a new life with Robert and Brenda and all I wanted was for Kurt to feel the peace and tranquility he seemed to have found in Montana. We were a real pair.  
There had been some tension when we first arrived in Montana that greatly contributed to my nervousness. Neither Kurt nor I could figure out what had changed since we had last visited in late July when we drove up to choose the design of our home and bring some money along as a down payment. All was wonderful during that last visit but now, well, there was a little bit of stale smoke in the room, so to speak. But we didn’t spend much time trying to figure it all out we simply chalked it up to them expecting a new baby nerves and the reality of having family move in on their land and all that it would entail. It was on September 28th when attitudes seemed to have leveled out again though, as my great niece was born at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and Kurt, Brenda and I were up to hospital until six o’clock in the morning. That was a wonderful day for us all and I was elated to have been able to be a part of her arrival; Miss Bella Rosso.
Although there was a new cheerfulness in the air Robert and April maintained their need to feel as though they were in control of their own lives which was completely understandable to us so we didn’t blink an eye when Robert was concerned about our grey water from the trailer contaminating his well water so we were asked not to hook up the water line, leaving us in a lurch for basic hygienic needs, consumptive requirements and household cleanliness which left me to the task of carrying one gallon plastic milk jugs to and from the water hydrant up near Rob’s back door. Once filled, I carried two jugs at a time back and forth to the trailer, watered the roses, then back again for more water to fill the dog’s water bowl, a huge pot on the little trailer stove for cooking needs and a large plastic bin for dish washing rinse water. The task was exhausting and had been since the moment we arrived. Every move I made left me weak in the knees, aggravated my left injured knee and back and so I found deep sleep quite easily each and every night on the full size mattress made in 1986.
Kurt was out by our yellow speed boat preparing it for its last trip of the season by hooking up to Blackie and loading the ice chest with beer and a couple of sandwiches. He just had to take his boat out one more time before the extreme weather season of Montana hit and our usual jaunts to the lake were squashed for months to come. We weren’t in California anymore where skiing at ten in the morning on Pyramid Lake on Thanksgiving Day was a tradition. Those days were merely nice memories for him now. I didn’t mind that Kurt was going boating for the day but I was concerned that he was going to a lake he’d never been to before without anyone to accompany him. Rob was busy working, Brenda was helping April with Bella and of course we didn’t know a soul in Montana, other than our family. I tried to put worry aside and smile when he was ready to leave. I would have preferred that he stayed with me that day rather than risk any accidents or issues from happening but he insisted on having one last hurrah on the water. So, I reluctantly gave my blessing for him to discover new water on Canyon Ferry Lake up near Helena.
I watched Blackie pull our yellow vintage hot rod boat up Old Town Road until I could no longer see its tail lights. I then went into the trailer to start a pot of coffee on my little two cup machine. Cutter, Lilly and Dinky followed me into the trailer, all three of them struggling to climb up the steel pull-out step, and then stepping onto the small square of carpet remnant that we used as a welcome mat. Our canine trio hadn’t been too terribly happy since we landed in Montana and parked our lovely new estate in the mud pit. They hadn’t been happy since the day I began packing up our Northridge home in late June. But they were troupers, all three of them, although they were terribly displaced and obviously missed their yard and daily routine. I was a wee bit worried about them because they weren’t young dogs after all and it had been a very long trip in the back of Zippy. The transition from the warm climate and low altitude to the thin air of the Rocky Mountains and freezing temperatures that were sure to come was something I was concerned about but Kurt insisted that they would be fine telling me each time I mentioned it that “they’re dogs, stop worrying about it .”
My cell phone began ringing just as I sipped from my coffee cup. I answered to hear Brenda’s voice asking what I was doing. Five minutes later she was at my door with her own cup of coffee from the big house, still in her bathrobe and slippers that she wore thru the dirt and gravel. The moment she opened the door the dogs began singing and barking with joy. She loved on all them for a few moments then sat down across from me on the little bench seat at the table. “I watched Kurt take off with the boat where is he going?”
“He’s going to a lake called Canyon Ferry up near Helena.”
“Why is he doing that?”
“He wants one more fling on a lake before the season ends. He wants to blow the gas out of the engine before the big freeze you guys keep talking about. He doesn’t want a lot of gas in the tank when the temperatures reach freezing so he’s going to use it all up, if he can.”
“Does he know about the storm that’s coming in?”
“What storm?”
“There’s supposed to be a big storm blowing our way from the north, I think they call it a northern front or something like that.”
“Do you mean an arctic front?”
“Yeah, that’s it!”
“Are you sure about that? It’s so beautiful outside, I can’t imagine an arctic front storm coming this way today, can you?”
“I’m only telling you what I heard on the news not too long ago, Sue.”
I grabbed my cell phone and tried to get through but Kurt’s phone went directly to message. I let him know the information Brenda had just shared with me and told him to be very careful out there. I hung up the phone, looked outside, shrugged my shoulders and went back to my coffee.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

09.S01 Chapter Nine, Snippet One

Camp Wolf, Three Forks, Montana - 2006


New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Nine

Our new/used twenty foot long Komfort Travel Trailer sat on Robert’s fenced-in half acre of mud, rock, prairie grass and yard debris such as cut down tree limbs and piles of dead dried up weeds. This area was a wannabe paddock for the horse Robert was dreaming of having in the future so he enclosed it with rural fencing material and a single wide horse country style gate up top of the scrap of land that opened onto Conifer Trail and Old Town Road. For now Robert used this space as his burn area for the waste he and Brenda had been cutting down since they began their build on this property that was covered with old growth Conifers, Russian Olives, prairie weeds galore and Lilacs. Basically, it was a muddy mess and an eye sore but we were grateful to have been invited by both Rob and April to park our temporary home on their land until our own prairie palace was built across the road on the land Kurt was pining over and purchased from Helicopter Dan and his wife, Tammy. We departed from Northridge on September 12, 2006 in a five vehicle caravan that crept across the Western United States to our final destination of Three Forks, Montana.
After months and miles of uncertainty we were finally rooting down in Montana. Our first two weeks as new residents of the Treasure State were filled mostly with important errands and business tasks that were all part of Kurt’s vision of a new life on the western prairie. The first thing he wanted to do was to get our California plates off of all of our vehicles so we spent an hour driving to the county seat in Townsend where we waited a scant three minutes in line at the vehicle registration window. We both remarked about the wait that was laughable compared to the hours of long lines in Los Angeles. We also noted the vast difference in attitude and demeanor of the lady behind the glass who served us. She was actually friendly and looked us in the eye, which was astounding! Anyway, from there we drove another two hours in the opposite direction to Bozeman for our Montana drivers’ licenses at the DMV. Again, another example of culture shock when the entire process lasted less than twenty minutes and the service was warm and friendly. Once we took care of our driving privilege legalities we moved on to essentials we needed in the trailer, for the dogs, fall and winter clothing for us and meetings with our banker and with Montana Homes of Belgrade where we had decided to purchase a modular home to be built and erected on our land across the road from our family.
 Although we both felt exhaustion from the spontaneous and grueling move, we were beginning to find our footing in Montana which helped us to put the memory of the physical labor behind us. Each and every day we greeted each other with a smile and a giggle, still not really believing that we had actually escaped from the madness and mayhem of California. And although we had already encountered some snow and windy weather, for the most part the onset of Fall in Montana had been lovely and colorful. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

08.S02 Chapter Eight, Snippet Two

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Eight, con't


It was a warm and windy day as the Santa Ana’s ripped through our back yard, drying all of my plants and vegetables and roses. Two full hours of watering my gardens wore me down so I decided to get into the pool. I swam some laps but mostly I just hung out on the steps and relaxed and even heated the Jacuzzi and crawled into it to soak for a while. I remarked to myself how many aircraft had flown over our home in a five minute period and was struck by the amount of smog in the air that day, leaving a deep layer of dark thick muck in the skyline that repulsed me now to think about. Helicopters and airplanes flew through the flight path over our neighborhood in Sherwood Forest while the sound of sirens rang out about every ten minutes or so as they rushed up and down Parthenia to the cop shop or the hospital. I tried to meditate and pray while I soaked, changing my perspective and looking only at my roses and water fountain and flowers and trees, but I was distracted by thoughts of Montana.
In reflection, I was a bit ashamed of myself for picking on Kurt so much about his ankle injury, his Indian walks and for droning on and on over that five acre chunk of land while we were visiting Robert. I suppose I could have been more curious and supportive of his adventurous day dreaming but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite myself in Montana. Often during our trip I felt as though I was looking in on all of us together, rather than being present in Robert’s house as if I were a ghost hovering in the room. To this day I can’t explain why I felt so odd there but I do blame myself for being unable to truly relax and just let the days flow easily and not worry about this and that and the other. But I remained uptight until the minute we drove onto Napa Street. Kurt was a dear, to drive me all the way to Big Sky Country to visit with my once estranged loved one. Indeed, my husband was a true dear one for doing such a deed and giving so deeply. I should have shown him how grateful I was for what he did, rather than allow myself to be irritated by his love for the state and all it had to offer. And I knew that he was thinking in terms of giving me my family back, like Brenda had been dreaming of praying about and pleading for, but the thought of change, big huge change, scared me to death.
I could hear the dogs barking at the front of the house and was right in my assumption that Kurt had arrived home from work. I listened as he parked Blackie in the car port, shut the car door and then walked into the family room from the front porch entrance. “Hello! Is anybody home?” 
“I’m back here in the Jacuzzi.” I listened as he put down his keys and walked towards the sliding glass door entrance to the outdoor barbeque area just next to the door. He slid the screen door open with great force so immediately I knew he was in a mood. “Hi Baby, how was your day?”
“Horrible, how was yours?”
“Mine was nice, lovely, and quiet, I didn’t do much, just rested. Why was your day so horrible, Kurt?” He opened the outdoor refrigerator that sat on top of the tiled barbecue built-in and grabbed onto a beer and shut the door. He popped the top off of a Budweiser Long Neck and then sat down on the deck after kicking off his work shoes so he could plop his feet into the water. He was tired, and it showed.
“Ah, that feels so good,” he mumbled.
“Long hard day then?”
“Where is the phone book? I need the yellow pages?”
“It’s in the family room on the chopping block underneath the phone.”
“I’ll be right back.” He got up after setting his beer on the concrete deck and then he walked back through the sliding screen door. He returned with the book in his hand and my beach towel.
“Here, dry your hands I need your help.”
“What are you looking for?”
“I want to find a real estate broker who is open on Saturday.”
“Why?” I looked at him with my eyes in stink eye mode.
“Because I want a market analysis of this house tomorrow, if possible, so we can list this house for sale by Monday. I’ve got to get us the hell out of here. This town is killing me Susie. We’re moving to Montana.”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

08.S01 Chapter Eight, Snippet One

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Eight


Both of us were enamored by the beauty of Montana and Kurt had difficulty suppressing his instinct to look out at the nature. He took his time driving home even through Idaho and Utah. But when we reached Las Vegas he became anxious by all of the traffic so his mood changed and then when we hit California, well, he was out of control. So unlike Kurt, he began screaming and yelling at the drivers in other cars, no one could do anything right. No one. Not the guy in front of him, behind him or beside him on either side. His anger with the traffic was scaring me and several times I pleaded with him to calm down for fear he would cause himself a heart attack or a stroke and kill us both in an accident. I was horrified by his sudden change in personality and equated this change with hunger so I insisted that he eat some snacks but of course he refused. Using a little psychology, I opened a box of his favorite snack crackers and began to eat them. One cracker at a time, his appetite stirred while listening to me crunch as loudly as I could, eventually leading to his humbled request for “one or two” which led to him devouring the entire box minus the few that I consumed. Taking in some calories seemed to help but his distaste for the southland was all too apparent after leaving his heart in Montana.
Bitter-sweet emotions swept over both of us as we drove onto the Northridge off ramp in the San Fernando Valley. As we headed up Nordhoff and then turned onto Parthenia towards home, I was eager to see our dogs and my gardens. Kurt was very quiet and didn’t say one word as he steered Blackie into the driveway on Napa. He clicked the button on the gate opener and immediately Cutter, Lilly and Dinky came running out while barking their heads off and Lilly was singing and barking and howling all at the same time. She seemed to be the most excited to see us, and the most upset by our absence. Brenda opened the front door and ran out to greet us. She hugged me and then opened the back door and began hauling our stuff out of Blackie to take it into the house. She was so happy and light hearted, excited that we had the opportunity to see Robert’s home and to visit Montana and immediately began coaxing us into moving there. She started in right away teasing about how our house was falling apart and how gorgeous Robert’s new house was. I shot her down the moment she attempted to plant her seeds of manipulation because I knew Kurt was contemplating the issue. I let her know that I loved my home and that while it did need some work, I reminded her that it was built in the 1950’s and survived the 1994 Northridge earthquake so of course it had its problems but it was still a beautiful home and the nicest home I’ve ever lived in and I had no intentions of moving but that I truly loved Montana, had a wonderful visit with Robert, enjoyed my time with April and look forward to visiting again when the whole family was there, Brenda and the girls. She didn’t really let up much on her desire for us to move and then she inadvertently spilled the beans that Robert had revealed to her that Kurt was engrossed with the land across the trail and had looked at manufactured homes in Helena. When she asked to see the brochure from the “house place” I knew she had spoken to him on the phone.
“Stop nagging on this issue Brenda,” I admonished, “You’re driving me crazy. We can’t possibly move to Montana, don’t you understand what you’re asking? Think of the ramifications. Think of the risk. Think of the work it would take. Think of everything involved and how ridiculous it is to even discuss this. Just what do you think Kurt would do to make a living in a cattle state?”
“Think how wonderful it would be to have our entire family together after all of the pain and hurt we have survived and how the Lord has brought us back together for a reason and that reason is so that we can all have a good life in a place of peace and beauty where we can all grow and love each other without all the ugliness of this disgusting place. Think how happy we would be together, Sue, think about that.” She was beet red in the face and yelling at me.
“Just how do you propose that we pay for this move and where will my husband work, Brenda? The last time I looked I didn’t see Montana as the Mecca of the music industry. Not a lot of work for a sound engineer out on the ranch, Darlin’.” I winked my eye, clicked my tongue and pantomimed tipping my cowboy hat while I had my hands in my two front pockets.
“Oh you’re always seeing the negative side to everything. Can’t you just see how special life would be with all of us together, loving each other, helping each other and just being a family again? We have a new baby coming; don’t you want to be there for that?”
“You two are already planning a trip back when the baby is born?” Kurt walked in from his work shop and overheard the conversation in the kitchen.
“No Kurt, this dumb blonde is trying to sell us Montana and wants us to move there, as if that could ever be possible. She’s driving me nuts.”
“I don’t think she’s that dumb, Susie.” Brenda leaned over the kitchen table and tweaked my nose as she laughed and then raised her hand up to Kurt for him to high five her. “Remember how scared you were when you went to buy a pack of cigarettes for me and got caught in the cross fire of two gang bangers shooting at each other when you were parked at the stop light on Jellico? Wouldn’t living in the country in a place where gangs and illegal aliens and car chases on the freeway every other day don’t exist be a lot better way to live?”
“Montana has more guns than any other state in this country! Every household has guns and every truck you see on the road has a gun rack in the back of it so don’t bring up the gun issue because your argument won’t hold water.
“People in Montana use their guns to survive, not to kill each other. They hunt for their food and protect themselves from danger. They don’t go out and randomly shoot people. One of the reasons why I love it there is because everybody respects the fact that their neighbor has guns and isn’t afraid to use them. It’s a safer environment, Susie, when everyone understands their right to bear arms,” he said.
“You’re totally into this idea of Montana, aren’t you Kurt?” I looked straight into his deep blue eyes.
“Yeah, I want to move there, I’m sorry to shock you like this but I think we could have a really beautiful life there and I know you think so too. You loved it just as much as I did and you’re family is there. It would be great if I could give that to you, give you your family back.” Brenda knew the conversation had become private at this point so she got up from the table and walked outside to smoke a cigarette. I looked around at all of my collectables and my framed photography on the dining room wall, then out to the rose garden through the French windows. How could I ever leave my home for a life in the wilderness?
“Kurt, it would be a very drastic change in our lives. I understand everything you’re saying but I don’t see how we would ever make it happen so it’s not worth wasting our breath on this anymore. I’m tired, I’m going to bed.”
“All I ask is for you to think about the beauty we just came from and then compare it to this life here, in this mess. That’s all I ask, is for you to remember how happy you were there because life there is so peaceful and beautiful.”
“Okay Kurt, I’ll think about. But now, I’m going to bed. Thank you for getting us home safely, you did a great job driving up and back.”
“I’ll walk you down the hall, come on Baby…” Kurt took me by the hand and led me to our bedroom. The dogs followed us and right away Cutter jumped on the bed and Lilly followed. I change my clothes and quickly pulled back the sheets and blanket and a moment later he was kissing me good night as he pulled the covers over my shoulder. “Good night Babe,” he said. I mumbled back a reply but felt myself falling off the instant I closed my eyes. 
The next day I drove Brenda to the Burbank Airport where she caught a flight back to Bozeman, Montana. Rob fetched her from the little airport there and drove her back to Three Forks. She called us to let us know that she arrived safely and said she was so happy to be back home and described how the first thing she did was to take her Indian walk so she could look up at the sky she had grown accustomed to dreaming on. We talked on the phone nearly every day and she filled me in on how April was doing, the weather, how Rob was doing at work, how much work she herself was doing out on their land and life in general out on the prairie. Our conversations did stir a wanting within me, I must admit, and the more I drove around our city and could see again the mountain of hideous disintegration in a place that was once so beautiful and wide open, the mountains and prairies and the big sky of Montana began to tug at my heart in a haunting wanting howling voice that grew louder and louder and as the days flew by I found my meditations being interrupted by images of that sky so blue and the huge puffy white clouds and pink, purple and grey streaks painting a masterpiece in God’s heaven above. Montana had taken me by surprise and I knew that the bug I had caught all of those years ago while putting together my school project was secretly brewing within me again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

07.S06 Chapter Seven, Snippet Six

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Seven, con't


Our last few days visiting Robert and April could be described as nice, but actually for me personally, they were heavenly. April and I began to bond and every evening upon her return from work I looked forward to spending our girl time together and she really appreciated when I would volunteer to massage her neck and shoulders and feet. We had fun looking at all of the baby clothes she began to collect and just spending time together talking. I did my level best to ignore the out of place remarks that suddenly exploded from her mouth from time to time, but it wasn’t easy. Aside from this misplaced quality she possessed, I was enjoying her company and getting to know her.
Robert and I spent time in the kitchen together and that’s where divine intervention was most evident to me. Slowly he began to come out of his shell and by the end of our trip we were able to carry a normal conversation without thinking of the past three years or the mistakes we both made. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we bonded again, no, I wasn’t feeling that at all, but there was a semblance of commonality that allowed us to carry on with a level of civility that was easy and palatable. Cooking was the thread of the fabric that we were both made from and I was impressed by his talent in the kitchen; Robert had become a marvelous cook. The meals that he prepared were delicious but this old Italian auntie still had a trick or two to teach him and so I would intervene only when I was desperately biting my tongue with a suggestion and then he would say “What?”
  In answer, I would say something to the effect of, “Well you don’t need to cut into your garlic like that to remove the peel and you don’t need to cut the ends off, here, let me show you how to do it so it comes out in one solid clove. Where do you keep your best French blade?”
“French blade? What’s that?”
“What’s that? Are you kidding? Your French blade, French knife, where do you keep all of your knives?”
“There’s a drawer of knives right next to you, I don’t know what all their names are.” I opened the drawer and found a nice wide handle and knew I found what I was looking for. I held the knife up and smiled.
“I knew you had a French blade.” I walked over to his cutting surface and began to teach my nephew the correct way to peel garlic.
“That’s pretty cool. I can’t believe you just did that! Do it again!” I took another clove of garlic and placed it on the cutting surface. I laid the knife over the clove and then in one fast hard smack on the blade with the side of my fist the peeling was removed. When I lifted the knife away from the clove, the peeling was on the cutting board and the clove was completely free from the skin.
“It’s very easy Rob, just practice and you’ll have it down in no time.”
“Thanks for teaching me this trick, it saves a lot of time and I hate peeling garlic.”
“No problem.”
“Now you just need to teach me how to make Grandpa’s Spaghetti sauce.”
“I would be happy to.”
“Yeah, and you need to teach my wife and daughters how to make it too, and your pizza too, I love your pizza.”
“So do the girls, Snowflake said it was the best pizza she had ever eaten, but she said that about my sauce too. Apparently your children love Italian food.”
“We all do, and you make the best.”
“I’ll be happy to cook for all of you anytime, just say the word.” And with that, the air filled with the idea that I would be coming back to this place again, to visit my family, to be a part of my family, and in that moment my chest grew another heart, and another and another until there wasn’t any more room in my physical body for all of the love that I was feeling inside.
That feeling of love carried me all the way home to Northridge but not before Kurt became a maniac as we crossed the Nevada/California border. It had been a long but beautiful drive through Montana. Memories of our stay in Three Forks were flooding our conversation as Kurt drove through the country and over mountain ranges. His love for the little town was bubbling over as he explained all of his reasons why he was very interested in the land across from Robert’s house. He was attempting to sell me on Montana and was thinking of every reason on earth for us to pack up our lives in Northridge and move across the West to a place that was beyond description. While at Robert’s house, he tried to sell all of us on the idea. Explaining that he was getting too old for his business, too old to tour on the road with Rock & Roll shows and that he was doing the work of a twenty year old, in a forty-nine year old body. He was tired of traveling, being away from home all of the time, and he was worried about not having a regular job with a 401K, retirement plan, medical insurance, life insurance or any other kind of benefits.
In Rock & Roll, you work for the love of the music and Kurt had devoted his life to the music, without any reward, or any plan for the future. So all of the hours he spent Indian walking on that parcel of property, he was creating a vision of his future, what was left of it. He could see a beautiful small house nestled in the grove of conifer trees that faced the mountains. He envisioned himself building a huge steel building set off to the back side of the house that he would insulate and use as his workshop/garage where he would finally be able to work on rebuilding his old 1967 GTO Convertible that he had been dragging around since the day I had met him in 1980. He fantasized about that storage building becoming the retirement plan that he had never been the beneficiary of. He would add two more buildings to the one, and then one big three sided building to store boats and RV’s in. And then he would turn the storage pasture area into a parking lot to rent space for parking big trucks, trailers and old cars and campers. He had an idea to go into business, the parking and storage business right there on the land where we would live, and that way he could have a job, but stay home where he longed to be. Thirty years of living and sleeping on tour busses with the drone of the wheel under his head, fed his vision and it was all he could talk about as the last days of our vacation were winding down and he continued to spend all of his time walking that land. Eventually, the owner of the land, Helicopter Dan , noticed Kurt walking around so he drove down from his build site up top of the hill, pulled over on the trail and asked Kurt what he was doing walking around on his land. Kurt introduced himself, shook Dan’s hand, and explained that he was Robert’s uncle and that he was interested in Dan’s property. They talked for at least two hours out there and Kurt came back to the house beaming with the possibility of building his new dream.
During the last couple of days of our stay, I was pressed to make a decision about relocating to Three Forks. The idea of uprooting my life was too much for me to handle given my health issues, age, inability to walk without pain and agony, walking away from my doctor and health care, my circle of dear friends, my sister, and Jo. How could I live without my daily walks with Jo? She was my mentor, my lifeline to sensible thinking, my rock. And if I were going to make a move, I always had the idea that we would move back to Corvallis, Oregon, where we were married so that we could live near Kurt’s elderly mother, our friends there, and my Brother in Newport. In fact, I had even said as much to Kurt’s mother when Kurt had gone through a period of depression about living and working in Los Angeles just months prior to this new development. He had given me permission to talk to his mother about the possibility of us “going home” and she was very pleased to hear that we were considering the move. But I was nowhere near ready to make a commitment about any kind of change and I did happen to be in the middle of a Work Comp lawsuit in regards to my work injuries that rendered me disabled.
No, I could not make such a decision. There was just too much to consider. And I knew I would be unable to think in terms of living on the prairie in snow and sleet and winters that lasted seven months with temperatures that dipped down to forty below zero. How could I live like that? How would I, a beach bum from Toes Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Monica…live like a frozen Popsicle out in the middle of nowhere? Kurt was asking me to grant him my blessing, to acquiesce, give in to his whim. But there was so much to think about; including but not limited to, the issue of Robert and his growing family. My relationship with Robert was still very fragile so how would he feel about us making this leap of faith, trusting that if we moved across the trail from him that life would be grand and all would be well? Would our relationship be nurtured by sharing life in Three Forks? Or would it destroy it? My brain was exploding with so many questions.
On our last night in Three Forks we invited Robert and April out to dinner. During our meal of barbequed ribs I asked Robert point blank how he felt about us moving there. “Your uncle is going nuts over that land and the lifestyle in Three Forks and life in Montana, he wants to move here. How do you feel about us being neighbors, Rob?”
“You live your life, I live mine.” That was it, that’s all he said as he bit into a big beef rib while dining at Famous Dave’s in Bozeman.
“That’s it? That’s all you have to say about it?” I pressed the issue, because I was being pressed by Kurt.
“Susie, you guys know how I feel about California. I’ve never thought it was safe for anyone I love or care about to live there. It’s a horrible place, a sucky life, and I think if you can work it out to get out of there then great, it’s great. But it’s your decision, I mean, if you do decide to do it though, I would be happy about having my family here, it’s been a long time since I’ve had my family near me and I would love that. But it’s your decision.”
Yes, it was my decision. And it was an awful burden.

Friday, October 21, 2011

07.S05 Chapter Seven, Snippet Five

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Seven, con't


As we headed towards Helena from Three Forks on Highway 287 the sky above began to darken and I predicted out loud that rain was on its way. Robert reminded me that in Montana you can drive twenty miles or wait twenty minutes for the weather to change. True enough to the folk lore rule twenty minutes post prediction sheets of rain pelted the windshield of Robert’s silver GMC pick-up truck making it difficult for me to view the countryside I had been longing to see for several days while I waited for Kurt’s ankle to heal and for him to stop Indian walking all over barren virgin prairie land. But an hour later the hard rain became a soft rain making it possible for me to see a bit of the town of Helena as we looked for a place to stop and have some lunch. Driving around was fun because Kurt and Robert were communicating on a male level, kind of leaving me out of the conversation which was fine with me because it was more fun listening, and they talked about everything from guns to jobs in Montana and what Robert was planning for his future.
Eventually Robert drove into a driveway of a pizzeria and we sat for over an hour sharing an extra-large pizza topped with pepperoni sausage ground beef and jalapeno peppers. Kurt drank a Budweiser, Robert had a Coke and I had a root-beer. The pizza was delicious and the atmosphere was great, just perfect for our little private family luncheon with classic Italian music playing and the sound of laughter and talking blending with pots and pans clanking and yelling orders out to the pizza maker in the kitchen. I loved this friendly place and didn’t want to leave but the men were growing anxious to get back on the road to head back to Three Forks. We pulled out of the driveway of the pizzeria and turned the corner. Straight ahead we could see a blue and white sign on the side of a huge gravel driveway that said MONTANA HOMES OF HELENA. Robert pointed to the sign and said “That’s the company I bought my house from.”
“Really?” Kurt asked.
“Yeah, they have these offices all over Southwest Montana, there’s one in Belgrade where I did my business from. But basically they all sell the same stuff.”
“Are you satisfied with your home or do you wish you would have had a stick built?”
“Oh no way, manufactured housing is the way to go these days. Much more affordable, you get what you want and it doesn’t take a year or two or even three while you wait for it to be ready to move into. I’m completely satisfied with my house.”
“Rob, turn around and go back there, I want to take a look at those houses they have on the lot.”
“Why?”
“I’m just curious, humor me.”
“Okay, whatever you say,” and with that, Rob turned right at the next light to head back to Montana Homes of Helena. As he pulled into the gravel parking area the rain continued to fall and it was rather chilly so we dashed into the office across the parking lot. Immediately we were greeted by a salesman with a friendly capped tooth smile and a hopeful glimmer in his eye. He reminded me of a used car salesman with his gold pinky ring pressed gabardine work slacks and crisp white shirt. But the difference between this used car salesman and one you would see in Los Angeles is that his slacks were western style boot cut legs with a pair of beautiful cowboy boots underneath the hem and a gorgeous turquoise bowler tie around his western style white shirt and his sharp black cowboy hat with its elegant hat band covered in turquoise stones and mother of pearl. The hat was very beautiful and his mustache was expertly trimmed.
“How can I help you folks today?” He greeted in a Montana accent slightly tinted with a touch of North Dakota.
“Yes, I was wondering if you have some kind of brochure of your homes I could look at and possibly take with me,” Kurt inquired while shaking the man’s hand.
“Well sure I do, what are you interested in single wide double wide or triple wide? ”
“Oh, I don’t know I’m just looking in general.”
“Sure, sure,” the salesman said as he was walking over to a desk where he gathered some sales material to pass onto Kurt. “Would you like to see some of our models? I’d be happy to walk you around on the lot.”
“Oh I don’t want to drag you around in this rain,” Kurt answered.
“That’s just fine, I don’t mind, why don’t you let me show you some of our homes and that way you can ask me some questions you might be curious about.”
“Sure, okay if you don’t mind.” Kurt looked over at me to see my reaction and I’m sure the look on my face was confusion.
“No, I don’t mind at all this isn’t much of a rain anyway.” He led us all out the door and locked the office behind him as we headed out on the gravel towards the first house on the lot. We walked through it then went on to the next, and the next and the next. Two hours went by and I was exhausted so I went back to the truck while Kurt and Robert picked the brain of this poor salesman who was also growing weary from my husband’s critical-thinking brain and non-stop technical questions. It didn’t take much time at all for the salesman to discover that Kurt was a skilled man who worked with his hands and very knowledgeable about many things. Kurt gave him a run for his money and I’m sure he was extremely pleased when he and Robert finally walked out the door and stepped into the GMC where I was snoozing with a cramp in my neck in the back seat. I woke up the moment I heard the doors open.
“Hi sleepyhead,” he said to me in a happy voice.
“Hello, what took so long? What in the world are you doing Kurt?”
“I was just looking at possibilities.”
“What possibilities?”
“Wouldn’t you love to get out of that hell hole we live in?”
“I don’t know, what about our friends and my sister and my ocean?”
“Yeah, your ocean that’s covered in tourists and freaks and criminals and gang bangers.”
“Well, it’s still my ocean and I love it. I was born there, it’s my home.”
“Susie, I hate to tell you this, but your home hasn’t been your home in a very long time,” Robert chimed in.
“Maybe for you Rob, but for me it’s the only home I have and even though it has all of its problems I love my house and my friends and my sister and my rose garden and everything that means so much to me. It would be very difficult for me to make a move at my age now.” They both began laughing and making fun of me, picking on me, telling me that I’m not an old lady yet. “Well, no, I’m not an old lady yet but I do have medical issues you can’t relate to or understand that would make it hard for me to move anywhere.” Robert sighed deeply.
           “I think you can do anything you want to do,” Kurt said. I didn’t answer him, I was quiet the rest of the way back to Three Forks. When we arrived back at the house Kurt walked across the little trail and traipsed around in the mud on that ankle. I was so angry that he was risking another injury but knew my anger was futile. Nowhere to direct my frustration, because Kurt was across the road, I sat quietly on the edge of the bed in Brenda’s room and meditated while the old man did whatever he was doing out there on the prairie.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

07.S04 Chapter Seven, Snippet Four

Montana Cattle, Three Forks, MT



New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Seven, con't.


During the next two days Kurt hobbled around with my old wood cane that I had sense enough to toss into the back of the truck for the drive. We walked around Robert’s property on Kurt’s now treasured Indian walks and I managed to escape for a little while and made a couple of trips to a wonderful place about five miles up Highway 287 called Wheat Montana. Fresh baked bread, rolls, Danish, cinnamon rolls, bear claws; oodles of good looking pastries and cookies tempted me to try a little something as I ordered a cup of coffee to go on my first trip there while I waited for Kurt to wake up the day after his accident. The coffee was delicious and the hay stack coconut macaroon cookie was out of this world! Everything was fresh baked right there on their massive premises and all of the wheat is grown on their thousands of acres of wheat farmland right there locally in Three Forks. On our third morning in Montana, I drove up to Wheat Montana and brought back a large assortment of their divine breakfast pastry for the four of us to enjoy and April really appreciated the gesture as it was her first day off in over a week and she wanted to get off of her feet, rather than make breakfast for all of us.

It was Robert’s day off as well so Kurt and I invited Rob and April out to dinner that night and we all enjoyed a fantastic meal of fresh grown Montana Rib-eye steaks plus the works to go with it at a charming local restaurant called The Cattleman’s Café. When we walked up to the café which is located on Highway 287 about six miles from their house, I could smell the unmistakable aroma of cattle. Indeed, the Cattleman’s Café is actually a restaurant built inside a livestock auction house with wide windows within the café that you can look through to see all of the cattle and horses to be led out for the purpose of being sold to the highest bidder! It was a marvelous place that I instantly fell in love with and I remember feeling so at home there among all of the many cowboy hats, boots, ropes, spurs, chaps, and a great collection of fascinating framed photos and great rewards with horns and antlers and big beautiful eyes that were all hanging on the walls. An amazing place that served a good meal that I would not ever forget. The service was remarkable, as if I was being served by a family member and the customers were local neighbors, families of Three Forks, all dressed in local flair of Wrangler Jeans, Western shirts and blouses, cowboy boots, belts and hats and oh by the way, no, the men do not remove their hats when they are sitting at the table! The feeling of witnessing solid hard working people out together to break bread after a long day of ranching or farming had a deep staying power with me and moved me in many ways because the depth of devotion to their land and family was as evident as the most colorful, exquisite sunsets on the face of the earth.
Eventually Kurt’s ankle began to reduce in swelling and he was walking with less pain so I asked him if we could do something more than take Indian walks on Robert’s land and the large lot directly across the tiny little country trail that divided Robert’s land from this vacant property that had a full size storage building on it. Kurt appeared mesmerized by the neighboring five acres. Each time I would want to say something to him, I discovered that he was no longer in the room, on the back porch, the sofa watching television, in the kitchen or bathroom, or in our truck. Kurt would disappear to the lot across the road, sit down on a rock and stare out to the mountain rage in front of him. Although it was the month of June, there were snow caps on the mountains named the Spanish Peaks and the Tobacco Roots. Beautiful rolling hills beneath the mountains were colored in fresh new green growth that fed the deer antelope elk moose and grazing livestock. It was a lovely piece of land there was no doubt about that with its huge grove of towering Blue Spruce Conifers and forest of overgrown Russian Olives, too many to count, that accented its peaceful pastures of sage brush and prairie grasses. But why was Kurt so enamored by this parcel of land and why was he spending all of his time over there? Irritated by his absence and the fact that our vacation time was being rapidly chipped away by his ankle injury, on our fifth morning in Montana I made my way across the trail and found him at the storage facility building.
“Hello? Kurt where are you?”
“Hi Babe, I’m over here on the other side of the building.” I walked around to the other side of the building and discovered him looking at a mini storage locker door as he tried to slide a metal bar open so he could lift up the rolling steel door.
“Kurt, what on earth are you doing with this building? And why are you constantly coming over here and ignoring me? I’m getting sick of this vacation already and I want to go home, this just isn’t any fun at all.”
“I thought you were having a nice time visiting with your nephew. I was giving you space to get reacquainted with him and to get to know April. I thought you’d want to hang out with them so I’ve been giving you room to visit with your family.”
“Oh, is that what you’re doing?”
“Yes, that’s what I’ve been doing, and wandering around here because I just love it so much.”
“Well I’m starting to get pissed off about this trip and I’d like you to come back to the house so you and I can make plans for tomorrow.”
“What about tomorrow?”
“Well, I’d like to go fishing or go to the famous Lewis and Clark Caverns or take a nice ride to Helena or Butte or up to the Mountains, anything, you know? Let’s go do something now that your ankle is feeling better.”
“Okay, why don’t we  go somewhere today too and we’ll ask Robert if he wants to go with us and that way we can both spend some time with him.”
“What about April?”
“Yeah, April too…”
“Okay,” I said.
“Why don’t you go back to the house and ask him if he wants to take a ride with us and then come back and let me know and we can figure tomorrow out with Robert.”
“All right, I’ll be right back.” I turned back towards Robert’s house with a bit of an attitude; still put off by Kurt’s lust for the land and locker building he was fussing with noting to myself that he never took his eyes off of that slider bar he was fiddling with. When I reached the back door April was coming through it wearing her work uniform.
“April! What are you doing?  I thought you had the day off.”
“Yeah I did have it off but they called me in because someone is sick so I’m going in to cover them.”
“April you work so much, no wonder you’re tired all the time.”
“I know but that’s okay we can use the money. I gotta go Aunt Susie, see you guys tonight.”
“Okay Honey, drive safely to Bozeman and have a good day.”
“Thank you, I will,” she said as she kissed me on the cheek before climbing into her GMC SUV. I watched her pull out of the gravel driveway then honk her horn at Kurt as she drove up the little trail and then pulled onto Old Town Road. Once out of view, I walked into the family room to find Robert sitting in his stuffed leather chair pulling on a pair of cowboy boots.
“Hi! Whatcha doing, Robert?”
“Wondering where you two are.”
“Oh, well your uncle is over across the road looking at that storage building and he sent me to ask you if you’d like to go for a ride with us.”
“Do you have a destination in mind? Where would you like to drive to?”
“I don’t know, maybe Helena or Butte.”
“Helena is a nice drive.”
“Okay, let’s go there and we can grab some lunch somewhere interesting!”
“Everywhere in Montana is interesting,” he said, as he spit his chew juice into a plastic bottle.
“Well I can’t wait to see more of it, I like it here. This place is very special and nice. I’m sorry Kurt kind of messed things up by falling off of your porch but you know you can’t give him whiskey! What were you thinking?”
“Honestly I forgot that he only drinks beer, Susie, but he really didn’t have much whiskey, he just didn’t know where he was and didn’t see the step. You guys are too old now to go exploring in the middle of the night!”
“Oh! Thanks a lot for that, you little brat! As if you’re so young now. Ha! I can’t wait until you’re an old man so I can remind you of this moment!”
“I’ll never be old, I refuse.”
“Good luck with that, Rob. Let’s go find the old man and get him in the truck.” He followed me out the door and together we walked down his driveway and across the trail then onto the neighboring land with the storage building. I couldn’t help but wonder if he noticed that I had called him Rob, not Robert or Bobby, but he didn’t seem to flinch at all when I finally felt comfortable enough to respect his request and allowed the word “Rob” to roll off of my tongue. We found Kurt across the pasture walking towards a farmhouse in the distance. I hollered out his name, he turned, and then waved at us to follow along and meet him. Robert and I looked at each other and we both rolled our eyes and laughed. We walked a couple of minutes while Kurt stood facing the mountains. When we finally reached him, his face told a story I hadn’t seen in a very long time. He was smiling from ear to ear and looked incredibly happy. His eyes were shining bright blue and he appeared to be in a trance of peaceful tranquility.
“Isn’t this place amazing?”
“Yes Kurt, it’s very nice,” I said. “I’m glad you’re having fun over here but we’re ready to go for that ride. Are you ever going to get off this land so we can get going? And you need to get off of that ankle too and give it a rest.”
“Yes, mother,” he said as he glared at me. “My ankle is fine and feels good so you can stop worrying about it now.”
“Okay, we’ll let’s go!”
“Seriously Kurt, let’s get out of here,” Robert added.
“Wait a second, look at this for a minute.”
“Look at what, Kurt?” I looked around and used my hands to point at nothing in particular.
“This! This beauty, this amazing beautiful place.”
“Kurt, are you smoking something or are you taking something?” Robert asked.
“Nope, I’m clear as a bell. Robert, you have discovered a really beautiful place here, I love it, and I’d like to move here.”
“Oh my God,” I said. “I knew you were going to say that.” I looked up at Kurt and Robert and at that very moment a look of desperation washed over my husband’s face and it was then that I realized how tired of the city he was, tired of the grind the traffic the crime the smog the helicopters over our home every five minutes looking for criminals and so tired of the masses that never seemed to relent. On his face and in his heart in once split instant, I recognized a desire to change his life and knew that he was about to drop a major bombshell on our married life.
“I’m serious Susie. I want to find out about this property from the owner, talk to him about how much he’s asking for it and then figure out how to put a house on this land.” My heart stood still as Robert looked down at me with a smile as broad as his shoulders.
“I can call Dan English, and tell him you’re interested if you want me to.”
“ A man named Dan English is the owner?” I asked in a low unattractive sounding growl.
“Yes, Dan is the owner of this land and he’s the guy I bought my land from. He’s the one who lives up on that hill; see the house he’s building and that fifth wheel up there? Dan and his wife Tammy live in that trailer while they are putting up their dream house.” Kurt and I both looked up the hill to see a truck, a red car, a fifth wheel trailer and a lot of 2x4’s standing up and nailed together.
“Rob, are all of those sticks the wood that will frame his house?” Both Kurt and Robert broke out in laughter over my weird and broken construction lingo.
“Yes Susie, those sticks are framing his house!”
“Kurt, let’s get out of here, please!” Pleading in a juvenile voice, just wanting to get in the truck so that we could move off of this chunk of land that did not belong to us, nor did I want it to belong to us, I stomped my feet and held onto Kurt’s arm in attempt to tug him toward Robert’ house. I only wanted to drive away to see the landscape of this beautiful country, a ride that I had been waiting for five days to enjoy.
“All right! All right, settle down, we’re leaving now, right after I grab a beer.”
“Kurt, you’d better get your butt in that truck or I’m gonna have a cow right here on this prairieland.”
“Well at least you’ll be in the right place to drop a calf!”
“Rob, don’t encourage him, please,” I begged as I looked up at him, his towering physique shadowing me with his massive six foot seven inches of height and his 285 pounds of solid weight. Finally, both men began walking toward the little trail and I was ever so relieved to climb into Robert’s truck, actually, for a ride through the country with Robert behind the wheel. 





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