In this, her second memoir, New Prairie Woman is Susie Rosso Wolf’s depiction of her journey from Los Angeles to the historical town of Three Forks, Montana. On these pages you will discover the grandeur of “The Last Best Place” through her writing, poetry and photography, the challenges of living in a twenty foot trailer in sub-zero temperatures and how love, perseverance, and the miracle of faith can lift a soul up from the depths of the deepest, darkest waters.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.
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 dosomething 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.
New Prairie Woman Susie Rosso Wolf Chapter Seven, con't
Falling into deep slumber in Brenda’s deliciously comfortable bed came quickly after the long trip so the moment I closed my eyes I drifted into the astral world of fluttering flickering dreams as I floated up and over the mountains and rivers and lakes with water angels dipping at the edges of the lake shore in ethereal dance steps as golden dragon flies and fire flies dodged and darted playfully through the air. I could hear a buzzing in the dream and I remember thinking those bugs are buzzing and getting louder and louder why are they buzzing like that? And then I could hear them calling my name in a strange buzzing voice; Suzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzie…..Suzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzie…..the buzzing continued to grow in volume then suddenly I was aware of a shaking feeling, a grabbing feeling on my shoulder. My senses kicked in to note a familiar smell although it took a moment or two for me to fully recognize the unmistakable scent of beer breath. “Susie, wake up, come on I need you, Baby, wake up please, come on open your eyes.”
“Kurt, I hope you have a very good reason for waking me up from a wonderful dream.”
“Yes I do I need your help.”
“What now? You’re drunk.”
“Yes I know I’m drunk but forget about that I’m hurt I need you to wake up.”
“Hurt?” Instantly I lifted up off the pillow and opened my eyes to see the dimly lit room from a night light in the wall below the end table near the bed that illuminated my husband’s face leaning over me with his hands reaching out to my face.
“Help me Susie, I’m really messed up,” he slurred. “I fell off the back porch steps and I think I broke my ankle.”
“Kurt, no, tell me you didn’t.” I placed the palm of my hand on his chest gently pushing him out of my way then ripped the blankets off of me while swinging my legs over the edge of the bed. I looked down at the floor to see one foot raised up while he hobbled on the other. “Crap, how the heck did that happen? And where have you been?”
“I was out on an Indian walk just enjoying this incredible place and all of the stars, Susie you should see the stars they’re amazing and the moon and all the coyotes howling and the cows mooing in the distance, I just love it here so much I can really feel the energy and the souls of the Indians.”
“Oh God, you’ve turned into Brenda. Great, Kurt, this is just great. Well, I guess we need to drive you to the nearest hospital. You’d better go wake Robert up so he can tell us where to go.”
“Oh no no no no no….I don’t need a hospital.”
“Yes you do, you have a broken ankle so you need to go in right away.”
“It’s probably just a bad sprain.”
“What? You said it was broken. Let me see your ankle. Sit down on the edge of the bed.”
He turned around and lifted himself up to slide onto the bed. I squatted down and gently lifted his injured right ankle into my lap. Pulling up his Levi boot cut pant leg, I could see the swelling and purple bruising in the poorly lit room. “I need to see this in good light. I’m going to lower your leg for just a moment, okay?”
“Okay, thank you Baby.” I put the foot down onto the floor and he winced. I eased off the bed and walked to the door to flip on the light switch. I turned back to see the foot and ankle and was not impressed by what I saw in the light. It did not look like it was broken. I rotated the foot from side to side, had him wiggle his toes, even had him pump his ankle flexing the foot up and then point the toes down. The flesh around the ankle bone was swollen and very colorful, but I did not feel or see a broken bone.
“Kurt, this is not broken.”
“I told you.”
“No, you woke me up and said you had a broken ankle!”
“I know but I wasn’t sure and I needed you.”
“Kurt, I’m gonna kill you. Get yourself into the bed and go to sleep.”
“Noooooo, I want to take you on an Indian walk! Come on Susie, let me show you this magical place Robert has here! You haven’t seen it yet.”
“I’m not kidding Kurt, get to bed. I’m tired and want to go back to sleep and you need to stay off that foot, elevate that ankle and get some rest. In fact, you should probably take some aspirin but you’ve been drinking so you can’t.”
“Oh pishaaaw. I don’t need any aspirin. Let’s go for a walk!”
“Kurt! If you don’t get your butt into this bed I’m going to take the truck back to Northridge and leave you here with your Indians! Now get into bed and go to sleep!”
“You’re a real buzz-kill,” he said.
“You’ll thank me in the morning,” I told him.
The next morning I was awakened by the sound of his soft snoring and throat clearing in his sleep. Quietly, I slid off the bed and lifted the covers at the foot of the bed to see his right foot and ankle. Discovering it had slipped off of the two sofa pillows I had put under it once I convinced him to get into the bed, I slid my hand under his foot and placed it onto the pillows. The ankle looked very swollen and bright blue with deep black markings running thru to the toes. It didn’t look good at all. I made my way out to the kitchen and discovered April standing at the sink pouring water into her coffee maker. She bid me a good morning and I returned the greeting then asked her if she had an ice pack in her freezer. She did and handed it to me. I wrapped it in a hand towel them placed it on Kurt’s ankle then woke him up to take some aspirin. He wasn’t too pleased about being shaken awake and refused to take the pills but finally did swallow them after I threatened to beat him within an inch of his life. I put the old man back to sleep then went off to the shower to and dress then had coffee and toast at the dining room table.
Every now and then I checked on Kurt’s ankle, changing the ice pack for a cold one and making sure the foot remained elevated on the pillows. He didn’t rise until four in the afternoon that day, feeling hung over and the pains from his unfortunate accident. Angry with himself for his stupidity, he apologized for “ruining our trip” knowing that his injury would put a damper on our planned activities.