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

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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