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.

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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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chapter Twelve, Snippet One

A Subtle Evening Sky With The Moon Rising Through Our Trees On Conifer Trail.
Three Forks, MT- October, 2006

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Twelve

            The weather was holding beautifully while we continued to work our land and as it began to shape up and come together in Kurt’s mind, seeing his vision form into reality each hour that we worked, my thoughts moved away from being called an old broken down mule and of the tension that we sometimes experienced with the family. Hard work has a way of fixing things in one’s head so that we can move out of the stale smoke left behind from burnt up feelings and emotions, and get back into the clear fresh air. Finally now it felt good to inhale all of the crisp Montana air each morning soon after the sun came up peeking through the trailer curtains. Kurt was vigilant and driven, behaving in a manner I had not seen before. Kurt was the master of his ship now, carrying out his plan for our future and knowing exactly how he was going to get it all done. Kurt never missed a beat in those early days of transplanting ourselves from Northridge to Three Forks and I was in awe by his strength and determination.
            The tube of Aspercream was bone dry and I knew I’d be in trouble without more of this magic potion that was preventing me from becoming a crippled, useless pain in the rear end, so I ventured out on my own for the first time since we had moved while Kurt continued to work on the land and prepare for his meeting with the general contractor we had hired who was on his way in from Townsend to meet up with us that afternoon. I drove Zippie up Old Town Road with curios enthusiasm, happy that I had the presence of mind to bring my pocket camera along on this drive. The rolling hills of golden prairie grass was home to deer, antelope, coyotes, wolves, fox, occasionally a moose and any other form of wildlife that was hungry enough to venture down to the bottom land from up top the mountains. I wanted to make sure I had my camera with me at all times because this place was a treasure chest filled with beauty and remarkable experiences yet to come. 
             But I didn't see anything that moved or was unusual that day as I headed to the bridges over the magical Jefferson and then up the end of the road to Frontage. I knew I needed to turn right towards Three Forks Proper and it felt good to know my way into downtown. But once I drove onto Main Street I became confused about where the grocery store was. Main Street was so short and small with only a handful of store fronts and businesses but no grocery store in sight. Believe it or not we had only been to Bozeman for our supplies and basically ignored our little town, being as busy as we had been during those first few weeks trying to get our feet on the ground while taking care of all the important business with the land purchase and plans for excavation for both the house and the shop. So rather than guess and drive in circles I called Brenda from my cell phone and was laughing at myself when she described the right turn at the only stop sign in the middle of Main Street that landed me on the famous old Highway 2 which you could follow all the way up to the Lewis and Clark Caverns. But today I only wanted to find the grocery store and was relieved to discover it after the right turn, just up a ways right next to the Three Forks Rodeo Fairgrounds. The store was beautiful to my eyes, so small and quaint and every bit a small town local grocery market. I looked up at the bright sign above the steel structure that resembled a farmhouse to read the words “Three Forks Market, Your local Home Town Grocer.”  Just as I parked Zippie in the adequate parking lot my cell phone rang and it was Brenda asking me to do her a favor by bringing her two packs of cigarettes and she promised to pay me back as soon as she received her disability check. Of course I said yes, hung up the phone and then walked through the sliding glass automatic entrance doors and walked past four rows of cute red grocery carts pushed up against a wall that was painted with a beautiful mural of Montana, its rivers and mountains and Lewis and Clark on their Expedition. Large bags of dog food was stored on the opposite wall and next to the store window was a nice little picnic style table where you could sit down to have a bite to eat or take a rest. Once I passed the carts I then walked through another sliding glass automatic entrance door which opened up into the most darling store I had ever seen. Clean and bright and so welcoming, Three Forks Market was just what the doctor ordered with all of the country flair a newbie could want as a reminder of why we moved here in the first place.
            “Hello! How are you today?” The front cashier asked as she acknowledged me. I fumbled with my purse and cane but looked up from the grocery cart to smile and answer her back.
            “I’m doing great today, how about you?”
            “I’m just fine thank you!” I smiled back at this woman who appeared to be about my age and noted to myself that she had a very nice smile and lovely figure dressed in her black jeans with a white shirt and a black apron embroidered with red letters that spelled Three Forks Market. Making my way towards the produce department that was an immediate right turn with my cart from the entrance, my first impression was how small the area was but the bright colors of green and red and orange caught my eye and I was happy, to say the least, to know that we would have fresh produce out here on the prairie, readily available to us any day of the week. So the thought of relief set in deep as I began to cruise each isle to see what I could see on the shelves of this tiny market. Naturally, to me at the time, this place was minuscule after having come from grocery stores that were the size of football fields. But this wasn’t an LA grocery store, it was a home town market and I felt myself falling in love with this quaint little place and its fabulous painted murals of Montana on the upper walls of the interior portion of the market below the crown molding. And I also felt grateful for it as well.
My cart was filling up with all kinds of food we had not eaten since we had moved because most of our meals were prepared in the big house with the family unless Kurt was too tired to walk over and on those occasions I would simply heat a can of soup to share with a grilled cheese sandwich. But here I found a wonderful, yet very small, meat department with delicious looking cuts of beef, pork, and lots of chicken. A wide variety of beef caused me to choose several cuts to place into our trailer freezer so I also stocked up on easy side dishes such as potatoes and rice and pasta. By the time I found the last isle on the far left back wall I was in heaven with so many choices to choose from in this place. Again, relief washed over me with a sense of renewed independence. I would figure out how to take care of us out there in that trailer, I would do it and let nothing stand in my way because I knew that Kurt was feeling much of the same feelings that I was having about the family…something was off. We both just knew it.
The freezer section was satisfactory as well as the dairy department. All of the departments had a small variety of this or that but the basics were there and that was good enough for me. Several long shopping trips to Walmart in Bozeman with April and Brenda quickly became not only time consuming but a burn out. I had little desire to waste that much time away from the work on our land because a round trip to Bozeman usually devoured half a day at least. But more than that, one trip in particular, when I suggested to April that she allow me to pick up the grocery bill because after all, they were cooking more food now to fit us into their dinner hour and it was only right that I would treat her to a day at the market even though I always bought many groceries for their house and pantry and often cooked for the family myself, of course. But upon this occasion April was overcome by greed during her gifted shopping spree and managed to shock my sense of disbelief by packing not one but two carts to the brim totaling close to $400.00. To say that Kurt was outraged when I broke the news to him is a drastic understatement and he repeated to me several times over and over that we would never do that again. So, this little market was ideal for us, carrying a little of this and a little of that. As long as they had tomato sauce, pasta, ground beef and bread, milk, cheese and my Aspercream, I was in hog heaven.
As I made my way back to the front of the store the wonderful aroma wafting up and over the little market that I had been enjoying all the while of my shopping became too much for me to ignore and soon I was lurking over the glass covered service deli hot food counter. Fried chicken, fried burritos, fried potato wedges, fried pizza sticks, fried cheese sticks, friend won tons, fried chicken tenders…fried fried fried and more of it. It all smelled so delicious my mouth began to water and next thing I knew I was out of control ordering burritos and pizza sticks and chicken strips too. I also bought fresh baked brownies and some vanilla ice cream to go with them. For dinner that night I had planned to make a quick chicken fried steak dinner with mashed potatoes and green peas. More fried food. But I needed to  test drive my ability to truly take care of us from our wee little kitchen, knowing and feeling all too deeply that the days of the twenty-four hour welcome-mat at the big house were quickly disappearing.
The gal behind the service deli counter was very sweet and cheerful as she greeted me and chatted for a moment while she packed my order in the cardboard fried chicken to-go boxes. After that I made a quick side trip up the laundry detergent isle and the dog food was there as well so that was a convenience that I really appreciated. I picked up some detergent, dryer sheets and a box of dog cookies and was thrilled that they actually carried the brand of cookies that our critters loved the most. Lucky dogs, indeed. The grocery clerk that initially greeted me when I first arrived at the market called for a carry out on my behalf but I quickly let her know that I was perfectly fine handling my purchase myself and didn’t need to pull someone from their job inside the store. “But that’s the most important job we have here,” she said to me. What? Did I hear correctly? Did she actually say what I think she said? Couldn’t be.
“Say again?” I said, as I felt my own eyebrows knit into a look beyond disbelief.
“We carry everyone’s groceries out, unless they refuse the service.”
“I feel like I’m dreaming!” I smiled a look of shock and she stared at me as if I was a zombie from another planet, which technically, I was.
“Out of towner?”
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“Where are you from?”
“Los Angeles,” I told her, not knowing why I decided to tell her the truth after we had been so sternly admonished by Robert to not admit to anyone that we were from California because, Montanan’s hate people from California.
But she didn’t seem to react in a negative way, she remained friendly and then said with the bright smile I was coming to know and appreciate, “I’ve never been there myself. Don’t they give good service there?”
“Well, it’s just different there all together. No comparison, you can’t compare apples and oranges.” She looked down at her scale and cracked a smile that became a laugh and then I laughed when I realized that she had just weighed a sack of navel oranges. We both began to laugh uncontrollably. “What’s your name?”
“Janice,” she giggled out, while tears were rolling down her face.
“Janice, it’s so nice to meet you, thank you for the best grocery shopping experience I can remember having in I’m not sure how long. You’ve been very kind, and very funny! You made my day, Janice!” I smiled at her and she put her hand out to shake my hand and asked me my name as well. Then the young grocery bagger interrupted and asked if I was ready or if I’d like him to take my purchase out to my truck. I said yes, I’m ready and then I said good-bye to this nice woman who brought a smile on my face in a sweet and simple way. Janice brought a smile to my face in a small town kind of way, and I loved it.
On the drive home I stuffed my gourd with pizza sticks and the chicken tenders while holding onto Zippie with one hand, trying to navigate over the two bridges and the hillside. My God, this food is delicious, I said out loud as I looked in the rearview mirror and I wiped my mouth with a deli napkin, not wanting the evidence of my snacking to be apparent to Kurt when I pulled up to the property where he was riding on the Kubota. Guilt swiftly attacked me though, I had just broken my silent vow to stop binging, stop eating junk food and to stop eating in-between meals which technically this binge could be considered my lunch if only I wouldn’t have anything else to eat until dinner time. But I knew that wouldn’t be the case, and I also knew that the moment I walked into the trailer that I was going to tear into those brownies to gorge myself on a chocolate fix. Inasmuch as I longed to stay on track with a sensible diet of healthy food in small amounts so that I could drop the horrible weight that was plaguing me, gaining true control over my obesity issue seemed as far reaching as the moon. 

1 comment:

  1. I've lived in the city and in the country so I know how to handle both. For me, it's easier to go from country to city than the opposite.

    Hard time with eating...


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