- Susie Rosso Wolf
- 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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GrumpySusie@msn.com — Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy "New Prairie Woman". ~ Susie
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Chapter Twelve, Snippet Three
Our General Contractor, John Mellum, finally breaking ground on our land.
New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Twelve, con't
As I waited for time to click by and progress to be made on our land little Bella was growing like a beautiful Montana wild flower. April had become a wonderful doting mother, rarely leaving Bella’s side and Brenda was right there day and night to assist April with any of her needs including working fingers to the bone keeping the house spotless and meals prepared, laundry washed dried and folded then put away in each room. As much as the women had impressed me with their constant loving care of my tiny great niece, Robert’s fathering skills impressed me beyond the beyonds. Because he was living out of state when raising Snowflake and Cricket, I missed watching how he parented his daughters. Now I was seeing him in a completely different light each time I walked over to the big house to visit or to shower. Robert carried his new baby as if she was the most important person on the face of the earth, holding her securely in his giant arms, handling her like a professional nurse. I was fascinated, watching him with Bella, she was so small, just weighing five pounds ten ounces when she was born. Bella looked like a baby doll in his arms. Indeed, Bella was a baby doll, she was so sweet and such a good baby too and I loved to watch her and sing my little songs to her, wanting to introduce her to Italian arias and art songs. I sang the Italian songs and everyone would laugh and more times than not they would sing along in their comical manner, especially April who loved Italian music, well she loved music of all kinds, and loved the classic singers of the old days such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet. It wasn’t unusual to walk in the door to hear Frank Sinatra bellowing. But Robert was a country music fan and only played country music on his truck stereo which was cranked up when he turned onto Conifer Trail. Music was important to all of them in the big house, and of course, music was important to Kurt and me too, having dedicated our entire marriage to Kurt’s career in the music industry as an engineer in sound. It was apparent that Miss Bella shared her family’s love for music because each time she heard music in her miniature ears she would coo and smile and kick her darling little feet inside her pink nighties. I loved to pick her up and hold her, feed her a bottle, look at her and gaze into her eyes. Bella was an angel to me, and because I couldn’t get enough of her I always walked by the master bedroom each day after I would shower, brush my teeth or start a load of our laundry. Many times the door of the master suite would be closed which meant that April and Bella were both sleeping but when the door was open I would peek in the doorway to be sure April was dressed and Bella was awake. Many times I would be waved in by April and she would lovingly place her angel baby in my arms. When I held Bella, everything made sense. The effort to bring our family back together made sense and the Christmas card that Brenda sent to us in 2005, with her heartbroken cry for her best friend, made sense, and the drive out to the Ontario Airport with a tray of fresh Manicotti for my nephew who had abandoned us, made complete sense. Indeed, the manicotti was the recipe for the return of love that would catapult our family into reuniting in a way I had not expected. And now when I held Bella, everything made sense to me and my heart swelled with a deep, deep love that I had not felt since I fell in love with Kurt.
Crying with joy tears came easy and frequently to me because of the magic of Bella’s love so it was natural that when I would return to the trailer I fell into peaceful meditation and prayer. I continued to pray for every aspect of my life during those early days in Montana. I prayed for Kurt; for his health and strength to fulfill his dream and vision. I prayed for good fortune and wealth because I worried so much about money and the expense of this dream and vision. I prayed for Robert, Brenda, April and the girls. Praying for peace between all of us was essential, it was vital that we all get along, respect each other and love each other as a bonded family. I prayed for that bond to develop and stick like glue to all of our hearts. I also prayed for my health and self-confidence as I attempted to lose weight, for my physical ability to help my husband. It was easy to meditate and pray in Montana. Walking up to the far corner of our land with the dogs, standing there looking out at the mountains, the enormous white puffy fluffy clouds floating across the deepest purest blue any eyes could ever see made it so easy to pray. I realize that I’m repeating myself not only in the telling of my prayer but in the beauty of the sky and mountains and the importance of the prayer but as I would stand there in awe of God’s love and His grace-forgiveness and blessings upon all of us, I greedily asked for more. I wanted everything to be all right. It wasn’t about me, per say, it was more about me, wanting and needing security in all aspects of our family situation and daily lives. Kurt’s dream was to build his workshop, set the house on the foundation, design and landscape our property in a manner that would preserve the natural flowing attitude of the valley prairie floor and to live a happy life here. My dream, my vision, was to live in peace with my family, to cultivate a loving relationship with Robert, for Kurt to be able to find work here locally or for his sound companies to continue to employ him so that he would be able to provide a life for us here and that we would not fall into a bottomless well of debt. I was selfish, I knew, with my heavenly requests, but we had been down so many rough roads in our marriage and now sick and injured in my fifties, I could not imagine more of the past toils and struggles. Yes, I’m repeating over and over to you that I prayed and I prayed, prayed, prayed up to the mountains and cried soul cleansing tears each time I walked back to the work site where Kurt and our general contractor were now, talking about working on clearing the land of the final debris left behind that was too big and hard to move with our Kubota.
John Mellum was a fiftyish looking man with sandy blond hair streaked with natural toe head highlights. He was extremely fit with tanned skin, muscles bulging through his tight T-shirts and a bright smile with crystal blue eyes that had just a touch of sky gray in them. John was a very handsome man, very tough and rugged too. Originally he hailed from North Dakota but he was a Montanan through and through, had been living here for many years since he came west in search of warmer weather. He drove a big bright red diesel engine dually Ford pick-up truck that had a horse trailer hitched to the back of it. John was a capable carpenter/contractor who knew his business well and now after meeting him I was glad that we had chosen John via recommendation from Montana Homes of Belgrade. He wasn’t cheap, however, his rates were high but his ability and reputation seemed worth his fees.
After walking the land and area where Kurt wanted to set the house John and Kurt both signed all of the legal paperwork for the bank and escrow office necessary to commence construction. And then, they shook hands as gentlemen confirming their commitment to one another. I held my hand out to shake his hand too which startled John a bit but he held my hand as if it were a delicate flower. His shyness emerged as he dropped his eyes to the ground while quickly, softly, pulling his hand back from mine. Montana men were far different than any men I had ever met. For the most part, they were gentlemen always opening doors, calling you mam or girl or “Miss Wolf.” Montana had a thing about a woman’s place, her role in society or just plain daily living. Montana didn’t take too well to city women, didn’t have much time for them gals really. And I was one of them gals and noted to myself every time I met a man in Montana that this wasn’t Los Angeles or Portland or Northridge or Corvallis, this was Montana and men here, well…they were eighty years behind the times.
Several days later after signing the contract and payment agreement which included a hefty cash down payment, John looked every bit the Montanan cowboy in the seat of his tractor while he began the process of excavating a hole for the foundation of our new home. Never without his cowboy hat that was stained with dirt and grime around the rim he walked and talked the true essence of Montana and I couldn’t help but be a little taken by him. I wasn’t too happy with him, however, standing us up for so many days after he agreed to see us the next morning only to be a no-show and not answer our many calls or left messages. Kurt wasn’t happy either but we both exhaled a sigh of relief the morning we heard his truck come round the corner of Old town Road and Conifer Trail dragging a flatbed trailer behind his red Ford truck that carried his enormous yellow Caterpillar tractor. He drove onto our land through the designated drive way area then drove alongside the conifers to pull to the front of our property. We walked across Conifer to greet him and to watch him take the tractor off of the flatbed. I was excited and couldn’t wait to hear the tractor digging into the virgin prairieland, only to be disappointed again when he announced to us during our friendly conversation that he was merely delivering the tractor and would be back with more equipment later.
Later. Infinity in the definition of the general contractors’ dictionary. Later droned on and on without a phone call to explain his absence. Kurt continued to work and I tried as much as I could to help him but we both felt unnerved by John Mellum’s absenteeism.
We made our way into Bozeman and drove into the parking lot of Murdock’s Ranch Supply to purchase all of the material we would need to fence the land. Kurt parked around near the back of the store where the fencing material was stored and as we began walking into the back door I heard the familiar sound of John Mellum’s red Ford diesel. I tugged on Kurt’s arm as John drove right past us, looked right at us and waved. My heart skipped a beat with anxiety rolling through my body while my instincts took over like spiders crawling over my skin and immediately I rushed forward towards his truck so I could give him a piece of my mind but Kurt held onto my hand knowing that I was ready to kick John’s butt from Bozeman to North Dakota but alas, he didn’t park his red Ford he drove right through the parking lot out the driveway and onto Frontage Road. I could feel the heat from my face burning red as I became so angry I was temporarily rendered speechless. While we shopped for the fencing it was all we could talk about in a whisper so we weren’t overheard but once we had the material loaded into Old Blackie and headed for home knowing that within a day or two we would have our log fence posts delivered by Murdock’s, well, the sting of Mellum’s parking lot stunt began to fade away.
Early the next morning the red Ford diesel drove onto our land while we both slept in our cozy comfy trailer that was now feeling less foreign to us and more like home. The loud racket of the tractor’s backhoe and front end loader ripping into the ground woke us up and initially, we wondered what the noise was. Sleepily, I realized that it was John running his tractor and then Kurt agreed as he stretched up to the window from his bed and opened the curtains to look out and see the back end of the Caterpillar at the front of our property. Finally, we were breaking ground. Breaking ground in Montana. The A+ at the top of my book report on Montana came rushing into my heart mind and soul and suddenly once again I was transformed back into my Catholic Schoolgirl uniform with my white and tan Oxford shoes and bobby socks, white blouse, blue sweater and pigtails. A lifetime later, my husband and I walked to our land, hand in hand, to watch Mellum dig away the ground that had been grazing land for livestock and wildlife. Less than an hour later another truck sound rolled through the hillside and down onto the prairie and then the truck from Murdock’s appeared at the corner of Old Town Road and Conifer. The driver noticed us near the cluster of trees where we were standing so he drove over to us and parked in the newly mowed down weeds. Kurt instructed the driver where to drop the load of three hundred and fifty log fence posts and eleven green metal pasture gates. We were officially building our home in Montana. We held our breath, then exhaled, then held our breath again and again while the load was delivered and the truck drove away. We stood over the stack of posts and green gates that were piled high in the middle of the front pasture near the road and couldn’t believe that were here, as if we had been asleep for the last month and now suddenly we had been awakened by a rip roaring reality.
- 00.01 Prologue Part One (1)
- 00.01.P1 Cold Day in Paradise (1)
- 00.02 Prologue Part Two (1)
- 00.02.P2 Phoetry = Poetry + Photography (1)
- 00.03 Prologue Part Three (1)
- 00.04 Prologue Finale' (1)
- 01.E01 Chapter One Excerpt One (1)
- 01.E01.P1 Montana Breezes (1)
- 01.E02 Chapter One Excerpt Two (1)
- 01.E03 Chapter One Excerpt Three (1)
- 02.E01 Chapter Two Excerpt One (1)
- 02.E02 Chapter Two Excerpt Two (1)
- 02.E03 Chapter Two Excerpt Three (1)
- 02.P01 Chapter Two The Meditation (1)
- 03.S01 Chapter Three Snippet One (1)
- 03.S02 Chapter Three Snippet Two (1)
- 03.S03 Chapter Three Snippet Three (1)
- 03.S04 Chapter Three Snippet Four (1)
- 03.S05 Chapter Three Snippet Five (1)
- 03.S05.P1 The Rose Garden (1)
- 03.S06 Chapter Three Snippet Six (1)
- 03.S07 Chapter Three Snippet Seven (1)
- 03.S08 Chapter Three Snippet Eight (1)
- 03.S08.P2 Where We Live (1)
- 03.S09 Chapter Three Snippet Nine (1)
- 03.S10 Chapter Three Snippet Ten (1)
- 03.S11 Chapter Three Snippet Eleven (1)
- 04.S01 Chapter Four Snippet One (1)
- 04.S02 Chapter Four Snippet Two (1)
- 04.S03 Chapter Four Snippet Three (1)
- 04.S04 Chapter Four Snippet Four (1)
- 04.S05 Chapter Four Snippet Five (1)
- 04.S06 Chapter Four Snippet Six (1)
- 04.S07 Chapter Four Snippet Seven (1)
- 05.S01 Chapter Five Snippet One (1)
- 05.S02 Chapter Five Snippet Two (1)
- 05.S03 Chapter Five Snippet Three (1)
- 05.S04 Chapter Five Snippet Four (1)
- 06.S01 Chapter Six Snippet One (1)
- 06.S02 Chapter Six Snippet Two (1)
- 06.S03 Chapter Six Snippet Three (1)
- 06.S04 Chapter Six Snippet Four (1)
- 06.S05 Chapter Six Snippet Five (1)
- 06.S06 Chapter Six Snippet Six (1)
- 06.S07 Chapter Six Snippet Seven (1)
- 06.S08 Chapter Six Snippet Eight (1)
- 06.S09 Chapter Six Snippet Nine (1)
- 07. S03 Chapter Seven Snippet Three (1)
- 07.S01 Chapter Seven Snippet One (1)
- 07.S02 Chapter Seven Snippet Two (1)
- 07.S02.P1 Chapter Seven Snippet Two - "The Three Forks Song" (1)
- 07.S04 Chapter Seven Snippet Four (1)
- 07.S05 Chapter Seven Snippet Five (1)
- 07.S06 Chapter Seven Snippet Six (1)
- 08.S01 Chapter Eight Snippet One (1)
- 08.S01 Chapter Eight Snippet Two (1)
- 09.S01 Chapter Nine Snippet One (1)
- 09.S02 Chapter Nine Snippet Two (1)
- 09.S03 Chapter Nine Snippet Three (1)
- 09.S04 Chapter Nine Snippet Four (1)
- 09.S05 Chapter Nine Snippet Five (1)
- 10.S01 Chapter Ten Snippet One (1)
- 10.S02 Chapter Ten Snippet Two (1)
- 11.S01 Chapter Eleven Snippet One (1)
- 11.S02 Chapter Eleven Snippet Two (1)
- 12.S01 Chapter Twelve Snippet One (1)
- 12.S02 Chapter Twelve Snippet Two (1)
- 12.S03 Chapter Twelve Snippet Three (1)
- 13.01 Chapter Thirteen Snippet One (1)
- PP01. Prairie Post #1. (1)
- PP02. Prairie Post #2 (1)
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