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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chapter Thirteen, Snippet Two

November's Chilling Sunset- Three Forks MT, 2006




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



             After his disappearance into the sunset, it didn’t take long before I could hear Cutter and Dinky barking and Lilly singing a happy wooo wooo song which could only mean that their master had returned from his huff and puff walk up the road. I heard the gate latch click open then looked out the window to see Kurt walking back into the paddock. Moments later the door opened and he said hello. I said hello back while I stirred the gravy for the meatballs and cut the fire under the rice. “You’re just in time for a nice hot dinner,” I said.
            “No thanks.”
            “You’re not hungry?”
            “I said no thanks.” Under normal circumstances I would try and try to convince Kurt to eat but these were not normal circumstances. Nothing about this move was normal; everything was up and down and in the air. This wasn’t a tangible situation, I couldn’t see or touch or feel this project coming to life because we had only just begun and so far we were stubbing our toes on the process. Although our journey on the prairie had only just begun it seemed as if we had spent a lifetime in the little trailer that I was working hard to keep from becoming a rat hole. As my husband walked past me without a word more I inhaled a deep breath, bit my tongue, shut my mouth and carried on with cooking the meal. Kurt went to bed, lying there fully clothed under a blanket. I served my dinner on a paper late to avoid washing a dish and wondered about things as I sat there at the table, alone, as I ate in silence. The meatballs were delicious and I remarked to myself that the Italian breadcrumbs eggs and fresh minced onion made all the difference when making meatballs in brown gravy. Maybe it was because I prefer all things Italian, how could I not? But in this case, there was no denying that the bland and basic flavor of brown gravy and ground beef rolled into balls was much improved with the touch of onion garlic basil and oregano. As I appreciated every bite of my meal I contemplated a second helping but felt self-conscious hogging the tastiness of this well cooked dinner, especially if Kurt was only lightly sleeping and could hear me going for another trip to the pan. And if he was in a deep sleep then the sound of me rattling lids to pans and scraping up gravy with the metal spoon certainly would wake him so quietly, I made my way down the steps after closing the heavy metal door with a Trepidatious click. After walking up to the hydrant to fill the water jugs, stopping by the big house to pop in and say hello to Brenda and the rest of the family, I made my way back to the trailer to drop off the water jugs and then I walked out the paddock gate to head over to the slice of land in a world that was supposed to become our new home. The dogs followed me, of course, never allowing me to go anywhere without them they were quick to tap on my heels in order to escort and protect as we walked up to the farthest corner of the land that now had our name on it. The prayer corner was the only place on earth now where I could tune everyone out enough to commune with God and be still in thought, meditation, prayer, devotion, and contemplation. To find solace, I had to walk away to my little church on that farthest corner of our pasture. Standing there, the dogs would lie down for a nap, now knowing after a full month of walking here, that we would be a while. Yes, we had been in Three Forks more than a month now so looking back was a good thing, maybe. Maybe we had achieved more than it felt like we had but then the wallet emptied out as if we’d been here for ten years. I was worried beyond fear, but praying helped me to remain calm enough that I didn’t become crazy over it. Praying helped to control my rattling nerves.
            I truly felt God answering my prayers. Walking away from the sight before my eyes was difficult. Pink and blue and yellow and orange painted the sky as the sun set just up and over the hill where Helicopter Dan was building his new home. The power of the sky in Montana filled me with immediate hope and gratitude for the masterpiece before me. The sky was magical; it moved me to tears on a nightly basis. Each sunset was uniquely magnificent implanting renewed faith and belief within me. Although the transition from California hadn’t been easy, each time I returned to the prayer corner in the pasture, the power of Montana’s sky released all negativity and doubt. I wondered if everyone in Montana felt the same way about the sky, or maybe it just me. Did everyone who came here find God in a deeper and more meaningful way, as I had? I’ve always known God, as I’ve told you many times but each and every visit to the pasture became an unforgettable event. Spiritually I had grown in ways I’d never even imagined, but I only felt this growth when I was there, in the pasture, leaning against the skinny metal pasture fence post with barbed wire twisted to it and connected to the next post and the next and the next…I never felt it in the chaos of the day when dealing with Kurt and the family, I only felt God when I was in my church up on the corner of the pasture. My little prairie pasture church had become my safe haven and now, I didn’t want to leave church to return to hot tempers and controlling men and half crazed hormonal women and bills piling up and money disappearing left and right from our account because of this expense and that expense that we just had to afford. My nerves were standing on the end of my arm hairs now and every time I had to hear about a problem of any kind I would shake like a leaf with nervousness but try to hide it, suppress it, so I could be the supportive and upstanding wife who could work like a construction crew guy and not complain like a broken down old mule. Hee haw, he haw.
The truth was, I thought God was only at the prayer post, which is what I was calling it now that Kurt and his new helping hand began to pull out the old metal stakes with barbed wire twisted and tied to them and pounded the new wood posts into the ground and then stapled the new pasture fencing to the wood posts with long metal staples. Inasmuch as my heart would bloom wide open like a Zinnia, brilliantly painted by God’s hand with the most vibrant colors and each breath I took I could feel his love for me, once I would walk away from my little church, I would forget His love until I would return.
I leaned against the new post, which was much more comfy than a metal stake up my back, and noticed that Joslyn, Kurt’s helper, would look back at me every once in a while as if he was thinking, “What’s wrong with that woman anyway is she weird or crazy or both?”
            Joslyn was a good hand; Helicopter Dan was right about that. Hard working, knowledgeable and gifted, he was exactly what the doctor ordered despite my despair over parting with our hard earned cash money. Joslyn was a breath of fresh air that was most welcomed by two weary people who were both filled with worry and exhaustion. In no time at all Kurt and Joslyn had all of the fencing up around the land except in the front area where we needed to keep it open for John’s big trucks and the trucks that would eventually arrive with our modular home ready for delivery. But the storage locker pasture was completely closed in now and had its lovely pasture gates hung expertly so that they closed perfectly and stayed latched, didn’t swing back open like I had seen on other property. It was comforting to witness the progress now, with sore eyes that needed cleansing by good news and the pretty picture of our land taking shape in the form of a home. Well, the promise of a home, eventually.
            Every day I would walk over with lunch made either from my tiny little kitchen or from Three Forks Market’s service deli. As much as they appreciated the homemade lunches, I could see the twinkle in their eyes when I would unveil the corn dogs or mini tacos or fried chicken, Jo Jo potatoes and ranch dressing for dipping…all of those good greasy snack foods that tasted oh so delicious but that were oh so unhealthy. And there were days when they would come to the trailer for breakfast too, but those days were very few. Usually Kurt and Joslyn were on the work site bright and early now that our neighbor up the road with the heavy equipment business came down and excavated the hole in the ground in a matter of one full day which completely surprised us. We paid a pretty penny of $2000,00 for his services of digging the hole and removing several huge tree stumps but to this day I feel that it was worth every cent because having that hole in the ground meant that Kurt could get working on the shop.
            Once the hole had been properly dug out, it was in the nick of time that Helicopter Dan and his crew of Joslyn, Tam, their daughter Manthee and another hand named Adam all met at the big hole in the ground just after the sun rose on a cold morning in early November. Kurt and I were hoping to see Robert join our crew only to be disappointed to watch him drive past us raising two fingers off of his steering wheel with a weak wave as he made his way to work at his new job at Lowe’s. Giving up on the Sheriff’s Department was disappointing, but I wasn’t surprised to learn that he had passed on another career opportunity. Robert had been complaining for several weeks about working in the jail system in Bozeman and was not happy with the lack of progress he was making towards becoming an officer on the beat. Although his lifelong dream of working in law enforcement appeared to be over he was putting on a good face about returning to his fallback source of employment. So now once again Robert was back in the retail saddle where he seemed to be most comfortable. But now that we really needed Robert’s help he was knee deep himself, in training for his new assistant manager’s position for one of the biggest retailers in the nation. We would be hard pressed to see him anywhere near the building of our shop and the setting of our home or anything to do with the transformation of our land. We were on our own, and yet felt so safe here now with all of these strangers who were giving and friendly and hardworking and small town nice. The tension caused by Robert’s consistent lack of participation in the build of our home was deeply disturbing to Kurt and I and it was very embarrassing to me personally. As he drove past all of us gathered in the extreme cold temperatures that early November morning, Dan and Tam looked at me with a curiosity that only could be described as dismay, as we all wondered if and when Robert would ever lend a hand to his Aunt and Uncle whom he had urged to move here so that we could all be a family again.
            It’s all very deep in the weeds, the truth about the flip flopping feelings Robert had for Kurt and I. It was a constant source of mystery, how he treated me and reacted to every word that I uttered. Always on pins and needles in his presence, I began to avoid him more than ever. Brenda and I discussed her son at length on a daily basis, both of us attempting to understand the man. She too, felt uncomfortable around Robert and felt as if she was not good enough, worked hard enough, or did things well enough for her to earn his respect. But if we put Robert in a room of “redneck” men who were drinking and discussing guns and ammo and killing game in the woods or how many gophers they had mutilated last weekend, well, he would emerge as someone neither of us could recognize. Alive, awake, happy, joyful, exuberant, talkative, giving, and playful. As the mean, nasty judgmental and argumentative Robert would disappear  I would stand in the corner of his kitchen upon occasion when his buddies would come by to eat and drink and brag about this or that, and I studied Robert so that I could belter understand him; who he was, or moreover, who he had become. As much as I had always adored him, I swear to you, I did not recognize this person acting like a longtime Montana resident who’d been hunting and raising horses on a ranch all of his life. The bull coming out of his mouth was absurd as he continued to prove to me that although he was thirty-four years old he continued to live in fantasy land. It hurt me deeply that Robert sustained his fantasy world refusing to see life realistically. But what hurt me even more than his inability to develop his own personality rather than emulate others that he admired, was the fact that he was so ashamed of my appearance that he purposely ignored me in front of his friends, would not look at me or speak to me, and several times I witnessed him whispering mean nothings into his friends’ ears while looking right at me and then he and the friend would crack up in laughter as he turned his back to me. Yes, those events hurt me deeply, mystified me, as I attempted to love my nephew and to be a part of his life. But I was learning that I could not trust him, or his wife, which surly was the cause of both Kurt and my disappointment in him. We worried about everything in those days, but Robert was always at the top of our worry list.
            Carrying on no matter what adversity we faced was our only choice. We had to continue on with our daily list of tasks. While Dan and his crew and Kurt worked the concrete that a truck had poured earlier that morning, and the crew expertly created the foundation for the shop, I kept myself busy with cleaning the trailer, again, and driving over to the Three Forks Café to pick up my order of ten cheeseburgers and ten orders of fries. I delivered the food to the hungry workers who were a whole lot grateful for the lunch break. The hours went on and on while they all worked and worked to get the concrete set before the temperature dropped below freezing that night. It was a very close call in achieving that goal, and I felt so bad for everyone who had worn themselves out all day and night while fighting a weather system that was coming in for the long haul of winter. My size 56  men’s Carhart jacket proved its worth of $100.00 as I walked back and forth from the trailer to the shop site with thermos’s filled with my magical hot cocoa made from scratch, of course, with just a hint of Tahitian vanilla. Styrofoam cups were stuffed into the deep pockets of my jacket while my gloved hands carried the thermos and a plateful of warm chocolate chip cookies that I had just removed from the trailer oven. Everyone was happy to have the hot beverage and sugar rush before they finished off the job in the wee hours of the next morning. I stood over the fire pit that Joslyn and Kurt had built in the forest garden next to the shop site and warmed myself as I marveled at the heart and soul of these people. How incredibly dedicated they all were to the idea of helping a friend and neighbor. Tears welled in my eyes, as I thought about how giving they were, no matter the challenge of beating the freeze. They worked as though this was the most important thing in the world to them and I was moved to weakness in my knees realizing the nature of these good people. It was astounding, to think that perfect strangers would care so much about Kurt and I. We were both amazed by Helicopter Dan and Tam, their daughter Manthee, Joslyn and Adam. Their hands and feet and back bones will forever be stamped into the concrete foundation and floor of our shop, along with their goodness and humanity.
            Alas, the foundation had been successfully poured and the shop floor was sufficiently set and ready for the building of the steel shop that lay in wooden boxes strewn across our upper pasture that had been delivered by a freight company. Collective sighs and deep breaths of satisfaction filled the chests and consciousness of Kurt and Dan while they walked around the shop floor to inspect their work from the prior day. It was a fine job, hey had done together, and Kurt learned so much from Dan who proved to be an expert at concrete work. Joslyn was scheduled to join Kurt the next to begin the process of opening the wooden crates in the pasture to sort through the steel parts that they would need to raise the barn, so to speak.
            Brenda and I shared coffee together that day, so happy that the big job had been completed and we were one step closer to getting into the house that was being built. Our joy and laughter was interrupted though, by a phone call from Brenda’s sister relaying a message that Mr. White had suffered a heart attack and was in hospital facing surgery that very day. Naturally, Brenda became hysterical and inconsolable. Worrying about her ex-husband sent Brenda to her bed for the rest of the day so I walked back to the prayer post with the dogs, to ask my friend up in the sky to watch over Mr. White and to spare him from all discomfort and despair.



2 comments:

  1. Susie, you have outdone yourself once again! Each snippet and every chapter gets better and better.The way that you described your meatballs, I could almost taste them! If I close my eyes I can picture your little prayer corner. I truly love how you write from your heart.I will definitely be the first one to buy this book as well as Wherever The Wind Will Blow it, when they come out in paperback and Believe me, its bound to happen!! Thanks again for another wonderful look into your lives!I am of course looking forward to the next snippet!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Renee White, you remain my biggest fan and I do appreciate your loyalty to my work. There's nothing more gratifying to an author than hearing from his/her audience and I truly get a kick out of your comments, each and every post. Stay tuned for lot's more action and trips down Denial! You know, that river in Montana!

    Best to you always,

    ReplyDelete

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~ Susie Rosso Wolf

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