I am close to average. Five feet four inches tall and some 20 lbs. over what I should weigh, blonde-haired, usually worn in a ponytail. Wear glasses with transitional bifocals because of vanity. I like physical activity and got used to it raising two precocious boys on a cattle ranch where daily chores were mandatory. The boys behaved like gas, filling the space they were in with their energy and creative antics. I got used to constant movement during daylight hours and mental excursions at night. Straining over the budget to figure out how to make the next heating oil payment, how to get a public school system to allow one of my sons to take calculus at age 10 and still find ways to honor the older boy’s desire to be the “big brother.” Struggled to keep my workaholic husband engaged with our lives. I often told people I was a single mother with two incomes. My husband’s income from his all-consuming day job went to the cows and we lived off mine.
Now I casually hike, bike, swim, ski, rock climb. Am not attractive in spandex. Do yoga; it is my church, but am stiff most mornings after I get out of bed. I read and write. Melt glass. I poke my nose into certain community events. Like when our local sheriff wished our local library ‘good luck’ with dealing with indecent or unruly patrons because he did not like the Librarian’s inclusion of a sentence in the Library Mission Statement offering acceptance of all patrons no matter race or gender orientation. The sheriff did thank, welcome and accept a militia dressed in camouflage to roam our community with their assault weapons, all with their safeties on, our District Attorney told me, all quite legal he said. As long as they supported the Sheriff and were white I thought. But for the most part politically I read my local paper’s letters to the editor and wonder at the thought patterns of my neighbors.
I have been married for 36 years, but have lived alone for the last 4 and a half. My parents died years back. Mom from cancer, Dad from heart and lung disease. My younger sister died in her early 40s from a heart attack. My older sister is doing well with her third husband. I have a nephew who birthed two beautiful children. He and his wife were married in California as soon as same-sex couples could legally marry. Then flew back to Texas, where it was not legal, and had a ceremony with family and friends, and a bumping DJ. Families that were friendly came. My family showed up with new cowboy boots purchased for the ceremony. Another nephew has mentioned he dates the same and different genders, but can not be open and tell his parents about his full life and loves because, he said, of their very conservative beliefs. His parents believe they are modeling God-fearing American citizens. That is one of the many models in this country.
I am plain white, not unique, special or a very adventurous person having epic events in my life, except to say this year I qualify for Medicare. To celebrate this momentous birthday, I am planning a Grand Adventure, a long-dreamed-of, finally possible, once-in-a-lifetime trip to climb via Ferrates in the Dolomites, hike on the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. I am super excited and also very average. Possibly even a little out of shape to do this, but am starting to work on improving my physical condition to take full pleasure in this Grand Adventure. Will keep you posted on my efforts and results.
Yet epic type things happen in my life way beyond any abilities I have to control them. I struggle and make mistakes. Try. Cry. Laugh. I am also aware of being white; finally financially comfortable I am very privileged. I acknowledge my struggles are very first-world white woman problems. And yet they are very real and universal struggles. We know things happen. Yet we still make plans. Some things hurt, and some feel good. Some things we do not know how to deal with. Some we do. And some things professionals recommend backfire, or they have no recommendations at all.
A few medical professionals I have had interactions with over the years have said, “I have no training in this” or “this is out of my bailiwick”, and I struggle alone. I have even been told tragic events that happened were my fault. I confess some things have so confounded me I did not know what to do. I have been told not to talk about certain things. Or only say nice things about events that affected me horribly. Yet sometimes, I know what to do, and sometimes I am asked to do something I know I should, or should not do, but I do not. Here is my epi,c non-epic, sometimes awoke, of not unique events life. I keep stumbling on.
Marie lives in the middle of a cattle ranch in Carson Valley. Semi-retired now she
spends time biking, hiking, swimming, skiing, rock climbing, traveling, and melting
glass. Born in Minnesota, raised in rural communities, she received a B.S. in
Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota. Met her husband while
scuba diving in Seattle and moved to his family ranch along the West Fork of the
Carson River in 1986. Immersed into ranching life with a lot to learn she wrote a monthly column for the local paper for 20 years about her experiences. However, regarding her two children she took Willy Nelson’s advice, one of her sons practices Law the other Medicine.
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