Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bunched Up Like Pearls On a String

While today marks the final day of the week-long spaghetti western Joe, Margaret and I have been on, we actually spent our final full day in Cheyenne yesterday. Today is day centered around a trip south (about an hour or so) to Boulder Colorado to show Joe for the first time and Margaret and Rob for the second time a place that shall always hold a special place in the little briquette that is my heart.

We spent our Friday in Cheyenne taking in the sights, sounds and smells of CFD. Frontier Days is a phenomenon upon which I would never have stumbled but for Rob's present employment and residency here in the wild frontier. His presence here prompted our presence here - a presence that candidly our 23 y/o son has taken with more than a pinch of good grace, considering that his 'rents and his grandfather have been living under his roof for a week. Whether we make this trip again next summer I know not but regardless of whether we do, this week has been an exceptionally wonderful experience.

On Friday morning, for the third and final time the good folks who run CFD (volunteers all) put on a pancake breakfast. It is an event that takes place annually on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday of CFD. It is conducted thrice during the week at the Cheyenne Depot, which is a fully-operational and damn busy freight train terminal through which trains - bearing the Union Pacific logo and others - take on and discharge their loads more than 100 times a day, 24 hours a day. The morning gathering feeds more than 10,000 people. The menu is straightforward: three pancakes, a slice of ham, syrup, butter, cold milk for the kids and hot coffee for the adults. The food is delicious and the price is even better. Three times a week more than ten thousand people are fed for free.

We were there Friday morning shortly after the food started flowing and about twenty minutes after we got into line, which required us to queue up about two and one half blocks from the Depot, we were eating our morning meal. The line was manned by volunteers and while everyone who was there was hungry, there was no jostling, pushing or shoving. It was as if all knew that (a) there was more than enough food for all to eat; and (b) the wait was going to be insignificant. Perhaps they all knew what I came to realize during the week I was here, which was that all involved with this festival - the CFD - were so cordial and so friendly that acting like a jerk would have seemed wholly inappropriate - almost an offense against them.

I do not vacation well. I do not do well spending time outside of my element. Yet, this week, in the company of Margaret and Joe and in the presence of Rob, I had a hellaciously good time in the unlikeliest of places - far, far away from home.

When I close my eyes tomorrow night, I shall go to sleep 'neath my own roof and in my own bed for the first time in more than a week. I shall indeed miss the lights of Cheyenne - including its brightest light - for as long as he is here and we are elsewhere. Yet I shall be warmed by the memory of the time we have spent here for quite some time to come.


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