Saturday, April 18, 2009

A good buy and The Visit!

First, the good buy!

After many years in business, my son Hat Dude is closing his online store, Pale Rider Hat Company. He has marked his remaining merchandise way, way wholesale and below. Check it out. You might end up sending me a thank you note for this tip!

And now, The Visit

I have a hope chest full of photos and memorabilia. No scrapbooks for me. Not that I don't like scrapbooks. I do. It's just that I'm confused on how to organize them.  Chronologically? By child? By husband? You see my problem.

I was looking for a piece of artwork in the photo chest this morning and ran across this story of mine which was published many years ago. It's based on a trip over a little-traveled pass in Colorado that my mother and I took when I was a kid. Thought you might like to read it.

The Visit 



I sneezed again as dust sifted up from the wagon floor. My face was so tightly pressed against the rough-hewn boards that I banged my forehead every time I sneezed. But to lift my head meant I might accidentally see over the side of the buckboard the sheer cliffs that dropped off on both sides of the slash of rock used seldom for a road. 

My mother and I were going visiting.

We had never gone visiting before. I was born at Lonely Ranch and had never been off it. Father had, but not often; Mother, not in my memory, although I supposed those two people had to come from somewhere. I had never asked and knew I shouldn’t.

I was off those flat, dry, windy acres that made up our ranch now and into the high mountains. Perhaps if Father had been driving, I would be feeling braver. But it was Mother reining the team of horses, driven by loneliness and the rumor of a new neighbor lady with children living a day’s ride from us.

I sneezed again and lifted my head slightly to avoid bumping my nose. The thought entered my head that perhaps it was not the precarious road that made me hide my face but the thought of other children waiting at the end of that road. The thought of visiting.

A buck scampered up the slope and onto the dirt ribbon of road in front of the horses. With one eye over the wagon’s edge and one eye shut tight in fright, I watched the deer prong along, white tail in the air. He showed no fear of us. Perhaps had never seen our like.

We followed the deer a mile more before he leaped off into the trees. More miles passed and I got braver and higher in my seat. I was bolt upright when far down in the valley below, someone waved frantically up to us. 

One – no, two tiny figures were running through the pasture towards a house. I knew they were shouting but I could not hear their sound.

“Come here!” their waving arms said. “Come see us!”

The children rushed into the shack and burst out again, followed closely by a woman, apron waving. My mother’s fine foot in a man’s heavy boot stood itself firmly on the brake lever, slowing our descent down the mountain and into their valley.

“We’re coming to visit!” I yelled , standing on the wagon’s seat and holding onto Mother. “We’re visiting!” I yelled again, knowing they could not hear me.

The woman ran into the sod house, then out again, patting her hair into place, apron gone now. The children were hopping up and down, first on one foot, then the other, then both at once.

Myself, I pounded on my mother’s shoulder in excitement.

“We’re visiting! We’re visiting!” 

But it wasn’t me yelling this time. It was my mother calling out, her face laughing, her hands blistered from the reins.

Lonely Ranch was almost a full day’s ride behind us.


  1. Cher, that is a lovely piece of writing! How long ago did you write that? Is it really a true story? My, have had an interesting life. One of these days, I am going to find out more. I so enjoyed reading...thank you!

    Going to visit your son's site now.


  2. For Real? If it is, are you really that old to have ridden in a horse and buggy? ;) If not, it is a beautiful piece of writing just the same. Enjoyed it.

    And by the way, I went to your son's hat sight and I ordered all three beauties in the picture. They'll be shipped overnight.
    everything vintage

  3. Cher, you need to pick up an award from Moonlight Hollow!


  4. Malisa and Jodie, My mother and I crossed that pass on the narrow road when I was a kid but it was in a car, not a wagon. The cliffs were real, the deer was real, my hiding and our fear were real. The children in the valley happened on another car ride. My father wouldn't go down into their valley to visit them, something I never forgave him for!

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wrote it at least 25 years ago.

    The Texas Woman

  5. Wow Cher, that's cool how you can be so imaginative of times past.
    I wonder where those children are today?? Interesting thoughts.
    I love love love reading your little stories and as for the one below about the nursing home, I was in tears!
    BTW...there must be something wrong with the postal service as I have yet to receive my three beauties. Which one is yours???
    everthing vintage

  6. Yes...a new story from you! I love your writing... I can put myself right into the situation! Excellent.

    PS... I scrapbook as I feel order because my life never is!

  7. This story belongs in a children's story book.

    One history book I taught from years ago offered
    little sidebars containing fascinating personal history snippets such as yours. Whoever wrote that text knew how to stir and tweak and cajole the imagination of reluctant little scholars.
    It worked for me; those were the first things
    I read in each chapter before working up a lesson plan.


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