Because of the coronavirus’ restrictions in New Mexico, I haven’t been to my childhood home in Branson, Colorado since the end of February. Finally, I decided I could come, and it has refreshed my soul.
Currently, my husband, Lin and I live in a beautiful wooded area in the east mountains above Albuquerque, and I love it there, but my childhood home of Branson touches a deep part of me.
My time here has been filled with seeing friends (I social distanced and wore a mask) and reconnecting. I saw a 93-year-old friend who still lives by herself and is a live wire for sure! Finally, I met her five-month-old great-grandson and marveled at this little sweetheart.
My brother knows how much I like to visit our parents’ graves in Trinidad, so one morning we drove there and put out new flowers. It’s always a solemn event but so heartwarming.
During my stay, my brother and I have visited our family ranch each day—a couple days in the morning and one day in the evening. We’ve seen a plethora of wild turkeys, a few deer and antelope. What we’re looking for is elk and bear! I take my camera, and we search the prairie and canyon land for wild life on any trip out.
Memories of so many years here with dad, mom and granddad flood my mind as we drive along the rutted dusty road.
“Remember when. . .” starts many statements, then we are whisked away to a time long ago:
- Our horse herd got struck by lightning one summer day, and it killed one mare and damaged two.
- We watched a rain storm on a beautiful summer evening then jump in the pickup and drove out to the ranch to see how much it rained. We always celebrated rain!
- Those good ole Branson dances where we all learned to dance to Eloy Gonzales & the Troubadours or Bob Jeffreys & the Nightriders.
So many good memories. Sadly, I leave on tomorrow, Monday—I arrived on Thursday afternoon. It’s never long enough!
I’d like to leave you with a couple poems I wrote in my first book, This Tumbleweed Landed, about my childhood home and life.
Horse Herd Struck by Lightning One summer afternoon after a severe thunderstorm, Granddad, Grandma, and I found several horses struck by lightning. It killed Flicka, Sue’s mare, by throwing her into the barbed-wire fence, wrapped up in the wire. It hurt two of our horses: Rusty, Dad’s favorite cutting horse. It looked like someone had taken his neck and twisted it out of shape and Prince, my 4-H gelding. He was stuck in his tracks, and his eyes were glazed! Prince was never the same! A devastating disaster to our horse herd. Nature’s cruel hand!
Branding Day Branding day began early with rounding up the cattle, the cows, and the calves. We had a cow/calf crop operation. First, we brought the horses into the corral, brushed and saddled them. Then we rode out after the cattle And herded them into the corral. A quiet time of communion And community. We separated the cows from their calves to work the calves; that created a lot of noise. The calves bawled the whole time, wanting their mamas! Dad and Granddad worked like a team; Dad branded and castrated on one side; Granddad vaccinated and earmarked on the other. At the branding table I was Dad’s little assistant. The smell of singed hair and the sound of the calf squalling filled my senses. I held the rope tightly that held the calf’s leg up. I took my job seriously. At times, Bub and I played— heated up irons in the open fire and branded our imaginary brands on the wooden boards of the chute. Once I got sick at the branding; I wrapped up in a blanket and slept by the fire— warm and comforted by the familiar smells and sounds!
A step away from routine to this quiet village and familiar faces and surroundings has recharged me. Can you still go to your childhood home? Do you? If not, where do you go to get recharged?
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~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post