BillOSmith.com

Bill’s Blog

Welcome to my blog, where I intend to keep you updated on news on my life and living in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan.

END OF THE TOUR

Donna asked me what I’ll remember best about our “ladybug heart” tour. I’ll remember a totem of community blankets in the Denver Art Museum. The Dismal River. Prairie Dog Towns.

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COWBOY JUSTICE

Just realizing how little justice I’m doing to the cowboys around us. These are high altitude ranches, about 7800 feet above sea level. Positive: rattlesnakes and poison ivy don’t like it this high. Negative: Cows can get a lung disease called “brisket” up this high. The managers actually run a test that determines lung strength of breeding bulls…just one of the many complexities of cowboy life, though several do play fiddle and French harp and, of course, banter:

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THE A BAR A

Yes, it’s a dude ranch, where neither Donna and I, nor Gus and Buddy, have been before — 45,000 acres in the Medicine Bow Mountains. Cowboy Bill greets you at the Howdy Gate, still miles from the ranch. The stop signs say WHOA. The streams sparkle. You can see the trout in the water, and the otters, and the deer crossing downstream. The aspens in the gullies are turning bright yellow. Sagebrush covers the hillside. About 6,000 black angus cattle roam in one of twelve pastures. On the horizon, there are puffs from a distant wildfire, burning since mid-June.

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SEE YA BACK AT THE…

We came down into Wyoming from the Black Hills, on long stretches of quiet road, marked mainly by snow fences, one big windmill farm, one colossal coal mining operation, and one odd town with telephone poles scattered for miles. Along the way, little brown signs reminded us of a proud and troublesome past – Bozeman Trail, Oregon Trail, Sand Creek Massacre.

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GUS AND BUDDY

We pause here to introduce you to our favorite travel companions – faithful, smiling, never-complaining companions – across three continents and now in the heartland….

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THE HEART TOUR: DAY ONE

September 9 is Day One of our “heart tour,” a heart-shaped car tour with Denver being the lowest point of the heart. From Denver we head roughly northeast through the flats of eastern Colorado, eventually reaching the Sand Hills of Nebraska, and heading north on Highway 83 to – where else? – Valentine.

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WHAT’S IN A NAME

Strange what one remembers at museums.  With all the masterpieces at the Louvre, I remember best an old wood 12th century crucifixion sculpture in the Medieval section.  At the Denver Art Museum, I remember best a painting where a herd of stampeding buffalo fade into the mist, an 1862 painting that eerily foretold the near […]

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FIRST DAY – FIRST WORLD

Today is my wife Donna’s and my wedding anniversary; it’s also the first day of a surprise trip out West in celebration of Donna’s 60th birthday. A perfect beginning…

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AROUND THE TABLE

I sit down and look around the table.  There are my parents.  There, my former mother-in-law.  There are my high school principal and my sophomore English teacher – what a tyrant she was!  And finally, with the smile of a pixie, a small Wisconsin farm woman. These six, all gone now, are alive on every […]

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Four a.m. December 25 by Bill O. Smith
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