Rodeo bound, our first few weeks back in our home country; we’re locked and loaded for Richey, Montana. This roping is the first social event our family will attend since our move and the three of us are giddy with excitement. We can’t stop exclaiming to one another, how good the country looks. We left Idaho in the midst of a drought; returning to Montana and Wyoming in one of the best moisture years folks can recall. The closer we get to rodeo grounds, the darker and more ominous the clouds on the horizon look.
After pulling into the rodeo grounds, we unloaded our horses and we staked up our range teepee. I like to acknowledge my Native roots by orienting my tent door to the morning sun and the East. My husband is kind enough to indulge my whims. With our horses watered and settled on grass, we settle in to visit. It’s good to catch up with old friends. Maybe it’s the miles. Maybe it’s the years, but before long our bedrolls beckon. The kid opts to camp in the pick-up, rather than the tent. He must be more intuitive than we knew. My husband and I tuck ourselves in, too. I sleep well, while it lasts.
In the wee hours of the night, rain begins pelting the canvas walls of the teepee. The accompanying wind whips open the carefully tied teepee doors. Wet canvas flopping in our faces, which are directly in front of the entrance, sleep is now impossible. It is my fault. As a result of our rush to pitch camp before dark and my insistence that the door face the East, we managed to set our tent up on an ever so slight incline. Had we made a logical choice and slept with our heads away from the door, they’d have also been downhill. Tolerating tent flaps, seemed less inconvenient. As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty.
Morning can’t come soon enough, but it brings little relief. The rain continues to come down. The tent is saturated and sometime in the wee hours of the morning water begins to pool on the floor. As it pools on the floor, it begins to soak through our bedding. Every time I shift my bodyweight, I create an new opportunity for water to soak up through the four inches of foam in our bedroll. Four inches of foam is decadently comfortable, but only when dry. A weak sun rises, we do too.
The rain keeps falling. I try not complain, moisture is no laughing matter in agriculture. I’m weak, Ill admit it. The heater in our pick-up never felt so good. Guy sniffed out coffee, one of my husband’s many talents. Definitely worth keeping him around for. While folks debate the pros and cons of going on with the show, we are undeniably old and cold, with no dry clothes or bedding. Another soggy night ahead of us, we pack our soggy selves up slink away.
Someday, maybe we’ll feel some shame for not sticking it out. Today, I’m happy to have had a warm nights sleep during the wettest August on record in Montana. I admire those knot heads, we’re lucky enough to call friends who gutted it all out. You are a fine bunch.
Regards from a sissy la-la,