We are the red scoria roads and ponderosa covered hillsides of the Tongue River Valley. We are every flavor of Shasta, slurped down in the midday sun, outside of the dusty branding corral. We are tree forts, baling twine, and lost matches with green beans out of a can. We are the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and Montana of 1882.
We are all of these things. The accumulation of childhood memory and generations of American experience. We are all of these things and so much more. Our lives have blossomed and spread beyond the soil of our youth. We have grown far and we have grown apart, yet we are still the sum of the years that proceeded us and the years we shared on the Quarter Circle U.
Regardless, of how far we go and how far we grow, we will always be rooted in those experiences. We gather around the familiar green cookhouse table and share particular versions of our childhood, each with our personal biases and understandings. All together for the first time in however many years, we are comfortable with the people we have become. Comfortable enough to let down our guard and layout our individual fears and insecurities, too build a more complete picture the childhood we shared in this place.
I sit and listen, as our stories begin to overlap. Each story rises in the air above us, melting into the those that came before. Each story, enough to stand on it’s own, creates something greater as it joins the others around this table. I sit and watch, as these stories grown out of childhood, create the scaffold of irrefutable strength that frames our adult lives.
Like the stories we tell, we are enough to stand alone. We have gathered friends, spouses, and children around us. We created lives of purpose and love, I am proud of the people we have grown into, but together we become something greater than our wholes. Thank you for this evening around the cook house table, thank you for a childhood filled with magic and dirt, thank you for being outstanding human beings.
I love you,