Day 2 (8/31/15)
After a shallow night’s sleep, during which I woke a dozen times, and heard my mom comfortably sleeping, she suddenly dragged me out of a delicious moment of solid snoozing with, “Katy! Are we going to breakfast at 6:30 or getting up at 6:30?” I responded, “Ma, I’m getting up at 6:30.” “Oh.” She said, “You have another 20 minutes.” Thank god I didn’t have to drive for 7 hours today!
We were on the road 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Mom again slept rather a lot of the way. 70% this time. At one point she commented that she must be making up for not having slept at all the night before. I said nothing.
It took four and a half hours to get to the Ranch. More than an hour of that time was spent filling the tank, pulling off the road to call the Ranch to let them know we weren’t going to make lunch, and mostly, dicking around in Missoula, hitting Goodwill looking for riding boots for mom. We had great hopes that a Montana Goodwill would be stocked with riding boots. Not so much! It sucked down a good hour, including stopping at a drug store to buy a toothbrush, hairbrush and a bag of chip, which turned out to be lunch for the two of us.
I was disappointed that mom slept for so much of the last stretch to the Ranch. It was only in the last 3 miles, when the road turned to gravel, and I had to slow down, that she woke up. I so wanted her to be wired with excitement, and looking for every landmark. After we exited the main highway, she did express recognition of the landmarks here and there.
It was quiet when we arrived. A sweet gal from the kitchen ran to let someone know we’d gotten in. Our cabin was ready, and Connie, who I’ve been working with since March on this trip, greeted us warmly, pointed out which cabin was ours, and then asked mom if she’d like to say “Hi” to Zella, who was at the ranch when mom worked here in the mid-50’s. Mom went with Connie to see Zella, and I drove the car over to the cabin and unpacked.
The cabin is two bedrooms, each with two twin beds, a small entry, and a bathroom. The living room is the porch that runs along the longitudinal length of the cabin. It has several seating choices, including a couch-like lounge with too many fun pillows. Sitting on the funky two-person rocker with mom before dinner was really enjoyable.
Mom had her moments:
There was live music and cocktails before dinner. When the bell rang to announce the beginning of the meal, mom and I got up and walked toward the dining room. We were the 2nd and 3rd people in line. The moment we were seated, with our dinners in hand, mom asked me if I wanted to eat right away. I replied it was fine with me. After two bites she asked if I wanted to eat this early because I wanted to get back to the cabin early. “No.” I replied. She kept at this until more people filtered in. As soon as others joined us, she was ok.
After dinner I asked her if she wanted to take a walk to the ‘working’ area of the ranch. As we strolled toward the barns and corrals, she started worrying because she couldn’t see the stables. Her worry turned to outright anxiety as we met two ranch hands getting into their trucks. She asked them where folks met to go riding in the morning. They pointed at the stables, and then asked if we wanted Andy’s (an owner’s) cell phone number. I said we didn’t need to call him. The two men left. Mom then got hostile with me. She asked why I didn’t take the phone # and ran down a litany of worry that there was literally nothing I could do to squelch or relieve.
- · She wanted to know where people met to ride. I reminded her we’d just learned that information, including the time.
- · She wanted to know how we’d know when to go to the stables. I assured her there’d be other people at breakfast riding, and we’d all mosey over together.
- · How did the ranch know we were riding, she asked. I told her I’d confirmed with the ranch a month ago that we were riding. To this she scoffed, and said, “A month ago, Really!” I said, “Yes, mom. Connie, who greeted us this afternoon, asked via e-mail a month ago if we were going to ride, and I said, ‘Yes, we were.’ Connie and I have been discussing this trip since March.
- · Mom then said, “In an organization like this, a month is too long. Guests don’t show up, and they don’t track. What if 25 people show up to ride tomorrow?” I made reassuring sounds. I was beyond being able to speak to her as she strode away from me in the twilight.
I let her gain a little distance on me. By the time we got back to our cabin. She’d forgotten the whole incident.