I’ve been on the road this week with a customer who was visiting from Virginia. We had business meetings from Colorado Springs to Vail to Cheyenne and Laramie.
Wyoming is one of my favorite western states.
When I was working in Albany, there were two news reporters who had previously worked in Cheyenne. I would always bother them to tell me Wyoming stories. I wanted to hear about cowboys and ranches and small town life on the plains. I wanted to hear about the winds. Was Wyoming really like how Annie Proulx described it?
Yes. It is.
And the people are like the land. Serious and hardened.
One of the women we met with yesterday in Laramie had grown up in Casper, and tried hard to leave it behind for good. She left as a young woman and was gone for 20 years. She only returned three times for visits over those two decades. That’s how much animosity she held in her heart for the place. And then, as life would have it, her husband lost his job in Washington state and could not find another…except in Denver, where the cost of housing was too high…or Casper, where her parents still lived. She wanted a house in the country with acres and space to break wild horses auctioned from the Bureau of Land Management. But what she got was a house in town. ”I’m bored out of my mind,” she said to us over lunch.
She doesn’t like Laramie any better.
But we liked it for a visit. We liked that there were big hay trucks driving down Front Street and college students in boots and hats walking to the campus. We liked that there was a J.C. Penney catalog order storefront. It’s like a step back in time. A good one.
Right before we left we stopped at Martindale’s Western Store, one of many western wear stores in town. We chatted with a salesgirl who called our customer a “rookie” and got her into a Wrangler shirt.
I tried on a few things too, and loved the home town feel of the place. The dressing rooms were covered with thank-yous from little cowgirls and ranch princesses who’d been sponsored by Martindale’s.
C and I need to plan a trip to Jackson, so we can start our own Wyoming stories.