We are US
Every year for the last 32 years we’ve driven out to the same town in Wyoming for fishing, hiking, golf, and general R & R. It’s one of the few places we go where we don’t ever want to come home. In this town the sky is enormous, and the views go on forever, or at least to the tops of the nearest 12,000-foot snow-capped peaks 30 miles distant. A river runs through it, and the wild trout either delight or frustrate you on a regular basis, depending on how good your cast is, how windy or hot it is, and how well you’ve tied on your fly. It’s the American west, a land of vast cattle ranches and hay fields, rodeos and cookouts. It couldn’t be more different.
There, the deer and antelope are everywhere, along with elk and moose. We have deer around here, but you’re more likely to see coyotes, foxes and skunks rather than big animals. In California parks you can’t go off the trail. In Wyoming, there is no trail. There, when you drive in the forest you have to carry a chainsaw in case a dead tree blocks your path. Here, most of us don’t even know how to use a chainsaw. There are more cowboy hats there, more baseball caps here.
And yet, if we lived there year round, it probably couldn’t be more similar. They have a 4th of July parade that goes down the main street, which is also the highway through town. The parade lasts about 45 minutes, and the big difference between there and here is that they have more horses and guns, and we wear more red, white, and blue. They have the same fundraisers that we do, although theirs take place in an impressive new community center that used to be the middle school. They have a weekly newspaper that reveals all the problems of any town – petty crime, drunk driving, arguments over zoning, grievances and accusations hurled at town council members, births and deaths, weddings and anniversaries, businesses opening and businesses closing. We’re pretty sure they don’t consider any of that fake news.
Of course it’s outwardly different in that part of America. Probably everyone in town votes Republican and has at least one hunting trophy mounted on their wall. But we’re glad it’s like that. How boring if everything was the same everywhere. When we tell them we’re from Northern California and are in the newspaper business, you can see a momentary cloud of doubt and confusion pass over their faces, and then they shake it off and continue to treat us as cordially as ever. We can’t wait to go back next year!
A lot of you are probably traveling this summer, so don’t forget to take your Kenwood Press with you and snap a picture for our summer photo contest, “Pictures With The Press.” There’s about one month left before the Sept. 5 deadline, and there’s even money at stake, so get out there and get creative! Details here.