Bob and I used to make frequent trips to Montana to visit his grandparents, and sometimes there would be a special occasion in which the whole family would go, or at least a lot of them, for a reunion or some other bigger occasion. Often that would mean some of us staying at the homes of family in Forsyth, while others stayed at the ranch. But no matter where they had everyone stay, at some point, everyone would end up at Grandma’s…the ranch.

The times spent out at Grandma’s always meant big, delicious meals…all home cooked and fresh from their own cattle and garden. Everything tasted so much better there. The cream in the coffee is like nothing you have ever had, unless you got it right from the cow. It was not that tasteless stuff you get at the store, but rather, rich, creamy, thick cream that you had to spoon into your coffee. I’m partial to cream in my coffee, but I have never found anything to compare to that real cream. It just tastes heavenly. The Strawberry-Rhubarb jam that Grandma made from fruit grown in her garden. The beef that Butch raised on the ranch, and eggs right from the chickens. My goodness, I can still taste those things in my memories.

Then, ultimately, after dinner, while the women cleaned up the dishes and kitchen, the men would retire to the front yard, for a meeting of the minds. They would talk about the ranching business, and whether or not they would get a good price for their cattle that year. They would talk about how the mining business was going, since Uncle Eddie and my father-in-law both worked in mines. They might talk about the rain, or maybe the lack thereof, depending on the year, because the life blood of a rancher is the rain. They have to have it if at all possible. These were men who knew what they were talking about. They had watched the trends and made careful decisions based on what they knew of the business they were in.

It was always such a heart-warming thing to watch this father and his sons and step-son talking things out together…each one giving their input while the others listened intently, gleaning every bit of wisdom that the others had to give, and tucking it away in the innermost recesses of their minds, knowing that some day the information stored there would come in handy. These men knew their businesses and had the wisdom of many years behind them.  And the memory of those little meetings warms my heart, and I wish with all my heart that those meetings were not just a memory, but since Grandpa has gone home to Heaven, that is what they must sadly remain. Memories of a different time and place.

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