With some irony, it was more circumstance than a love of ranching that kept the Jordans on the land, until the author's father sold the home place in the 1970s. But the love of that spot on earth lives on strongly in the author, and her book is a tribute to it and to her family who toiled there through good years and bad.
She clearly admires the men who labored on horseback raising cattle. She devotes chapters to her grandfather, her father, and the many foremen and ranch hands who worked for them. Fully engaging, too, are her memories of the women and the imprint they have made on herself.
|Swan Land and Cattle Company, Chugwater, Wyoming, 1974|
There's much in this book to commend it, including a chapter devoted to the calving season and another describing the physically punishing nature of ranch work. Her chapter on her great aunt Marie includes excerpts from her journals, and each chapter is introduced with a photograph from the family album. The book closes with a description of the author's wedding at the community center near where she grew up, an idyllic day poignant for its wholehearted celebration of a way of community life that is rapidly vanishing.
Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons
Coming up: Geoffrey O'Gara, What You See in Clear Water
In 2011 ranching life is still physically punishing. Many wranglers, for example, are seasonally itinerant, and have no health benefits, dental care, coverage for eye glasses and the like. I would bet their average lifespan is on the low side.ReplyDelete
One to read Ron!ReplyDelete
This makes me think I should collect my sister's columns in a book. She grew up on a farm of course, and for years she wrote a column in the local town newspaper. I'm gonna have to give that some thought.ReplyDelete
Did she say anything about the men who herd sheep on horseback in the Bighorn Mts? Didn't think so! :)ReplyDelete
Wyoming week, I'll be interested in the books you pick. Have you read Gretel Ehrlich?
Veronica, neglected health care has a way of shortening the life span, and cowboys have traditionally considered themselves immune to illness and injury.ReplyDelete
Cheyenne, you bet.
Charles, an excellent idea. Farm kids had an experience that is rapidly becoming history and deserves preserving.
Sage, Gretel Ehrlich is coming up on Thursday. Hers was one of the first books I read about the West.
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