I’m a writer. Well, technically speaking, anyone who can pick up a pen or keyboard and start tossing words down on a canvas is a writer. But even though I stumbled through a 30+ radio career, having the time to write and refine my thoughts is when I am most comfortable. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I love the idea of being able to carefully hone a line or a blog before casting it out into cyberspace for judgement. When you’re on the radio, sometimes you stumble on a word or the music’s too loud or someone is talking at the same time. So yes, I’m a part-time control freak.
On paper, I should be able to convey how much this past week has meant to me. However, I’m struggling with the words. I could go with the standard collection of adjectives and adverbs, but they feel inadequate. Rather than being concerned about their deficiencies, I’ll simply tell you what happened and I’ll cheat a bit with photos.
There was a gathering this past week at a place near Bozeman, Montana, called Rainbow Ranch. That was the place chosen over a year ago to be the site of my son’s wedding to an absolutely incredible lady named Lacey. Technically, it was a destination wedding, but it didn’t feel like one. Those are usually small groups, on a beach somewhere. This was more like a family/college reunion, with a crowd of around 80 people setting up for an extended Labor Day weekend at one of nature’s greatest playgrounds.
It was everything I expected about Montana, but also so much more. Outside of driving through the state on my way to South Dakota, this was my first time exploring it. We arrived at the airport filled with bronze artwork of bears, bison and dinosaurs. We grabbed a van and hit the road and were instantly engulfed in mountains, fields and rolling plains. Over the next several days, we saw herds of elk and buffalo. We went to a rescue animal park for close-up looks of bear and wolves. We hooked up with the bride and groom to be Thursday night at a barbecue place across the street from our Air BnB rental that had outstanding barbecue, micro-brews and people wearing cowboy hats & boots.
Friday was Yellowstone day. Heck, we were that close, so we drove for an hour, leaving Montana and sneaking into Wyoming. We decided to get an early jump because of the crowds and it was a good hunch. Our first stop was Old Faithful. These days, an app can tell you approximately when it’s going to erupt. That’s nature at it’s finest. From there, we went to Grand Prismatic Spring. I had never heard of it before, I will never forget it.
Saturday morning’s events included a hike up into the mountains followed by a river float. The float was relaxing and fun, with a lot of the river being no more than a foot or two deep. We rounded up a crowd of around 40 and had a blast.
Saturday night was the ‘rehearsal dinner’ which was more like a happy hour with a bridal party. That was at another micro-brewery in town. And then came Sunday, the big day. The weather, originally thought to be near 90, was more in the 70s. Smoke from the state fires was evident, but not obnoxious. The scene was a spot near the river and the day was just magical.
I’m sitting here, thinking about that day, and I have to pause and sigh.
To the 20 and 30-somethings starting out a family and beginning the kid thing, it seriously becomes a blur from the time you’re holding that little hand as you cross the street to the time you’re hugging your kid on their big day. Don’t be in a hurry. It was a fun, incredible stretch of my life, having that little person be so dependent on you, watching to learn how to act, what to do, the family way to handle problems. etc. The child’s perspective eventually evolves from wanting information to knowledge of their own and then, they become experts on their parents. They decide what they liked about the family way, and how they’ll do things differently when they get in charge. It’s a natural process, we all go through it.
What’s surprising is that, as the years go by, the ways mom and dad did things becomes comforting and eventually, the day rolls around when you find yourself doing something you never thought you would. Because they did it that way.
I cannot be any prouder or happier for Tyson and Lacey and I’m so excited for what lies ahead. They planned and executed one of the greatest gatherings of family & friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. To meet their circle of friends, to see some of Tyson’s buddies from the high school and college days, to get to know Lacey’s closest friends, to go on adventures with my wife and family, including my sister Debbie and mom Fran, I could not possibly ask for a greater experience.
So thanks to the newlyweds, the Lowber family and all that made this event possible. I find myself replaying so many moments in my mind and I have a feeling I’m going to be doing that the rest of my life. Here are just a few of the images making their way through my head right now.
God bless you all!