Seeing America one town at a time will make you rethink the condition of this country! If you are on Facebook or watching the news…don’t believe for a moment that the reality you are being offered is anything at all resembling the real America. It is only a chosen select reality…one designed to deliver a sucker punch. The sad reality is that our country is being defined in our mind… rather than in our experience.
Many of my regular readers of Present-inthemonent, know and follow our Facebook posts offering snapshots of our travels as fulltime RV’ers. Of course we visit many famous landmarks and national treasures and love our historical places and faces. But we also are committing a measure of our adventures, going to small towns and meeting America’s great citizens.
Small towns like Dubois, Wyoming (preferably known as “Never Sweat, Wyoming”). That’s right! The town of Dubois had decided to register their post office as the good ole town of “Never Sweat.” But the resident who made the trip to the state office didn’t like the town resident’s chosen name, so he named it after himself: DuBois…pronounced all French-like as Dubwah. The town residents were so incensed by Dubois’ actions that they prounced it for all time the incorrect pronunciation: DuBoyz!
In small town DuBois, we have decided everything is big and dramatic. From the landscape to the people’s lifestyle and character. You want a slice of American pie? Come visit the amazing and humble people of Dubois.
I have hiked here on the Continental Divide, the Shoshone National Forest, and to one of the largest glacier fields in the United States.
Our Rv backs up to the Wind River and all of its powerful and swift energy roaring downstream!
I’ve met and chewed the fat with Monte (beloved and respected uncle of our server at The Cowboy Cafe…which offers a mighty delicious Huckleberry Pie). Monte may be found in a local trader shop…the one with a piano on the boardwalk out front (Monte is the guy in the derby hat playing the piano and carving moose antlers). He will tell you with serious passion about the history replete with Indian lore and mountain men traders. His eyes dance as he gives you the insider details defining life in these pronounced mountains.
No less grandiose and dramatic is the daily life of a local ranch family. Hardened by the strength it takes to do the mundane and magnificent functions of daily life, the people here reflect peace and respect in action. They do it full speed and slow all at the same time.
And so we decided to attend the every Friday night rodeo tonight. Crossing the furious Wind River on a sturdy and stately wooden beam bridge, we drove up the rocky hillside to park near the lights of the DuBois rodeo arena. The smell of hay and horses prepares you for the melding of humankind and the animals we raise on farms and ranches outside the city lights. The sounds of critters mixed with playing children and conversing adults, to the dusty sight of wranglers and Levi’s, boots and belt buckles.
We found ourselves in America. I watched as mutten-bustin’ toddlers hung on for dear life to earn a dollar and hear the applause of the town. Young ladies barrel racing and young men watching the young ladies. Men…Marlboro men it seems…riding horses more comfortably than most ride a bike….lean and strong, and proud.
I saw hard work in their play, their competition, and the lines around their eyes. In a word I saw respect.
I felt safe and secure in the fact that these folks are my fellow Americans…rich in grace and strong in family. Community. Unfettered Spirit!
As the rider galloped around the arena with the flag of the United States of America…these dramatic and peaceful people exuded united strength as they stood at attention with hands and hats covering their proud hearts.
I was filled with patriotism as I heard a local child sing our national anthem and heard their prayer thanking God in Jesus’ name for country, family, and friends.
I was proud to be an American as I mingled with local Dubois, Wyoming families on old wooden bleachers on this Friday night under lights by the Wind River.
Jesus answered the question, “Which is the great commandment in the law?”
(Matthew 22:37-39) Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The dramatic and peaceful people of Dubois, Wyoming are living in the moment and have not forgotten Whom it is they serve. I saw love of country and love of neighbor and love of God. Present. In the moment.