I have spent many an hour and sleepless night in a teepee. I even called them home at at times. In the winter months, I would get my camp all setup with the canvas walls secured from the north breeze and freezing temps. And I would hear ole Chris say, ” Well it looks like home again.”
Home is were the heart is, and when I was ranch cooking, my teepee and camp became home for a period of time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do ocassionally miss the finer things in life like a sit down toliet and a stand up shower. The smell of clean sheets, my woman to lay by and of course central heat. But I hung a shingle out years ago and let the public know that I was a ranch cook for hire, so as they say ,”get er’ done!”
Just what makes a home? Is it bricks and mortar, lumber and nails? My mother taught us to believe that it just takes a lot of love and understanding. Do we really have to collect all that stuff that we call necessity- or is it a way to try and make a place more comfortable or “livable.” Fine china, color TV, recliners, futons… by the way, just what is a futon and where do you put it? Is it something you sit on or is something you eat?
People used to say when they crossed the threshold of my mother’s house that it felt like home and you could feel the love. That is the kind of home I am talking about. Now I made all the hands I ever fed (with the exception of few rude ones) feel very welcome at my little house on the prairie. There wern’t no threshold like you would be used to ,but there was an entrance on the water barrel side of the wagon. They would usually shout, “Hey cookie you up and is the coffee on?” But the truth was me and ole Chris had been in there reminiscing about old times two hours before they even thought of getting up.
I always kept the food hot and the coffee hotter. I fed those fellers like they were royalty and treated them with the same respect they gave me. Cause that’s what you do when you have company at your house, you make them feel like they’re at home no matter what the conditions or circumstances.
There wasn’t any fancy linens, silverware, placemats or even name tags on the table By the way- are the name tags for you or them? Do they not know their name or have you invited total strangers to you party?
My dishes are blue enamel and my coffee cups are a collecton of souvenirs from different festivals I have been to or picked-up at truck stops along the way. My silverware is a mix and match of garage sale bargains and junk store bartering. Now don’t judge them- they get the job done and I ain’t never heard anyone complain about my layout. As for nametags, well I never! If there is a new hand in camp and I have trouble remembering his name I might just call him Bubba or Hey You, (Shannon says that is better than calling him by someone else’s name).
My little house on the prairie never had TV but we do have the nightly news every evening with the stories of Art and Chris. We do at
times have a medical segment if Andrew the paremedic is in camp. And sometimes, if we’re lucky, we have a special edition of the weather, which usually goes like this: “The damn wind is going to blow and it’s going to be colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra!” This is a typical evening’s entertainment while the dishwasher is running, and that is me and Chris and Art- aint no maytag here!
I haven’t got a kings size or a sleep number bed, but I do have a good cot and canvas bedroll that at one time had clean sheets Shannon put on there before I left. Was that two weeks ago or three? When you forget how long you’ve been on the wagon, well that’s when it is about time to go home and see my honey and other home.
I’ve been a lot of places that I stayed for an extended period of time and tried to make it feel like a home. I used to have a different home then some things changed, people changed, and I was adrift like a tumbleweed in the wind. When Shannon and I found this ole place that had set vacant for about two years, that’s when I knew that what it needed was love and a friend. And what we needed too, belonging.
With hard work and hours of sweat it became what it is today, a home. It took pride, love and someone to care about its outward appearance as well as the inside.
So you can guess by now it doesn’t take a lot of the finer things in life to make a home at our house. It took an ole house that needed a lot of work, and two willing participants to work on it. Cause all this ole place needed was someone to love it and care for it. So my mother was right, it takes love to make a home, love in the home and you have to love your home. Well I got lucky and have both.
So no matter if your home is a palace or in a pasture, with love… my garsh it’s good to be home!