We referred to the spot as the hill, because the house was situated at the top of a giant hill overlooking a large canyon. It was definitely the most beautiful view I have ever had out of my bedroom window. My next few months on the hill were mostly comprised of work, so I don’t have too much news from them. But, I can tell you a bit about my co-workers.
Never in my life have I met such tough confident women as when I worked on this farm.
I say they are tough, because they didn’t take shit from anyone. They built shelves, they fixed things, they drove motorcycles, and when they entered a room everyone inside was intimidated, especially me…at first. I felt really alienated and cast-out, even though they were really sweet to me. I just thought they were so badass, I felt like chop liver.
Having Briggs as a sister, though, gives you a certain amount of prestige as soon as you enter the room. People automatically assume you are a badass when your sister is that insanely tough. So, they were really awesome to me, and eventually I came around and stopped being so shy and wimpy. So, I rolled up my sleeves and started doing what I do best, adapting to any situation. They were all tall, beautiful, and capable. Now, I’m not a wimp. I know how to work hard on a farm. I can roll a round bale, haul a square bale, and shovel shit with the toughest farm hands, but I am not what people call handy. I can not work a screw gun to save my life. I have no idea how to work on cars, or build things. But, these ladies really made me want to know how.
No miracles happened. I didn’t leave that farm a carpenter, but I got some groundwork laid for what I would need to know on order to be an apprentice. I’ll need to know too, if my sister and I are ever going to get our farm built.
Its hard work in itself getting along with seven other ladies and keeping a pleasant working environment, but with these ladies it was easy. They were fun and told it how it was without being passive aggressive. If they had a problem, they said so immediately and so we were able to all stay friends.
The work was tedious and we had few outings to town, so when we did, we really cut loose. Once we went to the corn maze and had a blast sneaking off into the corn to pound beers and then coming out and getting scared by the people in costumes. Other times we went ice skating, to roller derby tournaments, or bowling. Those ladies knew how to kick it. I stayed for a total of two months, choosing to meet my parents in Kansas for Christmas.
I had to be at the train station at three a.m. again, so me and two of the ladies stayed out all night drinking and then they dropped me off for the train. A bit of a mistake since I woke up for my flight hungover and feeling mean. But, it was a fun sendoff. The train took me to Sacramento, which by the way is literally the nicest city I have ever been in. I have never met more sweet well-meaning folk in four hours in my life. I was strolling around with my backpack and in the first hour a gentleman bought me some fresh donuts. A guy wearing a taffy necklace came and had a hilarious conversation with me about Oprah and a man working a candy shop gave me free taffy, which I handed out to all the kind people I encountered afterwards, including a woman who offered me a place to spend the holidays. I definitely plan on returning there before long and meeting more great people.
I made it to Kansas well and happy and was very glad to see my folks. I am from Michigan, but all of my relatives, including my folks and sister are from Kansas. So, I go there quite a bit and have a good relationship with the place. My family actually owns a beautiful 400 acre ranch in the boondocks of the flint hills and I can remember catching crawdads and scorpions there when I was shorter than the table.
I hadn’t spent much more than a week there for ten years or so. It was really nice to catch up with my Aunt Laura and Grandpa Phil and all. My Grandfather is a remarkable man with fire in his heart. In an earlier post, I spoke of having the warrior spirit. Well, he found his cause and he has it. It’s for fellow veterans. He has done so much for the veteran’s of the state of Kansas. He is amazing. He actually has a day named after him, “Phil Blake Day.” It’s pretty commonplace to see him in the newspaper. He gets interviewed all the time. So, speaking to him, is like tapping into a spring of knowledge. It’s not often you can sit for hours with a 90 year old man and talk about the injustices of mainstream religion, and then get a history lesson of what really happened with the Cuban Bay of Pigs.
My grandpa let me use his giant SUV for my entire stay, so with my home base as my Aunt Laura’s, I could go and see the rest of the family. I can’t lie, though. I spent most of my time relaxing in my Aunt Laura’s house, eating her fabulous cooking and enjoying the company of my Uncle Bill, cousin Sally, and their “Aged P” Grandpa Auchterlonie.
We girls like to watch movies all together, they’ve always got some movie that I just gotta see. Sometimes it’s not really my type of movie, but I always enjoy hanging out with them anyways. I can recall numerous heart-to-hearts in my Aunties kitchen after everyone had left and it was just me and her, my belly full of homemade bread and a tasty chili relleno omelet with a cup of coffee clutched in my hands. Sometimes getting spoiled for a while is just what you need. Maybe always.
It was good for me to get to know my relations again, especially since my next trip was about to be so drastic. I was about to fly to Peru for a two month excursion. I used the wholesome state of Kansas for my sponge-like launch pad. I was almost completely sucked in before I finally worked up the nerve to purchase my plane tickets and get my final preparations in order. I was in for another adventure.