The counter on our website tells us things about the last 100 visitors. We can see where they came from, how long they stayed and how many pages they looked at. A couple of weeks ago we had a visitor from Massachusetts who spent 57 minutes and looked at 45 pages. The counter doesn't tell us who this person is or how old they are, but we can daydream . . .
She's 14, lives in a small home just outside of Boston with her family. She's been a Girl Scout since she was 8 and loves the wilderness; the high point of her summer is the annual camping trip to Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, at 3,487 feet. This young lady spends half of the money she earns by baby-sitting on riding lessons. She's the only one in her class who does Western; the others do English Pleasure. She looks at the Mid Valley web site every month, hoping for new pictures on the Activities pages. One month she prints off a picture of Rudy Dezzani (left) high in the Sierras, shows it to her classmates and tells them he's her uncle.
When she is 18 she wins a scholarship to UC Merced. She heads west with a second-hand saddle in the back seat of her sixth-hand VW, taking Highway 108 over the Sonora Pass. She stops at the crest, (9,624 feet), gets out and whoops. She doesn't think she'll be going back home very often.
A small inheritance and a part-time job lets her buy an old horse. She joins the Mid Valley Unit and we're happy to see her. That June she gets space for herself and her horse in a fellow member's truck and trailer for her first ride. As she swings into the saddle someone asks her, "Ever ride in the Sierras before?"
She looks him in the eye and says; "All my life."
[Written January 2010]
[Note: I'm the webmaster for the Mid Valley Unit of the Backcountry Horsemen of California, a group that likes to take pack horses into the Sierra Nevada. They do quite a bit of public service. The web site has a number of pages devoted to Activities; usually a dozen pictures and the newsletter article about a trail clearing project or a camp-out. I wrote this for them. It's understandable for non-members, but you should know that Rudy Dezzani (above) is a gentleman who'd look right at home in a group photo at the Laramie County Historical Society labeled "Hands - Green River Cattle Co. 1884".]
[This is one of my Miscellaneous Essays. There are more; you may enjoy another section of my web site, too:]Home | Christmas Letters | Genealogy | Homilies | Peace Corps | Web Design