I waited and waited for Yote to show. I continued to fire shots periodically throughout the day, only to be left disappointed and worried. About 6:00 that evening, I decided to go to bed and wake up early the next morning with a fresh start and clear mind to check some calves in the Montgomery field.
I jolt straight up from bed. Its 3:00am sharp. I look around everywhere and sit in my bed for a second. I continue to struggle with feelings and things I’ve never experienced before. Dreams, visions, ghosts of many different people and places all over the world that I can’t seem to place.
I grab my Pendleton robe and slip on my deerskin rabbit fur moccasins, beaded with my brand on them, my grandpa gave me. I walk to my coffee bar that’s made out of huge stacked vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases sent to me from my grandma in Germany. We threw over a Navajo that my great Elisi handed down and my Grandpa built shelves out of pine to complete the bar.
As the coffee pot starts to perk, I light some sage and walk to my bath tub to start my water. I set down the sage in my abalone shell and pour some lavender oil and sprinkle eucalyptus leaves into the water. A big French Brocante style chandelier sparkles above the tub. It takes three steps to walk up to my porcelain claw foot bath tub that is placed on a pedestal surrounded by huge windows overlooking the ranch.
Every morning, I take a bath and drink my coffee while the old record player dances in the background of my mind. I feel away from the world in my tub and I’m able to gather my thoughts and speak some truth to myself. I am my biggest enemy and I’m the first one to bring myself down. Lately, I’ve been so on edge, so lost and not myself. My life has been a whirlwind since the day I was born and suddenly, one day I wake up and I begin to live. I begin to look at life from so many angles and realize what struggles, hard work and life is really made of.
The things I’ve seen in my life as a young child and now, as an adult, makes me take a step back and disconnect and gather myself. I mean my parents were murdered and I know nothing about them or why. Then, the only thing I know growing up is this ranch, and this ranch only, alongside of my Native American grandfather. I know nothing about my mom or my dad, only by pictures. I don’t know why I was sent to Germany at such a young age and then suddenly, my grandpa dies. I don’t even know who I am!
Now, let’s try to put this into perspective, the only person that’s been with me is Jimmy, Pablo and Maria and their young children, who’ve been on the ranch for years taking care of the house and property. Then, I have my calves being murdered left and right and while roping a coyote, he begins to speak to me and knows EVERYTHING ABOUT ME?!
Anxiety fills my chest as the water begins to feel hotter than it was before.
“Chill out. Just chill,” I tell myself. I begin to think of my grandpa, as I take a deep breath and search for some peace. He always stressed the importance of finding peace within and always asking for guidance from the spirits above. I hadn’t been to the medicine man since grandpa passed, and I know it’s what I need to cleanse and put me on the right path.
I reach for my coffee and take a sip, putting myself into perspective again. Okay, again, so as my calves are being killed left and right, I rope a coyote and he talks, not to mention, knows everything about me, my grandpa and my life. I take a deep sigh and take another sip of coffee, while I lean back to soak.
“I need to be positive and happy and realize that this is the strides of my life. I need to learn from Yote and discover more about my life and stay focused,” I tell myself. And I take a deep breath and pick myself up. I continue with my morning routine and get dressed back into my pajamas.
It’s about 6:00 as the sun rises over the hills and I walk downstairs. There are fresh roses and various flowers all over the house. I walk into the kitchen while I am greeted by Jimmy, Yote, a pretty African American woman in her mid-40’s, a bearded tattooed chef, by the looks of his clothes and a petite polished blonde about my age, all smiling and greeting me.
Caught off guard, all I can do is squint and look at Yote in confusion. I close my eyes and bring my hand over my face, trying to understand: one, who these people are and why they are here? Two, what the hell is Yote doing here? I am so mad at him. And three, I am in my pajama’s.
“Good morning sleeping beauty, let us introduce you to your new staff,” Yote says with a pep in his step.
“Good morning everyone, I’m sorry but can you excuse me while I pull Yote to the side for a second?” I say in a half-assed nice tone.
Yote follows me out of the kitchen.
“Yote, what the hell is going on? I mean, I fired shots yesterday, I worried about you all day and you’re gone. I was worried sick. Not to mention, I needed you!” I speak fast and upset while trying to be quiet so no one can hear.
“Hey, I got you,” Yote says. “And I told you, that you had a day or so to get rested. Then, we were going to change some things around here. Part of the changes starts with your health, little girl.”
“Okay, for one I am not a little girl Yote. I am nineteen years old, I mean at some point I can take care of myself. And secondly, I’ve been having a hard time lately. I had a bad day yesterday and you weren’t here. I just feel like…I don’t know,” I say as I look away.
Yote walks closer and sits down next to me as his soft tail touches the backs of my legs.
“You need to trust in me cowgirl, but you need to trust in yourself and be happy.”
“Okay,” I say as I look at Yote and tears fill my eyes.
“Let’s go meet your new help. You are going to love them,” Yote says as he walks to the kitchen.
I take a deep breath and braid my hair to the side as I walk in the kitchen, hiding behind the smile on my face.
Jimmy smiles at me and comes over giving me a soft tight hug. Jimmy is my brother. Although we are not blood, he has been with my grandpa, this ranch and I, since a very young age.
“Please introduce yourself starting with you, Mrs. Jones,” Jimmy turns to the pretty dark woman.
“Hello, Miss Swisher my name is Mrs. Jones and I am your nurse, nutritionist and house mother,” she speaks with a heavy accentccent as she grabs my hand, displaying a warming smile. I grab her hands with both my hands and give her a hug and smile back.
“My name is Sloan and I am your chef. I feel honored to work for you,” says the bearded chef, in his mid-30’s. He smiles and nods taking a step forward. His arms are decorated in beautiful tattoos and I notice a tattooed wedding ring.
“Nice to meet you Sloan,” I say. “Do you have a family?”
“Yes, I have a wife and two little girls. I am an ex-Marine and am here to serve you with the finest meat and potatoes, and…anything your heart desires,” he says back with a smile.
“Welcome, to the family and I can’t wait to meet your girls. The only thing I can ask is that there are desserts available at all times,” I say with a little laugh.
Everyone laughs and smiles as we move onto the blonde.
“My name is Cher Williams,” she says confidently and proudly. “I am your personal shopper and stylist.”
“Nice to meet you Cher. However, I didn’t know I needed a stylist or personal…shopper. I mean, I’m on the ranch all the time and I really like my clothes and style, so I’m a little confused,” I say with a tight voice.
Cher smiles and steps back in line with the others.
“Now, cowgirl” Yote says “These people are here to help you, so remember that. We are to have an open mind and they are now a part of our family.”
“Yes, you are right. I apologize, I am just having a rough morning,” I say feeling embarrassed while I look at Jimmy.
“I’m going back upstairs and I’ll be down at the barn so we can check the Montgomery,” I say to Jimmy.
“Well, hurry back because we have more people for you to meet,” Yote says.
I look at Yote and look back at Jimmy. Jimmy smiles and gives me the nod, meaning “I’ll be okay and I need to get my shit together.” I nod back at Jimmy and head upstairs.
When I get back to my room, I don’t even care at this point who I’m meeting, why I’m meeting them and what part of my life they will be in. I feel numb, weird and like the best philosophy is to, “go with the flow.”
I change into some worn Levi’s and grab a floral pearl snap, Ralph Lauren button down. I smear some sun screen on and grab my silver belly. I unbraid my hair and just leave it down under my hat…the “I don’t even care look.” I grab some turquoise earrings, grandma gave me and smear some soft pink lipstick on. I slide my spurs over my Paul Bonds and pull them on.
Standing up, I take a deep breath and feel grounded as all my worries begin to disappear inside my cowboy boots. The dust, the sun, the happiness of the baby calves bucking, playing and sucking. The thrill of running one down to doctor and the feeling of satisfaction I get riding back to the barn from a long hard day with pores full of dirt, filthy hair and sore legs. There’s no better feeling than slipping my boots into my stirrups, and feeling the comfort and security of the saddle leather underneath me.
I hear voices outside and remember I was supposed to hurry.
I grab my coffee mug, refill it and hurry downstairs.
I walk to the barn smiling and talking to the chickens and dogs, while letting the brisk morning air fill my nose. As I walk into the barn, I’m occupied by the humor of the chickens that I don’t even realize I’m walking into a group of four tall cowboys.
“Men, this is Miss Swisher,” Jimmy says grabbing my hand as he looks at me. “These men, I have hired to help us on the ranch.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” I say sternly looking at Jimmy with a straight face.
Jimmy begins to introduce each cowboy but I’m so distracted by my frustration with, yet again more people I don’t know coming to my home. At this point, I want to turn around and walk off.
As I get ready to turn around, my eyes connect with one of the cowboy’s and I stop in an instance, as unfamiliar memories begin to fill my head.
To Be Continued