Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Goodness Of Good People

 On the outskirts of town on the way to Yellowstone Park is an art store.
The store itself does not look like much from the outside.
Rather, it looks like so many other small, strip mall, generic local art stores you would happen upon in every-town America.
What makes this particular art store so astonishing are the metal sculptures that can be found on the grounds outside the store.
They are wonderful.  Amazingly detailed.  Western inspired.  And each statue tells a compelling story of what life must have been like hundreds of years ago in and around Cody Wyoming.
What is also astonishing to me is that so many statues of this quality are just here, outside, free for the viewing and enjoyment of anyone who wants to stop for a few moments to see history captured in time.
My Mountain Boy and I stopped for much longer here than we had expected, and spent a long time walking around and around each one of these statues.
In our town in Tennessee they would have been defaced.
James Loves Suzie scratched into the side of one of these wonderful pieces.  
Josh Was Here spray painted on another.
These pieces were all perfect. 
Perfectly designed.
Perfectly cast.
Perfectly preserved in this low rain, low humidity environment.
Perfectly graffiti free.
And perfectly wonderful...........
There are statues similar to these located all over town (outside stores and museums, in parks and along sidewalks) and I suspect that most of them will be photographed by the time it is all said and done.
Click on each picture to see it larger (click twice to see it even larger still).............
 There is a side road on the outskirts of town close to the art store and sculptures, and we turned onto it the other day curious to see where it led.
It was on Saturday, and it was a sunny and warm day.
On this day, without meaning to, we found out where the locals four-wheel and dirt bike.
The area was high in the hills surrounding town, there were multiple trails shooting off from the road, and along many of those side trails we saw either trucks parked (with ramps leading down from them so that four-wheelers and bikes could be unloaded), or (as in the case of the picture below) small groups of vehicles parked where folks were either coming or going from their off-road adventures.
We have been out there again since that first day and came across a couple of guys who had set up for target practice safely against one of the berms..............
 Unlike Juneau, half of the city does not close down when the tourist season is over.
Downtown in Cody is full of businesses that stay open year round.
But on both ends of town many places are now boarded up - waiting for late spring and then summer to arrive.
And there are many hotels - some of which are building additions even now.
I can't imagine what this place is going to look like in a few months but I picture it similar to Juneau.
Only instead of oversize and tacky stuffed eagles and bears outside stores, there will be oversize and tacky cowboy and horse statues.
It will be interesting to see, and just like the locals I am sure that I will be glad when it is over.
This old jalopy is standing unappreciated, unphotographed, and unloved just on the outskirts of town right now, adjacent to what looks to be a tacky-western-style group of boarded-up tourist buildings.
We have seen this old beater so many times in the past week and a half and every time we pass by it makes LC laugh.
So here it is............
 This beautiful and friendly dog, who loves so much to rest on top of the roof of his people's truck, can also be seen all over town...........
 A beautiful and very large painting on the wall outside a store downtown..........
 We ate dinner at the Irma Hotel recently.
$20 each for all the prime rib you could eat - plus hot bar and salad bar and dessert.
It turns out that LC can eat a lot of prime rib.
It also turns out that Jamie likes prime rib as well............

I want to take pictures inside the building one day soon because it is a very very beautiful hotel, and the restaurant was also amazing - a very long wooden saloon bar, huge chandeliers, huge buffalo and deer and moose and elk heads, rich wooden booths and deep burgundy carpeting, pictures of Buffalo Bill Cody and other historical western figures.
It was all just very..........cool.
There are re-enactments of gun fights in the street outside the Irma every day throughout the summer.
One of those re-enactments is included in this link about the hotel:
 Walking off a too-large meal in downtown Cody.........
 The city runs a recreation complex that contains swimming pools and water slides, running track, lots of the usual suspects in terms of cardio equipment and cardio classes.
It also has an ice arena immediately next door and a very large library across the parking lot.
It really is an entire complex.
I have worked out there a few times since arriving and it is greatly used by the city residents.
Exercise for me in Juneau was a hit and miss enterprise at best, and I have struggled over the past year to maintain even a moderate level of fitness.
I can still get on a spin bike for 45 minutes and then walk on a treadmill for an hour, but holy cow it feels like a lot of work.

I am afraid to run right now.
I am extremely tight through the hips - which began not long after injuring my knee at the end of 2009, and just continued to get worse through 2010.
Recovering from knee surgery, not enough strengthening, not enough stretching, too much sitting at a desk, not being 30 anymore.
I have begun working on improving cardiovascular endurance and am really concentrating on improving flexibility.
I am enjoying the effort.
Enjoying the solitary time.
But holy cow it all seems like a lot of work right now............

While laying on the mats at the gym doing crunches yesterday (and while listening to Disturbed and Tool on my headset) I started thinking about the people I had worked with in Tennessee for so many years.
I saw a side of some of them recently that I have not seen before but which I always suspected was there. 
A side that has quietly been following this blog all along, knew that things were getting bad in Juneau, contacted me when they learned that I was leaving.
There are many good people down there and knowing that has helped me very much recently
I said on the blog once that I was working in a snake pit in Juneau.
I have an extremely low tolerance right now for being around people.
And an even lower tolerance for carrying on a conversation.
But when you have spent so much time in a negative environment, the goodness of good people reminds you that the entire world is not a snake pit...........

Two more pictures taken in the hills surrounding Cody while walking in the sand and watching the four-wheelers four-wheel........

 Some information on Buffalo Bill Cody:


  1. Delighted you're back at it....... keep it up.

  2. Still trying to figure it all out - but back at it.