On a very cold and mostly sunny winter day, LC and I went for a drive to the small neighboring town of Lovell.
When I used the term "neighboring town" in Tennessee, that typically meant a town 15 or 20 minutes drive from where we lived.
And in the highly populated but small state of Tennessee our town was completely encircled by neighboring towns only a short distance away from each other in every direction.
Lovell is an hour away from Cody - through the small farming town of Powell and then through miles of empty BLM land and then through the tiny-tune-town of Cowley and then through more miles of BLM land before finally reaching Lovell.
My Mountain Boy and I have been half-heartedly exploring other housing options, including the possibility of buying a home here.
Not Cody. It is too expensive in Cody. Other neighboring towns don't value their houses or their land quite so highly.
But only half-heartedly looking and in truth buying a house will likely not happen anytime soon.
We are still too lost. The economy is still too bad. The world still doesn't make any sense to us. We still don't know where we are supposed to be. We still have a house in Tennessee.
Lovell is a nice enough town, though blue collar and fairly nondescript. It is Wyoming-close to Yellowstone but also to the Big Horn Mountains, and there-in lies the draw.
While there LC stopped briefly so that I could take pictures of this wall.
Filled with military symbolism from all decades, this colorful and wonderful mural fills the entire length of the outside of a commercial downtown building.
There is more snow in Lovell than in Cody, and while LC and James kept the truck running and warm, I slowly wandered the length of the painting and then the rest of the small park.
Small town Wyoming has respect for military service, and that is a common bond with small town Tennessee..............
My youngest son Chris (who is living in Calgary Alberta right now) has talked to me often over the past year about working in the oil fields up there.
Lots of money. The oil workers make lots of money, he told me. And he wanted a piece of that.
When I talked about the rigs in North Dakota he already knew what I knew - no places to stay, small towns that have swelled overnight into large towns, the inability of these towns to cope with the increasing traffic, violence, noise, prices.
Wyoming rigs where jobs are competitive and hard to get.
Canada had been doing this years he told me. They paid for your transportation to and from. Provided housing. Drug screened.
Finally Chris called me about a month ago and excitedly told me that he was headed to a rig in Northern British Columbia.
I asked him to call me if he was able, knowing that cell phone reception in BFE British Columbia was largely non-existent.
When you file paperwork please put me down as your emergency contact.
And no matter where you are in the country - no matter where - if you need me I will be there.
The next day Chris called me to say that they had rescinded their job offer.
He sounded heartbroken.
He was unusually abrupt with me and then he said something I had never ever heard my easy going son say in his entire life.
"I'm just stressed out mom - I gotta go find a job".
A week later Chris told me that he had received an offer from another oil company 4 hours from Calgary. He was going to drive there.
Two days later he called me to say that the drive had turned out to be 8 hours long, that he had started work that same day and that it had been rough. He didn't want to talk about it.
Two days after that he called me to apologize for being abrupt with me, and that work was better.
A week later my son was back in Calgary with a week off, and was scheduled to return to work for another two weeks in a few days.
He didn't want to go back.
The job was dangerous. Many workers were stoned. Everybody was unhappy and depressed and stressed out.
Some hadn't seen women in months.
Nobody liked their job.
Nobody seemed to like their life.
He didn't want to go back. Didn't want to live like that, and decided that the money wasn't worth it.
I told him - don't go back.
They may not all be as bad as this one Chris. But don't go back there.
The last time I spoke with him he had two interviews lined up back in Calgary............
Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.........Friedrich Nietzsche