While the riders were out on the trail, facing the right direction thanks to me, I figured I'd have to rustle up some grub for lunch. Long experience working with cowhands and horsefeet and sheepbums has taught me that when they all come in from a hard day of picking straw out of their teeth and farm pastries out of their boots, they are good and hungry! Unfortunately, all of the buffalo and wild baked potatoes have been hunted to near extinction in south central Utah, and I was only able to use my trusty bow to shoot, in order, a lump of dirt four feet in front of me, a bale of hay upon which was sitting Nick or Mick, the least lucky wrangler in them thar parts and whose nickname immediately became "Perf", a large tree I was pretty sure was getting ready to charge, and finally the edge of a plastic target. So of course, what choice did we have? We ate the target. What? Like we were going to eat Perf after he'd gone all gamey? There was dirt in that little arrow hole. Ick.
Next it was my turn to show the land lubbers or posers or whatever you call people whose entire experience with a calf is limited to footwear and driving gloves just how you tame a wild cow. These were miniature cows, and they were terribly upset at having been gypped in the growing up department. So I had to get on that cow and ride it until its attitude changed and it began exploring the advantages of smaller stature in activities like, as a ferinstance, figure skating. Then I leaned over to my right to take a dangerous Evel Knievel turn before the drag chutes burst out of the cow's bum, which totally frosted him let me tell you, and I daringly leapt to safety. I know one of you is going to say, "DeNae, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm pretty sure that's a picture of your husband's nephew, Jordan Winder." I know! The resemblance is absolutely uncanny, huh? But no, that's me all right. You can tell from my short blond hair and the fact that I'm 6'2" and so thin I have to take darts in my skinny jeans.
The food was really terrible. Goodness, you never saw such terrible food. Salad and warm rolls and lasagna, lulling you into this false sense of security, and then BAM! Out come the Pigs in a Blanket. Well I think Pigs in a Blanket is a Gastronomical Crime Against Humanity, and I flat refused to eat that damn pig, blanket or no blanket. So we went looking for food, and drove into Circleville, a town named for such a load of nonsense I called BS at Wikipedia and just decided to give it a brand new history. So from now on, Circleville is called Circleville because there are exactly 3.14 actual residents, and roughly 496.86 folks who check "Other" on the 'species' line of the census form. There. That makes a lot more sense. Anyway, apparently Circleville has another adventuresome chapter to its story. Word on the street had it that Butch Cassidy had his dry cleaning done at Stan's Merc and Tumble Town. There's a picture and everything, of Butch arguing with a Chinese guy sporting a nine-foot braid. The caption reads, "Butch hates starch in his spats; throttles dry cleaner with own hair." Those were scary times to go into the public laundry business, it seems to me.
Anyway, there were more adventures to be had at the Dude Ranch, but I valiantly napped through all of them. I did lead the group in the Boot Scoot Boogie, as well as the Flip Flop Fandango and the Fuzzy Slipper Slide.
Some of the kids were better students than others. Eric, Sarah, Vanessa, Lauren, and Corinne were all grounded for this sassy rendition of the Viennese Waltz. Seriously, jazz hands in a waltz? That is SO two centuries ago.
Finally it was time to pack up and head home. In my husband's family, this is the signal for everyone to pull out their cameras and shriek, "WAIT! We need a hundred million shots of the exact same pose taken from every camera in our possession because we have all the time in the world and besides, there is no other possible way for us to share pictures in this crummy digital age!"
This then leads to a rousing chorus of, "Where is Jacob? Where is Tiffany? Did they leave? Someone go find them. E-I-E-I-O." And I practice my LaMaze breathing because, in my family, it's *snap snap we'll call that a keeper*. 37 seconds from "Hey, should we take a picture?" to "I just emailed it to you all."
The grandparents and whatever grandkids got the memo were loaded onto the stairs for the purposes of making memories. That sound you hear in the background is the revving of the parents' engines, as checkout time was 20 minutes ago and the staff is adding a dollar for every minute we continue to breathe their air.
And there you have it. The DeNae and Cute Guy Up the Street family, posing on the stairs while our Yukon is being towed away and sold for scrap. Look how happy we seem, totally oblivious that we'll be taking the hay wagon back to Las Vegas. We're a little bruised, a little burned, a little saddle sore. But all told, none the worse for wear, and feeling a lot closer to the clan.