Anyone who has read any of Louis L’Amour’s classic westerns will know there is a long standing, time honored custom of inviting a stranger to share your campfire, a cup of strong coffee, and a few stories. You just never know who you might meet. It could be that the grim, handsome man with a flat brimmed Stetson and two Colts tied down, who talks so quietly, used to ride with the deadly Mexican banditos. And the hulking bear of a fellow with a booming laugh, who laid the old sharps rifle across his knees as he sat, is a buffalo hunter who once rode with Bridger. One thing is certain, no matter where a person comes from, or where he’s going, there is always something to learn or to laugh about around the fire.
This may seem a little outmoded you many of you. After all, this is the 21st century complete with cell phones and internet. From nearly anywhere in the world, you can contact almost anyone or retrieve just about any piece of information quick as thinking. But I’ll tell you something the world is trying to forget. If we all took just a little more time to sit around the fire and listen to the folks who can tell us how far ahead the next water is, or if game is more plentiful in the next valley over, we would be much better off. And possibly even more important, if we took the time out of our busy lives to laugh along with the big buffalo hunter’s stories about the colorful Bridger, and took heed as the solemn gunfighter quoted Shakespeare, I have no doubt we would take a deeper pleasure in the simple things.
A dude ranch is one of the few places where we still invite people to “Come and set by the fire a while”. It’s of the few places where hospitality and the traditions of days gone by are not just a job or some kind of fanciful notion, but a passion and a way of life.
Well, summer is starting and soon people will be coming to visit, so in this, my last post for a while, I want to thank all of you who held back your grimaces at my bad coffee and listened to my stories. I really hope that we’ll get to sit around more than just a metaphorical fire sometime.