Thursday, March 11, 2010


Evan and Angie finished their first, fourteen-hour day on the road last night in Gillette, Wyoming. It turned out that Gillette is nearly halfway from Spokane to Omaha. Of course, there isn't much competition for that designation in that part of the country.

Gillette has a warm spot in my heart, and not just because of it's role as the "Pronghorn Capital of North America". Sally and I met in Gillette in the summer of 1976. Sally was the environmental engineer for Carter Mining Company, and I was there for a summer internship to do youth ministry with the Presbyterian Church. Neither one of us had a good work experience, yet some great people, wide open western landscape, and the beginning of our relationship made it all worthwhile.

Several of the stories we collected in Gillette involved the quality of the water, or lack thereof. One of my favorites was the experience of going to a grocery store, and pausing in the aisle where bars of soap were displayed. As I pondered the choices, an older woman walked up and asked, "Are you new in town?" When I nodded, she pointed at several brands of soap. "That one works, or that one. Don't bother with the others." It turned out there was so much mineral content in the water that only certain kinds of soap would lather, even a little bit. I remember thinking, "So that's what's meant by, 'She knows her soap.'"

So here's to Gillette, Wyoming. I wish that any who pass that way to have the kind of happiness that Sally and I have had in the years since we found each other there. Enjoy the conical buttes, the abundant Pronghorn, and the salt-of-the-Earth people.

But don't drink the water.

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