Origins of a Prairie Wife Part 5

Posted November 5, 2013 by Prairie Wife - 2 comments

As I am sure you have guessed, The Cowboy did call me for a second date despite the less-than-glamorous ending to our first one! We went on to date for two more years. For the sake of time, I will say that there were many adventures, laughter, and sometimes tears. There are just too many stories to put into one post, but I assure you there will be “Prairie Wife Flashback” posts in the future.  The Cowboy asked me to marry him in the fall of 2003, and I tearfully accepted. We (read that as I) began to make wedding plans with a date set for June 26, 2004.

Our budget wasn’t really an issue. We had no money, so how to spend it wasn’t a problem. The Cowboy owned 20 acres of beautiful untouched land between Cheyenne and Laramie, and we decided to hold an outdoor wedding. It was only 30 minutes out of town and had lush prairie grass studded with pine trees and smooth red rock formations. We felt that not only would it be cheap, but it would also make our wedding a personal and one-of-a-kind affair.

Ma and Pa had bought the 20 acres next to it with a barn and the remains of a house. The barn was in pristine condition and had electricity. The house had originally been beautiful, but the previous owners rented it to a man who had used the vast amounts of square footage to build his own meth lab. In a classic tale of “this is why you shouldn’t do drugs,” the meth lab blew up, burned the house down, and the man was found running around naked in the snow in the middle of nowhere (seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up).

The foundation and basement floor were still intact, so we decided to have that be our dance floor. The Cowboy and I spent every weekend for months shoveling out debris, with a skid steer and by hand, filling up huge dumpsters with all the trash. It was the perfect workout for a bride-to-be. My arms looked fabulous! When the site was cleaned up, we painted the walls with decorations and ran an extension cord from the barn to the basement for music and lights.

SisterinLaw1 made a fantastic cake and also played the fiddle as we walked down the aisle as newlyweds. We had several family members who did readings and an opera singer (a close family friend) to sing during the ceremony. Add two porta-potties, hay bales for seating (we were eco-friendly before it was cool), and a wall tent at the end of the aisle for me to get ready, and we were all set. We even found a fantastic BBQ place in Colorado that agreed to cater and provide all the food and dishes. This was obviously the go-to event of the year.

June 26th rolled around with hot and threatening rain. We all headed out of town to the land and began to get ready. Our guests arrived and kept a nervous watch over the large black clouds that were gradually creeping closer and closer to us. As some friends, Ma and I sat in the increasingly hot tent waiting for my big moment, we noticed a slight hubbub outside. Because you are getting the story after the fact, I’ll let you in on the details I only found out later.

Texas Two Steppin’ was put in charge of handing out corsages and was walking around looking for my Grandma Bea, Ma’s mother. When she went and asked Pa if he had seen Grandma Bea, he turned a little pale and called over Big Brother B and Big Brother T. They had been put in charge of getting her from the hotel to the wedding. The Cowboy noticed the unscheduled family meeting and wandered over. Pa “calmly” asked my brothers where Grandma Bea was, and as they looked at each other and back at him, he reacted as only he could. His eyes bugged out, and in a scarily low and controlled voice, he proceeded to tell them what he thought about them both forgetting her and leaving her 30 miles away at the hotel. It was decided that SisterinLaw2 would drive back to town and get her. We couldn’t have the wedding without her.

The Cowboy, being a problem solver, had his buddies bring several coolers of beer and some whiskey. He calmly announced that the wedding would be slightly delayed, but drinks were on the house. The guests cast worried glances at the clouds but were more than happy to help themselves to a little pre-wedding refreshment. As I sat in the sauna/tent, I silently thanked God that I hadn’t spent any money on getting my hair and makeup done.

Grandma Bea eventually showed up amidst cheers and laughter. The judge started the ceremony, and the background of the Wyoming prairie was as beautiful as we had imagined it to be. The black clouds emitted the occasional lightning bolt and thunder but remained in the background. The ceremony was beautiful, and we all cried our fair share of joyful tears.

Wedding first kiss

The reception had good food, great music, and plenty of whisky and beer. It was quite reminiscent of our first meeting in the beer tent at Frontier Days. The party ended at nightfall. The Cowboy and I left amidst a soft misting of raindrops (that soon turned into a torrential downpour), and I began my life as a Prairie Wife in Heels.

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