In the fall of 1961, a smiling couple poses for a photo. The handsome man drapes his arm around his lovely bride while she holds their three-month-old daughter. In the background, the family ranch stretches across the mesa.
This picture of my parents and me has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember, for It is the only one that I have of just the three of us. It was taken on my maternal grandparents’ ranch on Roger’s Mesa in Hotchkiss, Colorado.
Throughout the years, I have often wished that we could have remained in that little town where my ancestors arrived by covered wagons, the place where generations raised their families, and ranchers kept watch over their lands and their flocks.
I often wonder how different our lives may have been if my family would have settled in the sleepy country town where my mama lived. I would daydream about the joys of small-town life and attending the high school high where photos of graduating seniors lined the halls. I thought about living close to family and discovering the joys of family gatherings with favorite foods and music and dancing – lots of dancing.
Now, Hotchkiss has become this mysterious, mystical place. It is the land of legends—cowboys, pioneers, and ranchers. It is the stories of my family, the hardships, the sorrows, the joy and the laughter. It is the final resting place for many. It is home.