Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Road Trip

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.
Author Unknown

Some of you may recall these photos of my middle son, Jordan. He spent the summer before college graduation interning on a ranch in south Texas, hand raising baby deer. As you can see, life with these babies was rather intimate.

When he graduated from college with a biology degree - fisheries and wildlife emphasis, he found a job working for an exotic deer ranch (where people pay to come hunt the deer.) He was to care for the 170 fawns due in the summer.

As his mom, I secretly knew he would not like this business aspect of raising wildlife. Suffice to say, by the time any of the fawns born in the wild came into his care, they were only moments from death. Other than tagging the new fawns, he spent most of his time building fences.

I didn't say, "I told you so." I say those words to my husband every chance I get, but I try not to say them to my kids. After two months on the job, Jordan moved home and began an employment search in the fisheries and wildlife field - for something on the conservation level instead of killing for sport. (So much for empty nest - he overlapped youngest brother headed off to college.)

He signed on doing the same thing as me - substitute teaching. At night, he painted the local YMCA. The subbing part was most interesting for when our paths crossed at the same school, I got to see my son as an adult. Watch how he conducted himself. Watched how the young girls would raise their hand and say, "Oh, Mr. Anderson, I have a question." When he'd walk over to their desk, they'd say, "Oh, I get it now," in sweet voices I never heard on my watch.

On those few days when I was the teacher in the back of the room working with some of the special students, I could only chuckle to myself. I understood why he rarely had trouble like I did in the substitute teaching world. After all, much more fun to mess with an old lady than a young, good looking man. As for the boys, well, he's 6'3". Bring it on.

In February, Jordan flew to Montana to attend a convention of the Society for Range Management. Since he didn't have money to rent a car while there -- or stay in the hotel where the convention was held -- he had to walk a mile to attend the job fair and smooze for a job in a bad market. Have you ever been to Montana in February?

In late April, Jordan landed a job with the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming. He would work to redesign wetland areas and organize a fish restocking plan. Although only a four month job, my husband I encouraged him to take it. When you're 23 and everything you own fits in your paid off Honda Civic, go for it. (Again, overlapped little brother coming home from college. Empty nest is a joke around my house.)

He has loved it up there. He lives in a little cabin beside a creek. The deer, elk and other wildlife don't sit in his arms, but they most certainly welcome him in the morning.

What's for breakfast, Jord?

I haven't been to Wyoming since I moved out of Salt Lake City 23 years ago. Guess where I'm going? My husband can't travel yet, but I told Jordan on the phone the other day - wash the sheets and clean your bathroom. Your mama's coming to visit.

(Taking my computer so I can try to keep up with my novel. Still writing each day. Yay!)


  1. Has any mother ever had cause to be more proud of her son? You did something very, very right in raising this boy...how I envy his lifestyle! Wyoming is lucky to have him.

    Enjoy your visit!

  2. Lovely post. Glad you gave him warning that you are coming! (I am the mother of a son myself!)

  3. Have fun! I just visited Brian last week...actually stayed in his apartment since he is between roommates...and had a very enjoyable visit with him! Say hi to Jordan for us...

  4. You go girl! The get-away will do you wonders on so many levels. Being close to your son and to mother nature is an excellent combination which will renew your spirit and get those novelist juices flowing. Can.not.wait to see/hear about the trip! Will you drive or fly? Bon voyage!

    (fyi - so glad he decided to get out of the deer farming business. His talents and heart will be put to much better use elsewhere over the coming years.)

  5. Oh boy! What wonderful greetings he gets in the mornings! I would love to have those long-lashed eyes peeking in at me through my windows.
    Wyoming is one of those states that seems barely real to me, so I look forward to hearing your first-person accounts. It looks just . . . amazing!

  6. Your road trip to Wyoming is sure going to be a change of sceneryfor you. The cabin by the creek sounds like fun....I wonder if he has a hammock!

  7. oh, what a wonderful visit you will have! i truly hope your son can find a good long-term job in a field he truly enjoys. sounds like a great field to be in (now that he's away from the deer killing ranch!)

  8. Sounds like a great trip! Such beautiful country and pics! Bon voyage! Be safe and have fun!

  9. Call me naive, but I didn't know they raised deer for sport.
    Hopefully, this experience will help him find another job or maybe even they will keep him on in another position. This should be a great visit and vacation for you. Have fun!

  10. Be proud--you raised a terrific young man (okay, you know that). Have a fabulous visit!

  11. It looks amazing there! Glad he's finding his way and you are there along his way :).

  12. It's not STILL snowing up there, is it? Sister, take your parka! I'm envious you get your road trip. Mine will be in two weeks (fingers crossed). Say hey to Jordan for me.

    Miss ya!


  13. I love to watch and hear of the new wings being stretched and spread to begin to fly!! Young ones attempting to leave the nest. Yes they come back but eventually they find their own way and you begin seeing them only on holidays!! Sigh!
    I miss the newly fledged days

  14. Tell him to put in an application at the Konza Tall Grass Conservancy. I heard they were hiring.

  15. Interesting to see the tables turned. The cabin sounds idyllic. Have a good time.

  16. Thanks for this lyrical picture of your son flying the nest...that's how it goes these days...first one try, then another...open door policy at the nest.
    My second fledgling took three tries at it before leaving permanently. Firstborn took off and never returned...employment conditions were different then.

    Have a great trip to the wide-open spaces!

  17. It reminds me of the Japanese government which is going to protect fishermen again against people who oppose them hunting dolphins. The government allows 20,000 to be taken. And the government said they don't think any Japanese ever tasted dolphin.

    I don't think a lot of the killing is reported and I do think it should all stop. But that's just me.

  18. Great news - both your daily writing and your impending adventure. Looking forward to the stories. I'm a bit envious of your son's life. Safe travels.

  19. That will be an amazing trip. Enjoy the creative surge you will probably experience!
    Say hi to Jordan for me. He's a great guy.

  20. The excitement continues with your family.

    Cliche, but I'll say it anyway: Once a mom, always a mom. :)

    Enjoy your trip and best wishes with your novel!

  21. waaa..I want to go...as soon as I get my trailer done ..we are off!

  22. Have a safe trip. This trip might provide some inspiration for your book.

    Jordan could start writing his own book, or his own blog. He's been through some interesting job hunting experiences of his own already, bless his kind young heart.

  23. How proud you must be of your son!

  24. A deer? A deer?! I love that little guy, and whatever you do, don't read The Yearling now. Unless you have and cried through all five hundred hours of the film as I did.

    I didn't know you were a teacher, although I should have. I find your story, and your sons, paralleling mine and my son. Only mine is working the night shift at UPS not working with nature and animals as he is so well suited to do. Maybe you should be his mother, sometimes I feel like I'm doing a horrid job. Any chance? ;)

  25. Nature Conservancy! That's a wonderful organization and one I happily contribute to. Good for your son.

    (Ha! word verification is beast!)

  26. Congratulations to your son! He sure has the gift of tenacity! Enjoy your visit.

  27. The subbing in the same school--even being in the same classroom--is mind bending. Wow.

    This job sounds a dream and can be perfect stepping stone to the next thing. My husband, in his environmental ed career, had some similar experiences, and they remain highlights of his life.

    Seeing Montana in February? Yea. You just made this Billings girl homesick.

    Have a great visit!

  28. What a joy when our babies are finding their way and especially in an area which makes them happy. You've done well, Mama. Take a proud bow.. and enjoy the occasional revisits to the nest. Empty ones are overrated. ;)

  29. OMG What a fabulous post! I remember well that post about raising the fawn. When you ever mentioned him working at the deer ranch I inwardly said NO!

    He sounds like a wonderful young man that you are very, very proud of. Please keep us updated on what he's doing next.

  30. I read your most recent post before scrlling back to catch up on the earlier ones I'd missed...so now we know. The clean sheets & bathroom were at Mum's instigation ;) But the dishes were an added bonus!

    Jordan sounds like an amazing young man and I can hear the pride you have for him. Any young man who loves animals gets gold stars in my book ;) I am so glad you have made the time to visit him in his "world" while you have the opportunity to do so. I know you're going to be making some very special memories to last a lifetime!

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