photo by XiaoLi

Tears sprung into my mother’s eyes Sunday when I returned from the Women Who Design the West show in Cody, Wyoming. Sporting my new black Stetson hat (given to me by Pam Fields the CEO of Stetson when I was inducted with nine other women into Stetson’s Craftsman Alliance) mom smiled with her voice full of emotion as she remembered my grandfather’s pride when he could afford his first Stetson hat.

Jake trying out my Stetson and my chisels

Mom was about 10 years old when Grandpa bought his first Stetson. He was a farmer in Nebraska who raised endless fields of wheat along with twelve children. My precious beautiful graceful and tough-as-nails grandmother was by his side for fifty-seven years (and many Stetsons).

Earlier Sunday morning, Cliff and I were busy loading the last of my art into Paul’s trailer outside the auditorium. We had to dodge a fresh pile of deer poop left by the beautiful momma (or one of her two babies) on the sidewalk. The sweet big-eared-bright-eyed family enjoyed munching at the buffet outside the auditorium (trees and grass). Once the trailer was packed and road-ready, Cliff and I gorged on the buffet at the historic Irma Hotel. I hit the road with a buzz from the special whiskey sauce poured onto my bread pudding at breakfast – an Irma specialty.

Sunday brunch on the lawn

We pulled out of Cody and headed toward Chief Joseph Highway; sore from moving heavy sculptures. I wore a grin.  My whiskey sauce buzz was only partly responsible for the smile – the whole event was spiked with talented women and new friends.  We rambled home in the late afternoon sun past sagebrush, mountains, small farms and autumn colors; my new Stetson hat packed away carefully in the back seat of the truck.