Tracie's Thoughts: Wyoming citizens are the best
August 15, 2019
I first arrived in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, from Vermont, in July of 1997 and I was amazed by the people here, their old fashioned morals and willingness to help each other ... for no pay.
Over the years I have bragged about the Wyoming way of life to everyone and anyone. I couldn't believe that people would get together and brand calves for no pay other than a job well done and a good meal. I couldn't believe how people banded together, for no pay, to help a family who had a fire or to make sure that another family's children had all that they needed for school.
I couldn't believe that men still held the door for women or moved out of line to let the women go first. God, I love Wyoming.
One of my first experiences in Ten Sleep was going to the grocery store which was located where the Sleepy Coyote is now. I had gotten about four bags of groceries and had just walked out of the store when a man I had never met grabbed the bags out of my hand and put them into the back of my truck for me and then just walked away as if he hadn't done anything. I honestly was freaking out thinking that the man was stealing my groceries until he put them into the back of the truck and was so amazed by what he did that I just stood there dumbstruck and didn't get a chance to thank him.
Remember, I came from Vermont and I personally watched a woman scream at a man for holding the door for her there; some sexist crap. I can imagine the fit that would have been thrown if she had had someone help her the way I was helped.
Another time we were in Kaycee and there was a really long line at the convenient store. There were about 15 or so people standing in line, all men, with the exception of myself and another lady. All the men, without even discussing the matter, moved out of the way and allowed the other lady and myself to go to the front of the line. I walked out of the store in complete awe.
Over the years I have seen thousands of different ways that community members in the Big Horn Basin have helped each other and strangers. But I have also noticed that the younger generations didn't seem to be as willing to help for free. I'm not saying that all of the younger generation are that way, but a larger portion. I have seen events that have been going on for years canceled because the older generation are getting too old to do all the work and the younger generations aren't stepping up.
I started to feel that maybe even here things are changing and not for the better. Then when you read all the bad that is happening with this country and the division of the people, hope starts to get lost. But I still had faith in my adopted state's people and that faith was proven correct for me this weekend.
First off, my husband and I went to a trapping convention in Lusk this weekend with people from all over the country attending. They started the convention with the host, John Graham of Lusk, stating that the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem would be done because we are Americans and should show our American pride and dedication. He didn't care who he offended and I think he is awesome for it!
The second thing that happened occurred Saturday morning, right after I dropped my husband off at the convention. I locked my keys in the truck. I sat there just about in tears, trying to figure out what I was going to do. We were five hours from home, I was a couple miles from where my husband was and I couldn't call him and tell him what happened because my cell phone was locked in the truck with the keys. I finally found someone to call a locksmith for me and was told it would be $75. I had no choice but to agree. After waiting about 20 minutes, a truck pulled up beside ours and I asked him if he was the locksmith. He wasn't but he told me to hold on, he would get his boss and they would, together, help me.
The gentleman in the truck came back with his boss, a gentleman of about 30 who assessed the scene, went to the back of his worker's truck and grabbed a length of barbed wire and proceeded to free my keys. I still can't figure out how he did it. The keys were in the ignition, yet he was able to run that barbed wire through about an inch gap in the driver's side window, snag the keys out of the ignition and drag them through the window.
Once the truck was open I asked the men what I owed them and they said nothing. So I shook both their hands and said thank you and they went on their way as did I to tell my husband what I had done. That one experience has restored my faith, which while I still had some, was wavering.
People in Wyoming are different and that difference is awesome. I pray to God that we as a state can continue to be the God-fearing and loving people that make this state so special. Volunteering, working hard and helping others for no gain is something Wyoming people are known for and I hope that that continues for a very long time.
I know I will continue to brag about this state and its citizens as long as I can, because there is no place like home and Wyoming is my home.
Tracie Mitchell is a staff writer for the Northern Wyoming News.