For anyone who was trying to reach me this past weekend, I apologize. There is no cell phone service in Wyoming.
Why was I in Wyoming? There has to be a reason, because people do not go to Wyoming for no reason. It's not like Vegas. Yes, there was a reason. I went to spend some time with my Grandparents, whom I have not seen in at least a year, probably more. It was all in the spirit of putting bad things behind us and trying to rebuild a relationship that has, at least since my graduation from high school, usually been cool and distant at best, cold, silent and tense at worst.
Where was I in Wyoming? Cheyenne? Laramie? Jackson Hole? No. Hanna, Wyoming. Situated on a coal seam and with an ever-dwindling population of miners, made ever-more unnecessary by high-technology mining equipment and safer practices. But a mere two generations ago, when my grandparents lived and mined in Hanna, there was no strip mining. Only the cold, dark and exceedingly dangerous man-made caverns underground.
I learned a lot about what it was like living in these places in the first half of the 20th century, and although I was really, really dreading the trip with its requisite derision about my hairstyle, piercings, the dreaded baggage associated with selling my grandmother's car, I was pleasantly surprised.
Sadly, most of what the grandparents had to show me was where things once were- the cottonwood-lined grove where a dance pavilion once stood, the sagebrush-flocked flat spot next to the coal mine where their company-owned home once faced Elk Mountain- it was interesting to get some insight into the lives that miners led in that part of the country. I was surprised at the diversity- Finnish, black, Mexican, Japanese, Italian and Greek miners worked side-by-side and lived in the same towns (until, of course, the Japanese were all whisked away during the war).
So, I'm sorry if anyone tried to call or email this weekend. I was in Wyoming. About fifty years ago.