Tuesday, November 13, 2012


By Jude Urbanski

 “Oh, come on, you two can do it! We’re going to.”
Such encouragement , or should I say, such gentle pressure, from dear friends is what found us working at a delightful Dude Ranch in beautiful Montana one summer. That experience is a memory not easily forgotten.

Realize, we were not your typical summer wranglers. You know, those perky college gals who look good in tight Levis and those fresh-faced lads who have cut their teeth on the saddle horn.
Far from it. In fact, some would have called our foursome, geezer guys and gals. Our friends had been guests at this fancy dude ranch for several years, but it was the first time ‘we professional types’ had done menial work like we did that summer. The guys handled outside work such as slopping the pigs, mending fences, cleaning stalls, and painting. I was dining room hostess, worked split shifts beginning at 6:00 am and ending at 9:00 to 10:00 pm, after evening socials. My counterpart cooked and cooked some more. If we weren’t serving or cooking, we helped clean cabins. We had roughly thirty two new guests each week and had to commit names to memory.

That summer was not for sissies, I can tell you. More than once, we senior citizens laughed and asked what we were doing there and why we weren’t back home playing golf or going to lunch. We broke sweat several times each day. We monitored for bears and forest fires.

But lest I lead you to believe we sorely commiserated all summer, let me tell you about things taking our breaths away. To start with, the scenery itself was post-card perfect with majestic mountain views, peaceful lakes and crystal-clear, blue skies. The sprawling ranch  nestled in a green valley below Shadow Mountain, a place of spiritual quest for the Crow Indians who used to live in this place. The herd of magnificent horses skittering into the corral each morning reminded me of the old west. Guests were fanciful, interesting as well as sometimes unbelievable; the rich came from near and far. My huge horse Tom carried me along trails to our Campfire Cookout and that horse took my breath away for sure. I was scared to death of him.

Explorers Lewis and Clark had traveled through Livingston, Montana on their westward journey, camping at the rambunctious Yellowstone River, which flowed right through town. Of course, being the history buff I am, I relished this tidbit. Hollywood saw fit to add to the charm the little town, when Livingston became the location for several movies. I purchased a couple pieces of Montana Silversmith jewelry I absolutely cherish. I love how they keep my summer memories alive.

Oh, another thing I did on this impressive summer adventure was to polish my first manuscript, which was later published by LangMarc Publishing. Achieving internet connection, except in town at the library, was exciting at the Dude. So that summer I hadn’t checked my creativity at the corral.

Life can be an odyssey, sometimes, but you already know that, if you’ve lived to read this.

Jude Urbanski writes women's fiction featuring strong inspirational romance elements. She invites you to stories of heroes and heroines who spin tragedy into triumph with help from God.
First published in nonfiction, Jude now has two electronic novels, The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing Series, offered by Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a columnist for Maximum Living, a magazine focusing on spirituality and wellness for women.
Jude has a Master’s Degree in Nursing and worked as a nurse practitioner. She is a member of national and area chapters of American Christian Fiction Writers and National League of American Pen Women.
 Jude and her husband live in Indiana and share a large blended family. Find Jude at these links



TNeal said...

You make your dude-ranch experience sound like both challenging and adventurous--2 spicy additives that make life interesting.

Caroline said...

Sounds like fun (ha ha). Loved your post, Jude!

jude urbanski said...


Had to laugh at your post! It was fun and it was ha ha, too!