With my brother Paul, getting our Christmas tree in the Big Horn mountains, circa 1976 or 1977.

On a trip that we have dubbed our “America the Beautiful” tour filled with days of beauty so amazing yet so different that mere words become redundant and insufficient, we finally arrived to the place I loved best in my childhood: Buffalo, Wyoming. We lived here less than two years, and 18 months of that were winter. I am not a cold weather kind of gal. Yet I loved this place and at the age of nine accused my parents of ruining my life forever by taking me away from my destiny.

“I’m moving here when I grow up,” I raged at them.

And I stuck with that declaration for years. But the reality of growing up became jobs, marriage, kids, and mortgages. Not only did I not move to Buffalo, I never went back.

Until July of 2014.

The place looked so much like I remembered it. I thought I would have forgotten most things and that the rest would be different, but I knew it like I’d never left, largely because the town residents take care to preserve their heritage.

Eric and I spent the first morning downtown.


Clear “Crick” through Buffalo, and me on my first time back in nearly 40 years.


Eric enjoying a Caramel Latte from Cowgirl Coffee and angsting that we won’t be here for Longmire Days. Longmire’s author, Craig Johnson, lives in Buffalo, and our friend Patrick Juarez works on the A&E series.


We discovered in Sisters, OR that quilters love funny romantic mysteries. We stopped in a quilting shop, learned that the owner remembered my parents and had a daughter in my brother’s grade at school, and gave her a book. She gave us one back and suggested we have a table at the Houston Quilting Show this fall. GOOD IDEA.

Then the afternoon was devoted to the library and our event there.


Buffalo is a town of 4000ish. Their library rivals those in towns 3-4 times its size.


We chatted books for two hours. It was great fun!


Librarian Cynthia Twing looked very familiar. Her kids were a few years behind me in school.


My parents and brother come up every year and stay in a cabin at Mary’s home. Mary is a pistol. Instant love.

And the evening we spent with dear family friends.


Posing with our ponies, my best friend Downing and me. We brought our horses for our sleepovers.


Nearly 40 years later in the same spot with her parents Lissa and Bill. Lot of trees have grown up on their gorgeous property.


It doesn’t rain much here but as soon as it was time to grill, the storm rolled in. Heck, it was barely rain. It was nearly snow!

In much the same way that I have run out of unique ways to describe the beauty of the American West, I have run out of words about Buffalo. The pictures will have to do the trick. Suffice it to say that even as I freeze my tushy off here in mid-July, I remember why I loved it so: the smells, the ranches, the mountains, the people, the charm, the cowboy culture. I could huff myself into a coma over the scent of the rangy prairie, rugged and delicate at the same time. And the area has a new fan, my island-boy-turned-Texan “Bubbamon” husband, who has discovered his inner cowboy.

Heck, I always knew it was in there somewhere.

That’s all I’ve got.


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3 Responses to Redneck Writer Road Report #16: Buffalo Gals

  1. Eric Hutchins says:

    I LOVED Buffalo.
    Lissa and Bill we honestly some of the warmest nicest people I have ever met. The Library and the event was great. I loved walking around the downtown and eating at the Busy Bee. I love that this place means so much to you. The fact that it does makes it special to me.
    It was fun driving around and seeing the school and hearing about some of the special things you learned there :), and seeing your house, the hospital where your dad worked, the “airport”. and on. Most of all of course was the Place, the area, the mountains, the smell, the wildlife. I will not forget it and I hope it can become a part of our future.

  2. Eric Hutchins says:

    I also think it is worth mentioning that you titled the piece “Buffalo Gals” and the first picture is of you and your brother. HMMMMMM, I don’t think that was an accident, Just sayin.

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