Friday, September 19, 2014

Day one of touristing on the high plains

Hanging out at Esther Hobart Morris's statue at the Wyoming State Capitol with Brian and Eileen Casey.
My sister Eileen and her husband, Brian Casey, visited us this week in Cheyenne. They live in Orlando, Florida, and had never been to Wyoming. Eileen is a history buff and Brian likes trains. I told them, “You’ve come to the right place.”

Visitors from distant climes help me focus on the clime I’m in. I’ve lived in Cheyenne 23 years but have not seen everything there is to see. A human trait, to take for granted the place where you live.

On Monday, their first day in town, Eileen, Brian, my wife Chris and I toured Cheyenne. We exploited the state capitol building, which is in the beginning of a $250 million renovation. I saw Leslie in the Governor’s office and went in to say hi. She asked if we wanted to see the inner office, the place where Gov. Mead signs bills, and we said yes. She let Eileen and Brian sit in the Gov’s chair and I took photos. We wondered if we could walk into the Florida governor’s office, sit in his chair and take photos. Probably not. We toured the legislative chambers and viewed the art. I took time to actually view the art on the walls instead of just passing by. On the House side, the portrait of the 1913 group had a tear in the middle. The tear is about the width of a human head, which is due to the fact that one disgruntled legislator plucked the portrait off the wall and bashed it over the head of a colleague. Those are the kind of details that make history come alive.

We next toured the state museum. I’ve been in there a hundred times. But on this, the 101st visit, I saw things I didn’t know were there. It is a gift to have fresh eyes alight on a thing and say “I didn’t know that.” That’s what museums are all about, right? We ate lunch at the historic Albany and then toured the Depot Museum. Trains created Cheyenne. The magnificent depot was created in view of the State Capitol to remind legislators to not forget what side their bread was buttered on. These days, legislators don’t have a view of the Powder River Basin coal fields, but that lesson has a prominent place in their memory.

You can see the coal trains from the second-floor museum viewing room. It’s a busy rail yard, which delighted Brian almost as much as the big model train in the next room. You’re in choo-choo country, pardner!

Time flies when you’re touristing. We walked around the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, a place that I love. The flowers are in their last gasp of beauty before the frosts arrive and the snow falls. The folks at the gardens did a great job of resurrecting the flower beds after our June and July hailstorms. I showed off the architectural plans of the new building. I’m very proud of it, as I was one of the forward-thinking voters who approved it during the election of 2012. Without Chris and I and thousands of others, we wouldn’t be creating a city for our children and grandchildren. Take a bow, ya’ll.

We wrapped up the day with a barbecue at our house. A fitting end to a fine, late-summer day in the high prairie.

To be continued….

No comments: