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Item #1 and Item #2

We are on vacation! Well, its sort of a vacation. I’m really not the traveling vacation kind of guy. I’m pretty sure I would be at home now, but as I mentioned Elaine was featured at the 50th Annual Jackson Hole Art Fair, and I was elected to go along.

Jackson Hole is reasonably close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I have never been to either park, I needed to do something while Elaine was working the show so I thought I should take the twins along and visit the National Parks.

Being fair to you guys, I will tell you I have started writing this story more than a couple times. The first time I had the time to write I was sitting under a tent in Jackson, Wyoming, watching it rain. Rain takes a little of the fun out of an outdoor art show, regardless of what town its in.

I found time to rewrite the story while sitting in a camping trailer in West Yellowstone, Montana. The twins are playing War with a deck of cards, giggling and making writing nearly impossible. They are inside the trailer because, you guessed it, it raining.

Ivy is at home where the temperature is hovering near 100 degrees. Here in West Yellowstone it is 42 degrees and raining.

I have clicked two items off my “bucket list” on this “vacation”. I sure you can guess what at least one item is. If you were guessing that I always had wanted to go to Yellowstone, you will be wrong.

Oh, going to Yellowstone is great, but having your truck breakdown on the way to Yellowstone, now that’s an adventure

Yep, two hours into what should have been a six and a half hour trip, my dashboard computer informed me, “ENGINE POWER IS REDUCED”. I guess the dashboard computer thought it was helping me, but after my truck dropped down to 30 MPH from 70 MPH in a matter of seconds I was pretty sure the “ENGINE POWER WAS REDUCED”!

Of course, things like this do not happen in a town or city in Wyoming. That would not be adventurous. Things like this need to happen 40 miles from the town you just past. Yep, you can try to get your truck to a town 90 miles in the direction you are going or turn around and go 40 miles back. I chose turning around.

40 miles at 30 MPH equals 80 minutes. Yep, this “bucket list” item was going to cost us some time. Another 3-1/2 hours at the mechanics shop and $482 in parts and labor and we were on vacation again. (Hey, I got off easy. While we were getting our truck fixed, some poor elderly guy brought in his million dollar, yes, I said million dollar, motorhome, that couldn’t be fixed that afternoon. This guy found himself “camping” in the parking lot of the repair shop until they could fix his rig. While I was waiting for my truck to be repaired , the old guy introduced himself, “Hi, my name’s Happy”. When I heard that I wondered, “What the “construction language” does he have to be Happy about?”)

Before we talk about my second “bucket list” item, I think we should talk about……..cowboy hats.

Living in the mountains I’ve learned that cowboy hats are a great tool. Cowboy hats provide shade from the sun and also make a great umbrella in a rain or snow storm.

I sure you are wondering how a fashion conscious guy like Ol’ Monner would wear a cowboy hat. Yep, I do. In fact I have five cowboy hats. We could talk about cowboy boots also, but this story is getting a little long.


The sun was shining brightly on the first day of the 50th Annual Jackson Hole Art Fair. It seemed like the appropriate day to wear a cowboy hat.

I better give you some information about the Art Show. Artisans were showing every thing from hand made knives to watercolor paintings.

One artisan was showing the most beautiful hand made wooden canoes you can imagine. These canoes were so finely built I could not see anyone putting them in water, They belong in someone den/TV room to replace their sofa. Did I mention the cost of the canoe was over $17,000? I think I’m getting a little carried away.

Back to Item #2.

Elaine’s booth was directly across from a lady selling Asian pottery. Her stuff was beautiful. This lady’s husband introduced himself to me and told me he was retired teacher turned painter. It was obvious he was not the kind of painter that usually talks to me.

The painter and I chatted several times during the day. Finally, late in the day he asked me something that I have never been asked before. ”Hey Monner, can I take your photograph and paint your picture in that hat?”

Yep, Item #2! Ol’ Monner’s portrait painted, just like Whistler’s Mother and the Mona Lisa.

I’m not sure how much of an authentic cowboy I looked like. I was wearing a tie-dyed shirt, shorts, fake crocs and a darn fine hat. I think that’s why he only took a headshot.

Elaine received some pretty great news in Jackson. She was asked to display her garments in a Jackson Art Gallery.

We can talk about the Art Show and the rest of the vacation next week.

Our crazy lives!


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