My husband, 2boys, and I spent last weekend in Kemmerer, Wyoming. Ever heard of it? Yeah, I guessed not. It is the population 2630 town where my husband’s mother grew up and where my husband spent the first few years of his life.
Being in Kemmerer is delightfully and alarmingly much like going back in time. The only stores you’ve ever heard of in Kemmerer are Subway and the very first JCPenney store, now less like the JCPenney store in your own town than you can possible imagine. Every other store is very “local,” and native Kemmererites warn you always to check the expiration dates at the grocery store!
Neither my husband nor I could get data service on our phones. But then, I actually love unplugging. I think I feel proud that I can do it with hardly a care, really. And it frees me up to be present in the moment even more than I already am.
Everyone talks about everyone else like they’ve known everyone else forever. Everyone knows everyone else’s business from forever. They read the local newspaper stories and advertisements as a personal account of success and ills among their own family and friends circles. This I find absolutely fascinating. And a bit annoying. I am a more private person who bares her business and her soul to just a few.
I am the city girl at heart, remember? Yet somehow I always love being in Kemmerer. It is so grounding to be in a place that hardly ever seems to change. And it is so refreshing to be just a little bit bored – I always forget what that is like between visits!
We looked at pictures of my husband when he was little; lots of when he was our oldest son’s current age. It was nothing less than exhilarating to see several expressions on his little face, captured by Kodak and preserved forever in a navy with gold trim binder, that perfectly mirror the expressions we see every day, here and there, on the face of our dear almost-four-year-old Howard. We found a photo of my husband with two little dimples underneath his smile; I’d been wondering for years where Howie got those!
xo, Kemmerer. And goodbye. See you in a year.