Ranch Views From A Town Girl: Introduction

PHOTO COURTESY CATHY MOEN

Cathy Worthington Moen

How did this town girl become a ranch wife? It’s simple, I fell in love with a ranch boy. However, the terms “girl” and “boy” are being used loosely as we were in our 40’s when we married. I’m also taking liberty with the term “ranch wife.” I’m definitely a wife, but the “ranch” part is still up for debate as I have a full-time town job, and only like to “ranch” on nice days when the temps are between 70 and 75 degrees, and at other times when I feel like it.

When I met my ranch husband, Mark, he was posing as a town boy working a town job, but living on his family’s ranch. When he asked me to marry him, I said “yes” to marriage and “no” to the ranch. It didn’t make sense to move 30 miles away from everything our lives revolved around — our jobs, my daughter’s school, her dad and grandparents, shopping, sports, social events, friends and dependable electricity

Most of all, I knew my own limitations and I wasn’t tough enough to be a rancher’s wife. Mark needed a Calamity Jane-type, but I was just a gal who liked horses and roped a little. I had relatives and close family friends who were farmers and ranchers and had dated a few country boys in the past, so I was familiar with the lifestyle. I’d seen it, tried it, been there, and done that, and didn’t want to do it again. So, we agreed to live in town.

That arrangement lasted for over two years and I learned a lot about my new husband during that time. Mainly, he doesn’t work well with others, especially bosses, so he quit his town job before our second wedding anniversary. On top of that, within six months, we lost our lease on our townhome in the middle of the winter, there was nothing else available for rent that fit our needs, so our only option was to move to the ranch, temporarily. Temporary turned into 20 years and Mark is still trying to convince this town girl that working 365 days a year battling weather, stubborn livestock, predators, cattle markets, equipment breakdowns, the government, and environmentalists, is preferable to a steady income, benefits, weekends off, a retirement plan, and paved city-maintained streets.

After 20 years, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that argument.