My junior high school math teacher and a former boyfriend of my Mom’s lives in Lander, WY. John Boulette. He grew up in Lander, seems to know everyone and is very active in the community. His brother also lives there and has a veterinary practice not far from where John lives. His house is on around an acre and a half with a small stream running next to it, on the other side of the fence. Doves cooing loudly and robins flying over our heads greeted us as we pulled into his circular driveway. Aspen trees quaked gently in the breeze around his home and pine trees offered a fresh change from the diesel smell of the bus engine.
John was aware of our trailer hitch situation and had already started trying to find us a welder to help us reattach our hitch to the bus. A mechanic he knew, Brynn, was willing to look at our bus and give us his opinion. We drove up a bumpy road to Brynn’s shop. He recommended an extensive rebuild of the trailer hitch including steel beams and plates. However, Brynn, known for his mechanical aptitude, was not an expert welder and seemed reluctant to take on our task as he was leaving town the next day.
The next morning, we were visited by two welders. The first, Lee, agreed with Brynn’s solution and said he could help us but not for a couple of weeks. The second, Forrest, (Phillips, not Gump) came over a bit later. Forrest is a larger man yet adeptly crawled under the bus to check out the hitch situation. A simple “I can fix it so it won’t break again” was about all he said, then added "people like to make things more complicated" after Steve started to go over the scenario recommended by Brynn from the night before. That solution was more than necessary to Forrest. He told us to call him in the morning if we wanted him to work on it. Steve and I decided we liked Forrest’s simple approach and reinforcement with some steel plates that he had on hand and decided we would call him in the morning.
We spent the rest of the day touring Lander with John as our guide, stopping at Sinks Canyon (where the river flows under the mountain) and other beautiful sites around Lander. John seems to know everyone and everything about Lander and it was enjoyable and relaxing to be in his company.
The next morning Forrest called John and told us to be there at noon. We went to the local Farmer’s markets, drove up into the mountains, then drove the bus to Forrest’s house. We had to drive down a small alley and back the bus up close to his shop. Steve’s driving skills, especially backing up with or without a trailer, are amazing and Forrest guided Seven’s back end right where he wanted it.
It was a hot day and Forrest never waivered on his offer to help us. We left in John’s truck but went back a couple of hours later with a cold root beer for Forrest. Progress was being made, but Forrest has the “gift of gab” and was chatting with a friend taking a break from the heat when his drink was delivered. Saying he was halfway through; he called an hour later to say it was done.
We went back to pick up the bus and Forrest did a beautiful reinforcement and hitch repair for us. We sat and chatted for a bit. He is a kind and beautiful soul and we are grateful for his help and gentle spirit.
Returning to host’s home, we made our him a non-meat sloppy joe/macaroni and cheese dinner and chatted outside until the mosquitoes became too hungry. The next morning, we headed out to our next adventure toward South Dakota, gratefully taking a renewed friendship with an amazing man with us.
The kindness we have been shown so far on our journey at first glance is surprising, but upon contemplation of us and the purpose of our journeys, to change the world with love, gratitude and kindness, it really is no surprise at all. There will be challenges ahead. Living all together will not always be easy, yet the universe is taking care of us as we know she would.
Seven ready for her welding.
A nice, snug fit.
Steve, Forrest and Jennifer post welding. We are so grateful to this wonderful man for helping us with a beautiful weld job and some wonderful conversations.