Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Eyes Open

Welcome to Baggs, part of the Little Snake River Valley. I found myself in Baggs as part of a community needs assessment team. I have historical interest. My grandma came out here in a covered wagon and settled outside of Baggs on the Snake River. (Me, I would have enjoyed the scenery and then moved on to more lush surroundings.)

Baggs was a ranching community, now a combination of ranching and and those who are "stayin' alive." The "Boom" is hurting/sometimes helping, most Wyomingites (unless your name is the V.P.) ya know what/who I mean. Haliburton trucks roar down the dirt roads to the rigs, giving the residents respiratory illnesses because of the dirt and dust. Rents in this little town have gone up to $1,000 a month for a small two bedroom - "Nope, no pool, no rec area, no cable, no....." Infrastructures groan in agony. People pray for a grant for a new Water Treatment Plant. Salaries are high, but so is everything else.

Town Hall houses crowded offices trying to keep up with the workers coming to the oil fields. Down the road 20 miles are two huge "man camps" housing oil field workers who work, eat, sleep, work. (I ran into a young boy from Milton today at the working in the fields. He was already injured.) I have a question, what are our kids and grandkids going to do when the fuel is all gone?

The bright side is a beautiful valley rimmed by tall jagged mountains in the mist, green valleys and a wild Platte River and for the most part, sincere, sensible people. Silence, community ties, and a fabulous family-owned Mexican Restaurant, Del Rio are some nice things along with Sopapillas filled with mountains of whipped cream and fresh strawberries!

The town feels isolated from the rest of the County. Services are hard to come by, and many can't afford the money it takes to drive to the County seat for services, food, meager shopping. Wyoming has the distinction of being the first on the list of States that have early childhood drinking. Baggs is no exception, or is child and spousal abuse. Isolation is sweet, but often turns sour and takes its toll. They need services. Jobs are often miles and miles away. Medical care is miles and miles away. I look wistfully at the small community, and think, "Yet, it is a charming community."

The pix is the outside of the Del Rio. The kitchen at the Del Rio has become part of my new series that I don't know what the title is yet.....but a series of kitchens. Maybe ethnic kitchens? Unique kitchens? We shall see what evolves.

(Drat, blogger image function quit working. No kitchen photo, sorry.)


The votes on the painting won out to "leave it alone." Maybe a floating artichoke leaf. Thanks to all who gave suggestions. I took the painting to Adobe Photoshop and cut and pasted and tried all the was grand fun, and maybe I should do a series on those suggestions too, using the same painting, different ideas. FUN!


LWords said...

Wow!! Baggs!! Who would ever have thought. Just don't go Quail Hunting with the V.P. :-) I find it absolutely amazing they could get $1,000.00 per month in Baggs, Wyoming. What a rip off!! How many of those properties have been purchased by the V.P. or Halliburton?

I think the idea of the floating leaves are awesome btw.... For the artichoke that is...

Danielle said...

I dig this. Sounds like a quiet place to think.

I was reading your mean you want to run away to Costa Rica like me? We have much in common. I will have to contact you soon to ask about your missions experience. I already know I will find a piece of my heart in Africa and probably leave it there too.


I just have to know. How can anywhere in the world ever wind up with the name Baggs?? It's brilliant. It's like somethin' outta Month Python.

"Where you from mate?"

Yer'd leave everyone speachless over here... magic!

Oh n by the way - 'not nailed on'? You're a 'Lofty Perch' n it's nicked from the Monty Python 'Dead Parrot' sketch. Just the way my mind works on the occasions it does....