The resort around the corner had its grand opening reception Sunday afternoon, so Tom and I went both to see their progress, and to meet some of the people who live around here. Everybody around here keeps pretty busy, so there’s not a lot of visiting between neighbors, especially since the distance between us is measured in miles rather than feet. Apparently everybody wanted to meet new neighbors and catch up with old because most people who live around here showed up for the reception. Tom and I were laughing because they all knew who I was but didn’t know Tom, and the reason they knew me was because they’ve all seen me out on the horses and had figured out that the tall woman with the long blond hair was one half of the new owners of the cat farm. Lilly, our closest neighbor to the south was laughing when she realized this was how people identified me, because she said that she’d initially thought “Poor Tom” when she got to know me because I was always out on a horse while he was slaving away on the property – until she walked by one day and saw me weed whacking, when I suddenly became “the gringa who works.”
This image was reinforced when we met one of our neighbors to the north, the owner of a nearby equestrian resort who is currently living in Washington State while his adult son and daughter-in-law manage the business here. His son and daughter-in-law were visiting her family in the States for Thanksgiving, so Jim came down to manage the resort for a couple of weeks, just in time to get an invitation to the reception. Tom shook Jim’s hand and introduced himself, and then I shook his hand and introduced myself. I began to take my hand back, when he reached out and said “Give me that hand again.” I held my hand out, and he took it, squeezed it, turned it over, looked at my palm, rubbed one of my calluses, and said “I love it. This is the hand of a woman who works.” Lilly was still there, so she, Tom and I all laughed, and then had to explain to Jim that Lilly calls me “the gringa who works.” After years of keeping my unmanicured farmer hands folded under the table at corporate meetings, it was kind of refreshing to have my hands be my business card and explain what I do!