We left Wyoming in April with heels dragging and a few souvenirs in tow. I am a big believer in small souvenirs, particularly when one’s nominally cavernous industrial loft space is embarrassingly cluttered. On this occasion, we brought back a pair of antler corkscrews and a handful of raccoon penis bones (long story, vaguely related to how we met).

We also took away some lessons about ourselves and one another.

Of Atlas, I learned that he considers life-size artistic renderings of moose a good deal more concerning than actual moose. I tend to agree with him on that score, for what it’s worth.

And I learned he was not the only really handsome pit bull in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Check out this mug, spotted inside a pickup truck downtown. I really want its name to be something corny like Lightening or Blaze.

Atlas learned that all black Labs are not like his housemate Olive. He learned this on our first morning out, while on a relaxed walk along a deserted bike path, where we were set upon by a Pathologically Friendly And Thick Headed male of unknown provenance. This guy had only two speeds, Sit-on-command and Up-My-Dog’s-Butt. Merely accompanying us along our walk was off the table.  Tried shouting, tried kicking (sorry, humping Atlas isn’t acceptable), tried throwing a stick. Some dogs just can’t take a hint. Eventually, I was able to pawn him off on some local joggers, in order that I might return to our cabin with just my own dog.

About my husband, I learned he is a good bird watcher.

I also learned he has a deep capacity for finding the structural flaws in an otherwise appealing cabin, and that even several glasses of good wine cannot reliably suppress this instinct. To his credit, he was entirely correct, demonstrating that sustainably built is not the same as intelligently built. Too bad, because they were both very comfortable and seductively high design.

Word to the wise: It’s a little bit tacky to use fake support beams as a major design element, especially when they might almost as easily have been used for actual support.

For myself, I learned that forty-plus hours of driving can test the best of relationships, particularly if one forgets to take along any CDs.  And I discovered it is worth scouring truck stop music racks in search of that elusive animal, the album worth listening to. In this case, my efforts were rewarded with Johnny Cash’s Live at Folsom Prison.

Mainly, I learned I very likely have the best husband and the best dog ever.

© Ruth Crisler and Spot Check, 2012.