“El Dia de los Muertos”

I awake on that morning with dread. I know as I slam down my third cup of strong, strong coffee that I must be on my A-game or else. I won’t see the inside of my house until (probably) late tonight and will not have time to rest or breathe or sit, and I will be making a 100 mile round trip, not counting the miles I’ll be driving from place to place when I get there; and that I must be home in time to feed my family dinner.

It’s El Dia de los Muertos…but not the one in October. It’s the day of my monthly supply run to the ‘big city’ of Roswell.

Today I start early, and it’s not like other days. I’ll be leaving the borders of the ranch, crossing the cattle guard into the wide world, and therefore, I must wear make-up and clean clothes and even jewelry. Today the children must also wear clean clothes. It seems  a monumental achievement upon first glance in the mirror.

But I press on. Fueled by caffeine and the adrenaline that arises when you behold your to-do list early in the morning, I set to my work. By 8 a.m. the children are fed, dressed, and almost loaded in the pickup. I have loaded up the trash to take out. I do a flight check. Daiper bag. Snacks. Drinks. Grocery list. Sam’s list. Feed store list. Hardware list. Sunglasses. Money. All the while, I know I forgot something. Oh! yes. I need to get dressed.

Amid the fussing in the backseat and the rattle of the pickup cab (dirt roads inevitably cause this), I pray as we roll out. I ask for guidance, for protection, and most of all, for energy.

When we reach the highway, the children are usually lulled to sleep. (Dirt roads cause this, too.) The radio soothes my nerves for the next hour and a half, interrupted only by a half dozen phone calls, three of which are from my cowboy.

They ring to the tune of: “Since you’re already in town, can you run over and pick up that oxygen and acetylene? can you grab me a couple pairs of gloves? will you run over to the Paul’s Vet Supply and check on that stuff I ordered? I’ve been meaning to go do it but I didn’t wanna make a special trip.”  Sure, I say. No problem, honey. But in my head I’ve calculated the time this will take*, not to mention budget adjustments. I mentally gag down the impulse to remind him that these things require unloading and loading two toddlers and taking them inside each establishment…every mom knows what kind of mental sharpness, spiritual peace, and outer calmness this requires.

When I hit the first stop light, I go into a sort of survival trance. As I make my way from one end of town to the other, I attempt to remain human and again, I mutter a prayer. I planned my route based on the lists, and decide to save Wal Mart for last because they’ll be open after 5 p.m.

You may snicker at me by now, saying to yourself that this would be simply the work of the morning for you. True, I am a slow and methodical creature. I know I am not the woman who can whiz through town, whistling as she goes about her errands, who stops at the end to get her nails done to reward herself. But then, many do not understand how much time it takes to do hostage negotiations with one carseat, let alone two.

Although my kids are tough little things, they can’t go without food. So, there’s that. Fast food or walk in and sit, lunch is no walk in the park.

By the time I get to Wal Mart and move as much of the other purchases from the day in the front seat (it’s Roswell, after all), I am dragging. The kids are whining. I pray again. We get inside and have to go back for my grocery list. We get started shopping when a bathroom break is unavoidable for me. So we park it and go behind those doors and re-emerge to this: “Sweetie, are you sure you don’t have to go right now? Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure.”




On with the list! I start by sauntering through the store behind the cart, finally producing the magic volume reducers (pacifiers) to prevent the entire store from echoing with their  renditions of Marty Robbins. At last I see my list is complete. The basket is mounded high with a month’s worth of groceries. The children are rubbing their eyes and the bags under mine are probably too scary to look at. Like a Titan, I brace myself behind the heavy basket and push it toward the checkout line, where I wait another 45 minutes, by which time the children’s voices have regained their volume and their determination to make their complaints heard is turning heads. That’s when I hear: “Mama, I need to go tee tee.”

Once we have gone we return to the checkout line again, and it is at last our turn. I know we have to get out of here ASAP. I unload the entire basket onto the conveyer belt. The blip…blip…blip…blip… makes me break into a nervous sweat because of the aforementioned budget calculations (and silent prayers are said). When at last I slide the plastic and collect a five-foot-long receipt to begin the trek back to the pickup, I am now running solely on prayer.

It’s almost dark outside and I push the basket around the parking lot two times before remembering where I parked. That’s a tough one to admit but it’s true. This ranch gal can find a bull brushed up in a ten section pasture, but she loses her truck in the Wal Mart parking lot.


The children are strapped in, and provided with snacks and a drink. I breathe a thankful sigh, thinking how I don’t have to unbuckle them and drag them out until we get home.  The groceries are sorted and packed into coolers and loaded in the bed. I start the engine relieved that I only have to fuel up before I head home. The phone rings. “Honey, since you’re already there, can you pick up a couple cans of Copenhagen?” I hesitate. I sigh. I say, Sure, babe. And I turn up the radio to keep the kids awake for one last excursion, into the gas station this time. El Dia de los Muertos…at least, that’s how I feel.

The ride home is when the exhaustion sets in. The kids are asleep at the wrong time of evening, and will awaken when we arrive so they can play until 10 p.m. I peer into the dusk, seeing foxes and deer in the edge of the headlights. I must keep my eyes open! The rest of the evening is a blur, except for…

…my cowboy. He greets me with a kiss and a smile. He helps me unload and put away the items that replaced his salary. Dinner. Clean up. Try to keep awake until the little ruffians are ready for bed. Then, wash off what’s left of the make-up, and go to bed.

Folks, I’d rather be boiled in oil. Or be taken captive by a band of Comanches. Or be staked out in the sun on top of an ant bed. Or…just about anything than go to town on the monthly supply run. That’s why I call it “El Dia de los Muertos” because not even coffee can keep me alive until the sun goes down. I’m a goner before even leaving the house!

It’s grace and grace only that carries me and my littles through the day. As much as I dread it, it’s really a day spent relying totally on God at every turn. So in reality, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I pity the folks who run into me in town. Chances are I didn’t even recognize them! I’m darting about in survival mode, usually not realizing that God’s grace could relieve the stress too, if I would let Him. That’s something that I will have to work on. I can’t avoid the ‘day of the dead’, but it doesn’t have to kill me if the life I have in Christ comes to the surface.


*Some of these instances are not typical of my town run. In defense of my cowboy, he tries very hard not to make me run all his errands. Since he has accompanied me on these supply runs before, and since the title of this post is so fitting, he prefers to run his own errands ever since our second kiddo was born. So that’s largely hypothetical, but it does happen…to all of us ranch gals, every now and then. 😉

10 thoughts on ““El Dia de los Muertos”

  1. Oh Chy!! Because I don’t have your skill at words I can’t rightly express how accurate and special this was to read! Twins plus shopping makes me understand a little of what you’re saying! God bless you and I sure wish I could take those darling red heads for those monthly excursions! But I know it’s probably part of your sanctification! Ha! I love you. ♡


  2. Oh, how you make me laugh!! I have been in your shoes, but with only one toddler. I also had to do my laundry in town, that was done first. Potty training and weaning Shana was all different related to the monthly round trip. You brought back those memories and they were tough when they happened, but now I can just sit back and laugh. You describe this event perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Well, at least one of us is laughing! No, really, it’s a high stress day but it isn’t all that bad. Once I lost the truck in the parking lot and called Cody thinking it was stolen! I would not do that unless my last straw had been burnt to ashes. Thankfully, Mom was there. She took the keys and came back with truck. Oh goodness…she had to really hold it in not to be rolling on the pavement laughing at me!


  3. Like you, I dread those monthly supply runs into town for anythi9ng other than worship and spending time with God in His house with other believers.
    While I can’t relate to having toddlers in tow, I have often made these runs for my folks so they didn’t have to leave the house. The big difference for me, I HATE wearing makeup or as I call it, War Paint,so I don’t go to the trouble of putting it on except for special occasions (weddings, funerals) where sometimes it is expected to look like you made an effort to “dress up”!
    Cheyenne, you have a marvelous way with words that paint a picture of memories from way back. Keep it up, I enjoy reading your tales of real life on the ranches in the west.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only telling the stories we all know by heart. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading! My goodness, you and your family have been a great inspiration to me. Everything I have read of yours makes me feel something… I don’t see how our way of life will survive unless we can somehow touch the hearts of the people who don’t understand it.


  4. Déjà vu! Thanks for a name for that day. I will use it from now on. I laughed with understanding. I love your writing . You make me smile.
    Keep up the good work. God bless you.


  5. Cheyenne after catching up with you the other day I stumbled onto this blog. Very good stuff!!! I can completely relate to this going to town business… especially the grumbling because the load the kids, unload them, load them again, and on and on followed by the ill-timed potty needs! Mine is usually right after we get back into our car seat and think we are ready to go to the destination.

    Also, I’m blown away by how grown up Shayla’s daughter Abby is! Wow time flies!

    Much love to you and yours… prayers and blessings! Hope our paths cross again and it’s not another 10 years in between!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s