“Resourcefulness” — noun — defined in my dictionary as “the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.”
Such a quality is true of ranch women, especially cowgirls. Many moons ago, I worked on a dude ranch in a southern western state. No, not as a horse wrangler. Rather, because I was a girl, naturally I was relegated to wrangling food in the kitchen. Partnering with me was another gal, a cowgirl by the name of JoAnn. She and I hit it off right from the start.
Our stint of resourcefulness occurred one afternoon when we had to prepare snack finger-food to be served to guests during the late afternoon cocktail hour. Not a problem. We whipped up two platters of assorted goodies. We set the trays on a side counter while we attended to other tasks.
When cocktail hour arrived, the dude ranch owner (the wife — whom we had christened “Witch Woman” — except we privately replaced the “W” in witch with a “B”). Anyway, when Mrs. B.W. strolled into the kitchen to inquire if the snacks were ready, JoAnn and I chorused, “you bet!”
“Good,” said Mrs. B.W. “You may bring them,” she said, looking at her watch — “in about 10 minutes or so. The guests are just now assembling.”
“Okay,” we answered.
The 10 minutes or so passed by. JoAnn and I each turned to pick up a tray of yummies. Oh, oh … the assorted snack-food choices had been invaded by ants, an entire battalion of ants and all their relatives! JoAnn stared at me. I stared at her. Without a single word being exchanged, we reached into the dish cupboard, brought down two clean trays, plucked two paper doilies from the doily drawer of the counter cabinet, placed doilies on new trays and set these on a separate spot a good way away from the ant-infested trays.
Still wordless, JoAnn and I both began brushing, blowing, whisking and hand-picking ants off the snack-food items, then placing said ant-free pieces onto the fresh trays. We had almost finished ridding scurrying pesky insects from all food items when Mrs. B.W. swept into the kitchen.
“Girls! The guests are all assembled in the fire-place room. You may bring in the hors d’oeuvres,” she said trying — and failing — to sound as if she spoke French.
“Yes, Ma’am,” we said.
While I continued the task of separating ants from finger-food, JoAnn swiveled around, standing with her back to the counter in order to shield the trays from unwanted observation. “We’ll be right there,” she warbled.
Mrs. B.W. nodded, apparently satisfied, and departed.
As JoAnn turned around to eyeball the trays, I whispered, “almost done,” and flicked off what I hoped was a last slow-moving ant from a 4-inch square of cucumber sandwich.
Then, proudly, we each bore a tray of finger-food goodies into the fire-place-living-room-cocktails-served room. Carefully, JoAnn placed her tray on a coffee-table, and I established the other on a sideboard counter.
“Thank, you, girls,” said Mrs. B.W. in her best “hostess-of-the-manor” purring voice. “That will be all.”
Neither JoAnn, nor I, said a word. We merely turned — with utmost dignity — and exited.
Back in the kitchen, we each inhaled deeply. “Whew,” said JoAnn.
“Ditto,” said I.
As far as I know, not one of the assembled dude-ranch guests ate an ant. If anyone did, a little extra protein never hurts.
Cowgirls are ever resourceful. ❖
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