Skipper & Dixie

Friday, September 19, 2014

For a native Atlantan, anywhere west of Birmingham seems like another universe. The United States' wide and diverse expanse boils over with regional diversity, and yet we take for granted the sights to behold from sea to shining sea. We linger in our respective regions with a textbook definition of the rocky beaches of California or the quaint domestic style of New England or the legends associated with the Wild West; we stay rooted on our front porches rather than hopping on the saddle of our proverbial horses.

My family and I traveled westward to Tuscan, Arizona and stayed at Tanque Verde Ranch for my cousin Maddie's wedding. So different from my comfortable Atlanta or Athens, for that matter, but more beautiful and more fantastic. It seems silly to even write this down but I really have never seen a real Saguaro cactus before (pronounced "SA-WAHR-O" and not "SA-GAR-OH" like I'd been pronouncing it...awkward). These and the various other species of cacti formed a Dr. Seuss-like world of wonder: each cactus grew into an odd shape or a twisted, unnatural contortion. Beyond the incredible landscape, I fell in love with the classical Western style present at Tanque Verde, the location of all the wedding festivities. I see where Ralph Lauren gets his inspiration season after season. The inevitable fringe and a blanket coat here and there could have been taken out of anyone's closet here in Tuscan. The well-dressed cowgirl is an area of fashion I have yet to tap into, but after my trip seems almost necessary. The girl whose heart belongs in the West has been an archetype of American fashion for so long, many pieces of her wardrobe have become staples without anyone paying her homage. You could argue that denim and flannel to more obvious accessories such as cowboy boots and a lasso come from her closet. Warm, chalky reds, bold blues, earthy, sandy browns, and bright golden yellows make up the palette of the decor and the style and the landscape. Cowboy boots are a practical form of footwear (I almost feel silly wearing them around town now, they seem so out of context!) and everyone should know how to ride a horse. My sister, MC, and I got the chance to ride horses through the Saguaro National Park that the ranch overlooked, and it was thrilling. My horse's name was Skipper and hers was Rawhide. We hopped on easily after a few pointers from a local cowboy and thus commenced our outing. And so, a ranch horse and a little peach from Dixie became fast friends. Skipper and I could have easily taken off and roamed the wild, wild west together, but we decided to stay with the group and afterward continue our lives as if nothing happened. But I have faith that one day my friend Skip and me will meet again and become fearless outlaws. (I recently took one of those quizzes that will give you a cowgirl name and I got Sadie "Man Punchin" Holliday. I'll take it.)

After taking in the scenery and reveling in the American Western culture, it came time to celebrate new beginnings. You can probably guess that I love weddings. I am an avid observer and daydreamer and admirer of lace and pearls and bouquets and cake and boys in tuxes and dance parties, so basically weddings are my jam. This one was particularly wonderful. Maddie and Andrew have been together since high school, and watching them tie the knot was particularly sweet. Maddie has the most adorable vintage style, and so from the bridesmaid dresses to the Coca-Cola bottles to her hair and makeup, her wedding was quite the 1940's Americana affair. Their wedding cake was apple pie and we ate dinner on picnic tables. Kids were running around playing and there was a hopping dance party. There was love all around that diffused like campfire smoke.

It's safe to say I feel at home on the range. Sadie "Man Punchin" Holliday over & out.

{currently listening to}

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