“We should get going sweetheart. We don’t want to lose the rest of the group.”
“Sorry Cindy, I lost track of time.”
“No need to apologize honey, that’s why you came out here.”
Erin smiled and the two women led their horses down the incline and trotted back towards the group. Seeing how the group consisted of mostly old people, and Dina, it wasn’t hard to catch up with them. Within ten minutes they were riding up next to the rest of them and Erin waved as Dina looked back at her through her Prada sunglasses. Erin laughed at how ridiculous she looked sitting atop a horse, in the middle of nowhere, with designed shades hanging on her nose and a $400 smartphone in her hand.
“What’s so funny?” she asked as Erin sidled up to her.
“Nothing Dina, I’m just in a good mood.”
Dina smiled and asked her how her adventure was. “It was cool,” Erin replied. “We saw a cabin in the middle of the valley and I’m already thinking of buying it.”
Dina rolled her eyes and sighed. “Here we go again, another one of Erin’s crazy ideas. Let me guess, you’re going to turn it into a casino or something?”
“A bed and breakfast, actually.”
Dina rolled her eyes. “Erin, you’ve done lost your damn mind. First, who the hell is going to want spend a night at a bed and breakfast in the middle of the Badlands of North Dakota? Second, what do you know about running a bed and breakfast?”
She had a point about not knowing how to run a B&B, but Erin wasn’t going to let a minor detail like that get in her way. For centuries people have been forging ahead, against far tougher odds, and building a better life for themselves. So why should it be any different for Erin? “Dina, you don’t know what you’re talking about. First of all, did you know that five of the top ten fastest growing cities are in North Dakota? And that real estate prices are soaring in the state now? Even if I decide I hate it out here, that cabin down there could be worth a lot of money someday. And just imagine if the oil companies get around to building a freeway around here. God knows if there’s enough money in it for them they well. The land the cabin sits on could be worth millions!”
“Or it could be worth less than you paid for it. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, now do you?”
Erin shrugged. “And neither do you.”
Dina sighed and looked at Erin. “You know I love you no matter what. But if your crazy ass decides to come out here, don’t expect me to come with you.”
The thought of Dina running a bed and breakfast made Erin laugh. “Don’t worry girl, I know this isn’t your sort of thing. Which reminds me that I need to thank you again for coming out here with me. I know you’re not having the greatest of times, but I do appreciate the company.” Dina waved her off and smiled. “Don’t sweat it Erin. At least now I know I don’t want to go horse-back riding.”
The two girls laughed and rode on. The sun was beginning to set and the group had turned around and began the trek back to the stable. Erin could not get the thought of the cabin out her mind and she’d been fantasizing what it would be like to run her own bed and breakfast. Unlike Cindy and Christine, Erin was a great cook and found a certain meditative calmness in doing housework. She was really beginning to think the whole idea could work. Of course she would need to quit her job and move to a whole new part of the country, but people did that sort of thing all the time. Her friends, family and co-workers would be all over her case, and would probably think she was crazy. That was ok though. Erin wasn’t the type of woman to care what others thought of her. She’d been marching to the beat of her own drummer since grade school. Why should she be any different now?
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
The group made it’s way back to the ranch and Erin and Cindy tethered their horses to a post outside the barn. “Do you want to help me give these two a bath?” Cindy asked.
“That sounds great,” Erin said. “Although, I’ve never given a horse a bath before. I hope he doesn’t kick me!”
Cindy laughed. “Don’t worry honey Charlie loves getting baths. Don’t you, you rascal?” Cindy rubbed Charlie’s snout and he whinnied gently.
Erin had been thinking about nothing but the cabin for the entire ride back and she decided to get some more information from Cindy. “Cindy, do you think Christine and yourself would be willing to sell that cabin we saw earlier?”
Cindy looked surprised and thought about the question before answering. “I suppose we would,” she said, “provided the price was right and we could trust the new owner not to do anything crazy with the cabin." She gathered a bucket of soap for the baths. "Why do you ask?”