Forever West- That's the tourism slogan for the state of Wyoming. Dust and dirt cover every surface and from the streets you can almost hear the sound of hoofbeats and the crash of bottles against the barroom floor during the 15th fist fight of the night. Although those actual days are long gone, you'd never know it when you set foot in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Jason's new assignment is in this dusty western town and I took the kids up to visit overnight this week.
Time has brought the city street lights, WalMart and the lucrative Oil Field Business. There's good money in the field when the market is good and each single waitress and convenience store clerk in Rock Springs is looking for their meal ticket out of town. They know these guys spend weeks at a time away from home and on those lonely nights away they drink to excess and seek the company of women - any woman- who will give them the time of day. While many of these encounters stop with conversation; "Honey", "Darlin" & "Baby" are thrown around by these desperate girls like quarters bouncing out of a slot machine. The Rock - as Rock Springs is affectionately known to the crews- is also home to the World Famous Astro Lounge, a cheap strip club buried in the heart of historic downtown. I've seen the women in that city... I have no idea what these guys are paying to see.
They say the oil field is no place for a family man and with the atmosphere I've been exposed to, I can see why. However, I see my husband make it happen every day. He goes to work each morning, does his job superbly and comes back to the hotel. He spends a few minutes after work with the guys and makes sure to call home each night. The kids love being able to "see dad" on the computer when we Skype in the evening.
It's a rough life, being apart for weeks at a time, sometimes not knowing whether he's even going to get to call and seeing how exhausted he is at the end of the day. But it's far better than what some other families face. For now, I'm grateful that he's back within driving distance and that we can head out to see him at the drop of a hat. Yes, the oil field isn't for the feint of heart and they say it's not a family environment but to those who say that, I say you've never seen the bond of brotherhood between a crew and you've obviously never met my husband.