Monday, May 18, 2009
This is my friend Lillian. Lillian is one of the most wonderful, formidable women I know. She's a single parent to a gorgeous, talented, athletic daughter. She's the second generation operator of a 1200 acre ranch east of Las Vegas. I'm not sure how many cattle she has but she tends them diligently. Her little cabin was a stone barn that she and her daughter restored, plastered, and expanded by hand. It has no electricity and no running water, just a cistern, a wood burning stove, and a lantern. The two of them created roadways on the ranch with a pick and a shovel. Whenever she and I get together we laugh like little kids. She was my first friend here in Las Vegas.
One of the interesting things about Lillian, but certainly not her defining feature, is that she has Multiple Sclerosis. However, she doesn't define herself by her illness. To her, it's a reason to creatively adapt.
Because she know's she won't be able to manage the strenuous responsibilities of ranching forever, she's created a plan. She's opened her ranch as a photographer's retreat and gives tours for other people as well. So far, besides the photographers, she's hosted botanists, hikers, and archeologists.
She's also restoring a one room schoolhouse on her property to serve as a bed and breakfast so that guests can stay for a while.
One of the things I love about Lillian is her cheerfullness. She always has a positive attitude, even when she's out of energy for the day. I think this is what has kept her mobile despite her illness.
So, if you're out our way, see if you can book a little tour with Lillian.