Bohemian Styled Shoot Featured on Green Wedding Shoes!!

After only owning our Venue for the last year, this was my first experience at being a part of a styled shoot.  Mainly just watching, as this amazing group of vendors came together to create a Texas – Boho style of a masterpiece.

  
They all just busily moved around from one area to the next setting up the ceremony at the chapel to the head table in a green area off the side of the chapel to the sweetheart table back in the chapel.  And finishing it all off with a dance on cloud nine inside our pavilion.  
Seeing photos from styled shoots is always fun BUT waiting a few weeks to get these back was excruciating!  We were so excited!  FINALLY the word came that the shoot was going to be featured in GREEN WEDDING SHOES!!  


Without further ado…..checkout what these talented Wedding Vendors can do and take away some inspiration for your upcoming events in our Little White Chapel!

Some serious sweetheart table inspiration!

Simple Gold Chevron Cake and Macramé decor for the win!

The details though.....

Vendor Love:

photography: Jamie Hardin Photography // venue name: 7F Lodge, College Station, Texas, USA // event design: All Things Planned // planning: All Things Planned // florals: Unforgettable Floral // wedding dress boutique: Coreena’s Bridal // hair stylist: Duo Derailed // makeup artist: Duo Derailed // paper goods: Davis Art Co // calligraphy: Davis Art Co // handmade details: The Foliage Room // cake: Sandee’s Sweets // tabletop rentals: Details Party Rental // furniture rentals: Details Party Rental // linen rentals: Details Party Rental // specialty rentals: Details Party Rental // models: DJ Moon and Katy Elmendorf // lighting: smoke cloud from Downtown Event Services // rugs: Southern Elegance Rentals

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Jeannette & Brandon

A 7F Lodge Real Wedding

engagement shootJeannette and Brandon met while working at Rockies, a country dance bar in Bryan, Texas.

The story of Brandon’s proposal demonstrates the humor that was also evident during this couple’s wedding:

“We now both work at Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital. He had everyone at work in on it! He did it on February 17, which was a Friday. He got off work early and had a few of my friends and doctors find busy work for me to do till about 5. He wanted me home around 7, and knew I had to go feed my horses and pack my trailer for a horse show I had on Sunday so it SHOULD have taken me about an hour and a half or chapel.ringsso. During that time he was going to have all my friends, my mom, and some of his friends hide in the house and then pop out and surprise me. I was really tired that day so instead of doing a lot at the barn, I just fed my horses and headed home around 5:30. I walked in the door with my hands full of stuff and, as usual, one of our German Shepherds, Jesse, was jumping up on me wearing something white. I thought Brandon was maybe trying to be funny so I didn’t think much of it, but then he asked me, “What does it say?” When I looked at it more closely, I saw that it said, “Will you marry my daddy?” and I was totally shocked! Of course, he got down on one knee and I said yes, and one of my friends from work popped out and had been videoing the whole thing! Shortly after that, everyone who was supposed to be there when he asked (if I hadn’t messed up the timing) started arriving and we had chick-fil-a and champagne and laughed.”

Jeannette.flowersJeannette created nearly all of the decorations for the wedding herself, with some help from Pinterest. She said that while planning the wedding, it was mainly Brandon that was concerned, or in her words, a “groomzilla”, because of how much Jeannette was doing on her own and the freedom she gave her bridesmaids in choosing dresses and hairstyles. However, Brandon’s worrying was in vain; the decorations all looked beautiful and the different looks of the bridesmaids was unique and fun.

To celebrate their marriage, Jeannette and Brandon took a cruise through the Caribbean, enjoying a welcome break from a chilly Texas winter.

Congratulations to Jeannette and Brandon! We wish you all the best as you begin a life together.

Vendors:

Cake—Fabulous Fare

Dress—David’s Bridal

Tuxes—Men’s Warehouse

DJ—RDM Pros

Catering—McAlister’s Deli

Flowers—Jeannette, the bride

Photography—All Heart Photography

Hair—Casey Estes

Makeup—Jeannette, the bride

Coordinator—Jeni Young

Details—Jeannette & the bridesmaids

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The Original 7F Wedding

fff carolOur little antique chapel in the woods was built to be the backdrop to one very specific wedding–that of our founder, Carol and her husband Craig. The property at 7F was originally owned by Carol’s father, a WWII veteran. He and his fellow Aggies would frequently come to the property to hunt and to remember the war. Carol strongly believes that this time spent bonding helped to heal those men of the terrors they saw in WWII, and brought love and laughter back into their lives.

After a 25-year absence from College Station, Carol heard a voice telling her it was time to go home. She flew back from Peru, where she had been studying and returned to College Station. Seeing the property, which had been abandoned most of the time she had been gone, she remembered the love that had existed there and decided to restore it. In the process of moving back to town and fixing up the existing cabin, she met Craig at an estate sale. He came out to see her property and immediately began to help. They were married 14 months later in the little antique chapel.

Craig built the chapel so that they could get married on the land that Carol loved so much. As time went on, they slowly turned the property into the bed and breakfast we know today. Carol inherited the 7F brand upon her father’s death, and decided to carry on the legacy of love that was started here by her father and his fellow Aggie veterans. Now that love manifests differently, in the form of marriages and weekend getaways rather than in the gradual recovery of war veterans, but in the end, love is love and LOVE SAVES LIVES.

carol collage

**It has been 20 years since Carol and Craig got married and since the 7F brand was repurposed for the bed and breakfast. If you take time to look around the property, you will find things from that first wedding scattered throughout, like Carol’s wedding dress on display in Spain, her bouquet in the Potting Shed, or the crosses in the Chapel.**

 

Dani Manley, 7F Social Media Intern

 

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Pancho Villa: A Story from Mexico

mexico.frontporchHe saw her first from a distance. She was wearing a white cotton dress that kicked out from her ankles as she walked across the town square. At age 10, Pancho Villa knew by the way she moved and by the shape of her body that she was not just any woman. She had authority. Some called it alluring, but Pancho felt it an erotic power.

When at last he was mexico.hammockold enough to be taken seriously, he rode the 7 miles by horseback to her cantina near the rocky arroyo that helped to shelter the outlaws of the unforgiving Sonoran Desert.

In this tiny tavern, Maria Flores held court every evening, listening to the tales of the banditos as they justified their looting of civilized and opulent haciendas. By their boastful stories, she could piece together a growing pattern of discontent among the countrymen of Mexico; a revolution was brewing and these justifications were merely a shallow symptom of the deep-water monster that had finally surfaced its ugly head to feed.

The night that Pancho entered the cantina she was wearing a slender red dress, leaning back against her bar, both elbows resting on the smooth, worn edge, a clear brandy snifter in her right hand, a gold bangle bracelet circumnavigating her brown wrist. In Pancho’s eyes, she could see a warrior not yet born.

mex.moneySlowly at first, Maria Flores quizzed the young Sonoran about his life, learning of the comings and goings of his town: the Padre that did his good works for the peasants of the area, the merchants who, by their price-gouging and crippling finance methods, held the poor consuming population in a tight grip—slaves without the name for it—a dutiful breed with a high sense of honor. After rounds or query, Maria knew.

Into her private chamber she took the young Pancho Villa, teaching him to have the courage and the power to lead a ragged band of men who could—in their hands, in their bold acts of aggression—possibly change the fate of Mexico.

Night after night, they loved and laughed, the flickering lantern chuckling with them, casting romantic shadows in their sweating faces. Their muffled voices were heard throughout the canteen.mexicopatio and beneath the colored paper lanterns.

And, at last, when the time came, at an early dawn with a homemade bar of Pinon soap, Maria washed his dusty hair in her scarlet tub, filled his canteen with cool water, and sent him off on his raids, her curvy silhouette framed by the heavy portal of her private doorway.

 

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Our Mexican hacienda is inspired by the one in this story. From the canteen to the red tub to the large front door, we strive to match the story, and in doing so, create a space where our guests can match the passion of Pancho Villa for his Maria.

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Stepping Through Spring

lily.pavilion.march2017.grassSpring is well and truly here in Central Texas. Temperatures have started climbing during the day, thunderstorms are weekly occurrences, and every roadside is so coated in wildflowers that it’s amazing people can drive anywhere without stopping to snap at least a hundred pictures. Wedding season has also hit the ground running, drawing housekeepers and office staff into the ceaseless rhythm of tours, after-events, clean-ups, and full property flips, to accommodate our beautiful brides, their grooms, and guests.

Personally, I can’t get enough of it. As a social media intern, it’s my job to facilitate all the posts about weddings and other events happening on property, as well as document the new season. There’s truly something magical about walking into the Pavilion after people have been decorating all day and seeing how much love and care is put into each detail for the bride and groom’s big day. It’s also amazing how unique each set-up is! From table arrangements to color schemes to floral centerpieces, every wedding brings something new and beautiful. The ingenuity of brides is always so impressive, and that definitely goes for all seasons, not just spring!

The property here at 7F is also full of delightful spring surprises. From the blooming of new flowers in the patches between cabins to the increase in wildlife that you see in the early mornings, it’s as if everything has been refreshed. It goes for the people, too. Guests come in tired and worn from work or family stresses; but when they leave, it’s easy to see the new hope in their faces, and a new aprilweddingtranquility that I know will translate into everything they do. So, if you’re tired of town, tired of work, and in need of some R&R, I’d suggest a quick trip out to the woods. Come visit us at 7F. There’s plenty of peace to go around, and we know for a fact that out here,

LOVE SAVES LIVES.

Dani Manley, 7F Social Media Intern

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Cherishing the Old

One of my favorite things about 7F is the sense of history that pervades the property. Everywhere you look, you see pieces of the past, whether it’s in the form of old farm equipment, the chuck wagon at the Pavilion, or the buildings themselves. All of these things have stories, and as an English major, I have to say, I absolutely adore that.

IMG_6617If you’ve ever driven in to 7F, you will mostly likely have noticed the antique farm equipment scattered along the long, straight drive. They always remind me of a simpler time and of the original purpose of the land 7F sits on. The connection of 7F to its past is one that I find truly remarkable. All of us who work here feel it; there is just something about getting out of your car and hearing the quiet breeze through the yaupons that almost feels like stepping back in time. It is a sense of peace and of quiet dignity that always seems to radiate from old things. It always comes as a relief, especially for myself and my fellow student workers who are usually coming from class on the bustling campus of Texas A&M.

Even with that serenity, there is still a sense of purpose about 7F, a sense of direction towards a future that we hope will honor our past. We are constantly working to not only preserve what we have here, but also to improve and celebrate what lies before us. The farm equipment reminds me of that; it is always there, a symbol of the past that we love, but also a reminder that we have a bright future.

 

Dani Manley

7F Social Media Intern

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A Walk on the Wild Side

paths.collage7F Lodge has so many wonderful qualities, from its secluded Chapel and cabins to the loving care put into the décor and maintenance of the property by the housekeepers. By far one of my favorite features, and one that I think is not celebrated enough, is the network of trails connecting the Chapel, Ice House, and various cabins.

These paths are maintained by the staff; we walk the trails at least once a week to remove any trash or branches that would diminish the natural beauty of our central Texas getaway. No matter what the weather, these trails are a lovely place to stroll, either solo or with a lover. The peaceful air and solitude of 7F makes it easy to forget you’re only a ten minute drive from one of the largest (and best) universities in the world.

Along these walking trails, you might see birds and wildlife, like deer, possum, or bunnies, native to this region of Texas, especially around dawn and dusk. You’ll likely also have an encounter with Sadie, the friendly cat who thinks she owns the property and can usually be found lazing on the front porch of the office.bougainvillea3

Nature is something that is cultivated and respected at 7F. Flowering wisteria engulfs the entrance to the Pavilion in the spring, providing a beautiful backdrop for photographs and a home for butterflies and hummingbirds. Cacti blossom shyly on the porches of several cabins. Roses and other flowering beauties can be found all around the Chapel, filling that space with riots of color that only add to the beauty and serenity of that space.

10847589_734741676624672_1436473976809948604_o Whether you’re here for a wedding, an anniversary, a weekend getaway, or just a solo trip, take a few minutes to walk the trails, breathing in peace and taking love away from the experience. Because that is what 7F is all about: love. Pure and simple, sweet like the scent of a rose, yet as radiant and beautiful as a sunrise after rain. Here, we know one simple truth, and aspire to let it permeate everything we do—from gardening to laundry, blog-writing to taking reservations, and that truth is the LOVE SAVES LIVES.

 

Dani Manley, 7F Social Media Intern

 

 

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As a student worker at 7F Lodge

 

1As a student worker at 7F Lodge, I get to see the inner workings of the machine in more ways than I can count. In my third year as a full-time student at Texas A&M and my second year as a part-time employee at 7F, my schedule is always full, but as soon as I step onto the red dirt and smell the trees surrounding me, I’m ready for anything.

When I started working at 7F, I first learned all the basics. That meant cleaning – and lots of it! I learned how to clean the cabins, pavilion, chapel, office, spa, and wine shop, floor to ceiling. Anywhere you step on this property, I’ve cleaned it at some point. But I don’t only clean! No no, I wear many more hats than that. My daily tasks include things like pulling weeds, airing up golf cart tires, perfecting artwork on chalkboards, tending to guests or brides-to-be in the office, answering phones, folding laundry, taking pictures, feeding the cat, changing lightbulbs, washing thousands of windows, writing blogs… the list goes on. And I’m not the only one! From us housekeepers to the owners, we have all picked up trash, cleaned a toilet, and witnessed the excitement on a young couple’s face when they take a tour. We’re truly a team, and it takes every one of us to keep this clock ticking!2

My experience at 7F so far has taught me skills in office management, business practice, and professionalism, all while I’m still a full-time student. From a distance, this job may look like simple housekeeping. But if you take a closer look, I am getting to be a part of the very running of this small business and make my mark on its success.

 

Corinne Johnigan, Social Media Intern

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Sully’s Place

 

Sully’s Place is an Aggie’s paradise. From the hardwood dance floor to the Aggie-themed wall hangings to the mural of Sully on the front porch, this cabin brims with tradition. Like the story of Rock and Danielle, we invite you and your lover to go on a journey and reminisce about those sacred days you spent on campus.

                                                                 ATM barbed wire sign            

Bernard grew up on a small, small farm in South Texas, not far from the border, but by the standards of his parents and his grandparents, it was a good farm and in the path where the history of Texas was made.

 

His parents named him after a good friend that made it back from Vietnam, but died in an accident working cattle in some old pens that gave way when a bull had had enough for the day.  Bernard was born a few weeks later. As he grew up, friends called him “Rock” since he’d watched, then helped, his Dad rebuild those pens out of rock.  In fact, one of Rock’s first words was……..rock.

TAMU blanket and 12th man towel                                                                sully mural

gig em sign

 

 

From that early age, he just knew he wanted to be a “Fightin’ Texas Aggie.” It was just in his blood.  Oh, there were cousins that sadly preferred the other school east of A&M and Rock sat through many a Thanksgiving football massacre in front of the old black and white Zenith television at his Grandmother’s frame house, just 2 miles away, but Rock never swayed from his innate desire to study at Texas A&M University.   He knew he wanted to study animal science.  Why not?  That, too, was in his blood.

 

 

So it was, when Rock turned eighteen and pulled off that cap and gown in the football stadium after his high school graduation, he hauled hay for the summer and then loaded up his pickup with a few clothes and headed north to College Station to join the Corps of Cadets.  He listened to Bob Wills on an eight track player mounted under the seat.  Windows down, he was flying.

Core of Cadets in white picture                       core of cadets picture

 

 

 

 

 

Coming from the other direction, in a compact car with Merle Haggard singing louder than ever, Danielle sang with him, her windows down, too, thrilled at the thought of freedom from a large family and the first day of college.  She had debated over attending Texas University or Texas A&M and in the end, chose that Aggie Spirit.  She just knew she had to go and go she did.  With a great clock radio, some new jeans, old boots and lots of hair products, she was on her way.

 

 

The big family she’d been raised in all wished her well and those still living at home lined up in the yard to wave goodbye as she backed out of the drive and past the trap where her horse leaned on the fence and gave her a look of wonder as she drove off on the county road.  Her horse would not be idle long.  There were five brothers and sisters ready for their chance at a 4-H ribbon.  One thing a big family teaches you about is sharing.

bookshelf

At A&M, Rock and Danielle dove into being Aggies with enormous enthusiasm.  There was lots to learn and it was a great place to learn it.  Instantly, they made great friends and both of them muddled through their unenviable share of mistakes.  It’s just that way and an unavoidable part of life.  But each mistake and slight humiliation taught them more and more about life and more and more about friendship.  They realized that it’s the Aggie way.  You can be wrong, just don’t be wrong long.

 

 

Sure, they found love in those first years at school, and although it was young love, it was bittersweet.  They both knew that these were the years to choose wisely and to look at life carefully.  Some of their loving relationships were just not meant to be and graduate school was calling.

 

 

While friends were planning weddings and weddings were taking place, both Rock and Danielle faced each day of class wearing no other ring but their Aggie ring and traveling every other weekend to watch their friends exchange diamond rings and walk down the aisle as man and wife.

darts

Time passed.   Rock and Danielle took jobs in the same department on campus, yet Rock never laid eyes on this blue-eyed country girl from Central Texas until that night at eleven o’clock, across a crowded dance floor at a popular Aggie hangout.  He knew he had to meet her.  She was calm, content and solid in her confidence.  Unlike so many other girls eyeing the dance floor and scanning the crowd for a dance partner, she just stood there with a couple of friends, comfortable in her own skin.  Refreshing.

 

He was intrigued.  He thought, “Why is she drinking from her bottle out of the side of her mouth?  Why had he never seen her before this moment?”  He had to meet her.

 

This was easy, easy, easy for Rock as his parents taught him to be friendly and outgoing.  He could make a connection with any stranger within moments of meeting, so Rock approached, but his pulse jumped.  Whatever she wore as a fragrance enveloped him in an instant.  He retreated to the bar for another look from a different point of view.

dance floor

She was graceful and she seemed gentle, but not weak.  She had a demeanor that he couldn’t place, but it was a great comfort.  She laughed and it was real.  As Rock watched from a distance, a tall cowboy asked her to dance.  His heart jumped, but this was a good test to see what would happen, how she could dance.  Danielle and the stranger moved to the dance floor.

 

As she danced, she floated.  Her graceful movement was connected and her style was not that of a flirt, but more of a lady.  When the dance was over, she thanked him, he tipped his hat and she returned to her friends.  Rock moved in for an introduction.  She turned to face him and she swallowed hard.

 

He had that air about him that made her comfortable.  He was funny, kind and well, generous with his ear.  He asked simple questions and he listened to her talk.  She had a country girl’s accent and a bit of a husky sound, although she was thin and fit and tan, she had a sensual lilt to whatever she said and he did all he could to keep her talking so he could hear that voice.

 

She agreed to a dance and then another and then at last call, they exchanged numbers.  Time passed, evenings together passed, so many dances, so many turns, so many laughs, so many quarters in the juke box.   So much beer!

Pearl calender            pearl neon clockpearl cooler with towels

Twelve years later, she still drinks out of the side of her mouth for no particular reason.  He can still strike up a conversation with anyone he meets, anywhere.  And Rock and his blue-eyed Central Texas country girl have five little blonde haired, blue-eyed Aggies in training, some in car seats and some old enough to read the map as they make their way to family gatherings at Thanksgiving where the new generation of cousins that prefer the other school down the road take their teasing while adjusting the reception on the big, flat screen TV at Grandma’s house.  Some traditions are just timeless.

 

 

Sully’s Place is set to remind you of a classic country dance hall, complete with dance floor, dart board, and neon signs. We hope you have someone whom with you can dance the night away.

 

Short Story Collaboration by Carol Conlee, first proprietress of 7F Lodge, and Donna Garrett

Post: Corinne Johnigan and Caroline Stockdale, Social Media Interns

 

7F Stories

The Barn

The Barn at 7F Lodge is a convincing miniature of the barn in Carol’s story about a worn and weary cowboy, Coop, who discovers this safe haven and takes shelter there from a deadly winter. He eventually falls into passionate love with the owner of the barn, Eleanor, and finds himself drawn to the warmth and desire that emanates from the building from then on. Our barn might be more comfortable than the one in the story, but it definitely has all of the romance

 

Coop has spent many, many years riding every day for the Rocking G Brand since he was barely fifteen. He left his home in DeWitt County to cowboy for the O’Connor Ranch as not as much a runaway as a run ahead kind of young man anxious to get on with his future. Rail thin with curly brown hair and shocking, almost uncomfortable, blue eyes, the older cowboys joked that he couldn’t weigh one hundred pounds when he showed up scared from some family pain that he was never willing to admit to.  But, now he was closing in on forty and the green hand of decades ago was barely visible. Time and experience had made their mark.

 

His story of a life on the trail was told through his leathery hands, ragged face and aching joints. It was a hard life, but he was born to it.  His only real home was his bedroll and his only companion was Trig, a stout Bay gelding with a smart head and alert ears. Coop had come to love Trig like a son. Their work together was an unspoken, intuitive conversation without any words.  Trig just knew what to do and when. On Coop’s look, Trig knew. On Coops rein, Trig responded. In a moment of danger, Trig stepped fast and carefully and often they worked as one.

 

Coop and Trig knew every creek, every bluff, and every saloon and brothel between Victoria and Kansas City.  But tonight, he didn’t know where he was. He had just finished the long ride taking a herd to the stockyards in KC and this would be his last. He drank more and more now, and the pain of his past with the back pain of his present never let up while he was on the trail. Whiskey was the only escape.

 

The trail boss, anxious to cull any weakness, told him with a sting that he’d no longer be needed.  It was the whiskey that controlled his life, so he headed back to Texas alone, not sure where he’d go. Trying to fend off any emotion, he thought he might try the Cleburne Ranch. Most any good ranch needed a seasoned hand.

 

So, he and Trig headed south with the chill of an early winter setting in. Before nightfall, a cold and angry northern wind beat against his ragged face. The temperature dropped across the open plains of Kansas and even the chill couldn’t shake the chill in his soul.  A snowfall at dusk wouldn’t let up.  “Blizzard!” he thought. Trig walked on.

 

Within hours, Trig became disoriented.  A white-out ensued and uncertain without perception, Trig tripped over a downed tree and panicked, sending Coop to the ground hard and unprepared.  He could tell his knee was shattered.  It took all of his strength to coax Trig back to him and to hoist himself into his frozen saddle.  They forged on, but the cold was winning. Pneumonia soon set in, and now Coop’s chills were from fever. He was delirious.

 

The fall dumped his last bottle of whiskey and Coop faded in and out of consciousness without any liquor. Trig knew he had to lead the way if they were to survive.  Unable to follow the trail, Trig pressed on in what he felt was the right direction.doors

After some time, Trig approached a lone barn. Coop regained some consciousness, startled by the sound of another horse’s whinny. Trigs’ ears perked and his pace quickened.  Ahead was a cedar barn with a wide pair of doors, runs on both sides, and a hay loft above. Coop was too delirious to see the house nearby, much less get to it. Besides, Coop never asked for help. He was too proud. He made a vow at fifteen never to ever ask for help again and never to show any weakness.

 

Eleanor was considered somewhat plain by townsfolk, but she had an inner radiance and a natural beauty still visible after years and years of hard work on this farm. It was unfortunate that she was widowed at the mere age of eighteen after a brief marriage to a young man that, above all things, made her laugh. For years she had been brokenhearted over life’s misfortune and found herself without a smile, just continuous sighing as she managed so many chores alone. She hired out labor to work her two hundred acre wheat field and split the take with the workers.

 

After a walloping fifteen years alone, she had long forgotten the touch of a man, a real man. In her fantasy, her husband was still alive and they were laughing and teasing each other as they watched their world grow. But in her reality, the only affection she had in her life was from her memories.

 

This night was just another cold and acrimonious night for Eleanor after another long and challenging day of tending all that was necessary to stay alive and she was ready to call it a day. Kansas offered the best in wheat fields, but the loneliest of winter nights. Months would pass with the snow blanketing everything and tonight’s storm was the first of many.

 

Knowing that the animals still needed fresh water and perhaps some more bedding hay, she grabbed a long, green, cape-like coat, tied a black hat over her head and pulled on the thickest leather gloves she owned. She pushed through the blistering wind, fierce with snow and sleet, to get to the barn. With no visibility, she knew it was dangerous, but the job had to be done. Following the fence, she made her way to the barn.

 

As she opened the door to the barn, Trig snorted, and startled Eleanor. Frightened that it could be some of the last Indians in the area, she turned to find Coop on the ground burning with fever. She acted fast.

rope

Unable to move him very far, she got him inside the barn and out of the storm. She led Trig to a stall and unsaddled him, curious by the saddlebags that held few possessions and the old, old saddle tied with a bedroll. “A cowboy headed home,” she thought to herself. “He should  know better than this!”

 

She acted fast. Maneuvering back and forth to the house, Eleanor nursed Coop for nine, long days.  Finally, he woke in a haze to see her face above him and then she saw those weary blue eyes, pleading. They pierced her heart like the laughter of yesterday.

 

“Where am I?” he wondered. She wanted to tease him.

 

“You are at the Lazy 8 and you’ve been just that, lazy!” He buckled.

 

“Get me my horse and I’ll be gone.”  He was indignant. He was hoping for whiskey and a rougher woman that knew his needs. Surely a saloon was not that far away.

 

“Indians brought you in here,” she teased, “and they sold you to me for about a dollar.” She paused. “I bought your horse for two and your saddle for three.”  She waited for a response.

 

Coop growled at the thought.

 

“It was a contractual purchase:  for the winter and winter only.  You have nowhere to go, I suspect, and I have chores that need tending.  And if you’re groaning at the price, I’ll have invested in feeding you and your horse for those months, so it’s not the fairest trade I’ve ever made, but the ways of the world have brought you to my door and a deal is a deal. Fair enough?”

“I ride for a living, Ma’am. I am only on my way back to Texas to take on a new job.”

boots

She heard the word new and realized that he was more desperate than she’d thought. “Where?” she pushed.

 

“None of your business,” he twisted, trying to pull himself up and out of the makeshift bed she’d made. On her look, he realized that she was looking for fun and had found a grouch. She was disappointed. Thinking she was unhappy that he’d not been grateful for the care, he backed up his sentence. “It’s none of your business, Ma’am, because now I am your business.” Thinking fuzzily now, he went on, “I suppose if I can get warm, by a fire, I’ll be back to new and I’ll start my chores just straight away.” She started a small, mischievous smile.

 

“But if you’ve paid six dollars for me, my horse and my saddle, then you got taken. The last place those Indians sold me to, only paid five.” They both laughed.  And they kept on laughing as she helped him up and led the way to the fireplace inside the house.

 

By the fire that night, they ate soup and tried to tell taller tales to each other, filling the night with guffaws.  At one point, Coop looked at her fresh, plain face and could see the angel that saved his life. His heart opened, which was terrifying. He needed whiskey and she knew it.

 

Wanting to run, he made his way up and to the door, limping, headed back to the barn and she agreed. In the months that followed, to her surprise, he would finish out the winter. But at this one moment, she expected to find him gone by sunrise. He would run.

shirts

Anxious to prove herself wrong, she went to the barn at first light of day and to her relief, peeking in through the door, she found him sleeping. A good sign, she thought. After returning to the house and making breakfast, she called to him with a shout that his meal was ready. Coop limped in through the door and started his first day of work with Eleanor.

 

Their days blended into nights with good talks and stories and always laughter.  One moment, while pulling a strand of hair from her eyes, Coop was realizing that he had fallen in love with the only woman to ever really care for him. No one had ever cared for him.  Ever. He was captured by her warm and caring soul and within minutes, both their bodies found each other and entered into a night like no other. Their crazy-mad tension, finally relieved. It was an earthquake.

 

March third, first sign of spring and Coop was gone. He left in the night with no goodbye. Life alone and life on the trail had taught him that. But mile after mile, Coop found their passion calling him back to the barn in the woods. At one point, he stopped Trig and there they stayed for an hour. So still. So silent.window with hat

 

Then, with firm determination, he turned Trig around and ran like the wind, back to the barn. When Eleanor came at dawn with coffee and to check on him, she noticed Trig out of breath and the saddle warm. It would be the first time he would try to out run love, but in all the countless attempts he would make in the future, he and Trig would always return, before Eleanor could find them gone.

 

Both Eleanor and Coop are buried, side-by-side, at the back edge of the outer field on a slight rise that overlooks the house and the barn.  They were together until they were in their seventies and they laughed every day. Some days all day long.

 

Coop’s ropes, boots, hat, and shirts, along with the wide front doors, give our Barn an authentic, ruggedly beautiful air. We invite all weary travelers to come find rest (and romance) here in our Barn.  

 

Short Story by:  Carol Conlee, first Proprietress of 7F Lodge

Post by: Corinne Johnigan and Caroline Stockdale, Social Media Interns

7F Stories