Green shares wisdom, laughs

Judy Green grew up living the ranch life in Eastern Colorado. When she married in 1969, she began visiting Routt County, where she met another couple of ladies who led similar lives on the East Williams Fork River south of Hayden.

For years, the three ladies lived on a large ranch in the valley of the East Williams Fork, where they shared chores, stories and love. Green, 55, will share the memories she shared with the ladies on the ranch and other aspects of her life at 3 p.m. Oct. 18 for Circles of Wisdom at the Lincoln Community Center in Steamboat Springs.

Judy's husband, Jerry, had family who were among the first settlers to western Colorado. Jerry's grandfather, William S. Green, was born in the area in 1897. William later married Elizabeth "Babe" Green, who gave birth to Jerry's father, Leon Green. Leon married Mabel Yoast Green, and the rest is history.

For years, William and Babe and Leon and Mabel lived within three miles of each other, sharing the chores on about 1,900 acres of the majestic Green family ranch along Routt County Road 55. During most of that time, Judy Green was growing up on a wheat and barley farm in Strasburg.

From the beginning, she was in love with horses. Judy's father was very protective and didn't want her to get caught up in a saddle if she fell off. So, she took up bareback riding at 8 years old.

"I was a plains Indian, for sure," Judy Green joked, as she sipped tea in her ranch home. "I loved every minute of it. I was proud to be a farmer's daughter."

The young Judy often rode her horse to town for her parent's errands and continued to ride horses as she got older, participating in rodeos, as well. When it was time to go to college, she thought she wanted to be a veterinarian, but ultimately she decided she wanted to be a history teacher.

She met Jerry at Colorado State University, and after the two married, they began teaching school and coaching school sports teams in Grover. During summers, they came to live on the Green family ranch, where Judy soon found herself helping out with the chores. Though work around the ranch was tough, Judy said life was relatively easy.

"My life was easy," Green said. "We would all get together each night to eat as a family, so I didn't have to cook.

"I got to practice rodeo every day because of two very strong people who took care of the work. They made it very easy for a naÃive bride to come into this family."

Women had many chores to do back in those days, Judy said, but Babe and Mabel did those chores plus any of the other chores normally designated as man's work. They milked the cows, cooked and cleaned houses, but if one of the pastures needed tending or hay needed baling, they went to work with no questions asked.

Jerry and Judy moved to the valley full time in 1980. Babe died four years later, but Mabel still lives on the ranch. Mabel has become ill recently, and Judy said she hopes Mabel gets better soon, so she can come along for the Circles of Wisdom presentation.

There, Judy, and with hope, Mabel, will talk about the generations who have lived in the Hayden Valley and how times have changed from the days of old.

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