My life in Jackson, WY

The first picture I took of the Teton Range

I never thought I'd be living in Jackson Hole, WY, but it happened after making my mind up one day in May of 2009. I had been laid off earlier in 2007, and was bouncing from job to job trying to find a career. Plus, I had just gone through a divorce after two years of marriage. Don't get me wrong, I loved my wife, but we were total opposites and things did not go well. I won't go into that, it's too depressing....I'll just say I wasn't going to be unhappy in a relationship that was failing. We came to terms and now are better friends for it. She has remarried since then, so all I can do now is pray that she is happy and stays that way. I do wish her the very best life has to offer! Now, about Jackson!! I was working in retail in early 2009 and we all know how that is right? I enjoyed the people I worked with but my life was missing something and I was tired of where I was in life. Here I was, 47, divorced and nothing to show for it. I had been a decorated military man, served my country proud for 12 active and 4 reserve years. As a Medical Tech/EMT-B, I had saved lives with the best docs and nurses a man could work with. I had delivered a baby in a person's bathroom with one other tech, and had done CPR on hundreds of unfortunate people, some lived, most died. I loved my life in those days, made great lifelong friends, and had a son from my first marriage that I loved dearly. The time had come, I needed change and my good buddy knew it! He told me...."Jeff, quit dreaming of the West, just go man, just go." So, I gave my two weeks notice, stored my things away, said my good-byes and headed West. I loaded my car with all belongings, clothes, and must-haves. For two days, I drove 2500 miles with a determination of making my home in the small tourist town of Jackson Hole, WY. Driving cross country was a blast just by itself! I stopped when I wanted, took routes off the map, tried to get lost, but always found a road that returned back to the highway, and just enjoyed every minute of the trip.

After 17 hours of driving, I found myself in Amarillo, TX for the first evening. Sleep came fast but the morning came quicker. I took my time leaving the town, just looking at the different shops, getting some good food, seeing the sights, etc. I headed toward Denver, determined to make it there by nightfall. Would I make it?......You bet I would!

I spent the night outside of Denver, CO on the 24th of May, 2009. I was anxious to get to Jackson, so sleep didn't come easy. I arose early and ate the usual continental breakfast of muffins, waffles, coffee, and OJ, hitting the road at 0700. I refueled at the local gas station and headed toward Cheyenne, and then making my turn toward Jackson. In 8 hours, I would be in my new hometown! The air was cleaner out there for sure. No city smog to worry about, no rush hour traffic, no road rage or tail gaiters whatsoever $6 either. Life was peaceful for once, and it had been a long time coming. I had many hours to think about my life, my family, my friends, and when the next time I'd see them as well.....

It was the 25th of May, 2009....It was mid-afternoon when I reached the point where I saw the Teton Mountain range for the first time since I had seen them in over 5 years. I stopped the car, and the emotions surfaced quickly. I thought of what I had been through to get to this point in my life. The military years, my friends that were now gone, that had given their ALL for this country. I thought about the days of my cancer treatments and the day I was told it was never coming back. I thought of my son who I would die for and who is now serving our country in the USAF, and that I had a grand baby on the way! All of the emotions came forth and I just sat and cried because I had made it, I was here in Wyoming where I had dreamed of for many years....I was finally here!!

It was almost 4 PM when I finally arrived in town. I had no place to stay, no job, and no worries. I knew I would survive and do what I had to do, it was in my blood to survive. I quickly surveyed the area, places to eat, work possibilities, apartment options, etc. I chose to stay at a weekly rental motel and quickly unpacked for the night. I ate sushi for my first night in Jackson, and it certainly wouldn't be the last time. After dinner, I still had a good hour before dark, so I headed out into the back country to look around for wildlife and to see those mountains up close! Well, the wildlife was everywhere you looked. Bison, elk, moose, mule deer, etc. lived in this area of Wyoming and I was going to make some great memories here, even if it killed me. Dusk turned into darkness as I watched the sun disappear behind the Teton range. I turned in early with thoughts of getting my resume out in town tomorrow, the 26th of May.

The next morning I arose to a beautiful sunrise to the East, with the Tetons coming alive in the sunshine. It was amazing to see that sight, the glow of the sun shining on the snow covered peaks. I was definitely in God's country. I had my resume on my laptop so I sat at a little coffee shop in town, and started going through the classifieds to first find a job, and then an apartment to rent. I sent about 30 resumes out to different sources, looking for anything to get some cash coming in. I had noticed one job opening for an "Art Consultant", but passed it up at first. Well, I thought I'd contact them just to see what they were looking for. I called them and talked to the Gallery Director....I told her my plans for the future, and that I had the experience to do any job. She liked my attitude and asked me to come in to meet the owners. I dressed for success and met them later that afternoon in the gallery. The gallery (Trailside) was the number one gallery in town, and had the most amazing paintings and sculptures that I had ever seen in my life. They told me they were going to talk and would get back with me in a few days....I was happy I had passed the first test so I left to look for an apartment. Days went by as I looked for a nice, but low cost place to live. Rent wasn't that cheap in that town, but I was determined to find something. It was the 31st of May when I finally found a place to rent. I had a roommate but he wasn't home much so I took the deal of $650 a month for a room in a condo. It had great views of Snow King mountain, and you could see the Tetons looking to the West. I moved in that day! I had noticed that my breathing was labored during the last week, and thought it was the high altitude. Jackson was 6000ft above sea level. The oxygen was thinner so my lungs weren't used to that....I thought. Turns out moving to Jackson was about to save my life......

It was almost 8 PM, the 31st of May, 2009.....I told my roomie I needed a break, since I was having labored breathing after moving my things in and going up three flights of steps. I just didn't feel good and sat on the couch. My room mate left for work minutes before, and it hit me all of a sudden. Since being an ex-medic, I knew I was in trouble. The pain between the shoulder blades, traveling down my arm, profuse sweating, and projectile vomiting all added up to one thing....HEART ATTACK! Quickly I determined I was a dead man if I didn't move quickly. Being that the hospital was only around the corner, I decided to take myself in my car. I prayed to God to let me make it to the ER, and hit my chest twice while driving to keep my heart activated. I felt a calm come over me while driving and reached the parking lot of the hospital. I calmly walked inside to the ER nurses station where I, again...calmly told the nurse I was having a heart attack. She didn't hesitate and pushed a button on the desk. Four men burst out of the ER doors, placed me on a gurney and wheeled me into the ER where they quickly started the routine tests for someone with a heart attack. IV's, EKG's, Blood cultures, Chem 12, CBC, Diff, etc.....The doctor was a younger man than myself, about 40. He was very professional, calming, and had great bedside manner. He looked in amazement as I lay there calmly as they went about their job, and finally asked me, "Mr. Randolph, how can you be so calm right now, because you ARE having a heart attack as we speak?" I told him, "Doc, I've faced death before, so I'm at peace with what ever happens, I know God's with me." He said, "Wow, that must be a great feeling." I told him it was and that I was fine with what ever happened next. They gave me 3 nitroglycerin pills and placed them one at a time under my tongue.....More to follow....

The Cathedral Group and the Snake River

Well, here i was...lying in an ER 2500 miles from family, friends, and anyone who knew me. Just me and God....I had to call someone to let them know, just in case I wasn't going to make it. I decided to call my brother Wayne. He would take the news the best of anyone, and Lord help me if my mother heard about it. Wayne was worried but I told him NOT to come out there, that they would be flying me to Idaho Falls to a Cardiologist Hospital for further treatment. That would be an experience in itself! I told Wayne I'd call him the next day when I knew the plan for me. After what seemed hours, I finally arrived at the Idaho Falls Hospital, and met the cardiologist that would perform the angiogram the next morning. Dr. G did an amazing job and placed three stints within my heart arteries. I felt like a new man and he told me to rest for two weeks. After that, I could live life like before.....Full speed ahead!

Two weeks exactly after my H/A, myself and my great friend Monty hiked the Lupine Trail in the Teton National Park. It was a beautiful day, and we saw wildlife, and great views once we got above treeline. That hike started us on a quest of our own, to hike as many trails as we could in the TNP. Overall, we hiked over 150 miles within that park, some very strenuous and testing our abilities. Our longest was a sixteen miler, then there was the Solitude Lake hike, up through the back country and up to Solitude where we found it frozen over, and it was in July!! Those were some great hikes and we met some great people on those trails, and some animals as well. Memories for life and many photos to refresh my mind.

Blocking the trail...

The trail to Lake Solitude (10,500ft)

Lake Solitude, frozen over in JULY!

As for my job, the gallery called me 3 days after I was released from the hospital. I didn't mention what had happened though, since that probably wasn't something one would talk about during a hiring interview right?....No worries, I was a new man and ready to do what was needed. I was hired as a Fine Art Consultant, with a salary plus commissions when I sold a painting, pretty sweet deal if you ask me!! The people I worked for and with were great people. The job was busy at times, but mostly daily emails were the norm, and shipping and receiving great paintings worth thousands of dollars. This was the real oil paintings that collectors would kill for. The clientele were great as well, when they'd come in and we'd walk the gallery picking out which pieces would look best in their homes or offices, or mountain retreats as we called them there. If you've never been to Jackson, don't hesitate anymore. Get out there soon while the weather is great! Ah, the weather....another subject that changes quickly out there. When on hikes, you better be prepared for any weather as I found out a couple of times out there. One minute a beautiful sunny day, a second later....snow so thick you couldn't see 10 feet in front of you. Now that was awesome!! Or a rain shower that soaked you to the bone as quickly as jumping in a shower. Good times, you bet!

Rainstorm quickly approaching....

I thought I would stay in Jackson until the Lord above called me, but things happen for a reason I say. I loved my life in Jackson....the hiking, the wildlife, the scenery, and especially my job...it all added up to a great time in my life. Working in the gallery let me realize how fun it was to meet different people in life, sharing your experiences, and making new friends to last a lifetime. The nightlife in Jackson was a little different, friends hanging out at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, two steppin' and dancing the night away with the pretty cowgirls. Our lives are enriched with different people, friends, and experiences to make us better, stronger, thankful, and blessed. The West was a special place for me, and I thank God for the time spent there adding to my life experiences. The day came that I had to leave Jackson Hole....my step dad was ill, so I felt I needed to be close to family, and for Mom's sake as well. I moved back in November of 2009. He gave it a good run, but sadly he passed away in April of 2010. He suffers no more.....Mom's doing good today, but misses him on a daily basis.....Now we just have to take care of her until her time comes, which I hope doesn't come soon. Life is a journey, so enjoy it while you can, be a steward of kindness to one another, and be thankful for the things you have....Remember, there's always someone in worse shape than you are so help those you can, and pray for the others.....God Bless us ALL!

Reflections of life....

"Another Day Coming To An End..."

Look for more stories in my next hub! 30 comments

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Wow! Thank you for inviting me over! Fantastic writing here - I think I'll be learning from you. Great story - just wow Jeff! I love this! The photos are fantastic. I love to travel and would be the type of person to just wake up and go somewhere with no plan....oh yeah, I have:)

Rated up and every button! Glad you're doing better btw!


Jrandol62 profile image

Jrandol62 5 years ago from Where ever the road takes me.... Author

Hey, thanks for the kind words RHW! I love to write so you'll see the story continue, and more stories I have locked inside my hammer pants! LOL Thanks again! Tell ALL of your friends to check it out please! Love sharing my stories of my life with others....Adventure, near death stuff, being shot at, bull riding stories, and western short stories that I write sometimes...You'll inspire me to write more...LOL


marellen 5 years ago

Welcome to Wyoming. Those Tetons are the most beautiful, I would have to agree. I lived in 2007, for 6 months in Boulder, WY, 70 miles South of Jackson Hole. I would have to agree Wyoming is a beautiful State.

Enjoy it there...

Mary


Jrandol62 profile image

Jrandol62 5 years ago from Where ever the road takes me.... Author

Thanks Mary! I did, but had to move back to GA for step dad's illness. Sadly, he passed away last year, but he's better off now. I miss those Tetons every morning though. What a sight to behold!!


marellen 5 years ago

Jeff, I know the responsibility of older parents because I'm care giving my Mom. Good luck wherever you call home.


Jeff 5 years ago

Thanks Mary, You too!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Yet again you had me hooked which is rare since I have a short attention span! haha! Simply amazing!! Glad you are doing well and I bet your family is happy you are back home. Voted UP and beautiful! Looking forward to the next hub!


Jrandol62 profile image

Jrandol62 5 years ago from Where ever the road takes me.... Author

Thanks sunshine...glad to be back, but missing that town bad!! :-) More hubs to follow soon!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm back for seconds...love this story! I sent it to my Twitter friends also :))


Jimmy Hopkins 5 years ago

Great story Jeff! I always wondered how it was living in Jackson Hole. It is really an honor to know you and I appreciate being able share in your experiences.


Jeff 5 years ago

Hey Jimmy! The honor is all mine buddy. Glad I could share it with you....You need to take your wife there if you've never been...A beautiful town with great people!! Thanks for reading, and hope all is well out there on the coast buddy!! Look for more stories soon....Later friend!!


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

Have you ever thought of becoming a travel agent?


Jrandol62 profile image

Jrandol62 4 years ago from Where ever the road takes me.... Author

@iamauddraleigh....No friend, can't say I have, but you got my mind reeling now....LOL Thanks for reading my hub. Have you been to Jackson? If not, GO!! Enjoy it with someone you love...It's better that way! JVR :)


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Thanks for showing us what it's like to live in the middle of scenic postcard! I've been through Jackson Hole a few times, and I'm always in awe of its beauty. It's also a funky & great little town for tourist prowls. Voted up and beautiful.


Jrandol62 profile image

Jrandol62 4 years ago from Where ever the road takes me.... Author

My pleasure Marcy....Many great times were had out there!

Thanks for reading!


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

I have not been there Jrandol62, but my sister has and loved it!


Jrandol62 4 years ago

Well then iama, I implore you to get on a plane with a close one and go see exactly what I'm talking about. You WILL NOT regret it!! Then write a hub about your trip!! Deal? Deal!!.....LOL :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Jeffrey,

Thank you so much for publishing this article and telling us about your life in Wyoming.

I'm glad we've become friends.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Wow.... I'm at work taking my morning break and just want to walk out of this place and join you.... Awesome hub, and the pictures---too much for words....

Voted up

John


Jrandol62 profile image

Jrandol62 4 years ago from Where ever the road takes me.... Author

Friends, thanks for the kind words...Doc says moving there literally saved my life. Had a heart attack just 5 days after moving there. (3 stints)I was 47 at the time. Doc said if I had stayed in GA, I would've never known I was having blockage, heart had to work harder in the higher elevation....God was with me thru the ordeal...I will visit that place again one day, but will take my gal with me (She's NEVER been there) My suggestion to ALL, if you've never been there...Make it a point to go, and soon!! The spring, and summer months are May to September....and the best time to see all of God's artwork!! Enjoy!....Jeff


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

That was such an awesome, interesting and well told story.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to leave the beautiful country of WY; the photos took my breath away.

I voted up--awesome and beautiful. You did a great job, and you were also very brave to experience all that you have in life. Good Luck in the future and may happiness knock your door.

If you love the outdoors---have you thought of being a Park Ranger?

Thanks,

Bobbi


Jrandol62 4 years ago

Bobbi....If I were not in a great relationship here in PA, I'd head West, back to that town, and check on being a ranger. But, I am truly happy right where I am, and with whom I'm with....I'll definitely re-visit that place, and take her with me, to share it's beauty and splendor with!! Thanks for the comments! JVR :)


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

Deal!!!!


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

I am so happy for you. Now, have a wonderful life with your someone special.

Bobbi


Jrandol62 4 years ago

@iamaudraleigh....awesome! Thanks Bobbi!! :)


Seth 4 years ago

Awesome story bro. ive been considering moving to somewhere in that area for a couple of weeks now. I know a girl who is from Jackson, here in Kansas City. I dont know how it would be possible to leave such an awesome place, but God has his plan. Im 29, and have dreamed of snowboarding since I knew it was possible(around 8 years old). You have me thinking now: "maybe this desire IS right by God." I just happened to bump into this thread while looking into how possible it would actually be to live there. Oh, Im also in school for Paramedic/nursing :) Anyway, thanks for sharing.


Jeff 4 years ago

Seth, my friend....Yes, I hated to leave that town, but I had to do what I had to do. My step dad had been ill back in late 09, so I felt my heart strings telling me to go home to be there for mom. He did pass a few months later, peacefully thank goodness, and I know he knows no pain now. As for my thoughts, I went to Jackson on a whim...I had always wanted to go there to live, and I had been talking about it for months, while going through a divorce, job loss, etc. My buddy told me to quit talking about it, and just go! So, I packed my car, stored my belongings and drove to Jackson Hole in 2 days, from GA! No job, no friends, no clue...I put out 30 resumes when I got there, two weeks later hired on as a fine art consultant (no exp) at the number 1 gallery in town (Trailside), check it out when you get there, tell them Jeff R sent you!! You're 29, I was 47...You have so much life still ahead of you my friend, and some of the best snow in the US right there in Jackson!! Go young man! They have a hospital in town, and in Idaho as well. Do what it takes to get out there, see God's country and enjoy your life while you're young! Oh to be 29 again and have that town to go to!! Many beautiful ladies out there to admire as well!! And yes, God has a plan no matter what you do, so just go, he'll be with you!! Bless ya, and let me know if you go!! I'll tell you the spots to hit! :)


Jeff 4 years ago

Seth, finish school first, Jackson will be there when you've completed that!! It will be worth the wait, believe me bro!! God's plan, remember....:)


fhl 3 years ago

that was a great post!


Jeff 3 years ago

Don't know what happened there....LOL.....I was saying to show it to everyone you know!! Thanks!

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