JULY 19, 1954
MEEKER, Colo., Sunday—Late Friday afternoon, I took a plane from New York for Denver. I spent the night there, and early the next morning, took a train to Glenwood Springs, Colo. My son Elliott and his wife, Minnewa, met me and brought me to the ranch, near Meeker. What a short time it takes to span more than half of our country, now that we have airplanes!
And how different the life of a Colorado ranch is from life at home, even our free-and-easy life at my Hyde Park cottage! We have no formalities there and the children are very free but they do not have the wide open spaces all around them.
And the feel of the air is different on a plateau such as the one where this ranch is situated. Cattle range over the hills and over vast areas of more or less uninhabited country. I wake in the morning and look out to see horses being driven into the pasture, then cantering madly to express the great joy of their freedom.
Everyone here rides or fishes. And one has to hear about the price of cattle or the price of sheep, and whether or not they are fattening well on the range. The weather is important. The kind of grass that is growing in the pastures is of deep interest. And there are whole days spent in the saddle by many of the young people.
One of Elliott's children hopes to own and run a ranch someday, and so he is going to Colorado A. & M. this autumn to prepare himself for the kind of work he wants to do. He has done very well in the last two years at school in Andover, Mass., and I think it was an important experience.
I think it is well for all citizens of the United States, when it is possible for them to do so, to get to know their country as a whole. A year or two spent in school in the East may be a little hard, but it is a good experience for a young Westerner. I think it is helpful, also, for a boy or girl who lives in the East to see something of the West. Otherwise, it is hard to realize the size of our country, and the differences that exist in different parts of it.
We have every kind of physical condition, every kind of climate in the United States, and these conditions have an effect on our people. So, to see our country as a whole is very useful. Theodore Roosevelt was wise when he said that he wished every Congressman could travel in at least two-thirds of the states before coming to Washington, for if you are going into government—or into business or agriculture, for that matter—a knowledge of the whole country is valuable.