One night, friends offered to buy me a drink at a nearby bar. They snuggled up in their heaviest garments and covered up their faces as we walked towards the bar. Blood froze in my ears as I had nothing to wrap them with. They ached for a month afterwards.
Spring break arrived. A friend of mine was studying medicine and planning to join a mission in the Near East, but later abandoned the idea. In fact, it was while talking about this that our friendship budded. My friend had a beautiful fiancée from a rich family. Her father had a huge farm, of the type called ‘ranch’, in the state of Dakota in the north west of the US. I was introduced to his fiancée, Miss Nancy Simpson, and the three of us would share meals together at the cafeteria. The physician used to stay the night in the same building as I and a fond friendship arose between the three of us. One day prior to the spring break, Nancy said ‘Bill and I are going to Dakota and we wish to bring you along and show you the ranch.’ I was fond of agriculture and in love with the land. Much of my talk diverted towards agriculture and questions about the US agricultural life abounded. Nancy continued “I called my father and told him I was bringing a guest with me. He was delighted at the prospect. I got a message from him yesterday stressing that I should not arrive at the ranch without the Lebanese student accompanying me. What do you say? Allow me to add that I will be paying the round-trip ticket. I will cover Bill’s ticket too as he, too, is penniless.”
We took the train and, after two days, reached the closest station to Mr. Simpson’s ranch. We found him there waiting for us in his car.
Mr. Simpson’s ranch was measured in square miles, not meters. It rested at the foot of mountains that were still blanketed with snow. From these hills flowed brooklets of pure water, one of which ran near the family’s house. For a Lebanese, the sight of brooklets was a feast for the eyes. Mr. Simpson kept cows; he had a few thousands of them, all tended by cowboys on mounted horses guarding the herds. Cowboys returned the cows to barns dispersed across the entire ranch. Barrels were filled with milk and then transported to the nearest hamlet. Every year, Mr. Simpson would sell the calves in three batches.