Family ties are the ones that bind, but too often in today's world, families are fragmented. When she turned four, I began looking after my granddaughter. That was eight years ago. For the first three years I walked her to nearby Branch School. Now the school is torn down, while Amanda and her parents have relocated in Texas--for job offers they couldn't afford to turn down.

Here she is a twelve, riding her mare Athena in a paddock at their home near College Station, TX. .  And here I am, having developed another Wyoming "tie"--to Achilles, my housemate's English mastiff. I care for the dog while her owner is at work.   Life demands we keep going. Make the best we can. Get by via substitutions.