Vicci, Mahala & Dwight
Everywhere you look on the map of the U.S., you'll find an Aramco annuitant or two or sometimes more. Cheyenne, the state capital of Wyoming, is no exception. Cheyenne was settled in 1867 when the Union Pacific railroad was laying tracks through the area on its way to completing the first transcontinental railroad two years later with the driving of the ceremonial golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. That was a few years before Dwight and Mahala Brixey's time, but vestiges of the town's railroad and frontier past remain on full view. A visit there today helps explain the reasoning behind Cheyenne's self-chosen nickname, "The Magic City of the Plains."
Dwight graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in electrical engineering and eventually took a job with Exxon before being loaned to Aramco. Together with his wife Mahala, fellow native of northern Arkansas, he moved his family, Mahala, Christian and Cortney to the Kingdom in the mid 70's and lived and worked there for many years. At various times they lived in Abqaiq and Ras Tanura, where they earned a reputation as formidable competitors on the tennis court. Dwight continues to play tennis today, although he's recently had to fight off a nagging bout of tennis elbow.
Like so many other retiring Aramcons, they made their decision about where to live after returning to the States based on where their offspring lived at the time. In their case, they chose Cheyenne as their older daughter Christian lived there, where she directed the redevelopment of the Historic District in Cheyenne’s downtown. Evidence of her handiwork is easy to find. Outside the restored Union Pacific Railroad Depot there is an expansive brick-tiled Plaza where major civic events are staged. Meanwhile, great effort has been made to preserve the unique character and architecture of the area's frontier-era buildings. Even a new parking garage was designed with a façade that blends in seamlessly with neighboring structures.
Family and quality of life are basically what drove Dwight and Mahala to choose Cheyenne. Even so, they still maintain a home in their native Arkansas, where they spend much of their time during the year.
A few days after I left them, they were taking a trip to Texas to see Cortney and one of their granddaughters.
Dwight and Mahala plan to meet Sheila Stevens in San Francisco on their trek to the 2016 Hafla Reunion in Monterey.
One of the highlights of living in Cheyenne is the city's annual Frontier Days. In 2017, the celebration of frontier life will run for ten days, from 21 to 30 July. Events will include a rodeo, an aerial exhibition by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a grand parade and much more. For information on next year's event, visit http://www.cfdrodeo.com.
And don't forget to look up Dwight and Mahala while you're in town.
Enter where in the world you live in the Aramco ExPats Map.