Western Hospitality

Traveled to Colorado and Wyoming last week to spend some time talking about Almost Pioneers with three different age groups of people in three different places:

Denver, Thursday afternoon:  Talked with two sections of Mr. Timmer’s American History course at Denver Christian High School.  Had a good time thinking with the students about what historical figure they would have lunch with if given a chance, reviewing westward expansion, and talking about Almost Pioneers.  Thanks to James Timmer and to Principal Steve Kortenhoeven for hosting me.

Cheyenne, Thursday night:  Delivered a public lecture to about 60 adults at the Wyoming State Museum in an event that was part of the Museum’s Fall Lecture Series.  Lots of excellent questions after the lecture about Laura and Earle, homesteading in the 1910s, and getting the book published.  Many thanks to the State Museum Volunteers for generously funding my trip to town.  Thanks to Nathan Doerr, Mark Brammer and his wife Katy, and Mike and the other volunteers who made the event a success.

Laramie, Friday morning:  Spoke to about 100 college students in Phil Roberts’s History of Wyoming course at the University of Wyoming.  They had already read Almost Pioneers and some came with questions about the Smiths’ story, historical research, and what I learned from editing the book.  Some even had me sign their copy.  Thanks to Phil for adopting the book for his course and for having me in the class.

Phil Roberts and me at the University of Wyoming Bookstore book signing event

Phil Roberts and me at the University of Wyoming Bookstore book signing event

Laramie, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning:  Signed books with other Wyoming authors at the University of Wyoming Bookstore.  It was homecoming at UW, so many alumni were looking for Cowboys clothing and other merchandise.  But some were interested in reading material.  It was great to see Clyde and Frances Caster and Ruth Vaughn—Clyde and Ruth are grandchildren of Luther and Ethel Caster from Almost Pioneers—on Saturday morning.  Also had a nice time jawing with Starley Talbott and Linda Fabian of the Wyoming State Historical Society (I became a member).  Thanks to A. J. Hofmann for taking care of all the local arrangements.

Clyde Caster and Ruth Vaughn at the book signing event

Clyde Caster and Ruth Vaughn at the book signing event

Also featured on the trip:  The hospitality of Don and Wendy Griffin (parents of Trinity student Jane Griffin) in Parker, CO; treacherous driving on I-80 between Buford and Laramie; an excellent lunch with Phil Roberts and Michael Brose, chair of the history department at UW; and a brief interview with Bob Beck of Wyoming Public Radio to be packaged for future broadcast.

Still, it was wonderful to get home to Blue Island and my family:  Paula, Deborah, Stephen, Benjamin, and Daniel.  Many thanks to them for allowing me to take the trip.



  1. Starley Talbott

    It was great meeting you and sharing space at the University of Wyoming book signing event. I have read “Almost Pioneers” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found your editing, footnotes and afterward immensely helpful in understanding that era of the American West. Hope to see you back in Wyoming in 2014!!! Starley Talbott

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