Trail Talk Blog

Jas. Townsend & Sons

Just on principle,  I pretty much like ALL living history experiences.   When done well,   21st century participants can feel part of history  –  usually meeting and interacting with ordinary people going about their everyday lives.   These are often real craftsmen demonstrating skills that are no longer required,   and have taken… read more >

The Cutest Rodent

Here I am,  writing about beavers again.   That’s what happens when some of your best tours explore trails used by practioners of the North American fur trade and the impact it had on American history. I have a tour director who has been crazed to buy her own pelt for… read more >

To Buy or to Borrow – That is the Question

Where do you find the books you read?   No, wait.   Before we get to that,  I want to know if you make a distinction between the books you want to own,  and the ones you merely want to read. As a bibliophile I have a problem with this last.   As… read more >

September Song

This isn’t a story about “days dwindling down” that we all know from the familiar “September Song” by the twentieth century composer Kurt Weill and lyricist Maxwell Anderson.   But it seems apt,  nevertheless. Let me start with the fact that I had a tough week.   It was just one… read more >

Censorship is Obscene

There is a sign on a shelf of my living room library bluntly stating that “Censorship is Obscene”.   I’m guessing this may require a bit of explanation. My mother,  a pioneer in developing and implementing remedial reading programs,  took every book-banning PTA or edict-issuing school board as a personal challenge.  … read more >

My Favorite Things

From all accounts it appears that everybody today has a bucket list,  and travel is almost certainly on it.   We even tout a few of our adventures as bucket list-worthy, often including states that – sadly – wind up as numbers 48, 49 or 50 of states visited. But the… read more >

Mortality

I’ve been contemplating mortality lately – a natural thing, I suppose, as one progresses along the human timeline.   But I have been experiencing rapidly increasing reminders lately, and it’s starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Just this week, for example, I attended the 100th birthday of a dear friend and… read more >

Wildfire

Just before Christmas of 2017, the Black Hills of South Dakota suffered it’s third largest wildfire ever, burning 54,023 acres of forest and prairie.  That’s more than 84 square miles. You probably didn’t hear about it because the massive California fires – which pre-dated this one  (and continued long after)… read more >

Martin Luther King, Jr, My Father, and Me

One of my earliest memories of my father was his boast that he had gone to graduate school with Martin Luther King, Jr.   In fact, Rev. King was revered in our house, and his prominence in the media of the 1950’s and sixties as he conducted his freedom crusade throughout… read more >

I Cannot Live Without Books

Thomas Jefferson famously stated, “I cannot live without books”.   In fact, this quote is so well-known that you can find it on tote bags and coffee mugs, and it is the motto of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association. Unfortunately other lifestyle choices, including a proclivity for fine French wine and… read more >

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