Trail Talk Blog

Story Telling

Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, Toni Morrison, has admitted in interviews that she writes the story she would like to read herself.   Unfortunately, doing what we want and doing it well is a gift that only a talented few possess. I do identify with her sentiment, however.   After all,… read more >

Blue Beads and Other Paraphernalia

I need to get back on the trail again.   I need to pack up Fred, and my blue beads, and maps and hand-forged gills, and possibles bag, and 15-star flag, and head out on the trail with another enthusiastic band of explorers to discover what we can about this seminal… read more >

The Learning Experience

We have certainly come a long way from the days when American schools began to introduce media – ever so cautiously – into the curriculum to stimulate interest and enhance the learning experience.   As a Boomer, I was constantly subjected to experimental instructional programs sparked by the launch of Sputnik,… read more >

Year-end Miracle

Here in the Black Hills we had a little extra excitement in the days leading up to the year-end festivities. You could even call it a miracle,  which I’m proud to say, is typical of our part of the woods. On December 20, the Black Hills Humane Society was asked… read more >

The Education of Shebby Lee

I consider my own education to be woefully incomplete and with the days dwindling down – as the song goes – is taking on a sense of urgency. Therefore, I rarely re-read books (see paragraph one) but for some reason last winter I picked up a two-volume book I had… read more >

Brown Water*

It’s probably a safe bet that no one pursues historical research to win prizes. Unless you are Stephan Ambrose or Bernard DeVoto, recognition for your work is such a remote possibility that it isn’t even a factor. Even the most highly regarded historians spend a lifetime seeking publishers for their… read more >

Democracy

When I was in junior high, my history teacher planted a trick question in a pop quiz that made a lasting impression on me. He asked us to name the oldest democracy in the world. Sadly, not one of us had a clue, and undoubtedly that was the point. He… read more >

Melting Pot

Many years ago there was a pretty good sitcom on network TV called “Welcome Back, Kotter”. The scripts were funny, the acting was good – it made a star out of John Travolta – but my favorite thing about that show was the name of one of the characters: Juan… read more >

Two Worlds Colliding

I was recently on the receiving end of a flattering and wholly unexpected accolade recognizing many decades of volunteer work promoting and preserving the history of South Dakota. This is what I do for fun, and despite the fact that my tour business grew out of my love of history,… read more >

The Thinker

No this isn’t going to be a blog about Rodin’s iconic sculpture. Francophobes can relax. You know how speaker introductions and biographies tend to define their subjects as inventor, politician, musician, business tycoon, etc? Well, I just heard a noted historical figure described as a “thinker”, and it stopped me… read more >

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