I have been writing a regular monthly blog now for the past four years. It has been both challenging and rewarding. But it is also time-consuming, and as I so often protest, I am a tour operator, not a professional blogger. If my writings produce more business for my tour company, or drive more business toward a deserving attraction or destination, so much the better. But I’m obviously not in it for the money. Read the rest of this entry »
If you have ever surfed the upper reaches of the cable channels in desperate search of semi-literate diversion, you have probably run into the numerous channels which seem to be determinedly devoted to “history lite”. You know the ones I’m talking about. They feature shows called “Ten things you didn’t know about…” or “America: the Story of US”; “How the States Got Their Shapes”, “America’s Book of Secrets” , Read the rest of this entry »
I should probably preface this by stating that “climbed” is a definite overstatement of what I did last August. More accurately, I “strolled”, or maybe even “ambled”. Spirit Mound is not exactly Mount Everest. No climbing gear was involved, no harnesses, no spiked boots, no rappeling ropes, not even a lowly walking stick. I was wearing sandals and a skirt, for Pete’s sake. Read the rest of this entry »
At a recent history conference I learned – among other things – that the stereotypical movie depiction of circling the wagons against an imminent Indian attack (a plot device used in countless Hollywood movies and TV westerns), originated not on the Oregon Trail but with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. And if you know your American history, this was in the late nineteenth century, when America’s frontier was all but gone. Westward wagon trains beginning in 1841 did circle their wagons at the end of long dusty days on the trail – but only to create a corral to prevent their livestock from straying. The humans slept on the outside of the wagon formation.
I have been leading modern-day explorers over the Lewis & Clark Trail more or less regularly since 1997, and as you read this I have embarked with another enthusiastic group on our own great journey west.
As I prepared for this year’s expedition and found myself growing more and more excited about it, I wondered why – given the enormous amount of work entailed – I keep doing it, and more interestingly, why I like it so much. Read the rest of this entry »
One side of my wraparound deck overlooks a large valley dotted with homes on winding lanes and, at this time of year, partially obscured by trees. The view from the back is my favorite though, because it faces the hillside. The solitude of the forest and it’s natural inhabitants does wonders for my peace of mind. Read the rest of this entry »
Confucius didn’t think so. Neither did Gandhi nor Mother Teresa. Of course, taking a vow of poverty kind of takes money out of the equation. (Confucius didn’t actually take any vows of poverty that we know of, but as a teacher he probably still qualifies.)
My point is that it’s not necessarily the having of money, or even the spending of it that brings happiness; it’s what you spend it on. Read the rest of this entry »
There is a wildly popular restaurant near me that offers only two entrees on its evening menu: big steak and little steak! In this day of proliferating options in every category from soup to nuts (pun intended), it’s kind of reassuring that sometimes the simplest choice is the best.
Downsizing is a natural reaction to a complex world with stress levels sometimes off the charts. There is a growing nostalgia for a simpler time with fewer choices – not more. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was growing up I couldn’t wait for summer vacation so that I could escape my parents’ contentious and migratory household to spend three glorious months on my grandparents’ ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I was only seven years old when I made my first solo trip on Jack Rabbit Bus Lines with a tag around my neck and a five dollar bill tucked in my little plastic purse. I remember sitting right up front bending the driver’s ear mile after mile, and managing not only to eat well without dipping into my funds, but somehow arriving with more money than I left with! (I seem to have lost that particular talent, but then I’m not as cute as I was at seven.)
For many people, myself included, the most joyous words in the English language are “Pitchers and catchers report!” I have been fortunate for many years to spend two weeks in the normally dreary month of March, basking under the Florida sun in as many Major League Spring Training ballparks as I can squeeze in.
But at Shebby Lee Tours, we have another springtime phrase: “Wagons roll at the first greening of grass”. Read the rest of this entry »