Bill Croke

Bill Croke, formerly of Cody, Wyoming, is a writer in Salmon, Idaho.

Chinook Winter

 

From our December 1997 issue. Cody, Wyoming To write about the weather, you have to be where the weather’s interesting, or preferably lethal. Here winter has been punctuated in a cadence of blizzard, dead cold, wild chinook — at twenty below, thin ribbons of smoke from chimneys and exhaust pipes rise upward for what seems […]

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The Cowboy Artist

 

Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) celebrates his sesquicentenary on March 19, and this fact will be largely ignored by America’s decadent cultural establishment. A creative workhorse, the artist produced over 4,000 pieces in a run of forty years: paintings, drawings, sculpture, and commissioned illustrations for books and magazines. He even amused correspondents with whimsically illustrated letters […]

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Ray’s Busy

 

I took a trip back to New York this past fall to visit family and friends as I do every couple of years. Relatives and friends are getting on, and I also enjoy spending time with my many nieces and nephews, and their own progeny. It’s hectic and involves much local travel, but has its […]

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At Sixty

 

“Accept modestly; surrender gracefully”—Marcus Aurelius I celebrated my 60th birthday the other day, and find this fact amazing, appalling, and strangely life affirming. Cheerfulness is the first sign of wisdom, and to quote Hubert Humphrey: “I’m as pleased as punch” to still be here. This last is no idle notion. Thanks to social media and […]

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The Cousins Udall

 

The Udall clan is a distinguished Western political family, the Kennedys in cowboy boots (though hiking boots might be a more apt metaphor nowadays). They have been a presence on the regional political scene for four generations, with various antecedents serving in state legislatures, mayoral offices, and on state supreme courts dating back to 1887. […]

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Saint Lenny

 

Amidst all the commentary and talking-head punditry concerning the Duck Dynasty business of recent days, I’ve yet to read or hear spoken a name that always pops into my head when such controversies arise. That would be the legendary hipster junkie comic (or as Walter Winchell described him “vomic”), Lenny Bruce (1925-1966). Though while Lenny’s […]

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It’s Cold

 

“Once in a while the thought reiterated itself that it was very cold and that he had never experienced such cold.” — Jack London, “To Build a Fire.” Though it’s eased a bit, this is the coldest December that I’ve seen in my two decades in the Northern Rockies. Some locals describe it as the […]

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Warrior Diplomat

 

The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend By Bob Drury and Tom Clavin (Simon & Schuster, 432 pages, $30) The Sioux hold a special place in the minds of Indian enthusiasts. They are the quintessential Plains Indians. Historical determinism dictated migration in the 17th century from the […]

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Country Eastern

 

Songwriting is the backstage, disreputable cousin of poetry. Audio poetry for the masses, if you will. Its highbrow priesthood (Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, the Gershwins) touched the transcendent. The popular guys (Lennon-McCartney, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell, et al.) speak to our experience and entertain us. Nowadays, in our time of cultural […]

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Bodio’s 100

 

A Sportsman’s Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Offbeat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader By Stephen J. Bodio Foreword by Jameson Parker (Lyons Press, 256 pages, $18.95 paper) Stephen Bodio is Edmund Wilson with a shotgun. He might be our most able critic of the literature of the bloodsports and the […]

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