Bill Croke

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

The Catskills Revisited

 

When most people hear the word “Catskills,” they think of Borscht Belt comedians and Woodstock (both the town and 1969 music festival). Others think about fly fishing and the Catskill Park, maybe the wildest piece of public real estate located near a major American city. That’s because there are two Catskills: the popular culture one, and the other, the big woods just two hours northwest of New York City.

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The American Museum of Quaint

 

I’m intrigued by the notion that despite their futuristic ideals, liberals are obsessed with the past in nostalgic ways. On the one hand they reject days-gone-by as politically and culturally retrograde, on the other they seek the past’s simplicity in what they eat and drink, the clothes they wear, and the homes that they live […]

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For Our Benefit and Enjoyment

 

Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon By John Clayton (Pegasus Books, 285 pages, $27.95) A common cliché used to describe the national parks is that they are being “loved to death.” The “crown jewels” (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Great Smokies, et al.) have for some years seen record annual […]

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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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