My first obligation is to provide a big basket of flowers as ‘thanks’ and ‘appreciation’ to my Editor, Linda Lupowitz for her patience and willingness to put up with a wannabe writer who didn’t (and still doesn’t) know the difference between a comma and a dash and would have been happier to write his manuscript on a yellow pad in pencil (with eraser) than to have to learn how to use a computer,‘Word’ and ‘Dropbox’ to get the drafts to her for editing, and to Clare Dunning for her excellent layout work and patience with me for my continually moving illustrations around as if they were Chinese Checkers. An equally ‘first’ obligation is to my mentor (and sweetheart) Jane Butel for allowing me to be late to the table for breakfast or dinner because I was in my office re-drafting the re-draft of a re-draft of one piece of this book or another. I credit Jane with giving me the time and opportunity to learn that almost anything I write could be written better when re-written. (Readers: be advised— the Author realizes that what is finally printed in this book is still under that caveat. He just had to stop somewhere.)
My next responsibility is a big thanks to my personally selected group of unpaid critics to whom I exposed myself (literarily) during the drafting process but none of whom will have seen the final ‘product’ until the book is printed: Jane Butel, Eliza Christen, Josephine Christen-Pardini, Louisa Christen, Linda Estes, Donna Peck, Richard Peck, Pastor Will Steinsick and Beverly Wood. I had to dodge some big rocks but I learned much from the process. A simple summary of their criticisms would be to write that not everyone shares (much less, agrees with!) all of my opinions but everybody likes a good cowboy story.
And, most important, I wouldn’t have even tried to write this book if it wasn’t for the National Park Service, and The National Trust for Historic Preservation. What they did to the White Grass Ranch property made me angry enough to try to be a writer. I have taken the liberty to tell them (politely) what I think they should have done with that property and, I have also thanked Roger Butterbaugh (Caretaker, White Grass ranch property, Historian), Jenny Buddenberg (National Trust for Historic Preservation, Denver Office), Katherine Wonson (Director, Western Center for Historic Preservation, Moose, Wyoming) and the office of David Vela (Supt., Grand Teton National Park) for their kindness and assistance during my gathering of facts and photos relative to the conversion of a historic ranch into the “Western Center for Historic Preservation.” If you have read this book, you don’t need my opinion of the value of that conversion re-stated.
Last, but not least, and with a tip of the black cowboy hat to Brenda Roberts, Executive Director and Nora Dewitt Hoeger, Research Assistant, at the Jackson Hole Historic Society and Museum for their help and kindness in supplying photos of the White Grass staff and buildings— probably taken in the late ‘40’ s or early ‘50s. I also wish to credit Samantha Ford for her photographic work, care and concern about the White Grass. I hope I get to meet her someday. One really, absolutely last ‘thank you’ and another tip of the cowboy hat to Rachael Treheran who died this month of 2017. Rachael is described in the section on ‘Staff.’ She died with the most bitter taste in her mouth reality could possibly provide: the desecration and perversion of the White Grass Ranch site, a place she loved with all of her heart. The last time I talked to her, by phone, she told me she couldn’t stand to talk anymore about what happened to the White Grass, she just wanted to die– in peace. I hope that she has found the peace she wished for. It won’t be during another Summer on the White Grass.