33rd ZANE GREY ROUNDUP – Part Two

BLOG #30, SERIES 6
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
33RD ZANE GREY ROUNDUP
Part Two
July 29, 2015

We here pick up on Tuesday, June 23, the first full day of our 33rd convention.

After the morning’s presentations, we were more than ready for our annual Members Memorial lunch. We take this time each year to celebrate the lives and contributions of members we no longer have with us. And always, for 33 years now, I first read out loud and then we all recite together famed poet Edwin Markham’s brief poem, “Outwitted.”

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Before we founded the Society in 1983, the Rev. G. M. Farley (the other co-founder) and I decided that by making this poem of inclusiveness our mantra, we’d have no lonely people in our Society. And so it has turned out.

After our lunch, it was time for our annual auction of Zane Grey material, a great opportunity for members—especially new members—to build up a Zane Grey collection at very economical prices. The auction monies help keep the Society alive as our magazine costs alone more than uses up our annual dues. All our officers serve pro-bono. That’s why we’ve only raised dues once in 33 years!

In the evening, it was time for our annual ice cream social. Never have we been feted with better ice cream than this year.

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays, we recover from our rigorous Tuesdays. This year, we bussed and caravanned our way through Flagstaff and spectacular Oak Creek Canyon (celebrated by Zane Grey in his Call of the Canyon), en route to Sedona, a Southwest magnet for tourists.

Wednesday evening we were treated to the movie, The Rainbow Trail (2015 is the 100th anniversary of the famed novel). Dr. James D’Arc, the world’s foremost authority on Zane Grey films, not only brought us the film from BYU’s film vaults, but he also regaled us with the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of the actors, directors, and producers who made the film possible. Popcorn was provided by FOREVER Resorts.

THURSDAY

Thursdays—being the last day of our annual conventions— are always bittersweet. Mornings are taken up by the annual business meeting in which we elect (or re-elect) officers, discuss issues of interest to the members, and vote on further convention sites.

Our 2016 convention is going to be held the third week of June on the Florida Keys, for Grey fished from Long Key almost every year over about a twenty-year period. We will have a pre-convention get together in Fort Everglades (Grey also fished here) and have the convention on Islamarada in the Keys. The following year, we voted to meet in Kanab, Utah, situated between Zion and North Rim Grand Canyon National Parks. Already a number of people have told me they’ll join the Society just to be able to attend the 2016 convention in the Keys. Another special thing about our conventions is that we secure excellent rates at lodge facilities and charge members only our at-cost prices.

In the afternoon, we gathered in a very large circle and got into a rousing book discussion of Rainbow Trail (2015 is its 100th anniversary). Each year our members read a given Zane Grey book ahead of tine so all members can get fully involved.

Then it was time for the annual banquet, when Purple Sage awards and gift books are presented. Purple Sage awards represent the highest award the Society can give its members. Gift-books, on the other hand, are given to those who did the most to make the previous convention such a success.

Finally, the most moving moment in every convention: holding hands in a large circle and singing “Auld Lang Syne,” usually led by David Leeson, a Society member from England. Then, it’s time to bid everyone adieu and perhaps shed a tear or two.

Next day, the after-convention attendees headed to Lake Powell and a trip to the iconic Rainbow Bridge (on so many people’s bucket list).

Once more, I do hope you’ll join our Society. Again, tell Sheryle Hodapp I invited you to do so. Here is her address:

15 Deer Oaks Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588
Phone: 925-699-0698
Email: Sheryle@ZGWS.org

 

Advertisements

33rd ZANE GREY ROUNDUP – Part One

BLOG #29, SERIES 6
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
33RD ZANE GREY ROUNDUP
Part One
July 22, 2015

Scan_Pic0171

For the eighth time in 33 years, faithful Zanies headed to Arizona. Our second convention had been held in Payson, in 1984; in 1986, we met in Flagstaff; in 1988, Page; we returned to Payson in 1995; it was Prescott, in 2008; we returned to Payson for the third time in 2007; two years later, we met at Mormon Lake; and now, in 2015, faithful Zanies returned to Mormon Lake for the second time.

Prior to the convention, Connie and I and Lucy and Bob Earp joined a large group of others for a visit to Kohl’s Ranch at Christopher Creek. Sunday afternoon, we caravanned up the slope of the Mogollon Rim to the site where Grey’s cabin once stood before the Dude Fire of 1990 erased it from the map. For me, it was so poignant to revisit a spot I have loved for so long. I first came here in the early 1970s, and returned again and again. Once I spent most of a week here; like Zane Grey himself, at night I’d spread out my bedding and sleep out under the stars, listening to the soughing of the pines. In those days, pilgrims came here from all over the world. I’d see them sitting on the veranda, a far-off look in their eyes as they gazed at range after range of mountains. And how could I forget college coeds, leaning against trees, lost in reading Grey’s timeless Mogollon Rim romances, Under the Tonto Rim and Code of the West. And there in the Cabin, holding court, the inimitable curator, Margaret Sell, to whom the place represented life itself.

Then it was back down the vast mesa to Kohl’s Ranch, loading up the Honda Pilot, and heading up on the mesa to Mormon Lake, there to be greeted by the gathering clan. Of all the places where we’ve met over the years, the Mormon Lake ranch is the most rustic, only the West Texas convention facilities at Fort Davis coming close. But it was its very rusticness [is there such a word?] that so many of us enjoyed so much.

A phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me is the sight of the returning faithful—many (usually a third to half the attendees) arrive days early, so eager are they to get together again. And so it proved to be once more.

In the evening, it was time for our opening banquet in the ranch’s so-called “Steakhouse.” Not formal like most banquets, but western attire the norm. In no time at all, the decibel level, caused by old friends finding each other and catching up on each other’s lives, got louder and louder—not to recede until Friday morning.

The highlight of the evening was the introduction of new attendees (seventeen, to be exact). Each was made to feel welcome—more than welcome: made to feel “at home.”

The food, provided by Scott Gold’s FOREVER Resorts team, was splendid.

Then it was time to head for the cabins and RVs. Tomorrow would be the biggest day of the convention.

TUESDAY

Not until Tuesday morning is over do I ever get to relax at our conventions. Reason being that I put more work and thought into the annual Keynote Address than I do any other speaking engagement. And, naturally, I don’t dare ever resort to anything that is stale or a re-run. Beginning in June of 1983, until now, in a very real way, I have measured my life by Keynotes. Now, here I was with my 33rd consecutive Keynote Address. I titled it, “Light of Western Stars — Why It Stands the Test of Time.” I chose this book for my Keynote because 2014 was the 100th anniversary of this, one of Grey’s greatest books. Also, it has always been one of my personal favorite reads. Those of you belonging to the Zane Grey’s West Society will be getting the full text of the Keynote in your next issue of our magazine, The Zane Grey Review.

I was followed by three fascinating presentations: Harvey Leake’s “From Kayente to Rainbow Bridge: The Rugged Route that Inspired Zane Grey’s Geography of The Rainbow Trail.” Leake is a direct descendant of John and Louisa Wetherill, famed Traders to the Navajos in Monument Valley and who had much to do with the discovery of Mesa Verde and Rainbow Bridge. We always look forward to his behind-the-scenes personalized history of the region.

Next came Dr. James D’Arc’s “BYU Happenings.” D’Arc is head curator of Brigham Young University’s film archives and has had a big role to play in the acquisition of major Zane Grey collections (including my own) and films in recent years. BYU is now the largest repository of Zane Grey archival holdings in the world. Reason being that Zane Grey’s books did more to bring fame to the American Southwest (especially Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico) than any other writer who ever lived.

D’Arc was followed by Dr. Alan Pratt’s “Appalling Beauty, Dangerous Crossing: Zane Grey at Lee’s Ferry.” Pratt, like Mr. Leake, has become a regular in terms of his visual explorations of Zane Grey book and travel settings. Pratt pointed out that back before the Colorado was dammed, during spring flood periods, the silt-laden river ran so fast that if you fell in while trying to cross it, inevitably you’d be swept away to your death.

Mr. Ryan Taylor then told our audience about a new Arizona opera: “Riders of the Purple Sage.”

* * *

I will complete the story of the 33rd convention in next week’s blog. If you haven’t yet joined the Zane Grey’s West Society, I urge you to do so! You will learn so much about—not just Zane Grey (the Father of the Romantic West)—but also this incredibly fascinating West tourists come from all around the world to see.

Our dues are only $35 a year (which includes four issues of our magazine, a veritable treasure of Western Americana). Just drop a line to our Secretary-Treasurer, Sheryle Hodapp, at 15 Deer Oaks Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588
Phone: 925-699-0698
Email: Sheryle@ZGWS.org

and tell her I invited you to join our extended family. Also you can check out our Society’s website at: http://www.zgws.org.

 

TIME OUT FOR ZANE GREY

BLOG #20, SERIES 6
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
TIME OUT FOR ZANE GREY
May 20, 2015

Forty years ago, when I completed my Vanderbilt doctorate, I mistakenly assumed that I could now put the frontier writer, Zane Grey (the subject of my dissertation), behind and resume my private life. In a way, I could; in another way, I could not. As I explained to one Associated Press reporter, when you are the foremost authority on something, or someone, you become prisoner of that knowledge and expertise. It’s sort of like the old Russian proverb, “He that dances with a bear doesn’t quit just because he gets tired.”

Scan_Pic0158

I ought to know: In around a month from now, I’ll be giving my 33rd consecutive keynote address to the members of the Zane Grey’s West Society, this one in Arizona.

Several times during the forty years, I felt the time had finally come to write a biography having to do with the life and times of Zane and Dolly Grey. Each time, for one reason or another, the project failed to jell. But now, my long-time agent, Greg Johnson, has urged me to make one last try.

So I’m structuring a new proposal, in harmony with current biographical trends. In order to do this, I’ve had to sideline several other deadlines. But I’m serious about it, for I strongly feel that if I don’t do it this time, in all likelihood, I never will.

Well, back to work.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know if a contract results from all this.

Dr. Joe’s Book of the Month – Zane Grey’s “The Vanishing American”

BLOG #26, SERIES #5
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
DR. JOE’S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB #31
ZANE GREY’S THE VANISHING AMERICAN
June 25, 2014

Since my 32nd Keynote address at the Zane Grey’s West Society convention in Durango, Colorado on June 17 was titled, The Vanishing American: The Story Behind the Story,” I decided to make that book June’s Book of the Month.

Zane Grey (1872-1939), the author who almost single-handedly created the perception that once upon a time there was a romantic West (kind of a frontier Camelot), wrote some 89 books (most novels but a number were non-fiction fishing books); approximately 109 movies were made from his books (more than those of any other author); and in the process, he became the highest paid and most widely read author of the first half of the twentieth century.

During that time period, best-selling novelists like Grey also ruled over the magazine serialization world. Since his name on a cover dramatically increased sales for that issue, magazine editors paid Grey princely sums in order to edge out other competing magazine editors. Thus the top writers of the age usually received triple market exposure: magazine serialization first, book publishing second, and movie treatment third. That pattern continued until the terrible Depression of the 1930s all but brought the economy to a standstill.

Scan_Pic0104

All his life, Grey had been obsessed with the three-century-long confrontations between settlers and Indians. Sadly, the Indian was so technologically behind he was foredoomed to be pushed back and back into wastelands nobody wanted. Being 1/32nd Indian, many of Grey’s book dust jackets bore this banner heading: THE BLOOD OF INDIAN CHIEFS FLOWS IN HIS VEINS.

Finally, in 1922, Grey became convinced that the time had finally arrived for him to write a fictional blockbuster based on the plight of the Native Americans–specifically, the Navajos living in Monument Valley. Nophaie, a Navajo, is patterned after the real-life Jim Thorpe, who was half Indian. According to a poll conducted by ABC Sports, Thorpe was voted as the Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century.

In Grey’s story, Marian, an affluent socialite from the East, falls in love with this Navajo sports hero; and when Nophaie returns to his people, she follows him–resulting in major complications: chief of which was the issue of miscegenation., Back then, it was acceptable for a Caucasian back in Colonial times to marry a Native American, but it was definitely not true during the 1920’s. Thus Grey was forced to deal with this explosive issue in the novel that hit America like a bombshell: first in its five-month-long Ladies’ Home Journal magazine serializations, second in the book (published by Harpers) two years later, and third in the Paramount blockbuster movie (said to be the first to be filmed in technicolor).

So much flak resulted that Grey eventually ended up with three alternative endings: one in which the hero dies of exhaustion, one in which he dies of the Influenza Pandemic (of 1918-1919) complications, and one in which he lives to consummate his relationship with Marian. That Influenza Pandemic is said to have killed more people than World War I (estimated toll of the Pandemic: 20,000,000 to 40,000,000 fatalities).

Today there is so much interracial marriage and cohabitation that such a plot would be pretty much a non-issue, but not so then. Thus, if you wish to see for yourself how society reacted to such a thing in the 1920’s, buy a copy of the book and read it.

Scan_Pic0105

If at all possible, get both endings:

The Harpers 1925 First Edition in which Nophaie dies of exhaustion/influenza complications [most complete reprints use the First Edition text].

The “Revised Edition” (Pocket Book paperback of 1982) in which Nophaie lives.

Those of you who wish to secure a copy of my hour-long Keynote Address on the subject of The Vanishing American can write Sheryle Hodap (Secretary/Treasurer of the Zane Grey’s West Society) at 15 Deer Oaks Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588 with a check for $35 for a year’s membership in the Society. That way you will get all the Society’s magazines over the next year (including the one that will carry the complete Keynote Address. Besides, you’ll learn a lot about this fascinating author! Make the check out to the Zane Grey’s West Society. We have raised Society dues only once in 32 years! We’ve done it all by serving pro-bono. There isn’t one person in the Society who is paid.

Enjoy!

Book Readers Weigh In – Part 2

BLOG #4, SERIES #5
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
BOOK READERS WEIGH IN
Part Two
January 22, 2014

Last week, I shared with you some of the responses that have come in on the subject of Dr. Joe’s Book of the Month Club. This week I’ll share a few more; then on the 29th we’ll begin a new year of book of the month reading suggestions.

Some readers relay or share the book blogs with others, such as this one:

Please add ________ to your author book blog. I have been forwarding some of your book reviews to her. Like me, she is over 69 and enjoys great literature. I find your reviews stimulating and educational.
–Laura T.

Others admit to being extremely selective/picky about which ones they read, such as this very short response:

My favorites: The Calling of Dan Matthews and Penrod. I always glance over your weekly blog, probably read half.
–Jane A.

Some readers, such as this one, search for bargains:

Just discovered that Kindle offers several of the book club choices for free. I’m looking forward to reading each one! Thank you for encouraging me to read great stories by authors whom I had never met before. I’m thinking specifically of Zane Grey.
–Kay P.

A number of responders are members of our Zane Grey’s West Society, such as this one:

The only one I read from your list, was the Walden Book. I then read the Victor Friesen book about Thoreau which I had bought at the Gold Beach convention. Of course, I have read all the Zane Grey books, Purple Sage twice. I read a lot and am now reading the Ellen Meloy books.
–Kathleen K

Others, such as this one, read mainly the ones that are readily accessible to them:

I read all the blogs you send out with interest but since I don’t have all the books you recommend, I am not able to read all of the books.
–Marilyn N.

I shall close with a very special response, special in that she makes additional suggestions re books that are meaningful to her:

I just wanted to let you know that I do read your posts faithfully and have sought out a few of the books you’ve mentioned. I’m happy to report that I’ve already read many of them! Is there any joy so great as the joy of reading????
I typically read 4-6 books a week, depending on the book and the week. I’m currently reading World Without End (1000+ pages, set in Kingsbridge, England in the 1300s) by Ken Follett. It is a sequel to Pillars of the Earth.
Also on my night stand, Border Wars of the Upper Ohio Valley, William Hintzen’s story of Wetzel and the Zanes and the other familiar characters of that time. I’m especially anxious to read it, now that I’ve finished the Betty Zane—Youth Edition and am continuing to work on editing the other two volumes in the Frontier Trilogy for young readers.
If you haven’t already read it, I would strongly recommend The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. It is the biography of General Alexander Dumas, father to the author. A FABULOUS BOOK that definitely deserves its Pulitzer Prize status. It is meticulously researched and presents a vivid picture of a person who was in all ways LARGER THAN LIFE. A mulatto son of a ne-er-do-well French nobleman and a black slave mother, born in St. Domingue (now Haiti), Dumas was sold into slavery by his father–along with his mother and three younger brothers–when he was about 10, so his father could buy ship’s passage back to France. Dumas was later bought back by his father (his siblings and mother were not…) and given a gentleman’s education and privileged life in Paris in the years before the Revolution.
I was struck throughout by the fact that Dumas’ incredible life and insane heroism as a soldier for the Revolution and later for Napoleon, would be too fantastic to be believed if it were merely a novel–which, in a way, it did become through his son’s writing. I was particularly impressed by the way Tom Reiss, author of The Black Count, brought to life that time in history in the telling of the Count’s story. If you haven’t read the book, it is DEFINITELY worth doing.
How I wish we could get children to lay down their electronic gizmos and pick up a book, which can take them where no noisy piece of equipment with a blinking screen ever can….
–Rosanne V.

Book of the Month – Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage”

BLOG #23, SERIES #4
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
DR. JOE’S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB #20
ZANE GREY’S RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
June 5, 2013

Zane Grey (1872 – 1939), creator of the Romantic West, was the most famous and highest-paid author in the world during the first half of the Twentieth Century. He was the last western writer to write while the American frontier still existed. Over 119 movies have been made from his books, and two television series. He was the first American author to insist that movie producers film his books on location, reason being that he felt locations, to a significant extent, influence behavior and even contribute to character development, both positively and negatively. Interestingly enough, Grey has always attracted as many female readers as he has male readers.

THE GREATEST WESTERN EVER WRITTEN
RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
ONE-HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY
(1912 – 2012)

Scan_Pic0035

Grey’s second western (after Heritage of the Desert) begins with one of the most memorable opening paragraphs in American fiction and ends with one of the most memorable conclusions in all literature.

According to Lawrence Clark Powell, “The character of the deadly yet noble gunman, Lassiter, approaches the epic folk-hero in its powerful simplification, and was memorably personified by the old-time movie actor William S. Hart–slit-eyed, steel-muscled, and claw-fingered on the draw. The final scene . . . is perhaps the finest moment in all western fiction, approached only by the Virginian’s ‘When you call me that, smile.’” –“Books Determine,” Westways, August, 1992.

Digby Diehl of the Los Angeles Times noted that “By the tine Grey died in 1939, he had two generations of writers hot on his western trail, such as Ernest Haycox, Max Brand, A. B. Guthries, Sam Peeples, and Louis L’Amour. But none of them ever wrote a sentence like ‘A sharp clip-clop of iron-shod hoofs deadened and died away, and clouds of yellow dust drifted from under the cottonwoods out over the sage.’ This, of course, was the beginning of Riders of the Purple Sage, hailed in many circles as the best western novel ever published. –“Zane Grey’s Tales of the West,” Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1972.

T. V. Olsen pointed out that Riders of the Purple Sage . . . sold two million copies, a then unprecedented sale and ranked with Pollyanna and Tarzan of the Apes as one of the ten leading best-sellers of the decade 1910-1920. A masterpiece of romantic adventure, it combined a suspenseful, well-knit plot with firm, totally dimensional characterization, a gut-ripping pace with awesome spectacle. At times its prose soared to a truly epic strength that, for all the high spots in his early works, Grey never achieved again. –“Pantheism and the Purple Sage,” The Roundup, November 1966.

Nor could western scholar G. M. Farley forget him: “What man while reading Riders of the Purple Sage hasn’t seen in Lassiter some of the characteristics of himself? These rough-hewn characters appeal to something basic in the reader; they touch the fountain-head, and the reader becomes identifiable with them. He can almost feel the trigger against his finger, the buck of the booming gun against his hand. For that moment he escapes the office, the home, the everyday strife, and is transported. It is not just the fast action that thrills him; he is there.” –“An Approach to Zane Grey,” Zane Grey Collector, Vol II, #4.

Nor could John Parsons forget him: “Lassiter of the Purple Sage specialized in carrying his black-butted guns ‘low down.’ By a rapid but undefined movement, he was able to swing ‘the big black gun sheaths around to the fore.’ Ordinarily a two-gun man, he buckled on two more revolvers when going out to face the foe in quantity. Think of the fire-power, even if only two at a time were fired. So far as I know Lassiter was the first four-gun man in print. . . . Zane Grey successfully exploited a vanished cult of gunfighters, seldom contemporaneously documented, whose resuscitation fired the imagination of millions of readers.” –“Gunplay in Zane Grey,” The Westerners, (New York: Posse Brand Books, 1961).

Lassiter doesn’t even have to actually use his guns to be memorable. Case in point, his first appearance in the book: “Lassiter’s face’ had all the characteristics of the range riders–the leanness, the red burn of the sun, and the set changelessness that came from years of silence and solitude. But it was not these that held her; rather the intensity of his gaze, a strained weariness, a piercing wistfulness of keen, gray sight, as if the man was forever looking for that which he never found. Jane’s [Withersteen, the heroine] subtle woman’s intuition, even in that brief instant, felt a sadness, a hungering, a secret.” (p. 8).

Another gunman, Venters, and Bess Oldering, the Masked Rider, hold sway over half the book.

Grey loved horses. Indeed, Frank Gruber maintained that the novel contains the most magnificent horse race in all western fiction.

The novel was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s favorite book.

* * * * *

The book is available in multitudes of editions, both hardback and paper. Just make sure your copy is unabridged.

But, for all you book-lovers who cherish heirloom classics whose value can only go up through the years, the Zane Grey’s West Society recently published a magnificent Centennial Edition. Ordering information follows.

Scan_Pic0036

This book was a labor of love by the Society. Many people were involved, with Roseanne Vrugtman deserving special mention as she did all the work of cleaning up the manuscript and formatting it to properly match the original first edition. Multiple folks were involved in proofreading, editing, and several members authored additional content articles for the book. Joe Wheeler wrote on the importance of Riders to American Literature, Todd Newport wrote on Grey’s love of the outdoors, Chuck Pfeiffer and Zen Ervin wrote an article on the geography of Riders, Bob Lentz discussed the movies made from the novel, and Marian Coombs provided a biography of Grey.

This book was printed in 2012, the anniversary year of Riders, and will be shipped in January 2013. We went to extreme lengths to try to make the book as close a replica of the original 1912 Harper’s First Edition as possible. The actual text of the novel was formatted in such a manner that it exactly matches the original, so now if you are doing research, you can use this book as if it were the original first edition. The book cover is bound in linen, like the original, even though we could not find an exact match to the color. We stamped the text on the front cover using a purple backing with gold text on top of it, just like the original. We scanned the original paste down image that was on the front cover and tried to match that, even though those paste down images did not survive the years very well, and every example we found had issues. We used a slightly ivory color paper, hoping to make it look more vintage. –Zane Grey Review, December 2012, p. 3.

One of the rarest of all Zane Grey dust jackets was used for the Centennial Edition’s reproduction dj. Where rare Zane Grey First Editions are concerned, original vintage dust jackets sometimes bring five times as much as the book itself at auctions.

Just in: The printer: Frederick Printing/Denver Bookbinding was just honored by the Printing Industry of America’s 2013 Print Excellence Silver Award (for demonstrating superior craftsmanship, digital print, hardbound book) for the Centennial Edition of Riders of the Purple Sage.

* * * * *

This rare edition had a print-run of only 300 copies. Most likely, they’ll all be sold by the end of the Zane Grey’s West Society’s 31st annual convention (to be held in Provo, Utah June 16-19, 2013). Last year’s convention was held in the Black Hills; the year before in Williamsburg, Virginia; in 2014, in Durango, Colorado.

Price for the Centennial Edition is $70 plus shipping. However, if you contact our Secretary Treasurer, at

Sheryle Hodapp
15 Deer Oaks Drive
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Telephone: 925-485-1325
email: sheryle@zgws.org

and first join The Society as a member (our annual dues are only $35, and include our splendid quarterly magazines; we’ve only raised dues once in 31 years, by all serving pro-bono), rather than the regular $70 for the Centennial Edition, you will be entitled to the Society member price of $48 plus shipping, thus your membership will end up costing you only $13 for the year if you’re able to land a copy before they’re sold out.

We’d love to have you join our extended family of Zanies. Perhaps you’d even like to join us at Provo! Contact Sheryle Hodapp for details.

ROUNDUP IN THE BLACK HILLS

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

ROUNDUP IN THE BLACK HILLS

June 18-21, 2012

 

June 6, 2012

Consider this to be a personal invitation to join us in the 30th annual Circling of the Wagons of the Zane Grey’s West Society.  Site: Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, Spearfish, South Dakota.  (Phone: 800-999-3541).

* * * * *

            They say that when each of us comes to the end of our life journey, one thing we won’t regret will be the money we spent to make memories with.  I’ve met lots of people whose major regret late in life was that they never really lived.  Never really enjoyed life, explored life, traveled, ventured outside the box.  Always they were going to do these things someday, someday when they had lots of spare time and spare money—but they never did.  Then when one life-partner or the other was crippled physically or mentally, that was the end of their travel dreams.

If you love the West—especially the Old West; appreciate, love, or would like to learn more about the works of frontier writer Zane Grey (the #1 writer in the world during the first half of the 20th century), we urge you to drop everything and join our extended family get-together in Spearfish, SD, beginning this June 18.

We are not a formal organization, but rather just a group of people who love the West, the books Zane Grey wrote, and who genuinely revel in getting together with cherished friends in places worth traveling to: places like Glacier National Park; Catalina Island; Zanesville, Ohio; Payson, Arizona; North Rim of the Grand Canyon; Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, Virginia; Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania; Flagstaff, Arizona, Grants Pass and Gold Beach, Oregon, and so on. This will be our first convention set in South Dakota.

We are a frugal organization; so much so that we’ve only raised dues once in 30 years!  We have no paid-anybody; we all serve pro-bono.  The only thing that enables us to keep our beautiful and professional magazines coming is our auctions of Zane Grey books and memorabilia during our annual convention.

Let me walk you through a typical convention.  Knowing that many of our members are on fixed-incomes, we tend to stay in lodging that is attractive yet not priced out of range for our members.

We usually meet during the third week of June (sometimes the second), Monday eve through Thursday eve.  Having said that, so anxious is everyone to see their friends again that about a third get there early.  The Monday evening barbeque is our first event.  Tuesday is our heaviest day: annual keynote address, other special events or presentations, annual breakfast or lunch when we remember those we no longer have with us, the annual auction (a great place and time to build your library), etc.  This year, my keynote address will be telling the story of what is almost universally considered to be the greatest western novel ever written, Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage. 2012 is its 100th anniversary!  Later, several of the top executives of the Crazy Horse Memorial Park will tell us about what is happening at what will one day be the largest carved statuary in the world (many times larger than Mount Rushmore).  On Wednesday, we will visit Mount Rushmore in the morning and Crazy Horse in the afternoon—they’ll let us get up close!  Thursday is part business (electing officers, special speakers or presentations, and voting on future convention sites).  Afternoon provides welcome free time, and evening the annual banquet (no specified dress code).  At the end, we all cry, knowing that never in this life will we all be together again.

Once you experience it, you’ll want to meet with us every year. Our normal attendance averages a hundred or more.

We’d love to have you with us on June 18.

For specifics, make reservations at special society convention rate at the Spearfish Holiday Inn.  And be sure and contact our genial Secretary/Treasurer for further details:

ZANE GREY’S WEST SOCIETY

c/o Sheryle Hodapp, Secretary/Treasurer

15 Deer Oaks Drive

Pleasanton, CA 94588

(925-485-1325)

E-mail:

Sheryle@zgws.org

See you there!

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK – SOUTH RIM

BLOG #7, SERIES 3

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

SOUTHWEST NATIONAL PARKS #9

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK – SOUTH RIM

 

February 15, 2012

Early in the morning, snow began to slash at our North Rim cabin windows; as the wind picked up, the snow increased proportionally.  After packing, Bob and I hauled our luggage out to the snow-covered Town Car.  Then, we regretfully bade our adieus to our already beloved cabins on the rim, the rockers on the porch already filling with May snow.  Inside the lodge, once again we breakfasted near one of the great windows, and watched the snow descend into the abyss.  All too soon, it was time to leave, but none of us wanted to.  The atmosphere in the lodge was totally different from the day before for the unexpected snow had generated a sense of adventure among hotel guests that had not been there before.  In this sense of family-closed-off-from-the-rest-of-the-world, there were no strangers: everyone talked with each other as though they were old friends.

But feeling a sense of urgency, we headed out.  We were apprehensive because the Lincoln was anything but a snow car.  Our hearts were in our throats when the snow deepened as the road climbed over 9,000 feet (one of the key reasons the North rim has such a short tourist season).  The Lincoln began to slip, and there were no snowplows.  But finally we crested and headed down, and eventually out of the snow.

This was Zane Grey country.  In 1907 and 1908 Grey had faced storms much worse than this as he and legendary plainsman Buffalo Jones and Mormon pioneer Jim Emmet lassoed mountain lions in the Buckskin Forest of this Kaibab Plateau we were traveling through.  At Jacob Lake, we turned east on Highway 89a.  When we’d descended to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River, we walked along the river.  For here was Emmet’s home a few miles down river.  Though we didn’t revisit it this time, we couldn’t help but think of that tenderfoot Zane Grey eying the then undammed Colorado River thundering down this same gorge; it was maintained that if anyone fell in trying to get across by cable (no bridges then), no one would ever see them again—not in flood season!  Born here were Grey’s Last of the Plainsmen, Heritage of the Desert, and Roping Lions in the Grand Canyon.

We then turned south on Highway 89, and right after crossing the Painted Desert, at Cameron, we turned west on Highway 64.  As we began our ascent to the South Rim, would you believe it?—once again, the snow began to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was late afternoon before we arrived at El Tovar Hotel, a favorite stopping place for our family down through the years.

* * * * *

We can thank Theodore Roosevelt for saving the Grand Canyon for posterity.  In 1903, after visiting the canyon himself, he declared it to be “a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world” (Barnes, 102).  He followed that up by establishing the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1906, by executive order, then enlarging the Forest Reserve into a National Forest.

Santa Fe Railroad officials, seeing the canyon as a golden opportunity to dramatically increase southwest tourism, determined to create a great lodge on the South Rim.  Their chosen architect: Charles Whittlesey, who was trained in the Chicago office of Louis Sullivan.  His goal was to “meld the elegance of a European villa with the infomality of a hunting lodge” (Barnes, 105).  This grand hotel officially opened on January 14, 1905.  According to Barnes, “Steam heat, electric lights and indoor plumbing all made it the most expensively constructed and appointed log house in America.  Huge Douglas-firs were shipped by rail from Oregon, pushing the cost to $250,000, a grand sum, especially when compared to Old Faithful Inn, built for $140,000.  One-hundred guest rooms accommodated visitors who found comfort in ‘a quiet dignity, an unassuming luxury, and an appreciation of outing needs at El Tovar’” (Barnes, 105).  Though western in style, it has also been considered Transylvanian, resembling a hunting lodge for the Romanian royal family.

Here the legendary Harvey Girls waited tables.  And here too, in January of 1906, only one year after it opened its doors, Zane Grey and his bride Dolly arrived here by train on their honeymoon.  But storm clouds obscured the canyon, so it wasn’t until evening that the clouds parted and they stared into such a sunset as they’d never even imagined.  The die was cast: This canyon would become the very heart of Grey’s 89 novels—where the Old West began.

OUR MEMORIES

As we walked into the Rendezvous Room, and passed the chairs flanking the crackling fire in the fireplace, we vowed to commandeer those chairs if the occupants ever surrendered them.  In the center of the building is the registration lobby, or Rotunda, where all paths intersect.  Here we checked in, as we had a number of times before, then moved into our rooms. We hoped to be able to show Bob and Lucy Earp “The Zane Grey Room,” where Dolly and Grey had stayed, but it was booked solid during our two-day stay, so weren’t able to.  Our Zane Grey’s West Society donated the Zane Grey memorabilia and books that make it such a special room.  XANTERRA owns and operates the hotel today.

Later, we ate dinner in the renowned eighty -nine-foot long dining room, furnished with Arts and Crafts style furniture, and anchored by two huge chimneys, each flanked by large picture windows.  The service and food were, as expected, impeccable, as befits one of the grandest hotels in the Great Circle.  Here, Connie and I shared an incident from our past with the Earps: Many years ago, when our daughter Michelle was just a tiny golden-haired angel, we’d eaten in this very same dining room.  Michelle, who’d never even envisioned such a grand place, was entranced.  The waiter assigned to our table treated Michelle as though she were a princess, hovering around her, filling her glass from high up each time she drank a sip from it, refilling the bread basket whenever she took a roll out of it, and grandly displaying the little broom that he’d use to whisk away every stray breadcrumb she dropped on the spotless white tablecloth.  To this day, that evening is etched in her memory as one of the most magical experiences in all her growing-up years.

Next day, the weather having cleared, we walked along the canyon rim, taking photos, along with visitors from all over the world.  We soon discovered that El Tovar, like Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, is so loved to death by hordes of tourists that hotel guests are hard-pressed to find unoccupied seats in the lobby or dining facilities.  So what else should one expect from the focal center of well over four-million tourists every year?  But we really experienced the invasion when we entered the Grand Canyon Village building that houses the IMAX theatre that shows the Grand Canyon film.  Men, women, and children from all walks of life and from countries around the world (many from Asia and Europe) flooded in, in such numbers that we could barely move!  Felt like we were each straitjacketed.  What a contrast from the North Rim.  We couldn’t even imagine what it would be like in the summer when school is out!

But even so, each person standing by the parapet, staring into the vast reaches of the great canyon, seems to be in a world of their own,  no matter how many eddy around them.  The first sight of the canyon is invariably the same: no advance hype can possibly fully prepare you for the real thing!  And late evening, when the crowds ebb inside El Tovar, leaving you with just the hotel guests, you can once again imagine seeing Zane and Dolly, sitting next to you by the fireplace, a pensive look in their eyes, a hundred and six years ago.

SOURCES

Barnes, Christine, Great Lodges of the National Parks I (Bend, OR:WWW West, Inc., 2002).

The Most Scenic Drives in America (Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest, Inc., 1997).

TO REACH THE PORT OF HEAVEN

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

 

TO REACH THE PORT OF HEAVEN

January 4, 2012

 

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

As I write these words—yes, I still write with a Pilot V5 pen rather than type on a keyboard—and begin the third year of “Wednesdays with Dr. Joe” blogs, I am profoundly grateful.

First and foremost for the gift of life.  So many of my contemporaries have written the last page of their life stories.  For some reason, known only to Him, God has seen fit to extend my life beyond the biblically “three score and ten.”  The last time I was in the hospital for surgery, I watched with morbid fascination the digital zig-zagging on the screen that monitored my faithful aging heartbeats.  Each time it descended, I found myself wondering if this would be the time it would stop and never go up again.  Finally, I had to turn my eyes away; the stress was too much!

Second, for the gift of awareness.  One in every five of us will die mentally before we die physically.  That happened to my beloved mother.  Such a phenomenal near photographic memory she had!  Able to retain thousands of pages of short stories, poetry, and readings in her memory banks—then, one fateful day: the light of awareness flickered out of her eyes.  When we entered her room after that and looked into her eyes—there was no one home anymore.

Third, for the gift of family.  One of my cherished friends, an erstwhile millionaire, lost everything (job, house, bank account, solvency) in this recession.  When I asked him how he was coping, there was a long pause before he answered with, “You know, today my financial life is in shambles, I couldn’t even buy a used bicycle on credit—much less a car!  Belatedly, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only real bedrock in this unstable world is God, family,and health.  I still have God, a family who loves me, and my health.  I’m ever so blessed as long as I still have all three!”  I too am oh so grateful I still have a wife, children, and extended family who love me more than I deserve.”

Fourth, for the gift of friendship.  How bleak this world would be without friends!  Every Wednesday morning for over fifteen years now, I have met with Conifer Kiwanis!  Even though our numbers have shrunk from what they were before the recession, we still show up each Wednesday.  And each year, they grow dearer.  One is so fragile with age we rarely see him—and oh! How we feel his absence each week!  But I’m blessed with so many many friends.  My church family, my Zane Grey’s West Society family, my student/colleague family (generated during over a third of a century in the classroom), my alumni family (those who came into my life during my growing-up years), my Focus on the Family dear ones (I’ve shared Christmas with them in their Chapelteria and book store for sixteen years and counting), my publishing family (from twelve publishing houses) who continue to enrich my life.  And last but anything but least all those thousands who have come into my life because of our 76 books and counting, blogs, media interviews (between 500 and a thousand), and tweets.  One family (besides my family and agent, Greg Johnson) owns all 76 books.  But I’ve recently become aware that I have a wonderful extended family in all those who own all 20 (or 22) Christmas in My Heart books.  I call them “Christmasaholic completists.”  What can bring two people closer than a shared obsession?  By next year, I hope to have a list of as many of them as will check in with me.  I need their help as we together vote on the “20 Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Written.”

Recently, someone said to me, “Have you ever wondered how many people who’ve read your books through the years have had one-sided conversations with you?”  I’ll never know the answer to that question—at least on this earth.  So many times I’ve signed for ten to twelve hours a day—yet the Lord has miraculously saved me from carpal tunnel syndrome!

* * * * *

So, Dear Friends, whoever and wherever you might be, Connie and I are so grateful you’re taking time out of your hectic weekly schedule to spend a little time with us!  Let’s together make 2012 “a very good year!”

“OUTWITTED” AND THE ZANE GREY’S WEST SOCIETY

Twenty-eight years ago it was when the Rev. G. M. Farley (a Pentecostal minister and administrator) and I had a far-reaching discussion having to do with the issue of organizing (or NOT organizing) a society dedicated to celebrating the life and works of the frontier writer, Zane Grey.

At one point in our discussion, G. M. sighed and said, “Unless our conventions turn out to be different from all the other conventions I attend, I’d rather we’d not even start this one.”

“Explain yourself,” I broke in.

“It’s this way, in every convention I attend, it’s always the same: People aimlessly milling around—almost all of them lonely.”

“True, G. M. I’ve noticed the same thing. I’ve often thought, as I walked through the crowd of attendees, and looked enviously at those few who seemed to belong, in occasional clusters of attendees who appeared to know each other, Wouldn’t it be great to belong to at least one of them? To have someone’s eyes light up at sight of me and welcome me in? “But I just don’t know how we could do any better than they.”

“Neither do I,” rejoined G.M., but let’s at least seek out a solution before we give up on our dream.”

At one point in our brainstorming, I happened to mention a poem by Edwin Markham, late in the nineteenth century, Poet Laureate of America. Turns out G.M. was already familiar with it: “The very thing! If that doesn’t work, nothing will! Let’s try it!

Joe Wheeler delivering keynote address

And so we did. At each one of our now 28 consecutive conventions, for the benefit of first-time attendees, I first recite the poem out loud, then I lead out in having us all recite it together (after first explaining the history of its origins and use in our Society, and urging all attendees to each implement Markham’s words in each interaction with others).

Paul and Jeannie Morton

It works. Indeed it works so well that one of the last things G.M. said to me before he died was this: “Thank God for that poem! There are no lonely people in our Society. If anyone sits at a table alone, others walk over and invite them to join them at their table. When they travel, they make a point of visiting each other. They consistently arrive early at the conventions in order to fellowship with each other. In fact, they’re closer to each other than even my own church members are to each other!”

ZGW Society members enjoying an all-day ride on the Rogue River.

I shall conclude with the poem that single-handedly defines the love each member of the Zane Grey’s West Society has for each other:

“He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.”

“Outwitted,” by Edwin Markham

SPECIAL NOTE

Because of a special blog series on our Northwest national parks beginning the first week in August, we are scheduling our next blog (on Plagiarism) for tomorrow, July 29.