“He seems to really enjoy being here.” I overheard that comment about myself last weekend from a hotel employee as I signed copies of my book, Adventures In Yellowstone, in the lobby of Old Faithful Inn. That never occurred to me before, but it’s true. I do enjoy meeting people and talking about early travel to Yellowstone Park. When I’m lucky, I also get to add a flamboyant signature to a newly purchased book.
I sit at a table near the clock that indicates the next time the geyser will play so people see me when they come in to get that information. Most people just look at the predicted time and check their watches to see how long they’ll have to wait. If they have time, some people will stop to chat.
“Are you the author?” is the most common question.
At first I explained that the book is a collection of the writings by other people so actually I’m the editor or compiler. But that was too much information, so soon I began to just say, “Yes I am,” and smile. Sometimes I add, “I can prove it,” and hold up the book showing the page with a photo of me. People chuckle at that and agree it’s me.
“It’s a collection of a dozen stories of early travel to Yellowstone Park in the words of the people who lived the adventures,” I add to guide attention back to the book.
If people keep listening, I say, “It starts with fur trapper’s story about battling Blackfeet Indians in 1839 and ends in 1904 with a man telling about touring the park in a coach and staying in world-class hotels—like Old Faithful Inn.”
When they ask about my favorite story, I tell them about Eleanor Corthell taking her seven children to the park from Laramie, Wyoming in 1902. That was a twelve-hundred-mile round trip, I add. The conversation might amble anywhere after that.
The crowd pulses every 90 minutes in counterpoint to the eruptions of Old Faithful. Right after the geyser plays, the lobby fills with people marveling at the 500-ton stone fireplace and the eight-story tall log room. It’s hard to talk to people when the room is full, but the crowd soon disperses to the souvenir shop, restrooms, and parking lot, so there’s space around the table to talk. That’s prime book selling time.
The crowd thins and soon the lobby is nearly empty. Then new people start arriving to check the time of the next eruption. While they wait, sometimes I can strike up a conversation. If a book sale results, that’s fine. But if it just gives me a chance to chat with people from all over the world, that’s fine too.
I really do enjoy it. I’ll be back on August 20 and 21.
— Photo by my author support system, Tamara Miller.
— You might enjoy reading a description of Old Faithful Inn.