New book: Every Full Moon in August: Campfire Tales of Old Jackson Hole, edited by Jack Huyler ’42 with Marlene Deahl Merrill (Whit Press)
The author: Huyler moved to Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 1926 at age six, when his family bought a ranch in what is now Grand Teton National Park. At Princeton he co-founded the Nassoons and served in World War II. After the war, he taught at the Thacher School in California. Back in Jackson Hole, for some 20 years he recorded stories that locals told around the campfire at his ranch, the Rocking H.
The book: Every summer Huyler and his wife hosted a potluck supper for his neighbors in Jackson Hole the Sunday closest to the full moon in August. One year they decided to ask their guests to share stories of locals who had died. In this book has collected some of them, which shed light on the colorful people and customs of Jackson Hole. One story tells of “Old Mr. Blackmun” who was a jack-of-all-trades — he ran a sawmill, a blacksmith business, and even pulled teeth and cut hair. Another story recalls how Farney Cole survived a bear attack by playing dead but after the bear wandered off, he found a tree limb and beat the bear to death.
Opening lines: “Let’s set the stage before beginning to read these stories.
“Food for 150 — or more — on the hay wagon in the front yard. Old Timers brimming with stories about ‘Them What’s Gone.’ The full moon hiding coyly behind the Sleeping Indian awaiting its cue. It’s the Sunday of the full moon in August, and friends and neighbors gather on the Huylers’ Rocking H Ranch to reminisce or to listen to others.”