By Bill Sniffin
So many gifts – so little time.
I reached out to my network of friends about their ideas for the best Wyoming-oriented Christmas gifts and it was an inundation!
Wow, what a great selection. Let’s hope I can do them justice by listing a bunch of them here.
Books were mentioned a lot with Cheyenne’s Steve Horn having a new Sam Dawson mystery out that is getting rave reviews. Two former colleagues of mine published books. Charlotte Dehnert published Lester Callaway Hunt, which started as a series she wrote for the Wyoming State Journal back in the 1970s. Gail Schilling wrote a wonderful book called Do Not Go Gentle – Go to Paris, which has the great tagline “Travels of an uncertain woman of a certain age!” Jean Haugen is pushing Sara Wiles’ new books about the Arapaho Tribe called The Arapaho Way. These are great gals and great books, too.
Jim Hicks of Buffalo touts products from Mountain Meadow Wool Mills in his hometown.
Also hailing from Buffalo is a State Poet Gene Gagliano, whose great book C is for Cowboy is promoted by Paul McCown, who says it was great for his kids and for him, too, since he is a newcomer to the Cowboy State. Susan Guy’s artwork is splendid.
Thanks Paul for also suggesting people buy some coffee table books by some local named Sniffin. Eric Molvar also touts his coffee table book called Red Desert, which is splendid. Lauren Throop suggests Wyoming Migrations, a terrific book that tells the stories of the work involved in discovering migration routes of Wyoming native animals
A truly great book with international historical significance is From Fidel Castro of Mother Teresa by long-time AP reporter Joe McGowan, who served Wyoming for a long time. Incredible adventures of our own.
Ray Hunkins’ new coffee table book is a great read, too. It is called The View from Thunderhead. The Louisa B. Swain Society published it. She was the first woman to ever vote in an organized election, in Laramie 150 years ago.
Of course, any books by Ron Franscell, Craig Johnson, and CJ Box make wonderful Christmas presents. Pete Illoway of Cheyenne also touts Doug Chamberlain’s new book Bury Him: A Memoir of the Viet Nam War. Chamberlain is a former Wyoming legislator. Another terrific book about Vietnam is from former Wyomingite Bill Jones, called The Body Burning Detail. Riveting. Former Wyomingite Scott Farris wrote an amazing book called Inga: Kennedy’s Great Love, Hitler’s Perfect Beauty, and J. Edgar Hoover’s Prime Suspect. He also wrote a great book about early Wyoming filmmaker Tim McCoy.
Candy Moulton’s latest book is The Mormon Handcart Migration. Well received. A timely new book here during the state’s 150thanniversary of women suffrage is Esther Hobart Morris by Kathryn Swim Cummings. It is published by Nancy Curtis’ High Plains Press of Glendo.
The recent blizzard reminds us of the Snow Chi Minh book by John Waggener, a true history of why Interstate 80 is built in such an awful place. Jerry Kendall of Hudson is promoting his book Wyoming Treasures. A timely book is A History of the Wyoming Capital by Stanley Talbott Thompson and Linda Graves Fabian.
Tammy Green of Lander promotes all good people, all good projects, and all good things. Among her favorites are works by Joy Woods, Chris Hulme, Verna Burger Davis, Tina Brown Jones, Shawna Cargile-Pickinpaugh, Lennie Poitras, Bill Yankee, Lane Nelson, Scott Robison, and all the folks at Alchemy in Lander.
Robb Hicks is promoting Margo’s Pottery and Fine Crafts in Buffalo. Bonnie Cannon loves mywyodesigns.com, based in Riverton.
Nancy Ebbert raves about Sweetwater Studio with Jenny Reeves, Noelle Weimann Van Dijk, and JC Dye. Christine Marie endorses Brown Sugar Coffee of Riverton.
One of the state’s finest photographers Daryl Hunter of Jackson promotes lots of wonderful gift retailers from his web site fineartamerica/packstring-wyoming.
Marsha Redding of the famous Spanky’s in Evanston touts Samantha Hartman on all her hand made items.
Ron Gullberg of the Wyoming Business Council suggested you could always refer people to Made in Wyoming too: madeinwyoming.org. He also reached out to their regional folks who came up with this list:
– Surf Wyoming-Big Horn Designs in Sheridan fulfills several Wyoming companies with logo apparel (and Big Horn Designs recently opened a shop in Cheyenne too).
– Bison Union in Sheridan roasts their own coffee beans and sells locally made gifts. Also Merlin’s Hideout in Thermopolis.
– Creativity-cards in Wright makes fun, snarky greeting cards and coasters on an antique paper press.
– Sheridan Soap Company sells locally made products, EK Jewelers in Gillette sells beautiful handmade jewelry, PDB Bear Pottery Art in Buffalo, Fish fossils from Kemmerer, and Casull firearms from Freedom Arms in Freedom.
Many craft brewers now around the state. Also craft distillers such as vodka from Cowboy Country Distilling, Jackson Hole Stillworks, and Backwards Distilling.
And finally, we need to support all our local merchants in our Wyoming cities and towns this season. I love the attitude taken by Central Wyoming College President Brad Tyndall: “I feel my broader family includes all the great folks in our county with small shops. It’s fun to try to make it to as many as I can to buy a thing or two for presents and stocking stuffers. In going up and down main streets in Riverton and Lander you can find so many good things that are either from Wyoming or our Fremont County neighbors.”
Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find more stories by Bill Sniffin by going to CowboyStateDaily.com.