Friday, July 20, 2012

Information, please


With all the tourists visiting us in the last few weeks, many of us have been asked about the history of our valley. If longtime locals are questioned, they pretty much know the facts. However, if an eager-to-please retail clerk, new to the area, happens to be queried about what happened long ago, the facts can get a little mangled:

"Say, how did Hailey get its name?"

"It was named after Hailey's Comet which was spotted in 1880 by the city fathers and, subsequently, given its name.

"Oh ... and Ketchum?"

"It was named after the 'catch and release' fishing program instituted by a Forest Service front liner named Roma."

"Really? How about Bellevue?"

"The Apaches captured the community bell from this small mining town in 1876. Gen. Armstrong Custer gathered some town vigilantes together, got it back and named the town."


"Custer? I thought he fought the Native Americans up north?"

"Yes, he did. He engaged them in the Battle of Trail Creek Road in an area now known as Custer County."

"Well, I'll be damned. I thought he fought Sitting Bull in the Dakotas."

"Sitting Bull was a liar, a bulls... artist, thus, his name."

"Wow, you really know your history! Hey, did Hemingway write any novels when he lived here?"

"Yes. He wrote 'The Old Man and the Ski' while he was visiting here before the war."

"Fascinating. I heard there were a lot of celebrities who vacationed here over the years. Did they make any movies in the area?"

"Oh, my, yes. Hemingway wrote a movie for Gary Cooper called 'High Moon.' Later, it was made again under another name, 'Brokeback Mountain.' Others were 'When Mary Met Sally,' 'I'll Ski Tomorrow' and 'Winless in Seattle,' the story of the Seattle Mariners."

"Gee, I never would have known all this except for meeting you here in the store. Nice talking to you."

Nice talking to you.

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