Monday, April 30, 2012

We've been informed of the passing of Bob Edgar

I did not know him but I have seen the result of his work.  Such people should be more widely known so this is repeated for your enlightenment.

Bob Edgar
CODY, Wyo. — One of the last chapters of the American Old West closed Friday evening, April 20, with the passing of Bob Edgar, 72, of Cody, Wyo., founder of the Old Trail Town Museum and an internationally acclaimed historian, archaeologist, artist, author, naturalist and conservationist.

Robert Wilburn Edgar was the firstborn of Paul G. Edgar and Marjorie (Downer) Edgar on July 27, 1939, at their rustic home at the base of Polecat Bench northeast of Powell, Wyo. An early love of the outdoors and awareness of local history was infused into young Bob and his brother Larry at a very early age when the family resided at the small oilfield company town in Oregon Basin. Bob and Larry spent countless hours in the sandstone and cedar breaks of the Badlands until the family moved to Cody in 1950 with younger sister Helen and soon brother David completed the Edgar family.

Bob was educated in the Cody public schools, graduating Cody High School in 1957 and attending Northwest Community College in Powell to study art and archaeology, receiving an Associates Degree in 1961. Bob married Janice Birchfield in 1959 and had two daughters, Cathy and Susan. Later Bob married Terry Deutch of Sheridan, had their daughter, Sherri.

In his self-made career, Bob Edgar received many awards and accolades, accruing a long list of national and international recognition from the Smithsonian Institution all the way down to local service clubs and everything in between: Governor's awards, state archaeological society awards and serving as Vice President of same, NWCC Distinguished Alumni, American Travel Writer's Phoenix Award for distinguished conservation, serving on the state of Wyoming BLM Advisory Board, and many other meritorious accolades.

Bob Edgar became a world class sharpshooter, being gifted with extraordinary eyesight and hand control plus an intimate knowledge of weaponry. Years of practice and hundreds of thousands of spent rounds honed his skills to the confidence level of being able to shoot objects from people's mouths and hands at 40 paces with a Colt .45.

There are far too many projects or collaborations in Bob Edgar's professional life to list here, but a few major milestones stand out. Bob Edgar and George Dabich assisted by Larry Edgar were the principal excavators of the Mummy Cave project 35 miles west of Cody beginning in 1963. Mummy Cave yielded an unbroken archaeological and climatological record going back over 9,000 years, including the discovery of a very well preserved pre-Columbian human mummy.

Of the myriad events that occurred at Old Trail Town, the pinnacle came in June 1974, when the remains of John "Liver Eatin'" Johnston were reburied there, beginning the pioneer cemetery that today holds seven notable frontiersmen. Johnston was the real-life model for the 1972 Robert Redford film "Jeremiah Johnson." Redford himself came to Cody to act as pallbearer for the man he portrayed onscreen, whose grave was in danger of being lost to a freeway project in Lancaster, Calif.

It was Edgar's association with the Pitchfork Ranch that provided a core building block for Old Trail Town. In 1971 Bob Edgar and Frances Belden established "The Museum of the Old West," a 501(c) 3 Non-Profit Foundation. The Belden family had an impressive collection of Plains Indian artifacts and beaded clothing and many historical items. Frances Belden endowed the Museum of the Old West with the funds to build a fireproof building and display cases to house the Belden collection, which is now the centerpiece of the exhibits. Thankfully, Old Trail Town is now part of "The Museum of the Old West," with a future as far as anyone can see.

Robert Wilburn Edgar was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Marjorie Edgar; his first wife Janice "Jan" Birchfield Edgar; second wife, Terry Deutch Edgar; and niece Cori Edgar.

Survivors include brother Larry (Jan) Edgar of Meeteetse; sister Helen (Joseph) Edgar Sowerwine Venier of Wapiti; brother David Paul (Ramona) Edgar of Wasilla, Alaska; daughters Catherine (Rodney) Edgar Godard Dahlgren of Powell, Wyo., Susan (Mike) Edgar Ward Welker of Pueblo, Colo.; Sherri Lynn Edgar of Cody, and Jill Roberts of Billings; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren with a third on the way; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Those wishing to memorialize the life and work of Bob Edgar past, present and future can contribute to the Museum of the Old West Foundation, P.O. Box 546, or 1831 DeMaris Drive, Cody, WY 82414. Contributions are tax deductible and used exclusively for the maintenance and advancement of Trail Town and the Museum of the Old West.

Cremation has occurred with ashes being dispersed privately at locations dear to the deceased, with a portion reserved for a monument at Old Trail Town. Public services there will be Saturday, May 12, at 1 p.m. (non-denominational) with remembrances to follow. Old Trail Town will be open free of charge to the public that day. For all else that happened along the trail of his life, Bob Edgar's heart never failed him. It always faced the West.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Every now and then I read or hear of somebody else's parent being struck by Alzheimer's. Imagine forgetting more and more until your body forgets how to function and then you die. My mom died of Alzheimer's. Her body forgot how to swallow and she, having demanded that she not be on tubes and machines, died in a comforting blanket of morphine haze with my wife and me by her side, holding her hands.

I look back on those years of caring for her, almost from the time Dad died in 1999 until she passed in 2010, and wonder what I might learn or have learned from that experience. For one thing, I firmly believe that there is some sort of plan (but if you don't like that, accept perhaps the term "synchronicity") as I retired just as she needed me more and more. I was fortunate to have the time to give to her care and tried to make it just enough, not too much and never demeaning. Sometimes that was a hard balance to strike. I learned that not all the people that we think of as care-givers are and that those who we think are not such might surprise us, including ourselves. I learned that the memories must still be "in there" as sometimes they came out right, but more and more rarely and more and more briefly as time passed. I learned that the sufferers of this disease know that they aren't right and they have a period in which they chafe at those limitations. I learned that one of the things that they forget are the niceties that society teaches us but that, for a time at least, they don't forget the hurtful words that society has also passed on to us. AND, I learned that they don't remember how hurtful those words are but they do remember that they don't want to be hurtful. I learned that they still know death and when it is their time.

The day before she passed we were in the hospital emergency room and I had gotten the news that the end was near. I'd been asked if there were to be feeding tubes and, as Mom and demanded, I said, "No." The doctor left, I turned to Mom and asked if she understood what was happening. I could see the sudden onset of clarity and my mother's response, her last words to me were, "I love you very much." She napped a bit and then awakening to see my wife with us told her, "you are a good person," and then, finally, she slipped into what I hope was a blissful sleep right to the end.

I wonder if I will be struck with this disease. We talked about it this evening at dinner. Nana said it would be awful to forget all the neat things we had done and the places we'd been and the people we'd met and I was reminded that Mom didn't ever forget the most important thing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

I know, I should have recorded yesterday's happenings more quickly.  You'd think I'd be bound to forget something with a whole days of intervening activities to distract me.  You'd think...  Not so fast.

The day was not that exciting.  Most of our business was spread out rather well through the day with 3 of 4 gun sales coming in the last hour of the day.  We were 4 for 4 on immediate approvals and they seemed to process through the computer more quickly. 

Store favorite and son of an old classmate of mine, Marine LCPL Paul S__________ came by the store today while home on leave after a tour in Afghanistan.  He's currently a machine-gunner in a Marine Recon battalion.  Fine young man and his mom and dad should be proud of him. 

Top to bottom: Swedish AG-42B Ljungman rifle, Egyptian Hakim rifle, Egyptian Rasheed carbine
The oddest/neatest gun we have in the shop is an Egyptian Hakim.  I've never handled one and had to have Boss-man show me how to operate it.  Pretty interesting.  There are supposedly only about 70,000 possible chances to own one as that is about all that were made.  I bet the Israelis destroyed some, so...  These chamber the 8x57mm cartridge which is easy to get and Numrich has a schematic if you want to identify the parts.  There two videos on line as well...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shooting Season...

We are about to take off with the shooting (not hunting) season around here. Yes, spring Turkey season is in but I'm talking range competitions. Our club has already had a .22 shoot (on Easter Sunday!) and the next will be on Mother's Day (which I think is entirely appropriate). I'll be scoring as there will be no silhouette match that day.

One of the things I looked at at the NRA annual meeting was steel reactive targets for .22 handgun shooting... Yeah, I've been thinking. I'd better get the club to go for it because it is going to be nigh on impossible to get Nana to move to the country and a bit less unlikely that I'll win the Mega-Millions lottery.

Anyway, the Contender .22 Match barrel is ready to go for the silhouette season and I'm going to try some other approaches to shooting the Ruger MKII open-sighted on those challenging reactive targets. Lotsa fun in store for the summer!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back from the NRA 2012 Annual Meeting in St. Louis...

Nana and I just returned from our trip to St. Louis, Missouri to see the 2012 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting. After picking Bailey up from the boarding kennel and having a bite to eat I thought I'd sit down and tell you about our trip.

Fire from Kerr's Creek in Rockbridge Co. (Jennifer Law Young)
We left Staunton at about 9:30 the morning of April 11. We were afraid that we'd have some problems because as soon as we got on I-81 South to Lexington we saw that I-64 West of Lexington was closed due to a brush fire. We discussed going around that on US 60 to Clifton Forge but felt that if one was closed it was very possible that the other was as well, especially since the recommendation was to go south to Troutville and back up on US 220 to Clifton Forge. What a pain. This tacked another 2 hours onto our trip so I was glad I'd made that a short leg.  The rest of the drive to Shelbyville, Kentucky was uneventful.

We stayed at the Ramada and ate at the Cattleman's Roadhouse.  The motel is spanking new and very nice.  The steak was excellent and the service good.  Cattleman's Roadhouse is a very nice restaurant.  Had a good night's sleep (Grandpa was pretty tired).

The next day we got up and headed out to St. Louis.  Along the way we discovered that one of Abraham Lincoln's boyhood homes was just south of I-64.   We tried to find it but the available brochures gave no address OR directions and Nana's usual luck at getting her way didn't pan out so we didn't see it (or rather, what is remaining of it).  Nana was much more disappointed than Grandpa was.

Otherwise the drive to St. Louis was uneventful.  We had a bit of a time coming into town.  It really isn't difficult but the GPS took us right to the front of the Edward Jones Dome and we had to figure out on our own to skirt the block to 9th Street and THEN we discovered that since I'd made my reservations the hotel had left the Holiday Inn Express line and become a Ramada franchise. I'd like to note that all the staff there, but particularly David, Dwight, Andre, Susan, and especially Acie were helpful, polite, kind and understanding of such as us. I'd also like to wish Acie's mom a happy 103rd birthday in Prescott, Arkansas. While there, we had the breakfast buffet every morning (worth the $7.95 for food and drinks including coffee, OJ, and diet Coke).  We also ate the Saturday evening meal there which was a special of filet mignon, wild rice and broccoli for $10.95.  Delicious.

I'd like to note that I was told many times that they'd been having hard times in the tourist business in St. Louis. Typical was one night when the hotel had only rented 3 rooms of the 295 available. One can't make money with an occupancy rate like that.

We found a place to park and got established and then walked the 1/4 mile to America's Center (the convention center) and 1/4 mile INSIDE the center to register for the annual meeting.  After than Nana and I had an early dinner at the Dubliner, a pub on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis.  Pretty nice.  We sat on the sidewalk because the weather was so nice.  The inside of the pub is very much pub-like. We made it an early night and watched a bit of TV before turning in.

Edmund (in coat & hat)
Then it was a Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday at the Annual Meeting, looking at exhibits (mostly, but also talking with exhibitors), stopping to say hello to local knife-maker Edmund Davidson at the Contemporary Longrifle Association booth, and attending various functions. We attended what I think of as the big four of the "convention". Friday afternoon we attended the Leadership Forum, Friday evening we went to the Trace Adkins concert (opened by Tyler Farr), and on Saturday spent some time at the actual meeting and then to the Freedom Experience. We saw (and met some) Glenn Beck, Keni Taylor, Larry the Cable Guy, Oliver North, Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, R. Lee Ermey, Michael Baine, Ted Nugent, Eric Cantor, Trace Adkins, Tyler Farr and, of course, Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox (the last of two whom are the only ones aside from Oliver North and Glenn Beck who elicited standing ovations as they moved down the hallways. We bought autographed books, got some swag from the exhibitors and generally helped perk up the local economy.

To address what really interested me at the annual meeting is going to take a bit... First, Nana and I went through most of the exhibit hall. I FINALLY got to hold the Browning 1911/22 and I STILL want one. We'll see. Of course I went by the Shiloh Sharps booth and drooled for a bit. Broached the subject of a $2000 rifle to Nana but got nada for a response. Saw Boge and Jeff Quinn of but no other friends on the floor. Discovered that Yankee Machine (need to call Nate) no longer produces the Maxim suppressors but might have some in stock (now there will be some money). There were several collection type displays in the exhibit hall. There was Rock Island Auction's million dollar display of a multitude of absolute gorgeous firearms, the development of the sub-machinegun display, TWO Ruger displays, Parker shotguns, Marlin rifles, the Contemporary Longrifle display, and more. Sadly, it was the quietest corner of the exhibit hall.

One exhibitor was Empire Pewter Manufacturing Company of Amsterdam, NY. With an absolutely stunning selection of firearms related pewter pins they were also GIVING AWAY a really neat 2012 NRA Annual Meeting souvenir pin. I got a really nice M1 Garand rifle pin and a lever-action rifle pin that most resembles the Winchester 1876. You can contact them at Empire Pewter Mfg Co, POB 15, Amsterdam, NY 12010 or call 518-843-0048 or FAX 518-843-7050. They will even do custom pins.

Sunday we took a bit of a breather from the annual meeting and went on a tour of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. We got to see a lot of the town including the 1904 World's Fair fairgrounds, now a city park. Of course Nana got to the Lumiere Casino and won $100. A couple of things to point out. EVERYONE, even a panhandler we turned down, was nice and polite. The city was CLEAN. Unlike other cities in which we have lived or which we have visited, we saw nary a scrap of paper on the ground.

On Monday, the 16th, we left for Marietta, Ohio to spend the night before visiting the Fenton Glass factory in Williamstown, West Virginia (just across the Ohio river). We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Marietta and it was a very nice room in a very recently built motel.  We ate almost directly next door at the Bob Evans restaurant where Laura gave us excellent service and the meal was as good as they get.  We got up at our regular time to be at the Fenton Glass place at 9 AM when it opens. 

Fenton Glass in Williamstown, WV
How sad it was.  While the gift shop and all was well maintained inside, the factory has shrunk from as many as 800 employees to 13.  We took the factory tour.  It didn't take long.  5 employees sat at their benches painting glassware (1, Robin) painting or making beads.  One gentleman was making rain-drop earings.  Production of glassware ceased in June 2011.  The company is cleaning out all old stock and putting it in the gift shop.  The tour guide said that prior to 9-11-2001 there were 24 tour guides and 10+ busses a day would arrive for tours and to buy glassware plus the parking lot would be filled.  No longer.  He is now the only tour guide and sometimes has nobody to take on the tour.  Nana and I had a personal tour this morning. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

It was an uneven day with periods of absolute boredom and then great gobs of people. Most transfers were of the 116th commemorative firearms and delayed backgrounds are sure to take days instead of minutes or hours. This last is particularly galling as the state refuses to fund a civil right action but instead wants to fund traffic enforcement. I don't think this is right.

My gun club had a .22 rimfire shoot on Easter (inadvertently scheduled for that day) which still drew 23 shooters. I also discovered that local knife artisan Edmund Davidson will be at the NRA annual meeting in Saint Louis.

The great demand for Ruger's guns is starting to be a negative for customers who are having to wait for the popular firearms. As you might know, Ruger announced that they have suspend acceptance of new orders for the immediate future as they fill current orders for about 1-million firearms.

Other than that there wasn't much to report.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


It is Easter. Christ is risen. We are saved. Thank you God.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

House improvements continue...

Work continues apace.  We have a new driveway, there is crown molding in the downstairs "hall" between the kitchen and den, and... we have edged the walk and removed a LOT of ivy from the back wall area.  Another trip to the dump is just around the corner.  I am a bit tired and I didn't do all the work!  However, we are looking forward to visiting with the grandkids on Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Notes from the gun shop...

It was an interesting day yesterday...

The 116th Kimber
First off we started processing transfers of the Kimber Custom II .45 ACP pistols for members of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.  The unit also commissioned commemorative pistols from SIG and Colt.  The Kimber pistols were even offered with a very nice display case.  In future these pistols will certainly come on the market.  The Kimber serials were prefixed "SW116TH".

Then, I discovered that the boss man had received TWO of the just released Ruger 10/22 take-down rifles.  Neat!  The bag IS high quality and the gun goes together or comes apart slicker than snail snot.  We immediately sold both and that doesn't surprise me at all.  The "street" price on these is about $330.00.

One of the best things that happened was the CW3 Fred Barger came to pick up his Kimber.  Chief Barger and I served together when he was a Captain.  I also served with his father who was a full-time technician in the National Guard.  His dad, Ed, is about to celebrate his 84th birthday.   I'm glad he's getting all those retirement checks from the government (military and civil service) as he earned them.

I also had a pleasant discovery on the family side.  Although not a relation I discovered that one of our good customers has family roots in Middleburgh, Schoharie County, New York.  I haven't found the name in my genealogy but his family lived cheek by jowl with some of ours.

More gun news...  We finally sold the nickeled Colt Cobra BUT we got a 4" blued Ruger Security Six.  those Six series guns from Ruger and worth looking for.