Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 23, 2017

Yellowstone's southern park sister, Grand Teton, is noted for its spectacular mountains and sparkling lakes. The sky is normally a deeper blue, but the smoke from fires in Yellowstone polluted the air this day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 16, 2017

No trip to Yellowstone would be complete without at least one sighting of a bison. This one's resting in a meadow, perhaps because he realized that snow was coming and wanted to conserve his energy.

Did you know that not only is the bison the dominant design on Wyoming's state flag, but it was recently declared the national mammal of the United States?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 9, 2017

Summer and early fall are fire season in Yellowstone. If you're old enough, you may recall the fires of 1988 which destroyed a huge portion of the park and created an uproar when the flames approached iconic parts of the park.

The dead trees that you see in the middle ground are evidence of that fire, but -- as you can see from the amount of new growth -- new trees have grown, creating a reminder that while fire is destructive, it can also benefit forests by providing opportunities for new trees.

Did you know that some trees are so well prepared for fires that they produce two types of seeds, one of which germinates only after the heat of a fire opens the shell? Those seeds are called serotinous.  (Even though spell checker is protesting, that's the correct spelling.)

Notice the smoke hovering over the hills in the background. Yes, it's yet another fire, although fortunately not one of the magnitude of the '88 fires.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 2, 2017

When most people -- myself included -- think of Yellowstone National Park, we focus on the thermal features. No doubt about it, those are dramatic and unforgettable, but there's more to the park than geysers, hot springs, and mud pots.

The wildlife are another attraction. Who can forget their first sight of an elk, a moose, or a bison? What about the elusive wolves, whose reintroduction to the park was so controversial? And then there are the coyotes, the swans, the otters ... the list is much too long for this blog post.

It was a warmer than normal day in September when this picture was taken, which is why the elk were taking advantage of the cool river. You'll see that one even appears to be lying down in the water. But this is Yellowstone, where the weather can change rapidly. The next day, we had snow!

I hope you'll return next week for more of Yellowstone's attractions.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 26, 2017

Today marks the last day of our tour of the JCPenney Mother Store, and what better way to end it than to show you a display of items connected to Mr. Penney himself?
Here we have one of his hats, along with a bronze bust of him in his older days. What do you think about the gold shoes? Too flashy? That's what I thought at first, but then I realized that they were an appropriate gift for a man who started his career at a store called "The Golden Rule."

From everything I've read about him, James Cash Penney embodied the values in the golden rule and left a legacy of hard work, honesty, and caring, not to mention a multi-billion dollar enterprise that bears his name. A fine legacy, indeed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 19, 2017

Let's continue our look at the JCPenney Mother Store in Kemmerer with a closer look at the interior.

Although the merchandise that's for sale is modern, Penney's wanted visitors to see what the store looked like in the early twentieth century.  To do that, they've placed antique merchandise on top of the shelves and posted some of the store's slogans along with old pictures on the walls.

I'm not sure what all these items are, although I did recognize the milk can and the barrel, but I found the combination of old and new appealing.  Do you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 12, 2017

Do you know what this is?  Since I told you last week that my July posts would be about the JCPenney Mother Store, you can guess that the picture was taken there.  But what is the purpose of this system of pulleys?

Believe it or not, it's how customers paid for merchandise and received change in the early days of the store. One of the defining characteristics of the Golden Rule and subsequently the JCPenney stores was that sales were cash only -- no credit -- so a lot of cash changed hands each day.

When a customer gave a clerk payment, the cash was placed in one of the tubes along with the sales slip. The tubes were then hoisted via the pulley system to the second floor of the building, where the cash register was located.  Change was returned by the same method. A unique system, don't you agree?

This was the first cash register.

The "cash only" policy remained in effect until 1958, when the store introduced its own credit card, reflecting the fact the country had changed, and Penney's needed to as well if they were going to continue to adhere to their principle of making customer satisfaction their highest priority.

More changes occurred two decades later when bank credit cards began to replace individual store cards. (One of the advantages of the bank credit cards was that it was easier for customers to carry one card and receive one bill rather than dozens.) In response to customer demand, Penney's began accepting Visa in 1979, with Mastercard following in 1980.
And now, although the Mother Store still maintains a nostalgic air, payment is definitely modern.