An Event: Seeing My Name in Lights

As I walked up the sidewalk last night carrying my laptop and a box of books, I saw it: My Name In Lights.  There in front of MSU’s Music Building was a sign beckoning to passersby in flashing red electric letters:

Tonight at Reynolds Recital Hall

Author Mark Miller

“Bozeman to Wonderland: Early Trips to Yellowstone”

I guess that makes it official.  I’m an author.

I went into the recital hall where a technician helped me set up my computer and rigged me with a microphone.  Then I headed to the lobby for the reception.  I was able greet friends and introduce myself to new people, but mostly I just paced about and fretted about my presentation.

After people filed into the auditorium, the Dean of the College of Art and Architecture introduced me.  Then magic happened.  I had an opportunity to talk about a topic I love — and an attentive audience.

They chuckled when I said my family took a cow with them to Yellowstone in 1909 so they could have fresh milk for the children.

They squirmed in their seats when I read them William Bradbury’s account of Colter’s Run when the blood soaked mountain man dived under a raft of driftwood to hide from dozens of murderous Blackfoot warriors who were chasing him.

They listened intently when I read a brand new chapter from my next book that describes Emma Cowan’s heroic ride by team and wagon for 175 miles in 31 hours to be at the side of her wounded husband. And they sighed when I read the description of Emma’s reunion with him as “Joy too sacred for public perusal.”

All too soon my time was up.  I basked in the warmth of polite applause. I answered insightful questions.  Then I signed copies of  Adventures in Yellowstone.


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