Yesterday coming home on the bus an African American woman sitting across from me, roughly my age, lighted up and pointed to my Yellowstone Association bag (the pretty dark green one with an image of Old Faithful Inn on it) and said, "OH!! Did you see the TV show on Yellowstone the other night??" (referring to Christmas in Yellowstone, which aired in Chicago Sunday evening). "OH!!" she said, "It's SOOOO beautiful! Oh I loved it!!" Then I asked her, "Do you remember the three ladies watching wolves through scopes? I happen to know all three of them!" and she said, "You DO? How wonderful! The world is so small! And so beautiful!"
This exchange was lovely, absolutely for its own sake, and because it's a good thing when anyone becomes newly enlightened about the glory of Yellowstone, but also especially (as National Park Service statistics-keepers and sociologists are woefully aware) most of the nation's national parks are significantly underutilized by minorities, including African Americans, who may be among the people who could most benefit from visiting them. The makers of Christmas in Yellowstone (probably my all-time favorite television piece about Yellowstone) should know they are reaching out with at least one big success. I do hope some day the lady, and her kids and grandkids, get the chance to see it for themselves.