Goals, Planning, and National Parks
After Ernie’s departure to Los Angeles, Rich had an extra day to himself in Jackson Hole before Peg flew in from Houston. Rich went into town for a bagel and coffee and to walk around the streets of Jackson. It was brisk and dry—a welcome relief from the Houston heat and humidity.
Rich strolled through the downtown square and watched tourists snapping photos under the arch of hundreds of elk antlers, an unusual entry gate made of antlers collected on the National Elk Refuge on the outskirts of town. In one western shop, a pair of intricately decorated cowboy boots caught his eye. He even tried them on, but decided against buying them. They felt stiff on his feet and looked ridiculous because he was wearing shorts.
After he’d walked most of the small downtown, Rich drove the rental Jeep south of town to once again try his hand at fly fishing. On his way, he dialed his daughter, Laura, to say hello.
It was mid-morning on a Friday, so Laura was probably tied up at her job at Exxon Mobil Corp. in Houston. Laura was 25 and had been working as a chemical engineer at Exxon for one year. She was a smart young woman. Despite her father’s advice to go to Texas A&M, she’d attended the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a biology degree, and followed that with a master’s degree in chemical engineering. She had no problem finding a job upon graduation.
Laura’s cell phone went to voice mail, so Rich left a short message saying hello “from the ...