Items by John Clayton

How a small town resembles Facebook
How a small town resembles Facebook
Small towns and Facebook have a lot in common: Both are communities that thrive on gossip and sometimes display old-fashioned neighborliness.
When you care enough to flush the very best
John Clayton is flushed with pride over the brand-new state-of-the-art toilet in his newly remodeled house.
A cowboy girl still has the power to shock
Caroline Lockhart, who wrote best-selling Western novels in the 1910s, lived by her own tough code – going so far as to try to hire a hit man to bump off a rustler.
Hold on: I'm on my cell
John Clayton finds that cell phones and small towns make an odd couple
Relishing those idiosyncratic Western triumphs
The writer likes standing out in rural Montana in the most innocuous ways
Garage sales lead to déjà vu all over again
The writer loves garage sales — even if he buys back his own stuff
Welcome, podnah, to the Westernized West
The writer envisions a New West hotel going overboard with Old West lingo
The glue in some small towns comes from a guy or gal in a truck
The writer hails the UPS man in his small Montana town
In a small town, the police blotter can be big news
The writer learns more about his neighbors from a local paper’s police blotter
Mickey Moose and the West’s newest frontier
The writer says eco-tourism in Yellowstone might — just might — be a good thing
Jackalope hops into the heady world of official myth
The writer watches that mythical animal, the jackalope, win friends among state legislators
Growing up is hard to do
The writer encourages talk in the classroom about students' lives in the real West
Automate this: personal interaction in a small town
John Clayton prefers human interaction to automated exchanges at grocery stores and banks.
Where you live in a small town is somebody’s recollection
The writer says addresses don’t mean much in a small town; but memory does
The West's mythmakers are now its newcomers
Montana "characters" may be more a creation of newcomers who feed on and then in turn feed our Western myths than a real reflection of Montana’s character and past
For Western myths, see newcomers on horseback
The writer celebrates the interaction of Western myths and newcomers to the region
T-shirt etiquette confounds and confuses
John Clayton tries to decipher Western t-shirt etiquette
Hanging loose in Wyoming’s bear country
John Clayton, who discovers human foibles in Wyoming’s bear country.
The bittersweet comings and goings in a small town
John Clayton says Memorial Day in his small town is also a Homecoming, as former residents flock back to visit.
The origin of names
In a small town, nobody remembers your last name, but everybody knows who you are, and what you do
Keeping the heart in the center of town
Residents of Red Lodge, Mont., fight to keep their post office downtown.