"Twenty or so" turns out to be an insurmountable task where images of my Flint Hills friends are concerned. I selected what you see here largely at random—and I'll have to figure out how to increase the number. One of my great gifts in life has been the wonderful folks I have met through this endeavor. I owe a special debt of gratitude to two families in particular— The Andersons and the Hoys. They are featured prominently in my work.

I met Stephen Anderson at a family reunion sometime during the 1980s. We shared an interest in our history and I enjoyed talking with him. A few years later, I knocked on his back door and reintroduced myself. We became good friends and remained so until his accidental death in 2017. These images include his sons Mathew and Nathan and their families who I am happy to know. I think we are all very proud of our pioneering history in the Flint Hills. Unlike me, they are living it.

I believe it was 2011 when I met Josh, Gwen, and Josie Hoy—at a photo workshop a friend was hosting on their Flying W ranch. I will forever treasure both the friendship and access that they have provided me over the years. And the friends I have made through them are too many to count. Josh's father, author Jim Hoy (the only person I know to have earned a PhD and won a rodeo event on the same day), has been a patient mentor and gracious collaborator on several projects—including Emil Redmon's Cow where you can hear stories from many of the hardworking farm and ranch folks who have shaped the region.

Also included here is a photograph of Cesarina and Carlo Bianchi. Several years ago I wrote this about it:

"Of my many, many, trips to the prairie, one in particular will always stand out. It was the third day of Cesarina and Carlo Bianchi's first trip to the United States. Afforded a single, brief, opportunity to play ambassador, and unable to converse, I chose a a place where the land speaks for itself. I timed the drive so that we would crest the wide-open central Flint Hills at sunset. The wide-eyed, emotional reaction of my guests touched me deeply—reminding me that this place, so often take for granted by those of use who live here, is indeed quite special."

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