A quick talk to the new-school locals who are resettling Jackson, Wyoming, from someone who never was a local but probably should be

You can go ahead and talk about how you’ve moved to Jackson, how you’ve done well in life and can now afford a stately 500k home in the ghetto part of town, how you brave the traffic and float your kayak down the Snake and how, sometimes, you run into Teton Village for dinner at some restaurant that just opened.

Something Thai, I’m sure. Something expensive and trendy.

Go ahead. I know I’ve never formally lived in the Jackson Hole area. I’ve never called it home, and that nowadays I only visit every four years and barely have any family connection in the town. Even my grandma had to ditch the place. Probably the fault of people like you. I’ll pin that you y’all, if you don’t mind.

Here’s the thing. I might not be from Jackson, but I’m fiercely protective of it. That Thai restaurant wasn’t here when I wandered its streets every summer for years. Teton Village was just a tiny little ski resort. Jackson was still overrun by cowboys, not Subarus; ranchers, not transplants.

Maybe you’ve got your own personal Jackson – some place you’ve never lived but still stick to, allowed to become a part of your soul, of which you shun visitors and push away the people who just don’t get it. That’s it, right?

They just don’t get it, do they?

Jackson isn’t my home. It never has been. Still, I consider myself a local – thanks to generations of family and history and a bunch of my own experiences – and I’ll be damned if I’m going to feel guilty about it.

Sorry, man. I know you just moved here.

But unless you’re new place has some way to replicate three decades of tradition and sheer force of connection, you’ll never be a local.

At least not in my eyes. Not in my experience.

Not to THIS local-who-never-was.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 25th, 2010