Excerpt of book by
Grant Golliher with Jayme Feary
The gelding, Cisco, hung limp from his lead rope, his head two feet off the ground, his legs splayed. I had tied him to an aspen tree where he had pawed a hole in the ground before falling. The grass was flat, the ground having been rubbed raw.
My wife, Locke (“Lockee”), sprinted to him and covered her face with her hands. “Oh no! No, no! This can’t be happening. Cisco!”
Not an hour earlier, I had tied Cisco, one of our top polo prospects, in the shade and hobbled him. Locke and I had driven into Bellevue, Idaho, to eat a quick lunch with friends. If I understood anything in those days, it was how to solve problems with horses. I knew all the techniques and tricks to get results. I knew how to fix a horse’s pawing and impatience, and I had been determined to break Cisco of his pawing habit. “I’ll teach you. You want to paw? I’ll hobble your front feet and tie you until you learn some patience.”
I stood there staring. My God! I thought, I can’t believe this. A whisper, a voice in the back of my head, had warned me. Maybe I shouldn’t leave Cisco hobbled and tied. I had dismissed that voice, as I usually did in those days, ignoring my intuition and the consequences. In my career of training and competing on polo horses, I was succeeding beyond imagination, and I had married Locke, a talented, beautiful cowgirl musician from a prominent family back East.
Locke and I stared dumbfounded at Cisco’s hanging dead from a tree like an outlaw, the horse we thought would elevate us in the polo world. What a tragic accident, I thought, but I was naïve. I had no idea that the horror of that moment would pale compared to future events. When I look back on my life now, I realize that across the warm, blue sky of that summer, clouds were gathering. My life was galloping headlong toward a cliff, and I didn’t know it. Now I understand the fall was inevitable.
With a little thought, a person can scan the arc of his or her life and identify all the major turning points but only afterward with the benefit of time and distance. For me, certain horses have triggered learning and change. When looking in the mirror was not enough, they reflected my actions not as I pretended or hoped to be but in ways that helped me see myself as I was. Horses, I learned, don’t lie. They teach life lessons—the hard way, if necessary.
I. The Root of It All
With a large butcher knife, again Mom slashed her left wrist and forearm. Dad was outside doing chores before leaving for work at the Cameo Power Plant.
I was six months old, too young to remember, but my sister Jan, then age three, recalls walking into the living room and seeing Mom talking on the phone to her pastor. Blood was pulsing from her forearm, soaking her blouse, and turning the white phone and her blue velvet recliner red. Mom casually said, “Jan, go back to your bed, honey. It’s okay.” Then she explained to the pastor that Satan had appeared and convinced her to kill herself.
The tragedy was the culmination of a darkness that had been creeping over Mom, a despair that may have been rooted in post-partum depression and grown from there. Filled with anxiety, she had gone for days without sleep.
When my dad, Joe Golliher, came inside, he said, “Jeanne, what have you done to yourself?” He took the bloody handset from her, wrapped her arm in a towel to slow the bleeding, and phoned Dr. Bliss, our family physician, who directed Dad to rush Mom to his office. When Dr. Bliss saw her wrist, he rang St. Mary’s Hospital ten miles away in Grand Junction and sped there with her himself. The doctors at St. Mary’s concluded the knife had severed too many tendons. Mom’s arm would have to be amputated at the elbow—except one doctor claimed he could save her arm.
After the extensive surgery, Mom began a slow recovery. Her life revolved around rehab and healing. To help and to ease the challenge of raising four children, Dad farmed my older brother Clay, my sisters Kathy and Jan, and me out to friends and relatives. He sent Jan and me to his sister Florence’s and her husband Oscar’s middle-class home in the suburbs of Denver. As a baby in their home, I was the center of attention, and I bonded with Aunt Florence, Uncle Oscar, and their youngest daughter Millie, age twelve. Back at home six months later, for weeks I paddled around from room to room in my stroller looking for Aunt Florence and Uncle Oscar.
When a toddler, sometimes I wandered out of the house unnoticed and ambled down to the canal, a swift, thirty-foot-wide river that local farmers used to irrigate their crops. In the West, every year dozens of children drown in irrigation canals. One time a neighbor found me at the canal with my Weimaraner dog, Chris, and she took us home. For years when Dad told the story, he laughed.
As I grew into boyhood, I swam in the canal with Clay, Kathy, and Jan. Dad required me to wear an old red and white checkered life jacket he pulled from the garage. One day while it sat drying on the bridge over the canal, one of the kids accidently knocked it into the water. It sank like a lead fishing weight. No wonder I’d had trouble swimming in it! Dad grinned and said, “It’s amazing how well you can swim without it.” The story became another of his favorites.
My friends and I spent hours playing tag under the bridge. Whoever was “it” had to jump off the bridge upstream and float down, trying to tag one of us as we clung to the pilings in the rushing water. Or we would dive down to the bottom of the deep canal and see who could bring up the biggest rock. Shivering from the mountain water, we lay on the bank and covered ourselves with dirt warmed by the sun.
Someone had tied a gunny sack to a rope hanging from a big cottonwood tree on the bank of the canal. We leaned a thirty-foot cherry-picking ladder against the cottonwood and, holding onto the rope with one hand and the ladder with the other, climbed to the top and swung out over the canal, flipping into the water like seals. Sometimes we scaled fifty feet into the tree, leaped, and sent the water splattering. Neighbors often passed by and asked who was supervising us. “Don’t you know that canal is dangerous! Where are your parents?”
Meanwhile, seeking relief from her despondence, Mom desperately searched for guidance in spirituality. She dragged us kids along with her, and we became churchgoers. Dad went with us only at Easter or Christmas, and when Mom talked about God, he grumbled, “Oh Jeanne, you’re just a religious fanatic.” His criticism hurt her deeply, but she was undeterred. As tagalongs on Mom’s spiritual journey, we kids jumped with her from church to church.
Despite difficulties, Mom was always willing to stop and pray for anyone, including us kids. Her prayers comforted me, especially after one of my nightmares.
Ever since I can remember, I have experienced vivid dreams while sleepwalking. Often I waked up in another part of the house. One night I dreamed I was fighting a deer. Springing out of bed in my underwear, I tore my brother’s prized deer mount off the wall, grabbed its antlers, and wrestled it to the ground. I awoke to scratched and bleeding legs and deer antlers broken in two.
Late one night I left my room in the basement, sleepwalked upstairs, got in the bathtub, and turned on the faucet. The water woke me. Although I felt foolish sitting there in my underwear, I figured, Might as well take a bath since I’m here. So I did. Another time I sleepwalked upstairs into our living room and crawled behind an old lounge chair in a corner. I awoke crying and screaming and to Mom’s shaking me. “What’s wrong, Grant? What’s wrong?” I didn’t know but was so relieved to be back in the real world.
The nightmares made me feel ridiculous and embarrassed, but they continued. During a backpacking trip in the mountains with some buddies, I dreamed someone was stealing my sleeping bag. Barefoot, I chased the thief but couldn’t catch him and awoke feeling agitated. Hobbling back to camp, I mumbled “I hate these dreams. I don’t understand why I do this” and crawled back into my sleeping bag. The next day my buddies had a good laugh. Hiking home with my backpack was agony; I had bruised and cut my feet chasing the thief on the rocky mountain.
Often Dad took Clay, Kathy, Jan, and me on camping trips. We camped on a cliff overlooking the water at Lake Powell. To keep me from wandering off in my sleep, he tied a rope to one of my feet and tied the other end to one of Jan’s feet. The next morning Jan woke up with the rope wrapped around her neck, and Dad had another joke to tell: “What would have happened if Grant had sleepwalked off the cliff? Poor Jan would have gotten strangled.” Dad laughed and laughed.
As for Mom, she never again felt overwhelmed to the point of being suicidal, but she slipped into dark depressions. No treatment worked, but religion provided some relief.
By the time I was eleven years old, I was free to roam pretty much at will, and I began spending lots of time either at friends’ homes or camping out in the mountains behind our house with our mules, one of whom was Skeeter, my personal mule and best friend.
In the spring of ’68, I was there when Skeeter was born. Dad came to the house and said, “Grant, quick! Come outside. I got a surprise for you.”
I knew our palomino mare, Sugar, was ready to give birth, and I ran out to the barn. There on the ground lay a tiny mule foal, still wet. With his long ears moving from here to there checking out the new world, he clamored to his feet, wobbling as if drunk. Unlike the sorrel mules Sugar had foaled in the past, this one was a gold color with a white mane and tail—a palomino mule.
“I’ve never seen a mule that color,” I said.
“The real surprise is that he’s yours,” Dad said.
“Mine? Really? Just for me?”
Dad smiled and nodded, and I grabbed him around the waist, hugging him. As Dad did when anyone hugged him, he stiffened. His voice turned serious, and to avoid sentimentality, he changed the subject. “You better get your hands on the little mule right away.” He believed handling the mules as babies would gentle them and gain their trust.
When I touched her baby, Sugar didn’t get agitated. She had a kind disposition. While she licked him dry, I stroked his wet hair. What a special colt—all mine.
I took great pride in Skeeter. We spent untold hours with each other and grew up together. I never broke him to ride; I just started riding him. Because I was too small to climb onto him, I scratched his ears until the pleasure caused him to lower his head. Then I quickly swung a leg over his ears and when he lifted his head, slid down his neck onto his back like sliding down a fire pole. I pretty much had to go wherever he went. If I wanted him to stop, I leaned forward and grabbed him around the neck. In this way, I soon had all the mules trained. After school, in my cutoff jeans and bare feet, I rode the mules without halter or bridle going wherever they wanted.
Unlike the other mules, who were afraid to leave the herd, Skeeter seemed content to be alone with me. As we grew, he started following my directions. Many times he and I rode out from the house and spent days in the steep Book Cliff Mountains. When the slope became too steep, I slid off and led him. Most mules will balk if they perceive their rider is putting them in danger, but Skeeter almost always followed me without a doubt.
At home my job was to feed the mules that lived on the hillside at the end of our peach orchard. If the mules were over the hill and out of sight, I imitated their loud, high-pitched bray, and they came bounding down the steep hill bucking and kicking up their heels.
During this time I got an idea to build a cabin on Grand Mesa, a flat-topped volcanic mountain that loomed up behind our farm. One day I set out riding Skeeter and packing Buttercup and Cocoa, his older sisters. For the trip to Grand Mesa, I had packed camping supplies, a camp stove, and an axe. No trail existed, so I had to go easy and pick my way up. Steam rising from the sweaty mules mixed with the aroma of juniper berries. Several times we found ourselves entangled in brush, and I had to dismount and lead the mules out one at a time. Finally we broke out into open space on the side of the mountain. I could see Dad’s peach orchard far off in Grand Valley below. By then the mules were foaming with lather and dragging their feet—and we were only halfway up.
I had stopped often to rest the mules. By the time we broke clear onto an old cow trail that weaved up through a grove of aspen trees, the sun was setting. The going was easier, but the mules were tired and the light was almost gone. After a couple more miles, we reached a place that had a small stream and a meadow for grazing on the side of the mountain. I unloaded the mules, unpacked, and made camp. By the time I got my mules staked out on the grass, I was so tired that I flopped down onto my sleeping bag and fell sound asleep.
Before daylight, the howling of coyotes woke me. Stars were twinkling. This is the life, I thought. I’m a mountain man! As the sun peeked over the horizon, I pulled out the stash of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I had made for the trip, gobbled two of them, and reloaded the pannier bags. For a boy my size, lifting them onto the mules was difficult. Although I pushed and wrestled with the bags, I couldn’t lift them high enough. Finally I led Buttercup and Cocoa one at a time to a big log on which I stood and slipped the straps over the sawbucks.
We lit out for the top. Usually the mules were sure-footed in rough country, but they struggled to climb the cut in the cliff, which didn’t allow for a single misstep. When Buttercup kicked a rock over the edge, its falling echoed all the way to the bottom. If something happens to me here, no one will ever find me, I thought and forced myself to look straight ahead.
With the mules putting one foot in front of the other and my heart thumping with fright, at last we crested Grand Mesa. Below stretched Grand Valley, green with fruit trees in rows and the mighty Colorado meandering in “S” shapes. How we’d get down the mountain worried me, but I’d deal with that later. Like a wild, free kid, I rode on across the sagebrush, the mesa open under the cobalt blue sky. Scanning for the perfect cabin site, I turned the mules toward a large grove of pine trees in the distance, thinking I’m going to live here forever!
Suddenly a silver pickup truck barreled toward us, a cloud of dust spooling behind it. How’d that truck get way up here? The truck stopped next to the mules, its wake of dust overtaking us. Both the driver and passenger were wearing weathered cowboy hats.
The driver scowled. “What are you doing, kid?”
“I’m going to build me a cabin up here. Do you know of a good spot where there’s water?”
The men looked at each other and broke out laughing. “You can’t build a cabin up here, son. This is private property,” the driver said.
I felt as if all the air had been knocked out of me. “It is? Well then, where can I build a cabin?”
“Not anywhere up here. What’s a kid like you doing up here by yourself anyway? Where’s your folks?”
“They’re at home down in Palisade.”
“You mean you rode all the way up here from Palisade all by yourself? How’d you get through the mesa rim?”
“I followed an old cow trail.”
The driver looked surprised and shook his head. “Well, you sure better get off this mountain before dark.”
My shoulders slumped, and I hung my head. I wanted to be a mountain man. What about my cabin? With no recourse, I turned the mules around and headed home. The whole way down, I pondered how and where I might build my cabin in the mountains, and I began planning a trip to the Palisade Reservoir that hung beneath the rim of Grand Mesa. No one would find me there.
The next packing trip, I left with my close friend Dick with whom I had shared my plan to build a cabin. Instead of bushwhacking up, we ignored the No Trespassing signs and skirted around locked gates to follow a dirt road up a canyon, as Dad had done the summer before when he had taken Clay and me to the reservoir to fish. We had caught several large brook trout, for which the lake was known.
Having arrived at the reservoir, Dick and I made camp tucked out of sight in an aspen grove. With our fishing poles rigged, we sneaked through the trees down to the reservoir. Once we saw nobody was there, we began hauling in fat brook trout one after another. We grilled the fish on an open fire and unrolled our bedrolls on the grass under the stars. Oh, the life of a mountain man! I fell into a deep sleep and dreamed we had found our perfect cabin spot at a trout-filled lake. I would live there forever.
During the night, lightning lit up the whole sky and thunder boomed and echoed off the cliffs. The ground seemed to shake, and the storm grew loud and strong. Every time the thunder clapped, we jumped. The temperature dropped, and the rain turned into a downpour. We hadn’t thought to bring a tent, and the rain soaked our sleeping bags. Scared and hypothermic, we slipped into one sleeping bag and pulled the other drenched one over us. The hours seemed to creep by, and we started shaking. How quickly the mountains had turned on us!
I had never been so glad to see the sun rise over the rim of the mesa. Right then and there I postponed my dream about the mountain cabin. For sure, I would build it one day, but never again would I venture into the mountains unprepared—no sir.
Now I realize I was too young to embark on that kind of adventure. Dad should have stopped me, should’ve drawn clear boundaries and provided some guidance. But he didn’t—never had. He had only lectured and tried to convince me my plans were foolish. Regardless, I did what I wanted.
I don’t hold his lecturing against him. When he was a baby, his father died. Having been raised fatherless, he had no example to follow. But he tried. I loved Dad but didn’t respect him because he didn’t know how to say no. Mother was the disciplinarian but only after we pushed to her limit. The gap left lots of room for us kids to find trouble.
Five years my senior, Clay picked on me. A favorite harassment was sitting on my chest and pinning my arms to the floor while drooling spit onto my face. I’d scream for help, and when Mom had enough, she grabbed a leather belt out of the linen closet and came swinging indiscriminately. Both Clay and I got the same licking. Finally we learned that if we hid the belt, Mom would have to grab whatever tool was available, usually a yardstick or a fly swatter. Neither caused much pain, but we’d screamed and flail as if she were killing us and later fall over laughing. Then I’d go off and do whatever I wanted.
Dad worked at the power plant and raised peaches and mules on the side. He made me break all of the mules. “What do I do?” I’d ask. At age eleven I had almost no experience training horses or mules.
Dad would say, “Just show ‘em who’s boss and don’t give ‘em a choice.”
I had no idea what that meant, but Dad was an example. He’d hold tight to the lead rope while I climbed up like a monkey and sat perched in the saddle. If a mule made one wrong move, Dad kicked it in the belly. I could see the white in the mule’s wide eyes and could feel the mule wound up like a rubber band ready to spin loose at any second.
To this day I vividly recall the mules’ fear. Of course, it made me feel insecure too; the mules and fed each other’s worries. The colts often bolted, running and weaving through the peach trees, and raked me off onto the ground, the air knocked out of me. Dad would yell, “Get back on and show ’em who’s boss.” I got good at ducking and dodging branches and hanging off the side of the saddle like an Indian during battle.
Dad was always coming up with some new training technique or tool such as a mechanical hackamore, a sort of nose band made from wire cable. He called the tool an “easy stop.” When the rider pulled back on the reins, the cable inflicted pain until the mule stopped. The contraption also peeled the hide off his chin. The process nauseated me. Hurting the mules seemed wrong. They were my friends.
Dad’s philosophy with mules carried over into our family. A wiry man of five feet, two inches tall, he had weathered the Great Depression as the youngest of five siblings. After Dad’s father died from influenza, Dad’s mother scratched out a living for them on a small dirt farm in Kansas. Some days, Dad said, his family had only jackrabbit to eat. For income, his mother farmed her sons out to neighboring farms. When Clay and I complained about anything, Dad reminded us that he had gotten up at 4:00 a.m.and milked sixteen cows before walking to school. After school he repeated the process.
While in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Dad lost one of his eyes in an accident on a battleship. Two weeks later while recuperating shoreside, his ship, the U.S.S. Hull, sank in a terrible storm at sea—few survivors, 790 dead.
Like so many WWII veterans, Dad never uttered a word about the war; nevertheless, his suffering leached out. He had no idea how to give or receive physical affection, and he was critical of Mother and us four kids, especially Kathy and Clay. “You’re such a pig”or “You’re a lazy slob,” he’d say to Clay, or “You’ll never amount to anything” and “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” I don’t recall his ever rewarding Clay and Kathy. We kids never once heard him say “I love you” or “I’m proud of you.” His love was given or withheld based on his perception of our performance, so we grew up doing everything we could to earn praise or a kind word from him. He never abused any of us physically; his mouth was a weapon. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones/But words will never hurt me” is a lie. Dad’s words wounded all of us. In me, those wounds oozed and festered for years.
Clay lived up to Dad’s expectations. His bedroom looked like a pig pen. Stuff was strewn everywhere, and the room reeked with an odor. Kathy dealt with the situation by trying to avoid Dad, and she morphed into a rebellious teenager, left home right after high school, and married a man my parents didn’t approve of.
Because I didn’t want to be treated like Clay and Kathy, I worked hard to win Dad’s approval. I kept my bedroom immaculate and constantly cleaned up around the farm, hoping for a word of praise. My entire boyhood, I hoped for one thing more than any other: I wanted to hear Dad tell me I was a good boy.
By age thirteen I was doing a lot of things on my own and becoming less dependent on home. I still longed to be a mountain man and to live a life of adventure, so I decided to earn my own money by trapping coyotes and bobcats.
Movies like Jeremiah Johnson and books about mountain men like Jedidiah Smith, Jim Bridger, and Hugh Glass had a big influence on me. I started running my own trap line. To check my traps one winter, I rode Skeeter and packed Giddyup and Moose, Dad’s favorite and most reliable animals. We followed a narrow deer trail that led up a steep canyon I had ridden a week earlier. This time, however, the trail was covered with snow. Where the trail narrowed at a rock slide, Skeeter planted his feet and ignored my coaxing. If I could get Moose across, Skeeter and Giddyup might follow.
I dismounted and tried to lead Moose, but he hesitated till deciding to trust me. Cautiously he stepped onto the snow-covered trail—and his feet flew out from under him. I had not known the snow concealed a layer of ice. I held the lead rope firmly, but it burned through my hands and Moose went over the edge, his legs splayed and his belly and chin scraping against the snow and rocks as he tobogganed down the hill. His gaze shot right through me as if saying “I tried to tell you it wasn’t safe.” Moose slid out of sight, and a thud sounded far below. Oh my god! I thought. I just killed Dad’s favorite mule.
I tied Skeeter and Giddyup to the nearest tree and slid to the edge of the precipice. Peaking over, I expected to see a dead mule, but there Moose stood at the bottom eating grass as if he’d walked there on purpose. I scrambled down and examined him. Other than some cuts and scrapes, nothing was wrong with him, and a wave of relief washed over me.
Moose had survived, but I had to find a way out of that canyon. The only possible route seemed to be up, so with my legs still trembling, I held the lead rope and led Moose on an old game trail up the narrow passage toward Skeeter and Giddyup. I kept repeating, “I’m sorry, Moose. I was wrong not to trust you. You knew all along, didn’t you? From now on I’ll listen.I promise.”
We managed the steep incline and got back to Giddyup and Skeeter, who were standing quietly tied to the tree. This time I scouted a safer route on foot and got us all safely to the top. Finally I was able to check my trap line, which was empty. By then the ice had melted and the trail was safe for us to go back down. So much for emulating Jeremiah Johnson. I felt foolish.
During my high school years, I continued taking Skeeter hunting and camping on Grand Mesa, killing deer and packing them onto his back. He was helping me to become a mountain man.
I wasn’t much for school, and my grades in high school were mediocre, but I loved sports, especially wrestling and football. Even though I put a sixteen-pound shotput in my pants before weighing in, I came in at 165 pounds, the smallest player on the football team. I played linebacker and running back and by my senior year became team captain. Wrestling, however, was my favorite sport. Dad disapproved, and I worked hard to receive recognition from the coach, Mr. Woodburn. At every opportunity he praised me, and I thrived under his guidance.
During my sophomore season, I trained hard and adhered to a strict diet but began drinking, partying, and running around with some of my wild friends. Mom and Dad didn’t seem to notice until one day out of the blue they announced, “Grant, you either stop drinking or you can’t live in this house anymore.” Because I was unaccustomed to my parents setting boundaries and was used to making my own decisions, their ultimatum caught me off guard. Besides, the drinking and partying were so much fun. Without thinking, I answered, “I’ll be moving out.” My reply was not what they had expected.
My best friend, Ed, whose father was an alcoholic, had been looking for an excuse to move out of his parents’ home. Together we rented a little duplex in Palisade. The place was a dump, and we shared the bathroom with other tenants; but the apartment cost only $60 a month. When Coach Woodburn found out, he took me aside and put his arm around me as he often did before a match. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I’m concerned about you, Grant. I don’t want you to quit school.”
“Coach, I have a good after-school job working for the town. I can support myself.” That he didn’t share my confidence made me want to prove him wrong, and I agreed to stay in school and keep wrestling. I became district champion, placed fourth in the state, and managed to squeak by financially. Wrestling earned me Coach Woodburn’s praise and the community’s recognition and boosted my self-esteem. Wrestling became my identity. The athletic skills and confidence I gained would be crucial in later years when I worked with horses.
The next fall Mom and Dad decided they would rather deal with my rebellion than to have me living on my own. With football season coming up, I couldn’t continue to work after school, so for my junior year I returned home. My school had a rule that any student caught drinking would be suspended from sports for the season, so I decided getting caught wasn’t worth the risk. Eventually I became a four-time district wrestling champion and as a high school senior, placed third in the state.
My career plan was to become a high school agriculture teacher and wrestling coach. Two colleges offered me full wrestling scholarships, but after nine years of training, I wasn’t anxious to dive into a college program and I was worried about the academics. Being a slow reader, I had scored poorly on the ACT test. Too, my restlessness had grown. Maybe I’d read too many Louis L’Amour books about cowboys who, like mountain men, seemed to be the epitome of freedom and adventure.
Somewhere about this time an idea hatched: I would saddle up and ride north, following the Rocky Mountains to Canada, living off the land along the way. So I put the college offers on hold, hauled Skeeter to a friend’s ranch along the railroad tracks near Cameo, Colorado, and went to work for the railroad. On weekends I drove to Grand Junction to party, drink beer, shoot pool, and chase girls. Who needed college? Teachers made half what I did and didn’t have nearly as much fun. I was a railroader living wild and free—or so I thought.
You can buy this book online at Amazon.com.
Story Behind the Story...
Before writing the first magazine profile about Grant Golliher, I had known him and his wife Jane for fifteen years. Every encounter increased my respect for them. Because Grant is the only horsemen I know who uses horses to teach leadership to corporate executives, I pitched a profile about him to a regional magazine. Many people commented about the article, so I pitched different versions to other magazines. The Gollihers had been trying to write a book and had used two different cowriters without success. They asked if I would consider working on the manuscript. I do not like co-writing with novice writers, but because of my respect for them I took a look at the hodgepodge of ramblings and anecdotes Grant had written over the years. It was a wreck, but I saw a narrative arc and something seldom encountered in today's books: hope. Not contrived or cheesy hope, but authentic hope. So I agreed to help them form the story. It took us almost five years, and at points I'm sure they wanted to shoot me and quit, but they persevered. The book, which has a 4.8/5 Amazon customer rating, has sold well and has helped them spread their ideas.