Publication Date: January 1, 2013
My wife referred to her growing enchantment in outdoors adventure as “competing in a man’s world.” That idea infuriated me. I understand that anyone who pretends to be anyone must struggle with everyday problems and relationships. I realize love must be learned and earned, and that it can be lost through mistakes or choices made or not made during life. Some might applaud the thought of a lady determined to become her “own woman” in a man’s world. Not me. What bothers me is not that my petite and lovely wife of a half-century wants to compete in outdoors proficiency with others. But where in hell does she—or anyone else—get the idea that all in nature belongs to men?
This book, Dance On the Wild Side, is about two people in love who started out on the wrong foot in every way—except for their commitment to each other. It’s about a man who switches career paths one, two, three times while seeking fulfillment and adventure. And it’s about a bewildered and disappointed wife who gradually comes to understand and accept her guy’s dream until she, too, embraced and came to love that same dream.
But life was hard for the young family, and as they struggled to exhaustion, dreams proved illusive. Still they dared, then they glared financial ruin eyeball-to-eyeball. Some might call it regimented-discipline. Roland called it determination. Jane referred to as stubbornness. Whatever its semantics, the couple wallowed through wastelands of deprivation to arrive at the far side of their chosen lifestyle as leaders among their peers. If nothing else, Roland and Jane Cheek proved themselves survivors in the game of life. And along the way they were forged by challenge, indulged in adventure, and developed a multitude of forever friends from all over America and the world.
This book, then, is about two people in love, sharing a life of dreams amid exciting adventure—and growing in the process. It’s a tale peppered with wild animals and untamed people, set against a backdrop of magnificent American wilderness. You’ll encounter, as they did, runaway horses, sudden blizzards, raging rivers, and fierce windstorms. Along the way, you’ll also bask in the sunbeams and rainbows that rewarded this couple as they discover a growing respect and reverence for a wild land, a fulfilling lifestyle . . . and each other.
In reality, it’s about any couple who live and love and share and struggle to achieve the life they wish. What makes this story especially remarkable is how many times these two people fell on their butts while doing it.
The Midwest Book Review wrote: “Dance On the Wild Side is terrific reading, part true life adventure, part inspiration, and part blueprint for a life worth living.”
A Great Falls Tribune reviewer wrote: “There are dark passages in this book: Roland’s devotion to a haunting older brother, an underlying characteristic of belligerence in the man and some trouble in the marriage.”
But the same reviewer concludes: “This is a good book about good people who do the right thing.”
“Loved your last book [Dance On the Wild Side]. Must say it was a bearing of your souls. Also must say it should be required reading for every young couple considering marriage. It’s quite a story of give and take—love and pulling together toward a common goal. - Alex Tully / Reklaw, TX
“I just read Dance On the Wild Side and couldn’t put it down. I want everyone in my family to read it.”
- Kathy McHugh via e-mail