“Lonesome Dove” is a beloved miniseries because of the great storytelling of epic times through endearing personalities, like Gus McCrae and Woodrow F. Call. As the iconic Gus is dying, he says to his steadfast friend, Woodrow, “By God Woodrow, it’s been quite a party, ain’t it?” Years ago, Scott Branton and Ray Berryhill were at the dearly departed and renowned callmaker Neil Cost’s house, to interview him for a book series they were writing. Lonesome Dove was playing on Neil’s TV, and after that proclamation by Gus, Neil told the two men, “you know ol’ Gus pretty much summed up my life.” Thus, we get the capstone title of a four book series about Cost, from his own lips.
Twenty-two years after the release of the first book in that series, “Making Turkey Callers in...The Gobbler’s Shop,” we now get “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say, in this final book. Cost is posthumously credited as author, given that the material is from original notes and interviews with him. Branton and Berryhill have skillfully woven the story together for us. Holding a Neil Cost box call in one’s hands is to hold a grail of turkey hunting. Neil’s calls helped revolutionize and popularize custom callmaking, and he graciously mentored many of today’s finest call craftsmen. “It Was Quite A Party” is a book that, likewise, puts a literary chalice of intriguing stories about the famed Cost in your hands, and it is one to savor.
For turkey hunters who desire that perfect caller, like those made by the late Neil Cost, we are given the next best thing by Branton and Berryhill; the story of who Cost was, as a man, and a callmaker. As a result of their fathers working for the same timber company, Branton and Berryhill began to hunt turkeys and deer together in the mid-1960s. Turkey hunting, and their pursuit of the "ultimate" turkey caller, eventually led them to Neil Cost. In attempting to discern the attributes that made Neil's turkey callers so desired, a relationship developed which led to publishing four books about Cost, as well as one on the Ocellated turkey. All four Cost books are presented in classy, hardback, limited editions of 1500. With the first three sold out and commanding robust secondary market prices, this is a book you will want to buy now…while still available!
“It Was Quite A Party” tells Neil’s story with a deeper dive into his roots. We meet Neil as a boy of seven who takes his first wild turkey, and we are deployed with him during his soldiering days, through two wars. We get an appreciation for the many scars he develops, both emotionally and physically, from the trials he navigates. And, we learn his determination and resilience, both personally and as a fledgling callmaker. His status as a titan among callmakers is complemented in the book, by capturing how modest Cost actually was. For Cost, the love of the wild turkey and of pursuing the perfect caller was more about the “party” than the payoff. He truly loved life and the turkey hunting community, and we love him for it. Cheers to you, Mr. Cost, it really was quite a party.
“It Was Quite A Party” is available in a hardback limited edition of 1500 at brantonberryhill.com.