Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friday the 13th Trip to Idaho

We left Friday the 13th. What was I thinking. Road Trip...... We were traveling with Liz and Sopie and Elvis Fluffbucket. Their purpose was to pick up Delila Fluffbucket. We stopped at places like Mel's 24 hour dinner in Yakima. Free Pancake day. 14 hours later we arrived in Boise. (Oh, Liz would not stop at the Hungry Red Neck Cafe close to Lime Oregon. It might have been wonderful. But then we will never know. Drove through the College of Idaho and discovered the feed lot is gone and replaced with Trailer World for all your horse hauling needs.

We collapsed into bed. I was able to watch the last bit of Battle Star Galactica. My secret obsession. Then up early. Aunt Mary was first on the agenda we were able to see her. She was very weak, not really able to speak. I realized in an instant that the person I had spoken to a week before had left. We said our good byes, spent some time with Logan and the rest of the gang and headed on our way. Off to pick up the pups and then up the road to Riggins.

I guess we all return home, just like the salmon headed up to spawn. There is something deep in my soul that calls me back to those deep canyons, and angry rivers. I love the sounds and smells and the feel of pine shade, dusty yet inviting. I love to find places that know what "fry sauce" should taste like and how to put together a burger. We stopped for a bit along the Payette River. Hot, yet refreshing. Cold water that is trying to escape the canyons.

Through Cascade, McCall and then into Riggins. Population 404, two steakhouses, two bars, a grocery store, mini mart and a place where pesto was defined on the menu and a beautiful Best Western. The hotel sits on the point where the BIG SALMON meets the little salmon. Lots of fisherman, bikers, and fly catchers of the bird variety. We took a big heavy sigh and stayed for two nights.

Short visit with Cousin Mary and Barney, a trip of the Big Salmon. A roadside picnic and then a long haul home.

Those who traveled with me noted that I had a story for every bridge, had lived in every town, knew every rock and could comment on almost anything that passed before us. I completely resisted telling the story of Falling Rock.

So this is what I observed on my road trip back to Idaho this decade:

College of Idaho is smaller. The pick-up trucks are bigger. No one was wearing a Hillary for President Hoodie.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dear Aunt Mary

Lung Cancer. Bad Bad. Treatment, not so great but maybe it bought you some time. Please know that there are lots of things I didn't know about you and while they always appear in the obituary I wonder if they give the true picture of what a person's life means. Since I don't know your middle name or your birthday or place. Since I don't know when you were married or even how long you and Logan lived in that house on Alamo. I guess what I have to say goes like this.

You were always there when we visited Boise. I do remember another house in Oregon but for the most part it was the red brick house on the corner with the ever growing tree in the back yard. You always had coffee at hand or a number of other options. Never did you refuse entry to a gang of family, a wayward brother and his wife about to add a recently born child into their family, a group of family after a funeral, a college student, a teacher from a Dietrich, a law student, a visitor from Seattle.

You were always busy. Family, travel with Logan, work on lots of Charity things. You did the Cross Word, balanced the books, kept track of the important things in the world. You were a very ardent republican but those of us from the other side loved you anyway. You remembered everyone, loved to throw a party, a shower for a niece from Seattle. You were simply warm and gracious.

There were very big disappointments in your life but you "soldiered" on. You saw the big picture but could focus on the little important things. You did much for everyone but when an act of kindness came your way, you never forgot it.

You will have taken a lot with you. Lots of family stories, history, good old gossip. You have taken a big part of Logan's heart and soul and much of his memory. He is not very happy that you have left but he knew you needed to go.

We made it just in the nick of time to see you. I hope you knew we were there. I realized at the visit you were beyond our reach so we will reach out to Logan now. I dispatched Dad and Mom to visit. I think that was good.

Mary-Elizabeth cried when we left. Her visit to you was hard and maybe I should not have taken her. I thing that we have to teach the lessons that death is not a bad thing. It is not a fun thing for those that are left but it is not a bad thing when it is time.

It was time. Thank-you for waiting for us to stop by and say hello before your journey ended.