There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Monday, July 30, 2007

Turn right at Idaho

My friend Molly emailed this morning…..What? No Sunday blog? What's up with that? Hope you are doing okay? Would love to call but I never know if Steve is doing conference calls or working from home via the phone. Love Molly

We needed tomatoes yesterday to make a salad. Rather than drive the 6 miles to Yokes or WWW, we drove a mile and a half to the Pack River General Store. It’s a one room we-have-everything-you-need-for-a-price-laundry-showers-and–one-gas-pump-too kind of store. It sits right on the Pack River, fronts Rapid Lightening Creek Road and is a throw back to several generations.

We loaded up the dogs and decided to take a little ride up Rapid Lightening Creek Road after our tomato purchase.

It has been two years since we needed to drive up that road and Upper Gold Creek Road that sits at the top of Rapid Lightening. Our friends Barb and John used to live on RLC and Cliff and Lou lived on Gold Creek, the downward slope of Upper Gold Creek. It is a beyond beautiful drive. Trees, mountains, creeks, falls, valleys and fields abound in the glory that is summer in Idaho. Those were secondary to the drive.

In the early summer of 1989 we went to Steve’s 25th high school reunion in Anaheim, California. Steve met up with his old childhood friend Cliff. There was a lot of reminiscing and belly laughs and at the end of the evening Cliff invited us to visit him and his wife in Sandpoint, Idaho. It was a sincere invitation.

Late that same summer, Steve had a consultation in Spokane, Washington. Spokane is the closest airport to Sandpoint and Steve drove up to see Cliff. Not only were Cliff and his wife Lou in Sandpoint, his children, his parents Cliff Sr. and Nancy Sr., brother Jerry and his wife and children, his sister Nancy and her husband David, and various in-laws, cousins and extended family lived there too. John, another childhood friend, had migrated to Sandpoint and through a set of strange circumstances had just “hooked up” with Barb from California as well. Steve came home in love with another woman named, Idaho.

In October of ’89 Steve and I came up for a visit and within a week we had purchased our 16 acres and building plans were in progress. You can read more about the evolution from that point on in my sidebar under stuff about me...big adventure.

There were a lot of trips to Sandpoint after that momentous year. We spent a few holidays with these friends and gradually we became part of the family.

After we moved here full time in 1998, almost every holiday was spent with all of these special folks. Easter had egg decorating contests; not with dye but with fabric, lace, buttons and doo-dads. The elder Cliff was always the judge. The 4th of July meant a parade then a Bar-B-Q then fireworks. A few of those 4th’s were spent around a fire ring with jackets and blankets, but the fountains and crackers went off as planned using a propane torch to light them. Parades are popular up here and we all would congregate in front of Ricardo’s Pizza and bring chairs, cameras and our loudest cheering voices.

Thanksgivings were food glorious with everyone sitting around a plywood panel perched on top of sawhorses talking and joking. Christmas was filled with homemade gifts; very little was store bought and every gift special to the person not assembly-line-one-fits-all.

Were it not for this family of friends, the hole in my heart from leaving my children behind in California after the big move would have turned into a volcanic crater with molten ash and tears.

Then everything changed.

The elders sold their compound in back of the Pack River General Store (they had built the store and had sold it but kept the 200+ acres with their home behind it).

David died, then John died, then Jerry died, then Cliff did something so unspeakable that Lou left him, Barb moved to Spokane, Nancy’s house was on the market. All of those drives up those roads ceased in a matter of months.

The drive yesterday made me cry. Steve didn’t understand. I felt such a huge surge of loss I didn’t think I would ever catch my breath. It had sort of floated out the window on Gold Creek. Damn all of them for dying, damn Cliff for being so selfishly stupid, damn all of them for taking away the only real reason I wanted to move to Idaho. Yes, I love this land and my two friends, Gina and Molly. Yes, I love the Library and being a Trustee, yes I have fond memories of the minutia that made me first fall into wanting to be a nature faerie. Where else could you find a long bridge that spans a clean lake filled with healthy fish, population of a little over 5,000, The Bohemian Trader with all things needed to survive Idaho, Yokes Pac n Save that was really just a warehouse, Dead Harold’s Market so named because Harold had been murdered there, The Panida and not having to lock anything ever including your car in town?

Damn all of them for taking away what was my Idaho life. Selfish, I know but I don't care.

I don’t go into town much anymore. The traffic is horrible and parking a joke. Yoke’s is a fancy schmancy market, WWW has taken over everything it seems and I just kind of want to stay at home in my own forest with my wildlife and the kittens and Steve and our pets. We can’t afford many visits to California to see the kids at the moment, so I am planted here.

Steve says he thinks I have a list of worries. When one is gone, checked off, I put another on the list. What’s the latest worry that has soared right to the top of the list? That Steve will be traveling and I will die on the forest floor alone with no one to find me except for the Bambi’s and that only a few friends are left in Idaho to miss me. I’m not going up Rapid Lightening Creek Road, Upper Gold Creek Road or Gold Creek Road ever again.


cs said...

your kitties would come screaming looking for you...screaming for food so Strve would follow a trail--ha see?! all better now

wow, the story you shared about your friends is sad and we all them tucked inside our lives as well...familes can do the very same thing...HHM has been ostracized from his ...he left and never looked back...

forgiveness, my nothern friend, is order it seems...hugs too

I finished my last day of summer school so if you decide to go wandering out on the north 40 tell Gina or me so we can geo-cache you!

gina said...

Oh Rosemary, you are going to make me cry!!! I remembered you telling me about Cliff - the SOB, but I didn't know about all the others. I can only imagine how much you miss your kids and grandkids. It would kill me if mine weren't so close. We just have to figure out a way to convince them to come visit more often! And in the meantime, you have me, Molly, Riley, Scottie, Drake, Fuzz, Violet, Mimi, oh gosh... I can't remember all their names! And now Sweetpea and her babies are counting on you, so....NO, you will not die out in your forest with only Bambis to find you. You have a lot more friends than you know. I love you! And now CS is going to come find you too!

Okay...when are we going to lunch????

jan said...

Oh, Rosemary, I So know what you are going through. When my family moved to California, we became part of an extended family, several families who had migrated from the east. It was so perfect for years. Then those deaths (I don't like death) and divorces (those either) started happening. We can't recapture it. We just move on.

Sandy said...

We used to have such large family gatherings. Then the older generation died and now everyone seems to have so many other things to do that it's hard to get us all together. I'm just glad we're getting our daughter back. Life at its best is too short. And don't worry about ending up alone on the forest floor - we all missed you after only one day. We'd form a possee and head up north if you missed two days!

Sling said...

Not only would you be missed rosie,you'd be remembered.
..and is going out on the forest floor with all the Bambies really so bad?

Ex-Shammickite said...

Rosie, this is a very sad post. And a sad story. But you all had loads of fun, before everything went wrong. And it wasn't your fault they died or did bad things and left (was it?). And you have Steve and your dogs and cats and all the furry creatures in the forest, and anyway, I wouldn't mind dying out in the forest with the bambis, it would be a darn sight more peaceful than getting hit by a bus or a train, or being mugged or in an stinky old age home where nobody cares.... OK I'm ranting again....
Keep smiling Rosie!! :-)

kenju said...

Yes, this IS sad. I understand how you feel, but you can't pin your hopes and happiness on the other people in your life. You really have to find happiness on your own. Try to remember the good times with them (and you are allowed to wish things hadn't changed) but think about how you can make more friends and good memories in the future. We all have to move on, Rosemary. Sometimes I long for the days when I was young, pretty and slender - but it doesn't keep me from doing the things I did when I was. I just don't look as good doing them....LOL

Lorraine said...

Rosie, I know that this is a deep and moving piece of work and I want to be sensitive to your feelings (which are palpable) but I just keep thinking of Dead Harold's and it makes me laugh.

Violet said...

you've almost convinced me to move to idaho... not completely, but almost.

rosemary said...

cs: Yes, forgiveness is needed. I was the one that put all of my eggs in their basket. It just hit on Sunday I guess.

Gina: Yup, I need to get a life!

Jan: Some days it is a matter of one foot in front of the other, some days i am skipping. Old age and memories.

Sandy: I just bet you would come looking for me. Really.

Sling & Ex: Our Bambi's are not exactly nice. The are nasty to each other, raise their hooves at me and snort if I am too slow in putting out their corn. Since I have lost a few pounds I don't think I would be as tasty a morsel as last summer!

Lorraine: It is funny. And the name of the store was never just Harold' was always Dead Harold's. It was torn down and a 4 story HUGE bank complex took its place....reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song....They paved paradise & put up a parking lot!

Violet: come for a visit. It is a beautiful part of the country if you want 4 seasons. We have lots of room.