As I rolled out of bed this morning it hit me. Just about three more weeks in Idaho; a little over the expected halfway point to the time that I regrettably leave The Gem State.
While I’ve got several more weeks of work ahead of me here, I just thought I’d take a break on a Saturday morning to kind of reflect.
The four weeks I’ve been here have been good ones; with a speed bump or two.
While I haven’t gotten to see as much of the state as I wanted – Ruby Ridge is still calling my name – I’ve gotten to see Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Fort Hall Reservation, Parma, McCall, Riggins and more.
There was Evel Keneviel’s ramp were he launched his “rocket cycle”; base jumpers going off the only structure in America where it’s legal to do so any day of the year without a permit; the largest sand dunes in the contiguous 48 states; Craters of the Moon where Apollo astronauts practices on their way to the moon; the first nuclear reactor in Arco; Rigby, where the television was invented; an alligator farm; a peacock preening in front of a chrome bumper and other things that make you scratch your head and go ‘hhmmmm’.
And the people. My goodness the people. Chuck who first met his wife when they were four and they shared milk stools, they celebrated over 50 years of marriage last year; Ed and Jen who put up with my having food poisoning while at their place; Alma (running for Idaho Senate) and her husband Jim (who got my website into the top 1% of worldwide popularity; Karen, who continues the dream she and her husband started so long ago; Cherie the first black female running for office and Nicole the first openly gay candidate for political office; KC who took his weekend to show me around the state and tolerated my jumping out of his car while it was still moving to get some shots of a grassfire; Jimmy, an ex-NFL player now running for congress; Andy who let me go with him to shoot some kayakers – and he’s another ol’ Virginia boy like me; Cutler who let me borrow his tripod and Dax who runs the Anne Frank Memorial – the only one in the country; Faila, who takes challenged kids and helps them communicate through drumming; Brian, who is quiet and unassuming off stage and got a song of his to hit the charts at #1 while I was in town and so many more. I know there’s many more who have helped this ol’ long haired guy with a camera along the way, but right now at 2:15am, I honestly can’t remember everyone. So please accept my humble apologies if I left you out.
And of course, I’ll never forget Adrienne and Trish. They tolerated my one-million-and-one questions; let me camp out on their back deck where I could get some writing done; kept me supplied with food and iced tea the way it’s supposed to be made – with plenty of sugar; provided me a car to get around in and a house to go to when I didn’t want to get around; made sure I had the cigarettes I needed and the coffee I wanted; put up with my 56 year old male self as I asked plenty of stupid questions around LGBT issues; rolled their eyes and mentally patted me on the head as I proudly told them about another article picked up by Examiner or a photo picked up by CNN; held Auggie at bay as he jumped repeatedly and invariably connected with my cajones.
My ol’ man told me one time that as we travel through life we leave a part of ourselves with everyone we meet and we pick up a part of them. If the quality of folks I’ve met in Idaho is any indication, I’m turning into a pretty terrific guy!
And yah, the politicians. With names like Craypo, Luna, Risch and the like, you’ve gotta love Idaho. But these guys are about to join the unemployed line. While Alcoholics Anonymous has the Twelve Step program, Idahoans are about to start utilizing the “one step” program for these barnacles of bigoted bullies who occupy the statehouse in Boise – they’re about to kick their ass out!