Saturday, June 24, 2017

Journey toward "Old" and a Magical Land

My mother Virginia Tibbs, my brothers Kevin and Mike
 and my younger self standing in front of Mr. Best's
 field about 66 years ago.


Normally, pretty much every day at this time, I'm seated at my upstairs computer, sipping on my latte while banging out some crazy thoughts or posting pictures for the daily version of Slightdetour.  

This morning is very different.  When it's time for readers to turn in for today's posting, I'll be taking a slight detour via American Airlines and probably flying eastward over Idaho after departing from Seattle with Bill and Annie. 

Following a 3-hour layover in Charlotte, North Carolina, we'll land in Dublin, Ireland where it will be tomorrow morning AND I'll be 70 years old. Then we'll drive to a charming little town in southwest Ireland called Kenmare where we'll stay for the first four days of our Irish visit.  

This will be Annie's fourth visit, my third and Bill's second. Twould be an understatement to suggest that "we are stoked." 

If I were to stay in Idaho, I'd have to wait a while longer to turn 70. Actually, I'm not really in that big a hurry to pass this lifetime milestone.  Instead, in my mind, this adventure to the country we all love so much significantly softens the blow of being THAT old.  

Since it's pretty hard to send a blog post from 30,000 feet up in the skies, I'm cheating a bit, having prepared today's post in advance. 

Earlier this year, I wrote an essay for the back page of the 2017 summer edition of Sandpoint Magazine. The piece dealt with the pure joy of living in my hometown for the past 70 years.  I hope you enjoy the essay and that you'll forgive me to taking the easy way out with the blog this morning.  

As penance, I promise to do my best to take you along on our adventure where we plan to immerse ourselves in the magnificent Irish countryside and to connect with the people who add so much to its magic---a magic which keeps calling us back.  

You can count on the fact that we'll be conducting a Border Collie count over the next several days!

It should be a good time had by all. 

Thanks so much to our friend Elisabeth who is helping to make this possible for us by watching our beloveds Lily, Lefty, Kiwi, Foster, Liam and Festus back at the Lovestead.  

And so, the next post comes to you from Ireland, written by a newly minted 70-year-old who's hails from Sandpoint and couldn't be any prouder.  

The photos of family below are those which appear in the print edition of Sandpoint Magazine, which is loaded with wonderful stories. You can pick up a copy at various stores around Sandpoint or google it online. 

Happy Saturday. 

Back Page
Sandpoint Magazine Summer Edition
By Marianne Love

I loved Sandpoint when Sandpoint wasn’t cool.  In my mind, the place has always been pretty cool, even long it before it was “discovered” on a national level. As I celebrate 70 years here this summer, I still view my Lake Pend Oreille homeland like a giddy tourist “driving across that Long Bridge,” discovering the area for the very first time. 

One day this past winter, on a sunny afternoon drive with my husband Bill, I glanced toward the main channel of Lake Pend Oreille near Hope, enjoying the glorious vista. The lake’s cold waters sparkled with sunbeams dancing off waves. I turned to Bill and remarked, “I feel so lucky to have lived here all my life.”

My parents discovered Sandpoint in the mid-1940s. My father was already working in the central Idaho woods when, on Christmas night, 1945, Mother arrived on a train from Chicago filled with soldiers returning from war.  

On that drizzly, cold winter night, walking from the depot with my brother Mike and her dog Peggy, past several dim-lit, busy bars along First Avenue to the Rolands Hotel, she seriously doubted she’d be staying in this rough-and-tumble place for long.  Mother remained the rest of her life.

Six of her seven children thrived, despite hardship and challenge, while growing up on our North Boyer horse and cattle farm. We truly began to flourish after my mother remarried, and Harold Tibbs, a Sandpoint city employee, became our dad, starting us down a path toward making something of ourselves.

That journey succeeded with advanced education and satisfying careers for each of us, thanks to the influence of our parents, 4-H, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a great school system, farm animals, the gorgeous North Idaho outdoors and a community where pretty much “everyone knew our names” and watched out for us.
Sandpoint High School teacher Bob Hamilton set me on my way as a journalist, and oh, what a life that has been. My most treasured stories have always involved the fascinating people who make this culturally diverse community tick — sometimes strangers, occasionally old friends and often former students from my Sandpoint High School teaching experiences.

 As a feature writer, I have witnessed Sandpoint’s greatest influences:  the railroads, fishing, Farragut Naval Base (where I met my husband at a Boy Scout Jamboree), Schweitzer, the Long Bridge, Lake Pend Oreille itself and Coldwater Creek Catalog Co. In the 1970s, I submitted photos for a two-page Spokane Chronicle piece called “North Idaho for Sale.”

Our population gradually grew as local mills and farms gave way to tourism, recreation and later to small manufacturing and retail businesses able to relocate, thanks to technology. We locals watched each chapter of the great migrations, sometimes scratching our heads. Other times, we simply embraced the next wave, ranging from hippies to yuppies and even an ongoing mass of Californians escaping high taxes and too many people.  The latter soon learned discretion in disclosing their origins.
These days I post on a daily blog, Slight Detour, subtitled “Mutterings of a Country Hick.”  My slice-of-life entries spring from happenings on our Selle Valley farm or from my day-to-day encounters with people around our beautiful community or region.

It’s been a wonderful life living here in Sandpoint. As the town has transformed with new blood and broader perspectives, so have I.  Regardless of changes, some constants remain:  downhome friendliness, generosity, compassion for others, endless outdoor opportunities and incomparable natural beauty, drawing so many to this place where they have happily succumbed to their own lifelong love affairs.
For this 70-year-old confirmed country hick, that’s as cool as it gets. Thanks, Sandpoint!


1 comment:

Big Piney Woods Cats said...

I love your post today. This is a wonderful place to live (I have been here 42 years now.) Two days ago I looked out my window and saw 15 geese followed by a mom and her newborn fawn. Nature at its best. My only regret is Ronnie isn't here to enjoy it with me. Have a wonderful summer. (I know you will, you always do.)