It's Friday, the 13th, and we have lucked out. Happily, the sun is shining, at least for now.
Yesterday? Not so lucky.
I'll abstain from the details, except to say that I found some phenomenal rainy-day therapy a few miles away, on east Selle Road.
I had been heading to the Pack River General Store to pick up something for dinner, but when I spotted the Flower Farm sign just ahead, the blinker went on (in my head and in the car), and I made a slight detour.
That left turn took me to a colorful, fragrant and delightful escape from what had been happening from the sky all day long.
Some day I think I'll write a manual on how to survive emotionally when winter and ugh-ugh weather refuse to end in North Idaho.
I'm thinking there may even be a readership besides just me.
One chapter would talk about the ever-elusive spring when ya so much want to get your hands in the dirt when all there is IS soggy mud.
Well, thanks to yesterday's experience at the Flower Farm, I vouch that the flower and veggie nurseries around the area could just soothe your soul as you continue to wait for gardening time.
Just standing there in one of the greenhouses in the midst of all that vibrant color, talking to Dennis (well, griping to Dennis, the owner) about the cold rain falling outside put a whole lot of my grouch cells to bed.
We enjoyed some commiserating. For understandable reasons, Dennis was quick to agree with me that this year's spring weather has been challenging at best.
After our visit, I walked back to my car and grabbed my camera. What a great opportunity on a rainy day for a photographer!
While taking photos of the assortment of flowers, I turned around once and spotted another Flower Farm staffer removing dead heads from some hanging baskets.
As our eyes met, she said I looked familiar.
"You look familiar too," I said. "What's your name?"
"Hannah," she answered.
"Hannah Meek?" I asked.
"Marianne . . . Love," she quickly responded.
Yeah, we knew each other, but it had been a few years since Hannah was one of Willie's Cedar Post students waiting tables at Mick Duffs. Other connections exist, as Hannah's dad is a forester like Bill.
So, we engaged in some catch-up as Hannah, a Western Washington University grad and world traveler, continued to pluck deadheads.
The conversation really became passionate when we both realized that we share a love for writing and creativity.
Finally, I said I'd better leave Hannah to her work and go take some more photos before picking out a few pots of pansies and primroses to bring home for the deck containers.
Visiting the Flower Farm yesterday provided me exactly the mental therapy I needed after a day of cleaning barns several times and finally putting horses outside at the precise time my cell phone had promised that the rain would stop.
Don't believe your cell phone with weather forecasts!
Later, I moved on to the Pack River Store where I met Clyde, the Parnell Ranch Border Collie, waiting for his peeps in the back of their pickup.
I'm getting to know Clyde rather well, as he spends a lot of time waiting for Mom and Dad to finish their lunch and their visiting inside.
While deciding what to take home for dinner, I also met Jim Woodward who is running for Idaho State Senator. Should he win, he'll replace Shawn Keough who served us so well for many years.
I exchanged a little banter with Jim and his friend Todd, who was wearing a "Trump/Pence" hat, but I forgave him.
Todd seems like a nice guy.
So, the wanderings right here in our neighborhood in the midst of one of the most miserable of miserable days we've had lately, helped lift a weather-related grumpy mood.
And, if I ever write that manual, the "go visit a nursery and admire all the pretty flowers" segment will definitely appear for those of us who become downright desperate on dismal days.
Speaking of weather, the weather in the Big Apple this morning is delightful. My niece Laura, who's there with her daughter Grace and mom Mary, has not only observed but has been in the midst of one of the most famed weather observers, Al Roker.
Yup, Laura sez it's gonna be in the 80s in New York today, and I'm sure Grace is not gonna wash the hand that shook Al Roker's hand for a while. What a neat experience!
Finally, a little sadness this morning as I note the loss of one of the defining people in my life, the noted author and outdoor humorist Patrick F. McManus.
Most folks know that Pat was a Sandpoint product, and, of course, I like to note that he spent some of his formative years living near Sand Creek about a mile up the road from where we lived on North Boyer.
I consider Pat a defining person in my life because he took the time (after his sister, Patricia Gass, the famous Troll in his books, insulted him into submission) to read four stories I had written for possible publication in a book.
It took seven months for Patricia to get "that brother of mine" to do his job, but finally she called one day and said she had a letter from Pat to give me.
I still have it tucked away in a notebook somewhere. Pat told me in that letter that my stories, indeed, were worthy of publication. He gave me a few suggestions and the rest is history.
A few months later, with help from my sister-in-law Mary Brown and Falcon Press in Helena, Mont., my first book Pocket Girdles---with a back-cover endorsement from Pat McManus AND the Troll, along with a student Talitha Neher----began to appear in book stores around the West.
To say my life as an aspiring writer changed because of Patrick F. McManus would be an understatement.
Over the years, Pat not only came and visited my English classes, but he also actually came to my house one day.
That was after he, cowboy cartoonist and author Boots Reynolds and I had met down at Connie's Restaurant. We sat in the back and started exchanging stories.
Then,it got loud and raucous. So, we decided to avoid being kicked out of the restaurant and moved on to my house where the hilarity continued, this time with no concerns about bothering anyone else.
There is much to write about Pat McManus. Most importantly, in my mind, are the laughs AND the inspiration he provided to others who love to tell a good tale.
RIP, Pat, and thank you so much for the bright moments you created for me and for SO many others around the world.
The photo below of Pat, Boots, local author Sandy Compton and me at a Vanderford's book signing a few years back has more meaning than ever this morning.