Sunday, July 20, 2014

Renewing the Idaho connection

How much friendship can you pack into an afternoon? Years. Years and years.

After spending the night in Missoula, MT, we called ahead to see if Nils and Mary Rosdahl would be home as we passed through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Nils and Mary

Nils and I worked together on the Coeur d'Alene Press back in the 1980s.  He was the lifestyle and business editor while I was the news editor -- and later managing editor. Nils left the Press to teach at North Idaho College long before I veered off to academia. He and Mary stayed in Coeur d'Alene when we headed off to Texas, Oregon and eventually Missouri.

But today, all the trips and the years out of touch disappeared and we lost ourselves in our many, many shared memories. Kids, grandkids, trips, pleasures and tribulations -- we went through them all. We also saw the hobby Nils took up in retirement.  He collects old type once used for printing and makes fabulous art with it.

Nils and Mary also took us on a tour of our old hometown. It's nearly doubled in population in the 26 years since we lived there.  More importantly, it has quadrupled in popularity among the tourists who flock there to enjoy the clean air and spectacular Coeur d'Alene Lake.

But behind all the new buildings, the Cd'A we remembered was still there. Including our old house on Foster Avenue. The house, like most everything in town, had been spruced up considerably to reflect the rising property values.  When I last stopped in Coeur d'Alene 14 years ago, our old house was for sale.  The flier offered it for exactly $100,000 more than we sold it for.

Our beautiful old house
The town has a spectacular new library complex and what was a big soccer field is now one of the nicest playgrounds I have ever seen. Nils made a typeface table for the library -- spelling out words related to reading across its top.

As we left town, Cecile looked out to where the city faded into the beautiful lake.  "We could move back here and drop right back in, couldn't we?"

Maybe in July. But Idaho is another place in February. I prefer to keep the good memories and conveniently forget the snow and ice.

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