The Long Road Home: Day Four

I’m finally all set in my hotel room in Coeur d’Alene.  I drove into the Dave Smith Car Lot Kellogg right around 12:30 this afternoon.  Some things change…some things stay the same.  One thing that has definitely changed in Kellogg over the past 30 years is that it is MUCH greener than when I grew up.  It is in fact much greener than it has been in almost a hundred years.  But that really should not be a surprise.  Nature has a tendency to bounce back once we stop polluting the environment with toxins, even if it takes decades (or in the case of some places centuries).

Dad loved Kellogg, warts and all.  It did not matter that the canyon he grew up in was called Deadwood Gulch, and for good reason.  That little gully is basically blocked off from all access now.  He enjoyed the people, the memories, all that Kellogg had been.  He was tied to the place, and tomorrow the place will celebrate his life and all he contributed to the lives of so many who grew up there as it says goodbye.

We have received countless notes, messages, cards, text messages, and emails from people whose lives dad touched.  Those people live all over the world now, but started in that little town tucked in the western foothills of the Bitterroots in northern Idaho.  Dad had a full life, with lots of ups and downs, just like the little town he called home his entire life.  He saw his wife nearly die from chronic diseases, buried a daughter, watched his other children get college degrees, buried his wife, and had one son move to Texas and then Ohio while the other son went overseas to the Middle East.  He watched his town thrive, even when it was choking on industrial pollution, watched it nearly die from an economic catastrophe, and witnessed it slowly creep back into being a viable community.  We could have never convinced him to leave, and we never tried.  It was home.