When I was in 3rd grade I came home from school one day and my Mom patted me on the head and said “Tell your Dad I left him.” And off she went. My parents were both alcoholics and our home life was, well, grim. I remember thinking I didn’t want my Mom to leave. I also remember thinking that maybe there would finally be some peace in our house. At the time we lived in Emmett, Idaho. It was the 70’s and a single man raising his young daughter was pretty unheard of back then. Dad and I had to learn how to do laundry, clean the house, and cook (which neither of us could figure out). It was a tough few months but we got through it, together. That’s why my Dad was always my best friend, my biggest supporter and even after Kevin and Jackson arrived in my life, my main man.
A few months after Mom left, my Dad told me we were moving to Colorado. He worked for the Bureau of Reclamation and had gotten a transfer and a promotion. I wasn’t happy to leave, not at all. I made sure Dad knew that. But he argued we needed a new start and whether I wanted to admit it or not, we did. I remember the day we arrived in Grand Lake, Colorado. Grand Lake is a very small town in the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. The car we were driving was some fancy Chevy that was a convertible (looking back it was probably my Dad’s mid-life crisis car). The first thing we did was sell that car and buy a truck. We really had no clue what living in the mountains of Colorado meant. The only stores open in town were the school, post office, grocery store, liquor store/hardware store and the bar/restaurant. The next town over was 20 miles away and if you really needed anything you drove two hours to Denver to do your shopping. It was a shock. Not that Emmett was that big but it was like New York City compared to Grand Lake. So began our life in the mountains and the wide open spaces.
As a little kid I didn’t really think too much about being so isolated. As a teenager I appreciated the beauty of the mountains, but began to hate the “boring” old town, with nothing to do, that we lived in. We had to drive an hour to Winter Park to go to a movie. An hour! I couldn’t wait to graduate and move somewhere bigger. And eventually I did. I ended up going to college in Denver. I finally lived in the city! I hated it. The traffic, the noise, the abundance of people. It was just too much for me. As soon as I graduated I headed west and through many turn of events found my home in Spokane, Washington. I was actually born here in Spokane but I was adopted at birth and my parents didn’t live here. Spokane is really the first place I have ever felt that I was “home” in. It just seems to be in my blood that this is where I should be. I never really missed Grand Lake. There were a lot of memories there – some good, some not so good – but it was just a place I lived as a kid. Then my stepmom Sandy died and wanted her ashes spread in Grand Lake. So I headed back to that little town and something weird happened. I realized I missed it. Really missed it. The mountains, the lakes, the quiet, the creaky sound of the boardwalk as I walked through town. I felt like I had come home, which I had. Then I realized I’m a dual citizen. I’m a mountain/city girl. How is that possible?
That was in August 2012 and ever since then I have had an internal battle going on. I love Spokane, but I hear the wide open spaces calling me. It’s the old saying – “You can take the girl out of the mountains but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl.” I know in my head that we can’t really move off to the mountains. With a kiddo like Jackson I want to make sure we are close to good medical centers, doctors and therapists. I also want to be in a place where the ambulance can come quickly if need be. Not 30 minutes away. But I feel a change coming. Last weekend the kids and I were shopping at Costco and I saw this book called “Farm Anatomy, The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life”. I just had to have it. I showed it to Kevin when we got home and he looked at me and said “Who are you?” I don’t know! I’m a city girl who all of the sudden wants to buy some acreage, have some pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, and maybe even a cow who all live in a big red barn that has a hay loft where I could go read a book. I want mud boots. I want to work the land. I want to get up early and feed the animals. I want to plant a giant garden and share it with my neighbors, who don’t live 15 feet on either side of me. The great thing about Spokane is that it is a city that is somewhat contained. There are wide open spaces just a few miles out of the city limits. In fact there are thousands of acres of rolling hills in the beautiful Palouse less than a half hour away. Can we find some land close to town that will satisfy my dual citizenship? Do we move west where there are giant mountains, ocean water, the Capitol building and new beginnings? Or is Colorado calling me back home? I don’t know nor do I know why I am even writing all of this. Maybe I just needed to vent my internal battle and throw it out there. Or perhaps I’m vocalizing this feeling that I’ve had lately that big changes are ahead for the Klim clan. Whatever it is I have said it out loud and thrown it out to internet land. As James Thurber said “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” Now let’s see what happens.