Day 3, 4 and 5 – June 17-19, 2018

Hailey, Idaho

Father’s Day found the WLBT at the grand Inn at the Ellsworth Estate for a bountiful buffet breakfast. Innkeeper Thomas said this was most he’d cooked for (12).  The fresh fruit with yogurt and granola did a fine job as an appetizer for scrambled eggs, toast, bacon and sausage. A couple from Boise celebrating their first anniversary away from the six kids of their blended marriage entertained us. 

Janice is a nurse and medical editor. Hearing this, WLBT took immediate advantage of her knowledge and experience by presenting Deedie’s throbbing, very tender, swollen right thumb joint for diagnosis.  “Gout!” she said definitively. The pain responded to suggested drugs as the day wore on and has subsided each day since.

Afterward we walked over to Deedie’s cousin’s house, two blocks away. While Alex was at church, her husband Ron took us on a tour of the Wood River Valley Fire Station where he works. Ambulances, fire trucks, firefighters’ quarters upstairs combined to give us an insider’s view of first responder work. Deedie was sorry there wasn’t a pole to slide down. The Chief on duty’s Hood River, OR, high school friend owns Martoli’s pizza on the Plaza in Ashland. We were relieved to find the world is still small.

When Alex returned, we drove the dozen miles or so to the Sun Valley resort to get a preview of next month’s Writers’ Conference where both Alex and Ron work, Alex more so than Ron. Many of the Conference’s featured authors had appeared in that morning’s NYTimes Book Review. WLBT regretted that it will be in the Midwest when all the “name” writers will be in Sun Valley with Alex and Ron.

After naps, we headed downtown for a hot chili cook-off contest. Alas, it was closing due to rain. We went Italian instead, an excellent decision it turned out.

The tour spent Monday the 18th catching up with Anne Hathaway’s business, making calls about future events, exercising at the Ketchum Y and winding up with a family dinner.  In addition to  Alex and Ron, along came cousin Sara Shaffer, her husband Clark, son Alex and daughter Kate.  Finest of fajitas by Ron nourished us. Jokes, riddles, tongue twisters, and games dominated the table. Champion gymnast 13-year-old Kate and “Uncle” (as she calls Ron) led the way toward the land of hysterical belly-laughing. The night ended with blond Kate’s final riddle – How do you fit an elephant into a Safeway box?  “How?” we all asked. “It’s easy,” she said. “You take the ‘s’ from safe and the ‘f ‘from way.”  But, Alex muttered, “there’s no f-in way!”  “Right!” screamed Kate, as we all fell off our chairs laughing.

Tuesday morning, Cara the owner and baker at Black Owl Café in Hailey made extra scones for the day’s reading. By 10:30 more than a dozen gathered around tables outside the café for Deedie’s first outdoor event.  Fending off a nearby yard trimmer (Ron came to the rescue here) and a half dozen older men bicyclists in biking shoes stomping down the steps, Deedie revealed her first lessons in scone making and other experiences in the tour’s early days as innkeepers.  Alex reported later that her phone had been ringing off the hook with good reviews of the reading and a clamoring for an encore.

The tour departed immediately after for the spectacular, beautiful drive along the Wood River, and then the Sawtooth and Bitterroot mountains and the overflowing Salmon and Bitterroot Rivers to Missoula, Montana.  If you haven’t traveled this part of America before, put it on your “To do” list. Lewis and Clark covered some of this route, as did Nez Perce Indians and Hudson Bay traders…and many other famous people as well, we’re sure.

As cousin Sara’s suggestion, we stopped for lunch at the Stanley Bakery and Café, arriving a half hour before the 2 p.m. closing time as the big lunch crowd was departing for an afternoon of fly fishing or rafting on the Salmon River. One leftover breakfast sticky bun breakfast tamed our hunger. Then we discovered what one can do to make a grilled cheese sandwich special: Grill the cheese before putting it between two pieces of grilled bread, then garnish it with diced carrots and a green paste.  Who knew how good that could be?

We shared the outdoor porch with one other traveler. Ronnie, mother of four boys (one named Clancy) who was en route from Salmon, where she had been to take care of her mother and a brother with a child stricken with cancer, back to Boise.  When asked what she did, Ronnie replied that right now her primary interest was spiritual and she was spreading the word of God and His dominion.  She’s not a minister, or a lay church leader, but on a mission nevertheless.

We exchanged stories and life events, prompted by Ronnie’s questions. That Clancy survived falling out of a moving truck on a camping trip was a sure miracle. The WLBT told the miracle of our daughter Lucy’s birth as its event, to which Ronnie replied, “That’ll quench the moisture out of you.” We’re in the Mountain West and they know how to talk here.

Arriving in Missoula late, Deedie and her Peace Links colleague and friend, former State Sen. Carol Williams and Carol’s daughter Whitney had drinks and dinner by the river. The tour director took the time to write.