Well, it’s been an interesting few days leading up to this Fourth of July holiday here in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Awakening with the feeling of swollen eyes, a stuffed nose and a head full of cement, I was quickly reminded of allergies I suffered as a child long ago. Years of allergy shots had alleviated the symptoms of hay fever and other allergens, and I have been able to live an antihistamine free life for about 15 years.
Apparently, there’s a whole lotta new stuff that I’m allergic to out west.
Narrowing the culprit down to Cottonwood trees and a few wild flowers, it took a few days to get back into determining the right dosage of Benadryl. Now that I have, things are fairly back to normal. I’ll probably have to schedule a visit to the allergist here in town, but that won’t be until next year. I write this with certainty and I know we will probably be living here for a while.
Accepting the fact that I will not be able to find a ‘regular’ 9-5 job any time soon, I have concentrated on freelancing and independent contracting, which has been ok. It gets me out there and I can contribute to the household, but still not in a way that I could develop relationship with co-workers.
Instead, I have made some good friendships with women whom I work out at the club. One of my friends back east left me a Facebook message with the equivalent tone of “My God, do you live there?”
In a word? Yes.
Yes, I do. That place has literally saved my sanity.
After living here for nearly six months and not having a connection to anyone or anything really weighed heavily on me. Without the distraction of somewhere to go (besides Walmart) and something to do (besides go food shopping or to church) it became a constant struggle to even get out of bed. That black cloud has passed, simply because someone suggested, “Hey, let’s go get a drink.” How organically simple it all really is. How easily we are distracted by what is important, and what is trifling.
The holiday weekend continued with our first attendance at the local baseball league. Basically farm teams for the franchise, the players were young men barely out of high school or attending junior college. They played with passion and developing skills showed promise as we glimpsed the slow journey towards being professional. Paid peanuts for now, we know they play simply for the love of the game.
The stadium was a smaller venue than what we are used to, but not lacking in ambiance and stature. The scoreboard lit up like the pros do, and videos played as the players were introduced during their time at bat. Commercials were abundant and reflected what the play was. Any ball hit into the foul zone and disappearing into the street where the cars were parked was followed by the same commercial. After the initial sound of breaking glass, we heard “If that was your car, call Idaho Falls Auto Glass at 888-443-8875 for a quick repair of your windshield.” We laughed as my husband (ever the comedian) joked we both realized in New York the commercial would have sounded more like “If that was your car, don’t get glass in your ass as you drive away.”
Hot dogs and beer, popcorn and cotton candy, we sampled it all, just as we did when we were kids. Clapping and stamping your feet at the arrival of certain players, and standing to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at the seventh inning stretch reminded me of home on Long Island and going to the city to see a Mets game with my dad.
As I looked around me, everyone was singing loud and proud, swaying back and forth linked arm in arm. For a short time hands were on hearts, just as they had done with the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the game.
Several times over the course of the game I thought of my children and how much I missed them, even wishing they were youngsters again and sitting here beside me. They would have loved this place. They would love it for their children.
It was a defining moment for me to realize they were adults and had lives of their own, that I had perhaps judged this place too quickly. Yes, there are cults here there will defy all intelligent discussion; it’s either their way or no way. I have learned, as others have, how to distinguish them from the norm and not even engage them at all.
“You’re just in the ugly beginnings” a friend wrote to me, reassuring me I would find my way. She was right, there are so many other things here I realize there is yet to discover. It’s a good place to raise a family and to start a new life. I miss the lake, I miss the feeling of completeness and I miss the familiarity of knowing where everything is and what to do when I go there. My memories were clouding my future.
It took me four months to find a church, six months to find a good hairdresser, and the same six months to find someone to call friend. I will probably never find a good place to get a manicure or a pedicure and have accepted that. Some things are just New York and can’t be duplicated.
Overall, except for employment, I realize these issues are mundane. I am grateful that my husband has a good job, that we have a place to live, and have food on the table. We are healthier in mind, body and spirit compared to where we were this time a year ago.
Our holiday will be spent grilling out in the back yard, watching the dogs run around and bark at the birds, just like back home. I will miss my children and my grands, realizing that every day I don’t see them is another stroke on the clock of time that I have lost. Visits back east will become even more memorable and cherished, and times listening to the lake whenever I am able will forever fill my soul.
I hope that they treasure the time they have together, as I did with them, and drink it all in this holiday season.
But most importantly, to remember what this day is really about and what we are celebrating. I have the freedom to complain, and the right to moan about the mundane, because daring men declared we were born with the right to do so, and were willing to die for it. I will return to New York one day, I know this for a fact. But I am grateful for the freedom and ability to travel around to discover what life holds in store for all of us.
God Bless America and God Bless Idaho Falls. The Ugly Beginnings are over.