Blog Archives

A Healing Art

Posted on by Harald Wyndham / Comments Off on A Healing Art

On a bright afternoon in a warmer-than-normal March, from the driveway of John and Linda Wolfe’s house on the hillside above Pocatello, I see the sun glinting on the remains of mountain snowbanks which, in wetter years, would still cover the canyons.

Around the house, decorated flowerpots and painted metal sculptures gleam and spin. Inside, Linda and John greet me warmly, as do their dogs, Rosie, Abby, and Buster. My visit to these long-standing friends is not completely social. I have come to discuss a book illustration project with Linda, an artist I have worked with for more than thirty years. Continue reading

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All-Around Royalty

Posted on by Loy Ann Bell / Comments Off on All-Around Royalty

I spotted the creeping car before it pulled into our farm driveway. A pleasant-looking young woman slowly climbed out, looked at my pinto mare grazing in the pasture, and started up the walk. On that summer day in 1952, I had no idea that this young woman would change my life forever.

“My name is Ina Hadam,” she said when I answered the door. “You rode in the Jerome Rodeo Parade last week, didn’t you?”

Perplexed, I nodded.

“I recognized your horse. I’d like to start a girls’ 4-H horse club. Would you be interested in participating?”

Would I! My face must have revealed my excitement, because she grinned. Continue reading

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Still Dancing

Posted on by Lorie Palmer / Comments Off on Still Dancing

I grew up in a non-dancing family. Our church didn’t allow it back then, and after I moved to Grangeville, I was a little afraid to sign up my oldest daughter, Avery, for dance class.

Probably only a few non-dancers would know the strange reaction I had upon entering a dance class for the first time. It was like walking into a hall where my hearing was muted and even my vision of the students was blurry.

By the time my daughter Hailey was old enough to take dance, I felt more familiar with the experience. Now a high school freshman, Hailey began dancing in preschool, which was the first time I met Shirley Wilson Sears. Right away, I knew she meant business. Continue reading

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In Craters’ Shadows

Posted on by Laura Wolstenholme / Comments Off on In Craters’ Shadows

I grew up in a landscape so mild my mother declared it Camelot. We lived between green, softly sloped hills, and a few miles away stirred a gentle blue bay. So I arrived unprepared for southern Idaho’s dramatic, sometimes strange geography.

When we first arrived, everywhere I looked, my eyes affirmed, “This is not California.” Sure, the softly molded, brown foothills were beautiful, but the Snake River! It has done some magnificent and bizarre work. Our first exploration of Idaho was to Malad Gorge, a bottomless canyon carved out by a Snake tributary. We didn’t stay long. Just paces from the gorge’s edge, my small family peered over and cowered at the sheer, 250-foot drop to the river’s bed etched below. We could almost feel the dark floods that had thundered westward, scouring out the gorge. As fast as we could, we hurried back to the car.

As we traveled around, I tried to make sense of the landscape. Tossed boulders spoke of an ancient flood. In some areas, lava rocked peeked through sagebrush and desert. We learned that numerous old volcanoes once shredded the Snake River Plain with explosions and hot basalt lava flows. One hot August afternoon, returning from Hagerman and full of curiosity, we stopped at the famous Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho’s ground zero of volcanic activity. Continue reading

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Mary Jane’s Farm

Posted on by Carol Price Spurling / Comments Off on Mary Jane’s Farm

Growing Organically and Cultivating Fame in Rural Moscow (Idaho, Of Course) By Carol Price Spurling Nestled at the base of Paradise Ridge, in the rolling Palouse hills eight miles south of Moscow, lies a small organic farm, a

Dietrich Native Dan Costello

Posted on by Ryan Peck / Comments Off on Dietrich Native Dan Costello

Teaching, Gigging—Just Playing Music for the Love of It By Ryan Peck If you were to whistle him a melody, Dan Costello could instantly play the melody back for you on his guitar. But it’s not just his

Something about the Banjo

Posted on by Desiré Aguirre / Comments Off on Something about the Banjo

There’s something about the banjo that reaches out and grabs me. Bagpipes always make me cry, but the banjo slashes away all doom and gloom, dries teardrops, and paints a smile on my face.

The banjo, a simple, old-time instrument with a percussion head and a unique sound, forces my toes to tap and my laugh to erupt.

A newcomer to the art of performing music, I am blessed to have an assortment of role models that encourage, delight, and mentor my fledgling attempts. Scott Reid, a professional musician and Sandpoint icon, always treats me as if I were, well, a real musician. Best of all, his banjo playing inspires me to keep on practicing.

Scott performs with style and grace, breathing life into whatever instrument he has in hand, and layering it with smooth vocals that welcome and delight. His style weaves the genres of country, rock, and folk into a delicate tapestry. Scott can play “Stairway to Heaven” and Jimi Hendrix on the banjo, or perform old-timey frailing style, using the back of the nail on his middle finger as a pick, and mix that up with some Gypsy fiddle, heartfelt blues guitar, and songs he has written about robbing trains and Idaho winters. The banjo is his favorite instrument. “The banjo taught me everything I know about the guitar,” he told me. Continue reading

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Rosalie Sorrels

Posted on by Kitty Delorey Fleischman / Comments Off on Rosalie Sorrels

Mellifluous. The word could have been coined especially to describe Rosalie Sorrels’ voice. Whether singing, or storytelling, the word fits. For days I’ve sought other, simpler words, but the search for vocabulary always dissolves to images. For Rosalie, speaking and singing are one. It’s how she communicates.

In her voice is the sound of Grimes Creek dancing over rocks and nudging flecks of gold along the course of its laughing waters. Then sometimes you’ll hear the gravel that lines the creek bed. You hear the trilling songs of birds that sail bright skies in her mountain sanctuary, and the shusshing sway of pine branches fluffed by breezes that sing to the cabin her father built by hand early in the last century. Sometimes you’ll catch a momentary glimpse of the sharp edges of rocks lining the canyon walls.

She came by it naturally as part of a well-read family of people who also loved to sing. As she talks, she switches from conversation to poetry to song in a smooth flow. In 1999 Idaho’s songbird also was chosen for a Circle of Excellence award from the National Storytelling Network.

For more than a half-century, Rosalie Sorrels has taken the sounds and stories of Idaho across the continent and beyond the seas. Jim Page, a folksinger from Whidby Island, Washington, once described Rosalie as “the most real person in folk music that I’ve ever met.” Now past her seventieth birthday, her outlook on life is both broader and narrower than it was when she was a younger woman. She has traveled extensively and has seen the world, yet the greatest treasures of her life are her family and her little handmade Grimes Creek cabin.

Her mother named the cabin Guerencia, which means “the place that holds your heart.” It’s a snug cabin with posters of her heroes on the ceiling so she can look up at them when she is in bed. The cabin’s walls are lined with books stacked layers deep on shelves, all of them read and all remembered.

As a youngster, Rosalie’s father gave her a dollar for each “chunk” of poetry she learned. She earned three dollars for learning Sir Walter Scott’s “Lady of the Lake.” When other youngsters were learning nursery rhymes, Rosalie learned to quote Shakespeare. Continue reading

Desert Sheriff

Posted on by James R. Spencer / Comments Off on Desert Sheriff

Sheriff Tim Nettleton waded into the Owyhee River to retrieve the body of his friend, Conley Elms, an Idaho game warden who had been murdered along with fellow officer Bill Pogue by Claude Dallas, a desert buckaroo and self-styled mountain man. Dallas shot the two game officers when they came to his camp to investigate his illegal trapping methods. Bull Camp was less than five miles inside Idaho’s southern border, which abuts Nevada. Dallas surprised the officers with his hidden .357 magnum. After gunning them down, he retrieved his .22 caliber rifle from his tent and put an execution-style shot into each man’s head, as if they were one of his illegally trapped bobcats. Continue reading

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Keeper of the Eternal Bookstore

Posted on by Harald Wyndham / Comments Off on Keeper of the Eternal Bookstore

By Harald Wyndham

Photos by John Lowry

On a Thursday afternoon in mid-winter, a snowstorm drives flakes horizontally past the windows of Walrus & Carpenter Books in Pocatello.

I sit snug by a small gas stove, my feet stretched toward the heat, having a cup of coffee and a conversation with the owner, Will Peterson, a casually dressed, lanky bohemian with a shock of unmanageable black hair and a grin that puts one at ease and in the mood to talk. And talking about ideas, life, philosophy, writers famous, infamous, and unknown, small-town intrigue, the future of mankind, and the contents of the volumes that crowd the shelves of his Dickensian bookstore is precisely what Will enjoys more than anything, except perhaps writing a novel about it. Continue reading

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