While taking A Million Steps on the Camino de Santiago, I was able to reflect on many aspects of my life. Around the 13 year mark, I began to experiment with beer. Unfortunately, I was really good at it and allowed Coors to consume the next 24 years of my life. When my Dad died from alcoholism in 2001, I threw in the towel. I am still recovering from a long and unconscious youth.
One of my many islands of indiscretion was McCall, Idaho. My family had a lakeside cottage in this mountain paradise. In high school and college, I was able to spend my summers in this resort town. My memories of those times were loaded with wild nights, lots of drinking, and lots of hangovers. On top of the haze, there was a long family history in this area. Most of that history is on the darker side of life. Given those memories, I have avoided this area for a long time.
One of my dearest couple friends, Diane and Carlos, purchased a second home in this town and have been kind enough to pester me with multiple invitations through the years. I finally succumbed and came up to revisit my youth and clean out some closets. I arrived last Thursday and will be here for a week.
Upon arrival, Carlos presented me with a key, programmed the garage opener to work with my car, and encouraged me to use the place at my convenience. My gratitude meter was off the charts. I anticipate many great times in their third story tree-house condo.
After unpacking on our first night, we drove into town and found a few scoops of peanut butter cup ice cream. We sat on a lakeside bench while enjoying the cool treats. On Friday, we woke up early, dined on Carlos’s famous oatmeal with chia seeds, and spent the afternoon mountain biking through Bear Basin. The evening festivities included an intimate evening of jazz of Ruperts.
At this incredible event, I ran into many friends from my past. One of my favorites was a childhood friend named Sam. I have not seen him for over 25 years. His high school passion for music was still present as we soaked up the notes on the outdoor patio. It turns out that Sam pursued his passion and made it to LA as a bonafide rock star. According to Wikepedia, The Nymphs survived for 7 years and were ultimately signed by Geffen Records. However, the band’s wild behavior led to some companies losing interest. Sam is still in possession of a concert poster introducing Nirvana as the opening act for The Nymphs. Sam is now an accountant for the State of Idaho, but his passion is still in tunes. He recently recorded a new album and made it a family affair by utilizing his dad’s trombone skills.
The two day Jazz festival benefits The Shepard’s House. Two loving souls founded this charity about 20 years ago and they raise foster children. The founders were there and gave a heartwarming explanation of the history. Curtis Stigers brought several of his musician pals, including Scraper Schneider, Ann Calloway, and Joel Frahm. I cannot imagine a better way to spend an evening.
Saturday was filled with more mountain biking and and seven seven hours of jazz at the McCall golf course. The crowd went wild when Ann Calloway sang her freshly minted original “I Feel the Call of McCall.” On Sunday, we loaded up the car and drove the Brudnage Mountain and proceeded to hike into Goose Creek Falls. The stunning scenery and conversations were priceless. That afternoon, we did another long mountain bike ride.
Throughout this time, I spent some moments in my past. The majority of my vacation is in the minutiae of the present moment. A place that can never be found in the bottom of a can on Coors.