In any case, apparently absence really does make the heart grow fonder. The longer I've lived consistently away from that stupid little town, the more I find myself pleased to see it (though that could just be the relief at the conclusion of a ridiculous 9 hour drive). For all the unpleasant things, I also can remember the many good things, the charming quirks. Furthermore, seeing the way my students are brought up here in the big Sin City sometimes makes me grateful that I spent my teenage years in the relative 'quiet' of rural Idaho. So I guess in the spirit of that whole "love thy enemy" thing, here is a list of things that I don't hate about B, Idaho.
- I don't hate that every kid I went to high school with knew how to jump a car, change a tire, drive on icy roads, and shoot a gun.
- I don't hate that we had things like "drive your tractor to school" day. (My students get a KICK out of that one.)
- I don't hate that we had school-sanctioned bonfires during homecoming week in the parking lot of the old football field.
- I don't hate the fact that my younger siblings are growing up with a back acre to play in and a long driveway to ride their bikes/scooters without major supervision.
- I don't hate that during the summer you'll run into almost everyone in town while out on the river.
- I don't hate the 4th of July celebrations.
- I don't hate the way DQ is packed every Friday night after a big game.
- I don't hate the fact that when our boys and girls basketball teams both took the state championship (one of my first years of high school) school was cancelled on Friday and most businesses took a day off because everyone drove up to Boise to support the local teams.
- I don't hate that we got snow days.
- I don't hate that I finished high school in a relative state of innocence.
- I don't hate that you can know who exactly is at the movie theater just by the cars/trucks in the parking lot.
- I don't hate that you can always see the stars.
- I don't hate Fair/Rodeo week.
- I don't hate that my much-younger siblings have the same teachers I had in jr high/high school.
- I don't hate that almost everyone learned how to drive well before they were 14.5.
- I don't hate the way a good Idaho sunset looks over the fields.
- I don't hate the way all the main street businesses would decorate their windows for homecoming.
- I don't hate the way the community can sometimes truly come together as a community.
- ....and if I'm being really honest, I don't always hate the prime gossip fodder that grows perpetually in that town.
I don't know. Maybe absence really does make the heart grow fonder--or maybe I'm currently just in a sappy mood and the fondness will be gone as soon as I read all about the latest and greatest town scandal. In either case, there are moments when I find myself surprisingly grateful for some of the memories and experiences I had in that little town, and it probably wouldn't hurt much (except my inner Hate Smurf) to acknowledge that sometimes.
You know what's really hard about being full of 'righteous fury' towards something?
You look really dumb when you're proven wrong.
I mean, again, in the spirit of my truly spiteful, stubborn, and Hate Smurfy personality, I won't say that I'm completely wrong. There are always gonna be things that make my blood boil and encourage me to bring out my sad little soapbox.
You know how you're supposed to find things to learn in every trial?
Sometimes they're big things, sometimes they're small.
Occasionally, they're big pieces-of-humble-pie things.
Let me set the scene for you really quick, without going into too much detail (because everyone knows your privacy is totally guaranteed on the internet, right? 😐).
The last 10 months or so have been pretty sucky for my family.
Well, I mean, not so much for me directly, but for my dad--and my mom--and therefore, for the rest of us by extension, I guess. Dad's battled some major health issues, and it hasn't always been a guarantee that he would make his way back. And now, at what is hopefully the end of his trial, he's going forward with a big part of his life changed forever.
He's a warrior, a superhero.
But it's been hard.
If I'm being honest, I'm afraid a significant portion of my personality stems from my dislike (some would even say 'Smurf Hatred') for what I'm begrudgingly beginning to acknowledge as my "hometown." I mean, don't act like this is a surprise. If you know me at all, you've probably heard me make anywhere from 25-10,000,000 snarky comments about "good ol' B Idaho."
I've let my experiences sour me on the people, and I'm not very proud of the many interactions wherein I've 'managed' to keep from rolling my eyes until they couldn't see.
I wasn't kind.
I wasn't always wrong, but I definitely wasn't always kind.
My slice of humble pie is huge, y'all.
I say the last 10 months have been hard, but it's really only been intermittently difficult until just a few weeks ago. Until the you-know-what well and truly hit the fan.
I took a few days off and headed up to the great, freezing North to be with my family after the big surgery. If you ask my magnanimous side, I went because I wanted to be there to help, to run kids to places and clean the house and make dinner and lessen the load and everything.
.....But I probably also went because I was worn-out with dealing with the worry all alone.
In the week that I was there, I witnessed an incredibly honest and real outpouring of love and concern for my family. Enough that it eventually brought me to frequent remorseful prayer for all the hate and bitterness I've been carrying.
Because, the thing is...when there are meals brought every night, when there are flowers and cards sent to brighten the room, when there are a steady stream of visitors that just want to express their love, when a whole deluge of people descend on your parents' house to do the yard work, when a (frequently mocked/disliked) neighbor shows at the front door nearly in tears over your dad's condition just asking what he can do to help, when your mom's phone is literally always ringing with messages of support, when you're stopped in the store or outside the siblings' school to give an update, when it feels like a large portion of the community is rallying around your family and giving them the support and love you never thought they were capable of--
It's hard to hate.
After all the bad, I saw genuine and frequent manifestations of the good.
(the ugly was probably me.)
There's no real point to me writing this, I guess.
Except I need to admit that I was maybe a little bit wrong.
(.......ugh, that burnssssss, precious)
And I want to semi-publicly acknowledge and express gratitude for those who helped my parents/siblings during this difficult time.
And.....I want to remind myself.
For the next time I start getting all Hate Smurfy, thinking about the specific wrongs that have been done to my people, I'll have a physical (internetical?) copy of proof that people aren't all bad. That, in a place where I got so used to expecting the worst of humanity, I was shown the best.
That maybe I should swallow my righteous pride and climb down off that high horse.
Well done, Idaho.
Badly done, me.
Guess I'm gonna have to find something else to Hate Smurf about....