Highway 55 North from Boise to McCall. Probably my all-time favorite drives and I’ve driven this a few hundred times over the years and it never gets old. Winding along the Payette River thru the mountains, raging whitewater next to the highway, snow capped mountains, wildlife, ascending to over 5,280 feet by the time you get to McCall, complete with crisp, cool clean air and the overwhelming scent of pine trees.
One of my best friend’s dad built the Cold Mountain lookout tower cabin in the Idaho wilderness, northeast of McCall, Idaho. He built it in 1932, by hand. He would work on it and every 30 minutes he would go up in the tower and look for forest fires. He lived there during the “fire” season from late spring to fall.
Even more amazing is when my friend’s parents were trying to start a family in the early 1940’s they weren’t able to have children without a costly operation for his mother. In order to get enough money for the operation, (people worked and paid for things in advance back in the old days, today we’re smarter and more advanced and go into debt…) he decided to go overseas and work for a construction company for 9 mos. on Wake Island. He would earn enough money for the operation. After 7 1/2 mos. there, the Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and then headed to Wake Island, and took control of it. He was captured as a prisoner and taken to Japan where he spent the entire World War in a P.O.W. camp. It wasn’t until after the war that U.S. troops discovered the camp and the prisoners were released. All his mom knew, was that Wake Island had been taken over by the Japan and hadn’t heard from her husband. She waited all those months and years for him. Eventually, she received a letter from him and she at least knew he was still alive. So many men didn’t make it and died in the camp, some came home mentally ill and some turned to alcohol. My friend’s dad was very meek and helped so many to survive the experience by keeping his mind focused. As my friend was sharing this story of his parent’s love and devotion to each other, and commitment to having a family I felt like I was watching a movie. I could see it all in my mind. And at the same time, grieved at how far our nation has gotten away from basic love and commitment to one another and the value of our children. There are waaay too many tragic stories involving children today but this was a great story about a real hero. We should all be so blessed to have dad’s like that.