Hello Idaho by Robert Ehlert: Giving many thanks for many things

November 28, 2013 

Robert Ehlert

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My Thanksgiving dreams come complete with turkey and trimmings, a side dish of game bird and buckshot, mashed potato dams fork-­fortified and restraining gurgling goose gravy reservoirs.

In real life I have celebrated them in Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, California and now Idaho.

More often than not, one of the elders in attendance will rise, tap a teaspoon on a wine glass and ask to hear what those assembled are thankful for since the last Thanksgiving.

This year I am ready, having logged notes during the last 13 months.

November 2012

Loss of job in California.

Future uncertain, but thankful I won't be working in politics anymore (long story) and looking forward to an opportunity to re-enter the journalism world. But when? Where?

December 2012

Last paycheck from job, unemployment clouds horizon.

Thankful for time to visit with my 92-year-old mother and a 25-year-old nephew, who awaits a heart transplant. Their Midwest perspectives trump my trivial troubles.

January 2013

Job market frustrating, house payment adjustment denied.

Thankful for a roof over my head, freelance writing assignments and time to get back in shape by swimming and riding my bike. Thankful exercise defeats angst.

February 2013

Clumsy attempts to crack code and file for unemployment benefits. Job prospects iffy.

Thankful for a better understanding of the jobless and less fortunate. Thankful I have survived a layoff before, nearly six months in 1999.

March 2013

Household income takes a dive. Employment search invades sleep.

Thankful for my family and faith in tough times, and what I consider a dream job interview to become editorial page editor at the Idaho Statesman in Boise.

April 2013

Bills mount in the Golden State, Gem State beckons.

Thankful for new job at the Idaho Statesman –- even though I must temporarily leave my wife back in California. Tough dealing with the separation, but I am trusting Idaho is where we are supposed to land. Wife's nickname: Potato Girl.

May 2013

My tough-sell California "under water" home an obstacle to reuniting.

Thankful for unexpected uptick in California real estate market and - this is truly amazing - a "break-even" offer to buy my house by a neighbor during a visit back on Memorial Day Weekend. This is a sign and a blessing.

June 2013

Expense of two households and California cost of living make money evaporate.

Thankful we are both employed again - even though living in different states - and that the house deal in California is progressing.

July 2013

Decision time: California or Idaho?

Thankful Idaho is a fantastic option and the sale of our home in California has made it possible to consider purchasing in Boise. Thankful for a trip to attend oldest son's wedding in Oregon wine country and visit with all three sons and extended family. Potato Girl cuts employment strings with California.

August 2013

Moving-related expenses, back to one income.

Thankful to be re-united with my wife under the same roof after four months, for my job, for manageable Idaho cost of living. Potato Girl discovers Boise Fry Company.

September 2013

The Idaho adventure begins, no looking back.

Thankful to learn we will become grandparents in June. Thankful for new acquaintances and beautiful fall weather that make us feel at home in Idaho.

October 2013

Shocking diagnosis of wife's breast cancer. Uncertain prognosis. Deep breaths.

Thankful, to date, this "aggressive cancer" shows no evidence of spreading. Thankful for support of new friends, colleagues and medical team at St. Luke's Health System.

November 2013

Breast cancer surgery completed Nov. 14 with a caring, compassionate surgeon and team at St. Luke's.

Thankful for the outcome so far, promising pathology reports. Thankful two of three adult sons will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner in Boise today. Thankful we will share our thankfulness.

Potato Girl + Famous Idaho Potatoes = one mean mash.

In this life there are no Thanksgiving guarantees, but we continue to log the blessings that arrive monthly until the next one.

When life buffets you the biggest blessing of all is when faith and fate deliver you to a Thanksgiving buffet in Idaho.

Robert Ehlert is the Statesman's editorial page editor. Contact him at 377-6437, or on Twitter @IDS_HelloIdaho.

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