In my life I’ve found that I need to be reminded of some things occasionally. I had a few of those reminders recently.
I took a trip with my brother and my mom down to Spokane, Washington for a memorial service for my uncle. I hadn’t seen my uncle in a long time, nor had I talked to him. You know how you just get busy in life and kind of forget about simple things like this.
I am glad I made the trip down to see relatives, some of whom I have no memory at all, but they remember me when I was waist high. I don’t remember Spokane at all. I think it’d probably almost been 30 years since I’d last been there.
It was nice to be able to travel with my mom and brother and talk with them for an extended period of time that I really don’t get to do very often anymore. We travelled from Edmonton through the Crowsnest Pass to Cranbrook and down through Sandpoint, Idaho. We then travelled from Sandpoint, through Coeur d’Alene and on to Spokane.
I hadn’t realized it was such a short trip that could easily be made from my home in one slightly long day. I had no memory of any part of Idaho, but I was really amazed by it. It is rugged, beautiful country, and the people there are great.
I recently visited Lacombe, Alberta for another memorial service. I was reminded of its downtown in each US community we passed through. Turn of the 20th century brick buildings are in abundance, and it tends to give those communities a warmer, friendly feel.
Spokane especially had a plentiful supply of these historic brick buildings. I wish builders would put that amount of work into buildings today. It’s rare to see a building these days you could describe as ornate.
While Spokane did have these buildings, and many 30s and 40s era houses, I was quite shocked to see the decay there. I saw many houses that were boarded up with overgrown yards or generally not maintained.
I was puzzled by it because I’m not used to seeing that. There is a bit of that in some areas of Edmonton, but nothing compared to what I saw in Spokane.
I’m at a loss to explain it. I know the economy is tough in the U.S. right now, but this level of decay spans many, many years. I don’t know much about the economy of Spokane, but I suspect that it’s probably been tough for a while.
I didn’t see much of that in Idaho though, as we seemed to have travelled through a fairly prosperous resort and agricultural area. My mom had wanted to stop in Post Falls, Idaho because she remembered a large area of outlet stores.
On our way back home we stopped in Post Falls to stay at a hotel before shopping there the next morning. It’s a good thing we talked to the hotel clerks and drove through that shopping area. There were perhaps ten small shops open in the large strip malls that paralleled the road. It was shocking to see that amount of commercial real estate sitting empty.
I did love Idaho though. The area around Sandpoint is beautiful. I love the quaint town and if you’re into the outdoors, Sandpoint offers a lot from fishing to skiing. If I were to live anywhere in the U.S., I could see it being here.
I was reminded that I have a big family, which I am not able to see very often, but I should make time to see. Not having kept in touch with so many of them makes me sad. Life has a way of filling your time with a lot of activities far less important than keeping in touch with your family and friends.
I am lucky to have so many family and friends that care for me, and I care for them, no matter what happens. In the end, family and friends are what matter most.
My hope is that I’ll be able to spend much more time in the future visiting family and friends and not just keeping up with what they’re doing on Facebook.