Monday, October 18, 2010

Here's to You Robert A. Tidwell Hacky Sir

The Olsen's biggest, funnest, newest summer project happened around July. It ends up the hole in the backyard, which used to serve as a retention pond prior to city-wide gutters, still has a purpose. For some blessed holy reason, underground spring water flows into it during a few precious summer months. Usually, by the beginning of summer (and the end of spring) it's a soggy mess, but this year? It just kept a flowin' like honey in the Promised Land.

See. No swampy crap. Full-fledged pond. The Mister and I? Well we's gots right dern excited.

So in blur of euphoria, The Mister of the House called up some dude that owns a trout farm, who has a big truck with a tank, and a son to help do the job.

We purchased 50 trout, knowing that our un-lined little pond was operating on a wing and a prayer. But the memory of having to go fishing in the backyard was worth the risk.

The water was cold (like trout thrive in) and was full of little snails they like to eat. So into the water they went!

Before long we thought we needed to christen our new thriving pond with a name. It was then I reminisced my sweet innocent Idaho Days and hanging out with my bestest friend Kristi.

Here we are getting college credit while camping, hiking, swimming, and backpacking. You had no idea you had it so bad right?

So the thing is, Kristi lived on 241 Steiner Avenue, a little dead end a few blocks from "the college". Her papa taught English, and in those few and free summer months, he was the handyman. I watched every summer as he built a pond with a pump. Created a rock waterfall into the pond. Build a deck around the pond. Painted the fence, trimmed the trees, and even raised an existing backyard shop by several feet to fit his camper.

He wrote (and still writes) poems, and in a lovely and endearing British Turn, named his piece of property "Mellow Wood".

He was adorable!

I saw him just this past summer at his son's art exhibit. It was like old times, except now I longer have a tan, don't sleep well while I camp, and an a wimp. Oh, and someone vital to the mix was missing...but other than that, just like old times!

And so we thought it only fitting to name our little trout pond "Mellow Wood Pond". The Mister even tracked down an old piece of barn wood for me to paint the name on.

And dammit that thing dried up before I got my sign painted!

So Mr. Robert A. Tidwell Hacky Sir, I chomped a trout in your name and when that pond comes back next year it will once again remind me of yours and my days with Idaho Summers. And since your Mr. English Professor, would I say your and my days...or yours and mine days? That last one was just messed up right?

At any rate, your Mellow Wood lives on in the fresh and cold underground spring feeding into my dirt and my soul.

Good things are precious because they are fleeting it seems...


paula said...

I'm sure they are going to love to read this. I love this story. You and Giz (yes-Holly and I still call her that) were like two peas in a pod. How is she?

Monica said...

I'm so glad to hear the true story of why the pond drained and all the fish died. I thought ma and pa were to blame when they were babysitting. Poor little fishies.

Ms. Fish said...

This was awesome!!! What a beautiful tribute. I felt proud and homesick and happy and sad (for the drying up) all in one!

You are an incredible storyteller and have a way with words. Or is it ways with a word?

K is a lucky girl to call you friend.

jennaloha said...

It looks like you had killer fun with that stripper pole in college.

I miss Kristi. I got to work with her the summer after graduation in West Yellowstone, cleaning Japanese hair out of bathtubs in hotel rooms. It was a horrible job but- Kristi was there and I just loved hanging out with her. You should have come too! There was plenty of hotel tubs for everyone...

Mrs. Olsen said...

How is Kristi? To be honest, we are both horrible about staying in touch. HOWEVER, she is in med school right now and doing her residency back east. She will be a full-fledged doctor soon. I always knew she was a genius!

Jenna, I remember the YW summer, and I visited several times. I'm sure I would have loved that job, simply because of national parks, friends, the playmill, and the fudge store on main street.

LGH said...

Amber, this is such a great post...thanks for all the kind words about Robert A. Tidwell Hacky...(what an incredible memory you have.) I love the way you tell a story with your fun pictures, words, are a great writer, a dear friend, an awesome mom, and now, a farmer's wife too! BTW, love the new picture! Such a handsome father and beautiful children. You rock, my friend!

Justin Hackworth said...

You are a great writer. Also, I would like some smoked trout.