[tah-nuh n-boum; English tan–uh n-boum]
noun, plural Tannenbäume
[tah-nuh n-boi-muh] (Show IPA). English, Tannenbaums. German.
- a Christmas tree.
It was a very Idahoey, wintery, Christmasy thing to do, so we poured hot dark coffee in thermoses, brought my last Cold Mountain into the cold mountains, and trudged through the snowy forest to find the perfect Tannenbaums.
It was only $10 for a permit to go into the woods and find “the one” to cover in lights and adorn with Grandma Doris’ tree skirt and an assortment of ornaments made in third grade.
When I saw him, I said, “The more I look at him, the more I like him.”
Meet Herman. He’s exactly what I dreamed my first real tree to be.
And meet James and his dazzler, Dolores:
Herman is not as close to the fire as he appears. Fear not.
1: a whim; notion.
2: a whimsical or fanciful ornament or contrivance; gimmick.
Friday was my one year Idahome anniversary. It was also the Lit Walk the library puts on, full of local authors and wine and cheese and a tour of downtown with activities and book readings.
Cheryl, the owner of Chapter One Bookstore, saw me in line at the post office, mentioned the Lit Walk and, maybe on a whigmaleerie, said, “And you’re a featured author!”
I laughed. She said, “I’m serious. Order more books.” She was next in line and walked away to send her mail.
I got back to my cabin, sat in the rocking chair, and smiled thinking about being a “featured author” at the Lit Walk to celebrate my year anniversary. So I ordered more books which arrived with one day to spare.
I served others wine because serving is my career these days. I handed off a Chardonnay and met a fellow author who was completely lovely and quite hilarious. Conversation with her was the highlight of my evening. She spent fifteen years writing about the death of her ten-year-old son.
“Beth, you’re up,” Cheryl said. I was the first one to read. I took a sip of wine.
My new author friend put my hand on her arm and said, “Just look at me if you get nervous!”
I didn’t look up at all and I read about a quarter of what I intended to read because I felt like I was going on and on. I felt a bit silly for having such a light-hearted book among several serious tomes. But I think it went well. What a memorable experience! Eight books have sold and even though Cheryl might’ve asked me on a whigmaleerie, I’m really glad she did.
- a ladylove; a sweetheart.
I sit on the stool behind the cash register and throw my feet up on the shelf so my legs do not dangle. I open The Little Paris Bookshop and get completely lost in the story. It’s charming and inspirational and heart-wrenching. I’m no longer in the bookstore working, I’m on a boat on the Seine with a fifty-year-old man searching for the love of his life, his dulcinea, that most likely passed away twenty-one years ago.
“Kastner was one reason I called my book barge the Literary Apothecary,” said Perdu. “I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors…The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end. Or when you recognize that you haven’t got your whole life left to find out where you belong. Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn’t develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion. Or those birthday morning blues. Nostalgia for the air of your childhood. Things like that.”
He takes his boat full of books to search for the woman he cannot forget. The dulcinea who got him and made him feel alive. All others pale in comparison, in fact, he doesn’t even try so the comparison never begins.
I have a solitary tear forming in my eye. A customer opens the door. I stand up but my words aren’t coming out. I’m on a boat with Monsieur Perdu. I’m seasick by the transition back to reality.
“Hello” is what I get out far too late to be appropriate. I wipe my eye and dry my hand on my jeans.
1. readily or plainly seen, heard, perceived, etc.; obvious; evident: a palpable lie; palpable absurdity.
2. capable of being touched or felt; tangible.
PALpable love. I can’t imagine my life without this big fella after only three months of rescuing each other.
This photo was taken by the talented Bekka at the animal shelter and it makes me smile so big.
adverb, Chiefly Western U.S.
- very; exceedingly.
Season changes in Idaho overwhelm me. I thought nothing could beat autumn, but I find myself tearing up because of the beauty of spring. After a long cold winter, it’s as if each flower is a message from God. One is saying, “You did it! Way to go!” Another: “This is for walking to work in 12 degree weather!” “This daffodil is for embracing the chilly skate ski mornings.” I listen to each flower’s sentiment and smile back.
I talk to Pal like he’s a person. “Bubs, look! Oh my gosh. To the left! Look at the lupines up there! We must get closer.”
Spring is larruping beautiful. It’s as if Pal reads my mind as he finds a cluster of wildflowers and sits among them. I take photos and laugh like a giddy child. The smell of the mountainside is intoxicating. Maybe that’s why I’m laughing so much, I’m wildflower drunk.
- the common people; the masses (often preceded by the).
Sometimes it’s nice to embrace being one of the hoi polloi. It’s easier at times to just blend in, to put your earphones in and keep quiet while in an airport or on a plane.
Flying is full of ups and downs. For me, not just geographically but emotionally, too, especially if I’m leaving my nephew and his cheeks. I love Idaho and its open space and its mountains and its people. I hate how far it is from my sweet family. The plane engine starts to hum and I start to over evaluate my current story.
The flight attendant’s voice in shockingly loud on the intercom. My face involuntarily cringes. She pauses at inappropriate times, like she’s reading a script she’s never seen before.
“Closest usable exit might be located <<pause>> behind you…We’ll be dimming the cabin lights for take <<pause>> off.”
I take a sip of the free lukewarm coffee. Van Morrison’s “Someone Like You” shuffles on my “Sunset” playlist. The sun is exceedingly bright and the glare is almost too much to take, but I can’t look away. My heart is soaring just like the warm plane. I open my air vent.
The man next to me leaves his biscuit cookie on the seat between us. I think he’s giving it to me because I inhaled mine as if I hadn’t overeaten for two weeks in Florida.
I nap on and off, on and off for hours and hours. I’m one of the hoi polloi. I’ve avoided all eye contact because I’m not in a small talk kind of mood. I nap for another hour. I open a book. At the first signs of life from his row mate, the man next to me looks my way and I can see his lips moving. Hoi polloi destruction. I remove one earphone. He speaks in the most charming Irish accent. He is talking about the biscuit cookie. We both know I want it. He says, “I ate before I boarded the plane. American portions, wow!”
We chat easily, both taking breaks to check the status of the sun. He’s a captivating fella. After hearing each other’s cliffnote stories, he looks me in the eyes and says, “You should walk the Camino.”
I say, “Okay,” and mean it. My cousins, Jill and CJ, spoke of this plan years ago.
We exchange email addresses and I believe we’ll see each other again. I hope the trail is sprinkled with biscuit cookies. I’m not just one of the masses today. I’m Gerard’s friend. I’m a girl that will one day walk El Camino de Santiago.
- ankle boots with ridged soles, used especially for hiking.
I feel very lucky to now have many people in my life who will strap on their wafflestompers and go on an adventure with me and my polar bear. About halfway through the hike, they start brainstorming about what they want for brunch. Waffles hopefully. Some place where breakfast is served all day. With endless coffee. We’ll fit in while we eat our waffles in our wafflestompers and hiking apparel because we live in the mountains of Central Idaho.
For a couple years, I only wore big leather wafflestompers whilst in elementary school in Florida. I loved to dress like a hiker and daydream of mountains and trees. I tied a flannel jacket around my waist, knowing I’d never have to use it in the 99 degree weather. I loved growing up in Florida and playing ball and being near the beach. But I feel like I can breathe deeply out here in Idaho. The fact that I can jump in Sangria Kia and turn left to hike in the Pioneer Mountains, turn right to explore my favorite Boulder Mountains, or run up the mountain in my backyard (part of the Smoky Mountains), is overwhelming and refreshing. The wide open spaces are so good for the soul. And the calves. My waterproof wafflestompers have practical use. Sometimes I wear them even if I don’t have a hike planned, because you never know.