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Grace Olmstead’s Uprooted Idaho, and My Own

Grace Olmstead’s Uprooted Idaho, and My Own

Last summer my family and I drove right by Emmett, Idaho, the ancestral home of Grace Olmstead, author of the wonderful, if imperfect, Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind. Idaho’s Gem County (Emmett is the county seat) is beautiful country, which it was good to reminded of. We were traveling from Spokane, Washington (where I was born and raised, and where my widowed mother–whom my children hadn’t seen in years, and needed to visit–continues to live in a cabin atop what we call Fox Hill just over the Idaho border) to Gooding, Idaho (for a big family gathering which, out of pandemic-related concerns for our mother’s health, we held someplace other than the old homestead). If we’d taken the interstate, we would have traveled faster, but missed the scenery, so instead we took state highways through the wheat fields of the Palouse, down into Hells Canyon, up again into the forested mountains around Payette Lake (we swam for a bit, but Sharlie, the legendary monster of Payette, made no appearance), and then down again towards Boise, before getting on the interstate and heading east across southern Idaho’s Snake River Plain to our destination. If I’d known that reading Olmstead’s book was in my future, I would have made sure we stopped for dinner in Emmett instead of later on.

I take the time to talk about the landscape around these places because it is the land of southwestern Idaho, and the people who built small farming towns like Emmett on that land, that Olmstead approaches in her book with great–though sometimes uneven–passion and grace…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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