to Victor go the spoils

When we first arrived in Teton Valley, Idaho back in ’06, we lived in Victor. We then moved to Driggs, back to Victor, then Tetonia, then back to Driggs. In October of 2012, it was back to Victor.


When we initiated this latest move, it felt somehow more satisfying than what we had gone through with our other experiences. We were returning to a part of the valley that had provided many happy experiences and memories for us. From ribs at the Knotty Pine to hiking Moose Creek, to tackling the sport of broomball on frigid winter nights, we met many valley residents in Victor that became our friends for the long haul.

When we left Victor for Tetonia five years ago, it meant that we had bought our own Teton Valley home on three acres. We were cow adjacent, and spent time bird watching through our larger than life windows that graced our domicile with a beautiful southern exposure that also provided passive solar heat.

Then the recession hit. I lost my job. We lost the house. We moved into a rental in Driggs. A handful of more life altering experiences awaited us here. Our niece moved in, attended the local middle school, and then left after six months. Her departure saddened me so much that we gained another cat. Our nephew moved in during the summer of 2011, and had the experience of attending Teton High during his senior year.

In the early spring of 2012, I made a decision that crippled us financially. I quit my job. I felt forced into doing it, as it had dawned upon me that my employer was a lowdown, dishonest prick. His constant double talk and half-truths were catching up to him. I could not, in good conscience, continue to work for such a scumbag. Of course, Teton Valley being Teton Valley, there were no jobs waiting for me after I signed my resignation letter.

By July of the same year, I had not found a full time job. Something had to give, and it did. We decided to move to Missoula, Montana. I went there for a job interview and to stay with friends that used to live in TV. My traveling buddy, Jenny, toured the University of Montana campus with me. We bought souvenirs. I thought the answer was to leave Teton Valley.

In the meantime, I interviewed for a job in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I thought, This is a really good back-up plan just in case Missoula doesn’t work out. As a matter of fact, I was made an offer of employment after two interviews and accepted it. All the while, I was thinking, They will make me an offer in Missoula and I’ll never have to show up for the Jackson Hole gig.

The way it all turned out was vastly different than what I or Tim intended. I was made an offer of employment in Missoula, and at the same time, was assigned a start date for the job in Jackson. We hemmed and hawed. We made a pro/con list. We thought about our friends in the valley, and what had kept us here for almost seven years. We were desperate to somehow pull the parachute and vacate, but in the end, we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.

I kept the job in Jackson and we moved into a rental in Victor so that my commute over “the hill” (i.e., 8,000 foot mountain pass) would be just a little more tolerable. The home we now occupy is an aging structure that has rested on its foundation for at least one hundred years. In the backyard sits a small greenhouse, and at the edge of that same yard is a two-story artist’s studio that Tim happily occupies while he chisels away at his sculptures.

Victor, Idaho surrounds us. We are a stone’s throw from the Victor Valley Market, and even closer to the city park where Music on Main is held in the summer. The Brakeman Grill, our favorite place to eat a hamburger, is mere blocks away. The Kotler Arena, where valley residents get their skate on, is right up the road. Pioneer Park beckons with its groomed Nordic trails and dog park. The Knotty Pine remains one of the best places to haunt.

My mind brims with memories of moves from long ago. Raised as an Air Force brat, I didn’t know what it was like to live anywhere for longer than three years until I was an adult. Even then, my moving clock would sound the alarm after three or so years – where to next? If Tim and I are going on seven years in this high mountain valley, it is close to the longest I have lived in any one place (second only to the Seattle area: 1991 to 1999). When you invest time in a place, it becomes a part of your make-up. Parts of you start to reflect the place that you call home: your choice of hobby, the clothes you wear, and the friends you make.

The girl who spent her life starting over – saying goodbye every three years – has begun to realize that you don’t have to go to a new place to begin again. I don’t know if this latest craving to beat feet to Missoula had something to do with the long held wanderlust that my childhood created. What I do know is that Victor, Idaho is my home, and I am so very grateful for the comfort of it all.

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