Today I went looking for somewhere to cross-country ski up near Idaho City. I picked up Steve who was hitchhiking up Centerville Road. He invited me to follow his snowshoe tracks up to his cabin. He said I should go ahead because I’ll “get real tired” of waiting for him as he has to rest every few feet. He also told me to call Leanne’s name when I get to the cabin and tell her that Steve is on his way and that I would like a cup of coffee. Before I had a chance to yell for Leanne, she came out and said, “Talk about catching me in the middle of a haircut…” I told her what Steve had said and she invited me in. She said, “I’m in the middle of getting a haircut.” It turned out that she was also giving a haircut. I drank my good, sweet cup of coffee while she stood over a bucket that was catching the drips from the leaking ceiling, and dropped locks of hair into it. She’d been cutting her own hair since she was ten years old. She also told me that she’d been taking cases to court since she was 15 years old. She grew up in a children’s home and sued said home for abuse. Some people do not take long to get to know. A good thing to know about Steve and Leanne is that there is always a pot of coffee brewing. I learned about Don, her ex-husband, Dotty, whose cabin was taken by the forest service, and what's-his-name who shot himself.
Steve and Leanne live in a hundred dollar house with a million dollar view. They are on top of a ridge with views of mountains and valleys and, on this afternoon, a beautiful snowstorm heading east. They share this house and view with five dogs, three little and two big. Two of the little dogs begged me for pets while the other stayed in a kennel and growled. One of the dogs was a Border terrier mix. I told Leanne that my friend Jon in Milwaukee was about to head to Tennessee to get a Border terrier. She looked disappointed and told me that her dog was just coming into heat. The big dogs were wolf mixes. The cabin was decorated with antelope heads, half a mountain goat and coyote pelts. Apparently Steve got them when he worked at Idaho Youth Ranch, a local chain of thrift stores. Leanne told me that taxidermy does not sell well so Steve had rescued it from the trash.
Oh yeah, one of the first things Leanne showed me was her portfolio of photographs on her cell phone. There were pictures of the dogs, Steve shoveling snow off the roof, the million-dollar view, etc. After I put her phone on the table she said with a knowing air, “So what do you think, could I make it in your class?” She’d been taking pictures since she was a kid. In fact her daughter took a photo class at Boise State and would take some of Leanne’s photographs in and claim them as her own – you know, to guarantee a good grade. I told her she would do fine in my class. She might have to get a phone with more pixels though.