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Life, and Death. And Life.

fly rodLife in Idaho… I’ve been practicing my fly-fishing cast out in the road behind our RV, aiming to land my fly on a paper plate. Jon has been out with me, working on technique–and he’ll take me to try it on water once I’m hitting that plate regularly. (We picked up our three-year hunting-and-fishing licenses on our anniversary—that’s romance in Idaho!) In the meantime, I’m just excited when I “catch” the paper-plate fish.

Yesterday we took a Sunday stroll through some parts of Boise’s new water park, scoping out the trails and potential fishing spots. The stretch of the Boise River coming through town has been transformed into Class-five rapids thanks to spring run-off, but the little lakes at the park look unbelievably serene.

Esther Simplot park Boise
yup, that’s a view in the middle of our city

I wanted to take some of that serenity home in my pocket. It’s been a rough week.

Walking along the water, we couldn’t help but be thinking of Jon’s best friend Kip… Last Sunday Kip was walking the Greenbelt path along the river with his dog Scratch when he dropped from a sudden heart attack. Kip was just past 50, the “strong-man” of the auto shop where he and Jon worked together. He had an unassuming manner overlaid with the most infectious smile, and his face lit up when he talked about his muscle cars or his Faith.

There’s a huge hole in Jon’s day now–he keeps expecting Kip (or Scratch) to come through the shop door. It felt surreal to write “Kip’s funeral” on our calendar where surely it should have said “Kip to dinner“…

Kip’s Chevelle—the roaring send-off

We gathered at his graveside in a rainstorm Saturday morning—an assembly of umbrellas over the bowed heads of shop-customers, family members, and the entire church Men’s Group… The only mourner missing was Scratch (who’s being adopted by Kip’s brother). Even Kip’s favorite car was there, pulled up alongside to give him the fitting send-off of an engine-roar.

We’re glad that Kip spent his last day with his dad, working on a car together. We’re glad to know he’s sitting at the Lord’s table, where he can always have seconds. But man, will he be missed! 

Now Jon is helping Kip’s parents with the daunting task of piecing together the various vintage cars in varying stages of reconstruction—not to mention untangling the array of trades, deals, and payment arrangements he had made with people for cars and car-parts. (Someone joked Saturday that his four favorite words—“Do you take payments?“—should be inscribed on his headstone.)

We’re trying to focus this week on the Pastor’s reminder, because he framed it perfectly: “We can imagine that when Kip got to the golden gates, Saint Peter headed him off before he could even open his mouth. ‘No, Kip,’ says Peter, ‘We don’t take payments. Your price has already been paid in full.'” Thank you, Jesus. And thanks for giving us Kip, for the time we had him.




I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

4 thoughts on “Life, and Death. And Life.

  1. Wow, what a beautiful post and tribute to a life well lived!!! My husband is a car guy, too. We love to hike and have been doing a lot of it these past 3 years. We learned in spite of his “apparent” good fitness, he was only a heart attack away from death, like Kip. Thankfully he had an opportunity to right his sinking ship. We’ve blogged about his journey to good health. We want to share his story to perhaps help others not go before we think it’s their time! Of course, our Lord has the final say. But hubby is grateful for his early death sentence. He hopes to see our grandsons grow up into fine young men. And we hope to learn how to fish so we can take them fishing! For both dinner and then for eternal souls!


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