Portraits Of An Idaho Resident

Over the course of this summer and moving forward, a dirt road I frequently drive near Sun Valley, Trail Creek, is being paved. It's really quite a bummer for me for numerous reasons including it just doesn't seem to make sense to pave a road that gets as little use as this road gets in addition to the astronomical costs associated with paving and the potentially increased driving speeds--think open range livestock grazing--and the fact that it's just a special place that will likely see increased use due to the fact the road will no longer puncture tires at the same rate.

With all of that said, I have been stopped daily on my way to guiding the Lost River by a few flaggers working the road construction zone. A week or so ago, one of the flaggers, a woman with a "stop" and "slow" sign stopped me and as we talked mentioned she wanted to give me something. Keep in mind I had at this point been stopped by this woman many times prior and generally rolled down my window to talk with her. I wanted to ask her about her blow horn attached to the pole of her sign and why she calls her little car parked off to the side "The Chicken Chaser." What are her days like? I have been thinking of writing a short story in the perspective of a flagger and thought, why not try to talk with as many flaggers as possible? This particular one, Susie, always has a smile and is talkative and tough in her own ways. Think of standing with a stop/slow sign for up to 12 hours a day. Meditative? Sore legs and back? Rain and hail storms... Dust. Rude impatient drivers.

She walked over to "The Chicken Chaser" and opened the rear end and sorted through a cooler and walked over to me with a handful of canned goods. She handed through the window of my dirty suburban corn relish and sweet pickles and tomatoes with jalapenos all from her garden in Challis, Idaho. She mentioned she liked me due to the fact I talk with her and probably find a way to make her smile.

Her name is Susie and a few days later I was once again stopped by her and I asked if I could get a portrait or two of her.