We had multiple reasons for going to Idaho on vacation. We had to, it would take multiple reasons to drag me back in time to be here. It is not that I don’t like Idaho, it is just that my lifestyle does not meld well with that of this state. I tend to be someone who is always connected and interested in new and adventurous activities. Unless these adventures take place in the great outdoors, Idaho is definitely not going to be confused with state-of-the-art. So what were the reasons for us being here? Well our daughter Mallorie is going to school at Brigham Young University – Idaho so we did want to make she was surviving (especially since this week is finals week for her). My parents are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary this week as well so we wanted to be her to wish them well. My mother has been going through chemo-therapy so I also wanted to see her and make sure everything was progressing well (they are). Finally, my grandmother recently celebrated her 90th birthday and I wanted to see her.
My Grandma Olsen is an amazing woman. She is the most service oriented person I have ever met. Since I was just a young kid I remember her doing things for other people. She was always there offering a hand or a meal or just an ear to listen. Growing up my brother Rod and I spent a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa Olsen. They were always a blast. My grandpa was a carpenter and would travel around the area doing constructions jobs. He was one of the carpenters who helped build the buildings in Yellowstone Park. My brother and I would go to live with them for part of the summer and grandma and grandpa would always take us to see the sights. There was always something to see or do. Being a kid living in Yellowstone Park was amazing. We would ride our bikes around the geysers and hot pots. We would hike into the back country exploring with the rangers or help to count the animals in the park. At night we would return to the trailer where we stayed and grandma would have dinner ready. Afterwards we would take out the garbage and then go back in the trailer and wait. At 10 PM the bears would come and we would sit and watch them try to get into the garbage cans or find the food that Rod and I would hide just to see if they could get it. It was always an adventure with grandma and grandpa. They taught us so many life lessons that I will forever be in their debt. Grandpa Olsen passed away nearly 17 years ago leaving grandma alone; she gets along very well thanks to my parents and my uncle and aunt. Still it is always a highlight to see grandma. I always tell everyone I am grandma’s favorite, I am sure my brother would also say that since he always seemed so picked on when he didn’t get his way.
When we decided to come to Idaho I just missed grandma’s birthday by a little more than a week so I was not there for her party. I know she understood but I still felt bad. Although she said no gifts I did want to get her something nice. Well for me nice meant anything from the Diamondbacks team shop and I knew grandma would appreciate that too. I went in and bought her an authentic Diamondbacks jersey. I had it personalized with her name and the number 90. Many people will probably think this was a lame gift and that I should have taken a more conscientious route getting her something more usable. What people don’t understand is that my grandmother is a huge baseball fan. It was grandma and grandpa who taught me the appreciation I have for this great game. It was therefore the most appropriate gift I could have gotten her.
Trina and I took the gift out to her and stayed to visit. I also brought her the latest articles I had written for D-Backs Insider Magazine. She is always asking about my writing and I had to promise to send her every article I wrote. We talked for a while and then I gave her the gift. The look on her face was priceless. I can’t imagine giving her anything that would have brought more joy to her life. We had pictures taken of her wearing the jersey and I made her promise that she would wear it when the Diamondbacks were playing since she was now part of the team. It was an awesome time and I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life. She is a very special lady and I am so proud that she is my grandmother.