by Gary Greenfield, Director
It was February 1974. I still remember my Mom giving me a ride to the bus station from whence would commence my great Northwest adventure. I had sold my car, my sailboat, my surfboard and paid off my debts. My diving equipment was abandoned in my closet, never to be used again. I was leaving behind my past and all of my friends; along with the engagement ring that had been on the finger of my high school sweetheart (the first real girlfriend I ever had or ever wanted but that was over too.)
My previous exploratory cross country bus trip had taken me from California to Miami via Idaho that prior December after returning stateside from our family vacation to Expo 74 in Japan. I had a job waiting for me in Moscow, Idaho that had been promised to me on that journey. I can’t remember my boss’ name but I do remember the name of his business, the ominous Empire Farm Chemical Company. As you can imagine by the name of the business, I had a rude awakening. I lasted through about four months of loading farm trucks with every kind of toxic chemical, pesticide, fungicide, herbicide and fertilizer known to humankind. I pumped them, shoveled them, hosed them and carried them until I got fed up with it all… my dreams of farming sucked up and gone, like oxygen being consumed by toxic anhydrous ammonia.
Throughout my high school years, I had always been told that I could do whatever I wanted and that I would excel at it. My guess is that this must have been the mantra of every guidance counselor to every student that ever entered their office looking for answers about the future and opportunities in the job market. So there I was, jobless and clueless in Moscow, Idaho but not for long. I quickly gained experience as a dishwasher, deli man and pizza maker and, early on, I met a woman from Florida of all places. Within a year, we were married by a full-fledged preacher of the gospel at The Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with no one else in attendance. My Northwest adventure was officially over as we made plans to move back to Florida and pursue gainful employment.