CLEARWATER VALLEY -- I’m writing from the road this week. I’m in Ohio visiting my Mom who in her mid-80s is still active. Last night we went to see a spectacular rendition of the old Broadway musical “Singin’ in the Rain” at my old high school. The school is Rocky River High School, located near the shores of Lake Erie, go Pirates! Yes, a school with Pirate mascot that is located next to an actual body of water with ships on it, not in the middle of a prairie, but I digress.
The school district is in a community that values education with voters who consistently support school levies. The school has expanded and modernized throughout the years to keep up with changing times. Nearly all (99 percent) of the schools 900-plus students graduate and go on to some form of higher education after high school. The school is consistently ranked in the top 10 of 600 in the state. Since that is what I grew up with, I struggle with living in a place where education is not valued to the same degree.
The three-night run of “Singin’ in the Rain” played to professional theater quality school auditorium that seats 1,000. I know that our valley schools, Kooskia and Kamiah, will never have a facility like that, but the musicals that Clearwater Valley performs and the plays the Kamiah Characters put on, are wonderful. It’s not about the performance space, but the hearts of the students who perform. I hear the Kamiah Characters are working on their final play of the school year, with performances planned early next month.
The Kooskia Opera House was a wonderful performance space, used for a variety of shows over the years. I enjoyed one Christmas program there, before it sold a few years back. The community group that tried to buy the place, sadly fell short in their efforts and it sold to a private buyer. Now it is for sale again, maybe some wealthy philanthropist will buy it and share with the community.
Yesterday afternoon I met up with an old high school friend and her husband to hike in the Cleveland Metroparks. Land for a series of parks connected by a parkway were set aside 100 years ago. Dubbed the Emerald Necklace, this green space encircles Cuyahoga County which has more than 1 million residents. The 21,000 acres of parks are nothing special by Idaho standards, but well-loved by locals who hike, bike, picnic, golf, ride horses, etc. The first sunny day in a while brought out thousands of people leading to busy traffic and full parking lots at all of the trailheads. Because of the scarcity of public lands, they are cherished. I am missing the wildness of Idaho, the quiet, the landscape and the abundant wildlife.