The only difference between Idaho and Alabama is moisture in the air.  During summer, it gets steamy there.  Our heat is dry but intense.  The people in the two places are much alike.  Often devout, fiercely independent, and as my mom used to say, we don’t put on airs.  My dad often referred to her side of the family as hillbillies, but his side of the family was far more Appalachian.  Both sides of my family didn’t chase material possessions.  Wealth was family and friends.

I think it applies to most people in Idaho, or aside from those Californians buying big homes in the panhandle or high desert.  They’ll eventually settle into the culture.

I was looking at my Facebook feed today and saw a song posted by former State Senator Christy Zito.  The Senator and I are the same age.  We grew up in the 1960s and 70s.  The music of my generation was decidedly down home.  One of the anthems of my teenage years came from the most successful band ever to come out of Alabama.

Lynyrd Skynyrd was a star-crossed group of musicians who without a lot of formal schooling became virtuoso storytellers through song.  Christy posted a video from a ballad called Simple Man.  If you’re a younger person, you’ve probably only ever heard performances of Free Bird.  A great tune but now a concert punchline.

Simple man is a tribute to the true meaning of life.  About integrity and what you leave behind.

For those of us staring mortality in the face, it increasingly reminds us that you don’t see hearses towing U-Haul trailers.  Christy has been a godsend to me during an ongoing illness.  The song made my day.

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Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp

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