My Beautiful Clo Ann
This story is the favorite of my life, but not one I wanted to write. It’s my short version of a love story that began and will never end in Orofino.
It was December 7, 2006, Pearl Harbor Day. I was the Vice President of Idaho Property Tax Reform, an organization seeking to get relief from Idaho’s punitive Property Tax laws. The Property Tax group had scheduled a meeting that day at Fiesta En Jalisco in Orofino and I drove in light snow from Lewiston to find the whole meeting was a set-up to arrange for me to meet a beautiful Orofino woman.
I was shocked to find that only two other Property Tax regulars were there and they seemed to be stalling and not getting down to business. They, a man and a woman, strangely sat together on the other side of the booth and in a couple minutes a slim, trim absolutely gorgeous gal came in and sat next to me! She was introduced as Clo Ann McNall.
As the strange conversation about vague property tax stuff struggled and the meeting went on I noticed she appeared to have no wedding ring. I noticed a lot of really interesting things and even was bold enough to brush her hand and sense her warmth. I had been divorced and actually had resigned to a celibate future, before that wonderful day when I discovered I was still alive.
We finished lunch and stood to leave and I really got a chance to look at this woman. I confess I liked what I saw. During lunch I learned she was the publisher of the Clearwater Tribune, the local newspaper. She often told me later that she too had a look, and liked what she saw. From that day onward I dropped the Property Tax work and sort of concentrated on Clo Ann.
I left her and the others at the front of the Mexican restaurant and drove directly to Sunset Mart to buy a Clearwater Tribune to be sure the name, Clo Ann McNall, was correct. It was and immediately, with Property Tax stuff falling off my radar, I worked to formulate an excuse to see her again. My first plan was to make a batch of peanut brittle and deliver it to her at the Tribune. It worked as all the women at the Tribune enjoyed it and Clo Ann was a real candy connoisseur!
I later learned that the entire Property Tax Meeting was a sham to allow mutual friends to introduce us. With me unaware of the set-up, and Clo Ann being somewhat reluctant to go to another “blind introduction” it almost didn’t happen. She said her daughter, Marcie Stanton, urged her to go saying, “Go ahead Mom! What have you got to lose?”
Well we hit it off and soon were taking trips together. We went to Boise to a Governor’s Ball where Josh Turner sang. I invited her to go to my 50th High School Reunion near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania followed by a thousand mile drive to Niagara Falls, Kennebunkport’ Maine and Boston, Massachusetts.
Then we went to Las Vegas’ National Finals Rodeo, followed by trips to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We rented our first car on the Las Vegas trip in December of 2007; it was a lovely yellow PT Cruiser! We had fun!
In the fall of 2008 she gave me her “I Do” and I gave mine and we enjoyed every day since. Here is a wedding day picture taken at the Orofino City Park where we were wed in the sheltered gazebo!
We never tired of spending time together and she was the most generous, kindest principled person I have ever encountered, and I have met thousands. She was the strongest bravest soul and she loved her family, the Lord Jesus and somehow found a place in her heart for me and my entire family too!
Her last month saw her hopes for recovery fade and she was cared for by her precious, wonderful daughters and granddaughters who were constantly at her side as she traversed the medical roller coaster from Orofino to Spokane, Lewiston and back to her beautiful home in Orofino. Daughters Diane Baldwin, Spokane; Marcie Stanton, Orofino and Lynette Codr, Nampa were the pride of her life and she showed it when they helped in the last days.
I was blessed by her love. Early on she dubbed me “The Phantom” and had fun with that in her Clearwater Tribune column “From This Chair.” She was the true Angel in my life and I will talk with her daily, forever!