My mother hated living in Chicago. She loved fresh air and hated crowds. When she became pregnant with me it gave her a way out. She completed a degree in forestry and packed me up to Washington, where we lived in a little trailer park in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. I have fond memories of catching snakes in the garden. While we were there she purchased a walking stick. For her, it was a reminder, always sitting in the corner that she wanted to live in the mountains again someday. We moved to Kentucky, California, and finally the central Idaho mountains. The whole time she kept this staff with us. This past year, she succumbed to ALS (Lou Gehrig ’s disease). The last time I saw her walk without a wheelchair she used this staff, making it not only a marker of the beginning of her travels, but an escort to the end. My family are city people. I will never be a city person and I will stay out West. I will always keep my mom’s walking stick in the corner as a reminder of where my wandering tendencies came from and a memento marking how I came to be where I am.
– Becky O'Neill