A Flip'n Moment
Every now and again- someone touches your life in a way that changes you forever. Flip Howell was one of those people- his contagious laugh, outrageous stories, with just an amazing appetite for life's adventures.... he just didn't wait for the line-- he started the line. When we first met- ,he was an escaped gorilla from the zoo-- my 4 yr old -Dana Stahla-at the time came running in to tell me there was a huge gorilla on a telephone pole who was talking to her. I went out and met a new neighbor who was building their house right down from ours on Roe Street in Boise, Idaho. He was in his winter Idaho Power Lineman "costume," we explained to Dana. Turned out that they had a 4-year-old daughter -Kim, and both Martha and I were expecting our 2nd bundles (Jason and Leilani Daniels ) . It's been a lifelong friendship based on over 20 years of shared Christmas, Easters, Street Rodeos, Video shows, Super Bowl games, New Years'-and wedding parties- you name the holidays and the 8 of us were intertwined. I gained so much- I couldn't believe Martha had layaways and a calendar with planned events, and Flip was clearly the storyteller for the neighborhood explaining Idaho to us newly arrived Californians back in 1974,
He went the extra mile- He even dressed up as Santa Claus for a midnight moment during those last years of questioning "believing" that gave us all a few more years.
Through the years he started sharing the horrors of Viet Nam to this war protester. Flip was a Special Forces / Ranger School with a perspective that gave me the gift of walking in someone else's shoes. Despite the Agent Orange onslaught of his physical side-- it never impacted his appetite for life. Whether it was going down the Amazon, visiting Thailand, Vietnam, crisscrossing America for the best camping spots ever and, loving Idaho, and sharing his history and experiences with all of us. Flip knew everyone-- and we never had a trip anywhere in Idaho that was ever a straight line-- There was always someone calling out his name and sharing the latest story.
The video I'm sharing is one we took at one of our many fishing/camping trips for Croppy. The rockin camper escapade was all Flip's idea in the video - all the other shenanigans along with the stories we created, were just a slice of hundreds of our times with Flip. We will miss him-- but we have so many memories that celebrate the gift of knowing him that will be with us forever.