Sometimes I happen upon a story that really touches me. When I read this particular story about these two sisters who on a whim decided to go visit Victoria BidWell in Concrete, Washington, their story reminded me that just a few years ago I did the same thing. The description of the “Little White Horse” and his antics to steal the spotlight at the Dutch door made me pause and reflect on my trip to the Wilderness Woman’s Hygiene Homestead and her Guest House and what a relaxing, rejuvenating time I had when I was there. Please read and enjoy Sarah & Kristin’s personal story of a visit that gave them renewed appreciation of their own “eccentric” grandfather.

 

Sarah & Kristin Find a New Appreciation for Their Grandfather!

 

Ever since I was a little girl, I always thought of my Grandfather as a bit of a “HEALTH NUT.” He was always encouraging us to: “Eat your salad!” And he, also, was always warning us about the dangers of table salt and refined sugar. As I got older, I discovered more about the theories behind his healthy practices. For years, he had told us of a woman living in Washington State who had written a book all about this healthy living concept known as “Natural Hygiene.” And so now, as a 24-year old woman, I have found myself working with my Sister Kristin, as Summer Guidance Counselors in an outdoors camp for children in — where else?— Washington State! Our grandfather urged us to visit Victoria while we were here, the woman he has supported throughout the years in this health movement.

 

So, one sunny, super August day, Kristin and I drove the few hours it takes from the southern Puget Sound of our encampment to Concrete, unsure of what we would discover. On the phone, Victoria was joyful and an immediately loving presence. I could only imagine what she would be like in person! Upon arriving at what she called “Our HighJoy Homestead,” we 2 Sisters hugged Victoria like we had known her for years! “2 More Beautiful, Blonde, Little Sisters!” she cried out! One of the first things we did was settle in and share stories. Victoria made us feel right at home, letting us get comfy on her bunk bed and couch, as we sipped on ice water through fun, pink straws.

 

Right away, we knew Victoria was not living alone. She had a surprise for us! She made us close our eyes, while she opened the dutch door of her outdoor bedroom. It could have been the Wild West era, when you stepped through the threshold of this little room! Her “roommate” showed up when she called him and put his head right through the door and into the bunkhouse! We were then formally introduced to the “great, big guy” in her life — HighJoy — a beautiful, white Arabian horse who loves fresh corn-on-the-cob and other munchies! We 3 girls each took a turn standing up by the Dutch door and introducing ourselves. It was a special experience to just look back and talk about our lives, from beginning until now, and to have undivided attention and to be just listened to. But once in awhile, we did have to compete with HighJoy and his antics for attention! He was extremely social and even came over to The Guest House to stay with us for dinner gleanings, enjoying a huge bucket of corn husks, leaves, stalks, rinds, peelings, and such. There is no waste going on around here!

 

We drove what must have been about 5 miles from The Homestead down to The Guest House. Pulling up to “God’s Guest House,” the first thing Kristin and I noticed was the unique front fence made of tall hedge shrubs planted in big barrels: the barrels were all painted greens and browns and planted in a perfect row. The hedge wall made me realize how much of a retreat this secret spot was —secluded from neighbors with a yard of tall evergreens that make Washington famous and surrounded by a high, solid board fence, this time using the big barrels for fence post holders, instead of planters! The entire property is enclosed and gated — a safe, little wilderness world separate from civilization!

 

Victoria showed us around the house and half acre, telling stories of how the house came to be the sanctuary it is today. I sensed her “GetWell Friends” were her real family, for all they had done for the house. We shared stories again, this time, each telling long versions of our spiritual histories and how we had gone our separate ways and then had come back to God and to living the teachings of The Scriptures.

 

Kristin and I sat at the round table while Victoria prepared cantaloupe and strawberry smoothies using The Champion Juicer and a huge blender. Then, our “Chef” took us outside to serve the drinks, while we watched HighJoy enjoy his 2-gallon container of goodies gleaned from our dinner preparations. By now, the sun was setting. It was hot out. And we sprawled out on the moss and clover lawn, sipping our smoothies. The creamy drinks were better than any Dairy Delight milkshakes, especially knowing how good they were for us compared to commercial ice creams!

 

Returning to the house and kitchen, Victoria took the corn, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, avocados, leafy green lettuce, celery, and a little onion and jarred artichoke. The last 2 ingredients she commented were “not strict Hygiene,” but she added that she wanted to go easy on us and not make the meal too strict. She made this great avocado mash and stuffed it into a tomato for each plate, then made a salad mix out of all the veggies except the lettuce and celery. Then, on lovely, new dishes (“a house-warming gift from GetWell Friend John Bardaro,” we were told), we were served the lettuce, with the salad mix on half the lettuce and the stuffed tomato on the other half, and then with the celery stick and a bell pepper ring adorning the plates. It was a wonderful, colorful meal of all-raw foods — except for the artichoke hearts! Kristin and I found ourselves delighted with the tastes created by uncooked veggies! After years of being a skeptic, I could see “The Raw Fruits & Veggies Diet” was completely up to the person preparing the meal — all it takes is some creativity and an open mind and willing taste buds!

 

With full bellies and warm hearts, we said “Good Night” to Victoria and her horse. HighJoy jumped into his old trailer, another gift from GetWell Friend John Bardaro, pulled by an even older van. Victoria seems to recycle everything! “How nice,” I thought, “that this man got Victoria this trailer, so that HighJoy could bring so much life and entertainment to God’s Guest House.” So, we were left alone, under the bright stars and quiet night sky. My Sister and I did the dishes in “God’s wilderness play house.”

 

We were like 2 kids, again, playing in the woods like we had all through our childhood. Then, we each went to our private rooms and snuggled down into real feather beds. Kristin and I had been bedding down in sleeping bags each night, on the ground, with other campers. So, this was a real treat. The night was a luxurious getaway. It almost felt like time had slowed down when we first stepped into the inspired world Victoria had created at her cottage. When morning came, we were rested and felt loved and well taken care of. Victoria had left a breakfast bowl of big peaches, grown just 100 miles away in Eastern Washington. They were perfect peaches! We drove over to Our HighJoy Homestead to call our Grandfather from his friend’s place in the woods to tell him about our visit.

 

Saying “Good Bye” to Victoria and HighJoy was like parting ways with a family member.  We had hugged and laughed our way through the entire visit. Before leaving, Victoria handed us a darling ceramic duck full of polished, precious rocks. We knew she had “a thing” for rocks — both Our HighJoy Homestead and God’s Guest House had been landscaped in so many cute ways with rocks — big and small. We each got to pick a pretty rock, to remember our visit. I am going to have a friend who makes jewelry turn mine into a necklace.

 

We had learned so much in less than 24 hours! Especially, we learned about T.C. Fry and Dr. Shelton and about “The Superlative, Alternative Health Care System” and detoxification and Nerve Energy and “The 10 Energy Enhancers” and THE HEALTH SEEKERS’ YEARBOOK and healthy eating. We have now discovered another big piece of the puzzle of our Grandfather’s life. Now, when Kristin and I go out to eat with my Grandparents, they will not have to remind us to… “Eat your veggies!”

 

Because… we have discovered that there is a little “HEALTH NUT” in each of us, too!