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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My Own Private Idaho



Tomorrow I'm making the 425 mile trek to Boise to be with my family through the weekend. I'm pitching the kid in the back and he and I are hitting I-84 early for our 7.5 hour journey. It outta be more than interesting considering the he hasn't crapped or pee-peed anywhere except our backyard in six weeks. But, hey, what's the worst thing that can happen? And speaking of Boise .......

When we were growing up, there was only one television station -- CBS is all we had. And two or three telephone prefixes -- 342, 343, 344.....we had the last one. We rarely ate out, that being for those who were rich and famous. But occasionally we'd do Friday nights at Grizzly Bear Pizza on Fairview Avenue or the Red Steer Drive-In for Finger Steaks (I didn't know they were an Idaho tradition until I realized that you can't find them most other places in the world....and now, of course, I wouldn't eat them anyway). My father worked in a grocery store and brought home all of the food he could that was going to be thrown away....you know, the stuff just past code date that couldn't be sold any longer. Man, we didn't have much, but we sure had each other. We were one happy group, I must say. We went camping nearly every weekend in the summer. We stopped in front of Gem Furniture store on Broadway Avenue each Christmas to watch their moving display of Santa and the reindeer. We'd eat lots of frozen fish sticks and lime green jello complete with whatever leftover vegetables my mom could find to put into it. And McDonald's? Nope. I never ate there until I was with a friend and his family in grade school. Thought I was really something. And as for "ethnic food," we had none that I knew of. I remember there was one Mexican food restaurant on State Street that we'd drive by. And I remember thinking "What in the world is Mexican food and what kind of people are in that place eating it?" Today, I can't live without it. But one of the wildest things we'd do was to pass back and forth along River Street going across town to grandma's house. River Street was lined with small, modest homes painted mostly with white paint and lined with cracked sidewalks. Oh, and there was one small church there too. But the thing that set the area apart was the fact that nearly all of Boise's African-American population lived along this short three, four, maybe five, block stretch of road. Now, we weren't prejudice folk. My parents would never have put up with that. But, for some reason, we craned our heads to look out the windows of our 1967 blue Chevy station wagon when we passed along River Street. Looking first one way, and then the other. Can't you just see all three of us kids in the back of the car -- wild-eyed with wonderment. I never remember any bad words, poor thoughts, or negative sentiment attached to this area of town. And, what do you know...one day, my parents made the announcement that on the upcoming Sunday morning, we were going to go to that church. Just to see what was going on there. So, we did. All five of our pale white little faces perched amongst a sea of black. I remember it to this day. With such fond and good memories.

So, back to Boise this weekend. Minimal blogging or emailing. But hopefully some decent family time with sister. I haven't seen her since the date of her sentencing back in early December. Remember us, would you. And you .... you're always on my mind.


23 comments:

emeraldcityguy said...

Don't blink when you whiz thru Ontario. I remember finger steaks too! Didn't realize they were regional either...

Laurie said...

Be safe! HUGS to your sister!!!

birdoparadise said...

Prayers for your safe journey and your sister's well-being, Lewis. Have a wonderful time with your family and tell us all about it when you return.

Birdie

Stacey said...

Have a safe trip, and enjoy your time with sis.

Hint for traveling with the furry one: take a bag full of utility towels for clean ups. "What's the worst that can happen?" um... take towels. A couple of spare water bottles doesn't hurt, and a couple of plastic grocery back in case there's an accident and you need to stash the cleanup towels.

Also, unless you know that pup can deal with car-rides longer than one hour, remember in a pinch you can use benadryl for car-sickness.

Have fun! I envy you your roadtrip!

Lemuel said...

Have a safe and enjoyable trip! I hope the boy does well!

Thanks also for sharing your memories! There is much that many of us share in common, but we never knew it "back then".

christopherc said...

I wish you safe travels and wonderful experiences. Hugs to your sister and niece from me. thanks for all your thoughts and wishes this week, you're a gem!

-C

wep601 said...

Wonderful to read...you paint quite a picture! Safe and fun travels to you and your puppy--it will be an adventure (that drive is so long...do parts of Idaho smell like onions to you?)! I am so glad you will get to be with your sister and family. :-) It's the stuff life is made of!

Ur-spo said...

drive safely and come back sound
and with potatoes.

kenny said...

I'm going on the 23rd to visit my college.

Joseph said...

Have a safe trip. That 7.5 hour trip could turn out to be longer with your son. We always stop periodically to let ours get some exercise and, of course, to have an opportunity to do what he needs to do! Your childhood memories reminded me of my own growing-up period. Life was so much simpler in those days! Enjoy your time with your sister and your family!

Java said...

So glad you're going to see your sister! How is she doing now?

It was aroung 1968 we had a blue station wagon, but it was a Ford. My daddy is a Ford man all the way. The car was blue with white interior. It smelled funny. We used to sit in the "back-back" on blankets and slide around back there when the car turned corners. There was just enameled metal covering it, no fabric/textile except for the floor.

RAD Homo said...

Have a good safe trip. Will catch up with you when you return. Next time can you maybe take the longer route and stop in Seattle so we can have that cocktail I owe ya...

"Just David!" said...

Have a great weekend with your sister!! And, if you can't live without Mexican food, you need to come visit me, there are more fabulous Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in this city than you can shake a stick at!! I actually ate Mexican last night after coming home from Cabo and it was better here!! ha!! They've blanded it down to much for the tourists down there and I don't think I'll be going back either! ha!

"Just David!" said...

hey again,

check out the today show's website, there was a woman from san antonio who demonstrated some great dishes to make!!

dit said...

Have fun and refrain from screaming "I Da Ho!" lol Sorry I could not resist. Have a safe and fun trip. Best wishes.

Ryan said...

have fun there stud!

tornwordo said...

Have a great trip and I hope the kid doesn't get carsick ; )

travelling, but not in love said...

I love big-city America (NYC, Chicago...) but there's something special about the smaller cities that us foreigners rarely get to.

Have a great few days en famille. And I hope the kid makes it without pooping on your upholstery!

CJ said...

May the force be with you Lewis! Have a hi o Walton Mtn time.
I think you will be surprised how good your passenger will be.

Timmy said...

Are Finger Steaks like Steak Fingers? Battered with flour, egg and milk and then fried in oil? If so, I LOVED those as a kid! Add some cream gravy and Texas Toast and well, no wonder I was a fat kid whose parents had to buy his clothes in the husky dept. at Montgomery Ward.

About the Mexican food. I'm of Mexican descent so everything that my grandparents cooked for me was Mexican influenced. :-) We rarely ate in a Mexican restaurant because well, it was better going to eat on the north side of Ft. Worth.

(I'm really wanting some steak fingers now.)

WAT said...

A great title for this post! You're close to your family, and I admire that. Don Corleone once said, "A man who isn't close to his family is not a real man!"

Wayne said...

Hope you had a good visit with your sis and family.

afod said...

Here's hoping that you had a great time with the family this past weekend. I first thought it said "grad" school when you stated that you didn't go to McDonald's until "grade" school. I hope the family is well and that your sister is in good spirits!