Dateline Boise, Idaho
I’m definitely back in the West and heading into old stamping grounds. Today’s drive wasn’t difficult. Starting in Southwest Wyoming, along Interstate 80 over the border into Utah and then threading through the various canyons and mountain ranges outside of Ogden and up into the Snake River country of Idaho until reaching the flat river valley of the Boise River and the city of Boise itself.
Thirty five years ago, I spent a summer in Boise with a couple of wild women doing my OB/GYN clerkship. We lived together on the upper floor of an old house containing a local OB/GYN practice and spent our time catching babies at St Luke’s hospital and observing gynecological surgery at St Al’s across town. The house is still there. The practice is not. (It dissolved not too long after our summer there – we medical students had ferreted out the inappropriate relationship between one of the partners and the office manager. We weren’t going to say anything but we did make bets about how long that was going to go on before it caused an explosion). I don’t remember too much about downtown Boise from that summer. It was hot. The downtown area was tired and old – feeling stuck in a decaying 1950s-60s. The Boise of today appears to be in growth mode, like a lot of older cities. Much of downtown has been redone with new restaurants, bars, hotels and businesses and the millennials are flocking to new housing units in old buildings. A block away from my hotel is ‘The Basque Block’ a collection of Basque restaurants, a Basque grocery, the Basque cultural center, and some upscale watering holes. I had a very nice dinner and drink under a large Basque flag.
As I was sitting there looking at the millennials having their dinner and drinks, I couldn’t help but wonder if I helped deliver any of them. All those babies are turning 35 this summer and are likely parents themselves. I also wondered what I might say to 24 year old Andy if I were to meet him coming down the street. If he would even begin to believe some of the twists and turns that life was going to start throwing his way shortly after that summer. I doubt I would have believed any of it. At 24, I was just trying to get through medical school with sanity intact and wasn’t really thinking about much else. Highlights of that summer were innertubing down the Boise river, and a side trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The actual OB/GYN work was not a highlight. Although I did like playing with the newborns. I just wish I hadn’t had to send some of them home with their parents who were obviously unequipped for the rigors of child rearing.
One more driving day tomorrow and should be in Seattle in time for dinner.