Boise Salvation, p.1Jim Barnes
By Jim Barnes
Copyright © 2013 by Jim Barnes
Salvation 1. a saving or being saved from danger, evil, difficulty, destruction, etc.; rescue
2. a person or thing that is a means, cause or source of preservation or rescue.
Websters New World Dictionary
Scripture quotations in this book are from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1978 by New York International Bible Society
Table of Contents
Chapter One – Introduction
Chapter Two – Monday Morning
Chapter Three – Monday Afternoon
Chapter Four – Tuesday
Chapter Five – Wednesday
Chapter Six – Thursday
Chapter Seven – Friday
Chapter Eight – Saturday
Chapter Nine – Sunday
Chapter Ten - Epilogue
Chapter One - Introduction
This all happened about a year or so ago when I was still just a high school kid before I ever heard of a place called Boise, Idaho. I was a pretty happy kid just going to high school. I wasn’t much into sports or anything other than just going to school, attending all my classes and then coming home and studying or reading. One year for Christmas I received an iPhone, not the newest one, but one of the older ones, and I started to read lots of eBooks on it, more than using it as a phone. So, I guess you could say I’m a nerd. I don’t really look like your stereotypical nerd. At least I don’t think I do. You know the kind of kid with the funny haircut, and glasses. I guess I’m just a funny looking kid without glasses. My face is affected a little with the occasional outbreak of acne, from time to time, and I don’t eat all the right stuff, so I’m a bit on the heavy side. Although I’m in pretty good shape since I walk at least three or four miles every day. I really don’t consider myself to be extra smart or anything special. Learning doesn’t come easy to me and I really have to study and apply myself just to get a decent grade. One other reason I think I’m a nerd is because I’m kind of shy and a little awkward with girls, if you know what I mean. Unlike some guys I know at school I don’t have any real social skills when it comes to talking to girls. Usually when I see a girl I like and want to talk to her I start to stutter and stammer, and can’t get two words out of my mouth before she starts laughing her head off at me. I usually try to avoid situations where I have to talk to girls.
When I was 17, during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, my parents got divorced, my older sister got married, and I was given the choice of living with my mother or my father. Let me first tell you about my parent’s divorce, or at least what I know about it. At the time my family was living in the Boston suburb of Lowell, where we had lived for the past four years. My father was serving on a Boston based Coast Guard cutter, the SPENCER, and was absent quite a bit during the prior four years. I’m not really sure why my parents got divorced, but I think it may have something to do with my mother growing independent without my father being around, and my father being unhappy with my mom. It didn’t help matters when my dad found out my mom was seeing another guy when the ship was out, but that is something I’m not supposed to know about. In any case, with my sister getting married, my parents getting divorced, and my living situation in limbo that summer the last thing I expected was to move across the country with my dad when he received orders as a recruiter in Boise, Idaho.
I didn’t know anything about Boise, Idaho, other than where it was located on the map, and what I read about it on Wikipedia. My dad was looking forward to recruiting duty and was happy to be assigned to a small recruiting office in a smaller city. He told me he once drove through Boise on his way from Portland to Boston when he was about my age, with his parents. My grandfather was in the Coast Guard too, and he moved his family several times across the country. I guess the Coast Guard is kind of a family tradition, although I have no intentions of continuing this tradition. Not that the Coast Guard is a bad life, I just want something better, if you know what I mean.
I’ll start by telling you what happened after we first got to Boise, if that’s okay. My father and I drove across the country from Boston in my dad’s Ford F-150 pickup truck. The trip took about four days. I’ve never learned how to drive so my dad did all the driving. We would drive for about four or five hours when we had to stop for gas. We would get something to eat at one of the truck stops off the interstate, do our business, if you know what I mean, and be on our way. Each night we stopped at a motel just as the sun was going down. I think my dad didn’t like driving at night, or maybe he thought it was more dangerous or something, but he is the type of person who really doesn’t like to take any chances if he doesn’t have to.
I can’t remember the names of the towns where we stopped each night, but the first night we were somewhere in Ohio. The second night we were half way across Iowa, and the third night we had just made it into Wyoming. My dad had a set schedule and he liked to keep to it. He set the alarm clock to go off a little before 4 every morning. He would never linger in bed after the alarm went off, but would always jump right up and go into the bathroom to shave and shower. It was as if he was still living on board the ship. After he finished in the bathroom it was my turn to get up and get ready to go. Each morning after doing our business in the bathroom we would get the truck loaded up and get started as the sun was just starting to light the day. When we finally pulled into Boise it was in the late evening, a Saturday, and the sun was just starting to set. We pulled off at the exit near the airport and got a motel room. My dad was pretty tired, and so was I, so we just went to bed after getting checked into our room.
The next morning we got up like we were still traveling, and my dad decided he wanted to find an apartment to rent that day. My dad isn’t the type to waste a lot of time looking around and studying all of his options before making a decision. Before we even had breakfast he wanted to drive around town to get a feel for the place. He had some idea what kind of place he wanted to rent. We hurried and took a shower and got dressed, and were out the motel room before the sun was up just like we had the past week. This was in the middle of August so it was pretty early, and I think it must have been probably about sixty degrees out. We drove all around Boise. It was still pretty dark, but the street lights lined the streets we drove down and I could see all the buildings and the houses. The sun was peeking over the mountains casting a dim light over the city so I could see all the trees and the green, grassy lawns. Some of the lawns had sprinklers going off and water sprayed out into the street. First we drove down around the downtown area, and around the university. Quite a few tall office buildings downtown had a few lights on, and the dome of the capital building was all lit up. It looked like quite a thriving community to me. Nothing like Boston, but more like one of the capital cities we drove through in the Midwest, like Des Moines or Lincoln. After driving around downtown a little bit we then went out on some highway that went west of town, and we passed by a big shopping mall where we pulled off the highway, and stopped at a place to eat.
The place we stopped at was a sit down restaurant that was pretty empty since it was still pretty early. The place was open 24 hours a day and the waitress must have been working all night since she looked worn out and dead tired. She showed us to a table, and offered my dad coffee, and gave us menus. I’ve never liked the taste of coffee, so I asked for a Diet Pepsi. The waitress asked if Diet Coke was okay. I told her sure.
My dad and me aren’t big talkers or anything. We just sat and looked at the menus until the waitress returned with our drinks, and then asked if we were ready to order. My dad ordered egg
While we waited for our food, my dad asked what I thought of the place so far. I told him it wasn’t anything like Boston. He agreed, and said he liked the way the mountains stood over the city and how all the streets were clean and the yards were all mowed and everything looked so green. When the waitress came back with our food, my dad asked her which high school was the best in town. She told us her daughter went to a school called Capital, and it was pretty good, and said Boise High was nice too. She told us she had gone to Boise High, about twenty years ago. My dad told the waitress he was a new Coast Guard recruiter in town and that I was going to be a senior in high school, but he hadn’t found a place to rent yet. The waitress thought for a second, and then mentioned she might know about an apartment a friend was renting. She wasn’t sure whether the place was still available, but offered to find out for us. My dad told her that would be nice, and the waitress wandered off and came back a few minutes later and handed my dad a piece of paper with a phone number written on it. The waitress said it was too early to call the guy, but my dad could call him later and find out about the place. That’s how we ended up finding a place to live and how I got to attend Boise High my senior year of high school.
My dad talked with the waitress a little bit more before we left the place and later he called the number she gave him on his cell phone. Turns out the waitress was divorced, and about the same age as my dad. My dad found out the waitress is Mary, and her daughter is about my age too. He got her phone number before we left so who knows what will happen with that. That is just the way my dad is. I really didn’t know this about him before, but he can talk to just about anyone and in just a few minutes the person is his best friend. I’m not sure why he got Mary’s phone number since I’m sure he would be too afraid to call her. I think my dad is a lot like me, or I’m a lot like him in this regard. After he and my mom got divorced I think he may need a little time before he is ready to get back on the horse again, and ask a woman out.
After we left the restaurant we drove around the city some more just looking at all the different neighborhoods and businesses. Boise stretched out quite a few miles west from the mountains and since it was still early on Sunday morning the traffic was pretty light. One thing peculiar I was starting to notice as we drove around were all of the different churches all over the place. We passed by a lot of brick buildings that looked all about the same with a big white spire, and a sign saying Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on the front. Then there were other smaller churches with signs saying Methodist, or Presbyterian or Lutheran or Baptist. It seemed like all the major religions had a fair number of different buildings in town. Then we passed by a Life Church and a Canyon Ridge Church and one called Calvary Chapel. It seemed to me like Boise must be quite a church going place. My family was never the church going type for some reason. I don’t know why but we always seemed to have something else going on Sunday mornings.
A little later in the morning my dad called the number Mary the waitress had given him, and the guy gave us directions and we met the guy at the apartment he had to rent. The guy was older, maybe in his sixties, bald, and wore shorts with socks and sandals. He said his name was Ralph and he told us he retired quite a few years ago and has several rental units he manages to keep himself busy. He said he bought the apartment when the real estate market hit bottom, and is just waiting until the market gets better before he sells the place for a nice profit. He asked my dad how he knew Mary, the waitress, and my dad told him he just met her this morning at the restaurant when we were having breakfast. Explaining we had just gotten into town last night and didn’t know anyone in Boise. Turns out Ralph and Mary are neighbors.
The apartment is in a high rise building near downtown. The place was built in 1965 and was once a pretty luxurious building for Boise. Some of the apartments had nice views of the foothills or the river, but the one we looked at is on the third floor and faced the south so it didn’t offer much of a view. St. Luke’s Hospital is a few blocks away and in the distance I could see a cross on a flat hill and beyond that were the mountains. It is a nice apartment, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a small kitchen and living room. The place has no swimming pool or anything fancy like that, just a small laundry room on each floor, and an elevator. The walls looked like they were recently painted an off white color and the beige colored carpeting looked to be in good condition. The guy took us to the basement to show us the one parking spot that comes with the apartment. A few parking spots were available in a small parking lot outside the main entrance too for visitors.
The apartment is within walking distance of the high school and the university isn’t more than a mile away in the other direction. The office where my dad is going to work is about a fifteen minute drive, but Ralph said Boise doesn’t have much of a traffic problem, other than on days when the Broncos play football. The local university, Boise State, was known for its football program and the stadium sold out whenever the team played locally.
In the parking garage the guy and my dad talked while I walked around outside the building and checked out the neighborhood. The streets are lined with old tall trees, and a few small office buildings are located nearby where doctors or lawyers have offices. A few people rode their bikes by on the street and a few cars passed by while I walked around the building. Standing outside the building I looked up and found the apartment we were going to rent and looked up to see all the other apartments above it. The building had eleven stories, and I wondered what the other apartments looked like on the higher floors and what kind of view they offered of the city.
I waited for my dad near his truck and a few minutes later he came out, and told me we can move in today. We unloaded everything from the back of the pickup truck and carried it into the apartment. We brought sleeping bags with us, and a few boxes with kitchen stuff, and suitcases with some clothes. We would have to wait for the moving truck to bring the rest of our stuff in a few days. Until then my dad and I would be roughing it in the apartment with just the stuff we brought in the back of the truck. We had a TV and I had my laptop PC so we all were set. I wasn’t sure what kind of wireless Internet connection I could get or what kind of television reception would be available without cable or satellite service. I could always use my iPhone to surf the web if I really have to. After we got everything unloaded from the truck my dad suggested we find a grocery store and stock up the refrigerator and kitchen. Earlier on our way to the apartment we passed a few stores so we knew where we were going. It was just past noon on the last Sunday in August. I checked the weather app on my iPhone and the temperature was just starting to get above 80, but it felt a lot cooler than 80 felt in Boston since there was hardly any humidity.
My dad said he wanted to drive by the high school I was going to be starting at Monday. We drove through the older part of the city with its tree lined streets and big old houses which must have been built over a hundred years ago. About five minutes after we left the apartment we were in front of Boise High. Dad stopped and suggested I walk around and get familiar with the campus, and he would be back to pick me up after he put some gas in the truck. I got out and walked up the steps to the main entrance and looked through the glass doors at what looked like the offices. The main building is really impressive with four large columns going from the first to the third floor of the building. Attached to
I walked around the block and went behind the main building and saw a lot of large, old houses, and a big church behind the football field. On the opposite corner behind a newer building and across the street from a small parking lot was a building with a sign that said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints Student Center. I walked past another building on the corner of another street and it turned out to be another church, the Capitol City Christian Church. I walked around the newer gymnasium building and an older building with a sign that said gymnasium, and the corner stone showed the year 1936. On the other corner I turned right and walked past the First Presbyterian Church. I kept walking down this street, crossing at the light at Tenth Street, and walked in front of the YMCA, before turning right on Eleventh Street and returning to the front of the main building, just as I saw my dad approaching.
I opened the passenger door, and climbed inside, and my dad asked, “What do you think?”
I paused for a few seconds, and said, “There are a lot of churches around here and it looks like there are a lot of places to get lost.”
My dad laughed, and commented, “You’ll get used to it before the first week is over.”
We drove through downtown past a couple of skyscrapers, and then on a road past some old looking warehouses to a store where we parked and made our way inside. The store was pretty packed with people pushing shopping carts around with screaming kids in tow.
My dad asked, “What do you want to eat next week?”
I could tell this was pretty new to my dad too. He hadn’t spent too much time on his own and probably hadn’t cooked for himself in quite a few years.
“Oh I don’t know,” I replied, “maybe some soup or frozen dinners.”
He asked, “Were you planning to eat lunch at school or bag it?”
“I thought I could get something from the cafeteria,” I answered. “I’ll probably figure all that out tomorrow.”
“Okay then, I guess I won’t worry about lunch next week, just dinner then.” He responded, as we strolled through the produce section and on to the frozen food aisle.
When we were all living together and were more like a real family, before my mom and dad were divorced, we seldom all ate dinner together. Sometimes on the weekend we would all sit down and have a family dinner together, but for the most part everyone just kind of fixed their own meals whenever they came home or whenever they felt hungry. Some days after school I would grab a snack and mom and dad wouldn’t be home until after 8, due to their work schedule and their commute. Now that it’s just my dad and I things probably won’t be much different, but maybe my dad has a different idea since he is getting all kinds of stuff that needs to be cooked. Things like chicken breasts, noodles, a bell pepper and onions.
“I think I’ll try one of your mother’s chicken recipes for dinner tomorrow”, he says, as he picks a can of Campbell’s mushroom soup from the shelf and places it in the cart.
“Would you like broccoli or steamed carrots with your chicken?” he asks.
“Broccoli,” I respond.
He reaches into the display case of frozen foods and grabs a package of broccoli.
Finally, we get through the check out line, and load the groceries in the truck, and head back to the apartment. I check out all the stores and restaurants as we make our way back, thinking I should get a part time job after school. At least for the last two summers I’ve always worked, and up until a few weeks ago I had a job stocking shelves at the local grocery store. Usually I would give my notice a couple of weeks before school started and devote my after school time to hitting the books. Now I think I can probably handle a part time job and school at the same time.
We drive by a Chick-fil-A restaurant and a Carl’s Junior, near a Whole Foods Market. I figure I can put in an application at any one of these places next week. I kind of like the idea Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Near Lowell there was a Chick-fil-A where I ate a couple of times before and really liked their sandwiches and the way the people treat the customer. This is where I think I would like to work, but I’ll have to see if they are accepting applications.
Tomorrow is the first day of school and I will need to go in early to register and to find out what my schedule will be like. I’m anxious to get started in school, but part of me is also a little scared of being the new kid in school and not knowing anybody.
Boise Salvation by Jim Barnes / History & Fiction have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes