Big Game, Earthquakes, and Hummingbirds

Story and Photos by Bruce Bash

On the other end of the line, he said hello in the same strong voice I remembered from more than three decades earlier.

“Hi, Jim. This is Bruce. How are you doing?”

There was a short pause, as if he were gathering his thoughts, and then he said, “Well, I picked out my coffin yesterday.”

His words caught me off guard. Was he serious? I knew Jim had a few years under his belt, but a coffin? I quickly changed the subject.

Jim Weber and I had actually spoken twice the previous summer. I had wanted to drive down to Georgetown and pay him a visit in the fall when the trees were full of color and summertime temperatures had faded into cooler autumn days. But family challenges, planned and unplanned, had gotten in the way and before I could act, Old Man Winter had blown all the leaves from the trees.

I left Idaho Falls early on a sunny morning last June, hoping to complete the two-plus-hour drive to Georgetown and meet up with Jim by 10 a.m. I passed a number of cities on the way: Blackfoot, Pocatello, Soda Springs, and smaller towns such as Inkom, McCammon, and Lava Hot Springs. I often wonder about the cities and towns I pass. I’m always curious about how they got their start. All communities have a history, all have a story to tell, and all six of these have been Spotlight Cities in previous issues of IDAHO magazine.

At a few minutes before ten, I pulled into the driveway of a modest one-story home surrounded by scattered trees and a well-kept lawn. An elderly, white-haired gentleman was walking around the yard. “Stay where you are,” Jim called out as he approached my pickup. “I’ll let you know when I can see you.”

Isn’t it odd, I thought, how we expect people we knew so many years ago to look exactly the same as the day we last saw them?

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Bruce Bash

About Bruce Bash

Bruce Bash has had articles, stories, rebuses, and poems published in more than three dozen magazines. A transplant from Ohio, he earned a range resources degree from the University of Idaho and bounced around several western states before settling in Idaho Falls. He and his wife Mary enjoy the outdoors, especially with their grandchildren.

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