It was a rushed lunch since all the fraternities had gotten together, but Skip wanted to grab a sandwich before O-chem at 1:30. “You got any turkey?” he asked Blanche, the cook.
“They’re all labeled out there, just look.” She didn’t roll her eyes.
Skip got one with the white meat and dropped his satchel to eat.
Scooter high-fived him with a “Haaayy” and grabbed a pink meat sandwich. “I love Blanche’s ham sandwiches.” And he plopped down next to Skip.
“So, isn’t that cool that the governor was a Phi Delt?” Scooter started.
“Yeah, but he’s a Republican.”
“What difference does that make? He’s a bro!” Another high five.
“At least he wants to make Idaho a place we want to come back to.” Skip offered.
“Yeah, and I heard he defended us from the initiative attack.”
“Huh?” Skip asked through a mouthful of white bread.
“Yeah, didn’t you know? All those Californians wanted to make Idaho pass initiatives and he fought that off.”
Skip swallowed. “I heard he vetoed the bill about initiatives.”
“Yeah!” Scooter did another high five. “Our man! Phi Delt!”
Blanche came out. “You guys take another sandwich. They going to waste.”
Scooter grabbed another and said, “And he said he really wants Idaho to be a place for us to work and raise our families. Ain’t that cool?”
“Sure,” Skip agreed. He looked at the pile of sandwiches. “I just wonder if I can make a living here in Idaho.”
“Hey,” Scooter frowned. “Just get a job from the old man. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Skip paused. Scooter had never really learned much about his bro’s; Skip decided to tell him.
“Scooter, my dad is dead. My mom is a school teacher and I want to get into med school. Idaho has the lowest pay for doctors in the country and the hardest acceptance rate to med school.”
Scooter looked down. “Sorry man. That’s tough. My old man has a ranch, so that’s what I’ll be doing.”
Blanche brought over two paper plates of sandwiches. “You boys take these.”
“Thanks Blanche.” Skip offered. “Did you get to hear the Governor?”
She looked puzzled.
“He came to talk to all of us this morning. He told us how he wants to make this state a place where we can raise our kids. Yeah, Brad Little was a Phi Delt!” Fist bump.
Blanche looked down. “I was cooking for you all.”
Skip asked, “Where are your kids Blanche? Are they still in Idaho?”
She looked at him hard, then she looked at Scooter. “Yeah, you Phi Delts are the ticket.” And she turned away.
As she ambled back to the kitchen, Scooter murmured to Skip, “Hey man, don’t ask her about her kids.”
“Why not?” Skip was blushing.
“Well, I’ve heard she’s raising her grandkids. Something about her daughter in prison or something.”
Skip looked down. Scooter grabbed his bag. “Gotta go, Poly Sci at 1:30.” He took his sandwiches and left.
Skip picked up his satchel and went into the kitchen. Blanche was leaning over the sink. He put his hand on her shoulder. “Blanche, I’m sorry.”
She let the water run over her hands and the pot she was washing for a while then she turned to the young man. “You don’t got nothing to be sorry for.”
“I’m sorry if my question caused you any pain.”
Blanche looked at the young man a long time. “It’s OK.” She smiled. “Sure was nice you all got to hear from our governor.”
Skip thought about what he’d heard. The governor so full of confidence and advice for the young fraternity and sorority members, about coming back to Idaho and making the state better. It had felt inspirational.
“I believe he wants to make this state better.”
Blanche looked down. “I just want my family to be better.” And she turned back to the pots in the sink.