John R. Beyer
My beautiful wife Laureen and I decided to travel to Idaho recently. To the town of Meridian, to be more precise, to meet our brand new grandson. We also wanted to spend quality time with our daughter and son-in-law, but really it was really to see our grandson.
We have already met our daughter and our son-in-law.
“I’m so excited to meet Eli for the first time,” Laureen said.
I nodded. I was too and had decided to drive to Meridian instead of flying to spend some time along the road to see what we could see.
We love travel.
At the time, mid-grade gasoline hovered around $200 a gallon. So a few days before the trip, I cashed in life insurance policies so we could pay for the fuel for the trip.
“You know,” Laureen said, “hotels are going to be expensive too.”
“Hotels? Yes,” I replied, discreetly tossing the two blankets into the closet.
The city of Meridian is just west of Boise and is Idaho’s second largest city. Meridian is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
This could be due to the business-friendly atmosphere, huge lush green spaces, pet-friendly parks, friendly parks, the long Greenbelt Boardwalk along the Boise River, and much more.
I’ve thought a lot about this and I think people are flocking to this town in Ada County for a compelling reason.
For this reason: Meridian is home to the largest Albertsons supermarket in the world.
Enough said, besides meeting the new grandson – I was going shopping.
Meridian was established in 1891 at a location known as Onweiler Farm, just north of the present city site. In 1893 an IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) was organized and named their lodge Meridian after realizing its location was on the Boise Meridian.
In 1903, the founding community of Meridian was incorporated.
To be honest, I don’t know much about the Independent Order of Odd Fellows but I found it strange that an organization came up with this name.
“Let’s invent something unique,” someone might have suggested.
“How about the Independent Order of Cool Guys?” another may have answered.
“Guys, this seems rather strange,” was the reply.
“OK, let’s go with that.”
Meridian City is meant to be semi-arid, much like the desert. The Cascade and Blue Mountain Ranges in Oregon and Washington State block most of the moisture from the Pacific Ocean, so it doesn’t rain as much as in those areas. The Rocky Mountains to the east also stop much of the major winter storms that plague the country east of the tall, long mountain range, allowing Meridian a fairly mild winter.
“It says here,” Laureen said looking at a travel book, “That Meridian and Boise are in a high desert.”
I shook my head. “These people have no idea what a high desert is. Look at all that greenery.
As we passed through different parts of the city, tree-lined avenues were everywhere. People walk their dogs and cats in knee-deep grassy public spaces. Children strolled through parks filled with tree after tree, and teenagers sat at picnic tables texting each other.
“I don’t like it here,” I said.
“What?” Laureen asked in disbelief.
“It’s too green, and it’s not even a real desert,” I replied. “Where’s the dirt, the wind blowing endlessly throwing tumbleweeds in the path of cars, the Joshua Trees, which reminded me of my grandmother’s friends? Desert – bah, humbug.
“Looks like you’re a little jealous of all the trees and greenery.”
And to add more salt to my jealous nerves – the valley in which Meridian is located is called Treasure Valley.
“And I bet they don’t have any treasure to search for,” I said.
Seamlessly, Meridian is a very pretty town that has grown from a small village to the vibrant and thriving city it is today.
Meridian is home to the Scentsy company – known around the world and in the house of Beyer as a company that produces wonderfully scented wax that is heated in light warmers of various shapes. My office has two stoves – a pug and a vacation trailer.
Having them heat up a nice concoction of something floating in the air makes me a better writer. Maybe it should be warmed up more the next time I sit behind the keyboard.
The Idaho State Police Academy is in Meridian and the healthcare provider is Blue Cross.
According to some things I’ve read and heard from our daughter Kelly and her husband Travis, tech companies are moving into Idaho at record speed – I don’t know what record speed really means. Yet many tech giants are moving to Meridian.
“I just walked past this vacant lot yesterday,” someone was heard saying, “and now there’s a million square foot building with a bunch of tech nerds running around. “
That would be a quick record, indeed.
And again, it’s home to the greatest Albertsons in the world. It’s huge, and I mean huge.
The grocery store opened in March 2019 and spans 100,010 square feet of shopping heaven.
According to Supermarket News – yes, that’s an actual publication, “Albertson’s retail innovation is in full force at two of its flagship stores: Albertsons Market Street in Meridian, Idaho, and Safeway Supermarket in the Capitol District. Hill in Washington, D.C.”.
I searched for the term marquee and was surprised to learn that it is a large tent for an outdoor party, reception or exhibition. Or a permanent, often metal and glass canopy protruding from an entrance.
It didn’t sound very good.
The third definition was the treasure I was looking for, it turns out it’s a business term that means ‘flagship asset’ or ‘the jewel in the crown’. This Albertsons is just that – the fat bomba of the food chain.
Inside those thousands of square feet is a full bar with adult libations called Talon Tap and Spirits, as well as a restaurant-style food court, walk-in wine cellar, and so large varieties of cheeses from everywhere. it would take a week to taste each one, and much more to offer the customer.
I snuck up to the old Talon Top and Spirits and ordered an adult libation.
“Can I carry this around the store?” I asked the bartender.
“Of course. Pleasant shopping.
I told her I would never go home after meeting Laureen by the glass-enclosed wine cellar.
They also have a section called Large Animal Supplies. I didn’t venture into this store since we had recently watched “Jurassic World: Dominion”.
Cheeses, breads, seafood and other delicacies are spread all around the store. So many tastings that the sound of lip smacking almost drowned out the sips of the variety of drinks sent back to the bar.
The store even offers live entertainment. Various musicians will play everything from Rock N Roll to Bach. As we were there in the early afternoon, we were lucky enough to sit in front of a band called the Rolling Stones, or maybe it was Tumbling Pebbles. In all truth, I don’t remember the name of the band – but the lead singer had moves like Jagger.
A few hours later, Laureen whispered, “It’s time to go.
“We told the kids we would be right after visiting the store.”
I nodded. “Yes, a parent’s duties come first.” Off for another day with our grandson.
Later, it was suggested that we visit the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, which is on the banks of the Boise River. The nearly one-acre park was established in 2002 and is based on the girl’s belief in humanity, even in her plight during the Holocaust.
The purpose of the memorial is to “promote respect for human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for justice and peace”.
It is a beautiful place. Long paths winding through natural rock faces with quotes from world famous people to lesser known people – all about the fact that we can all be better for each other.
Waterfalls, babbling streams and native plants give the whole memorial a relaxing but, at the same time, intriguing atmosphere.
Maybe if we tried a little harder, we could become kinder and more respectful to each other.
It’s a sobering place – but one that should be experienced.
Is Meridian worth the detour? Only if the traveler wants to see blue skies, greenery in every direction, crystal clear rivers meandering here and there, historic sites and the greatest Albertsons in the world.
So the answer would be an emphatic yes.
Email John R. Beyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.