I don't know how many of you know this, but SR columnist Doug Clark and I have been fast friends since we met in Red Bluff, Calif., in the early 1970s. We both worked at the Daily News in Red Bluff, Calif. He was the best man at my wedding in 1975. Also, he was the guy who put it into my head in spring 1977 to Go Northwest Young Man. A Spokane native, Clark told me then, when I was bureau chief of the San Joaquin News in Stockton, Calif., that I should jump at the chance to live in either Kalispell, Mont., or Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, because both places were viewtiful. Clark had moved on to become sports editor of the Coeur d'Alene Press. I spent 5 years in Kalispell, 4 as the managing editor. Then, 2 years in Lewiston, 1982-84. So why am I telling you this?
In August 1984, The Spokesman-Review came calling. Earlier that summer, the paper offered me a job as regional editor of the newspaper, working in the Spokane office. I wasn't interested. I loved working for the Lewiston Tribune, a newspaperman's newspaper. And didn't want to live in Spokane. And was tired of being an editor. In August, the paper offered a job as a reporter assigned to the Coeur d'Alene bureau, making more money than I was being paid as the Trib news editor. I was going to turn the offer down again. Until Clark, who was now at the SR, called. And called. And called. Four calls one evening that extended into the wee hours of the morning. He wore me down.
The next morning, I asked Mrs. O what we should do. She wasn't as big of a fan of Lewiston as I was. In four words, she pointed us to the future: "Let's blow this place." We did. Of course. And the rest is history.