The Slice: Let us not forget these gems

SUNDAY, NOV. 8, 2009

It wouldn’t seem right to devote most of this page to a discussion of Washington’s state symbols and totally ignore Idaho.

So let’s consider the Gem State’s lineup. It is impressive.

For instance, the monarch butterfly is a great state insect for several reasons. Apart from being beautiful, it is an elegant reminder that there is more to life in the West than being rugged. Moreover, its life cycle is a testament to the fact that change is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

The cutthroat trout makes an excellent state fish because its name screams outdoor adventure. Just saying “cutthroat trout” makes a person sound like someone who wouldn’t get lost in the woods.

The mountain bluebird is another terrific state symbol. Considered along with the state raptor, the peregrine falcon, these birds are so classy that having them for neighbors enhances everyone’s image.

And who could quibble about the state fruit (huckleberry) or state vegetable (potato)? Even bears and toddlers would endorse those choices.

Likewise, the Western white pine seems like a good state tree, the Appaloosa an excellent state horse and the syringa a worthy state flower.

Idaho’s state motto, “Let it be perpetual” might be a bit inscrutable. And the fact that the very name of the state is really a made up nonword probably needs to be acknowledged.

But in looking at a state government Web site featuring pictures of the state symbols, I came across a bit of trivia that ought to make any Idahoan proud.

Apparently it can be argued that what is now Idaho was the 50th of the states to be glimpsed by Europeans.

Maybe they saved the best for last.

Today’s Slice question: If you were the Northwest’s state symbols czar, what changes would you make?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. For previous Slice columns, see www.spokesman.com/columnists. Montana became a state on this day in 1889.

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