Huckleberries: Air Force ring comes full circle

Tony Smith isn’t a hobbit, dwarf, elf, or any of the other mythical characters that inhabited Middle Earth and coveted the one ring that ruled them all. Yet he has a gold Air Force Academy ring that took its own sweet time getting back to him over a journey of 20 years. First, you should know that Tony is a 1985 Coeur d’Alene High graduate and the son of Randy and Ruth Smith, of Nettleton Gulch, and that he lost his ring while water skiing in Texas in about 1990, one year after he graduated from the Air Force Academy. It was – should I say – precious to him, because the inscription inside (in English not elfin) helped him through tough times: “I can do all things (through Christ who strengthens me – Phil. 4:13).” Years after losing the ring, Tony learned from the Air Force Academy that a European had found it at a campground in Texas. The European then mailed the ring to Tony, only to have it break through the envelope at a North Carolina post office. Where the wayward jewelry remained shrouded in regret and mystery until it was found by a Sanford, N.C., man. Who contacted Tony through the Air Force Academy. And finally got the ring back to him a few months ago. Tony, an Air Force pilot stationed in North Carolina, marvels that a precious ring, worth more than $1,000 in gold alone, wasn’t stolen along the way. Mebbe his “preciousss” had a mind of its own.

Half staff

Howard Martinson isn’t opposed to the high-energy pat-downs in the name of public safety instituted by the touchy-feely airport security. But things were crazy when he arrived at the Miami airport Monday, Nov. 15. Per usual, Howard removed his belt and shoes before getting up close and personal with one of Director John Pistole’s Transportation Security Administration shock troops. Take it away, Howard: “I’ve taken off a few pounds lately. So I really needed the belt to hold my pants up. So my hands are out to the side, and the man is working my pants over pretty good, when …you guessed it, my pants very quickly dropped to half mast.” Some might quibble that the correct term for this situation is “half staff” because Howard was on land rather than sea. But that’s a secondary issue here. Howard’s primary concern? He wasn’t 100 percent sure that his “unders” had stayed in place – and he didn’t want to know. Later, he concluded: “Where was an America’s Funniest Videos camera when we really needed it?”


From the KCSD sergeant’s log recently: “Deputy Nye and Deputy Geurin responded to the Hauser Lake Smoke Shop for a citizen assist with a female who was having a panic attack due to the snow on the roadway. Upon arrival they located a California native who had gotten lost and disoriented in the snow. They were able to locate a friend of the female in Rathdrum who responded to the location to pick up her and the vehicle.” Hey, don’t laugh. I know North Idahoans who panic when they see too many California license plates on I-90 … Poet’s Corner: “They pay us good wages/to feel up your granny/in case she’s got A bombs/concealed in her fanny” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“TSA”) … Hucks Online Poll: 59.06 percent of the responders to a blog poll last week consider search by full-body scanners at today’s airports to be a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights that prohibit illegal searches. Bingo … I pride myself that I was the first reporter who published Hilde Kellogg’s age in a newspaper story. The coy, 10-term ex-legislator from Post Falls who died Monday at age 92 adamantly refused to tell reporters how old she was until I found out by calling in a favor with a long-retired local gendarme during the 1992 campaign. She was 74 at the time. I published the information. She growled at me. She was then and will forever be a great lady who will be missed.

Parting shot

From a recent Twin Falls Times-News editorial re: Jim Brannon’s obsessive attempt to overturn his losses to Councilman Mike Kennedy at the polls and in Judge Charles Hosack’s court: “Brannon and his grandstanding lawyer, Starr Kelso, ought to be ashamed of themselves. Single-handedly, they’ve made the idea of running for City Council toxic. And if legislators don’t think the same thing could happen to them, they’re deluding themselves. The Legislature needs to fix this by exempting candidates from lawsuits against cities, counties or the state over election results. Every city council member we know of spends far more hours on the job than he or she is compensated for. The notion that they should also be compelled to pay for their right to hold office is repulsive.” Again, bingo.

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