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The Slice: For many, two reasons to celebrate

OK, where were we.

Oh, yeah. Birthdays near Christmas.

A lot of Slice readers are in this category, though perhaps not many can compete with Betty Prescott. Her birthday is Dec. 23. That was also her late father’s birthday. And it is her husband’s birthday, too.

Elsewhere, four of the eight kids in Cathy Porter’s family growing up had December birthdays. She credits her parents with somehow managing to make each occasion special.

MARKS ON THE KITCHEN CEILING: “When we bought a small house in Sandpoint some years back we found, right above the stove, a perfect impression of a pressure-cooker lid,” wrote Forrest Schuck.

In Pullman, Dave Hutton can still see where a champagne stopper left a mark in 1984 after he was promoted to associate professor. There’s a second mark, from 1993, that coincided with his promotion to professor. “Retirement in 2008 was more relief than celebration, hence no third mark.”

“GRINCH” SPEAK: “Whenever my husband and I serve elk or deer roast, and the grandkids are present, we tell them we are having roast beast,” said Patsy Wood.

WORD POWER: Fourth grade teacher Betsy Weigle asked her class if anyone knew what the word “gracious” meant. “Bailey’s hand popped up right away and he said, ‘Great plus precious equal gracious.’ ”

THE CITY MOST LIKE SPOKANE: Ruth Gustafson and Dian Zahner independently nominated Grand Rapids, Mich.

THE HARDEST YOU HAVE BEEN PUNCHED: Bruce Burton was a teenage A.A.U. boxer training for a fight in California in the 1970s when an older, bigger sparring partner knocked him out. “I still don’t remember leaving the gym or the drive home.”

Burton didn’t realize it at the time, but that hard right broke his jaw.

SLICE ANSWER: Because he is 80 now, Bill Hiatt isn’t sure how many basketball free throws he could sink today. But back in the 1960s he was in a contest and made 48 of 50.

TODAY’S SLICE QUESTION: If you had magical powers, what would you give Spokane as a gift?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Some people slowly driving through neighborhoods with lots of holiday displays turn off their car lights, which isn’t really a great idea.

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