December 24, 2012 in Features

The Slice: We’ll call them conversation stuffers

By The Spokesman-Review

There’s something to be said for the last-minute stocking stuffer run.

Not a lot of pressure. It’s OK to make spontaneous selections that might be a little quirky. And if you make your rounds in the company of a relative you don’t get to see often, it can be a chance to talk.

Sometimes you can ask important questions while filling a basket with Chukar Cherries and Aplets & Cotlets.

“How’s Aunt Mary doing? The truth.”

“Are you and Jason OK?”

“Does Dad’s weight worry you?”

“Is it just me or do Caitlin’s boys seem feral?”

“How old were you when you realized our family would never be like ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ or ‘Leave It to Beaver’?”

“Is Duhkotah pregnant?”

Some of the people who live here: Debbie McMurtery’s parents, Tom and Helen Gummer, celebrated their wedding anniversary last week. He’s 89, she’s 86. They decided to dine at Applebee’s and intended to use a gift card McMurtery’s sister and brother-in-law had given them.

“As is his usual habit, Dad was chatting up the folks who seated and served them and happened to mention that it was their 68th anniversary. When it came time to pay the bill, Mom handed their server the gift card and she was told their lunch had already been paid for. When she asked by whom, the server told her another couple had overheard Dad and wanted to buy their lunch, but they asked the server not to say anything until they left.”

McMurtery said that gesture made her folks’ special day even better. They just wished they could have thanked their mystery benefactors.

Here’s another story.

“My cousin sent my aged mother a Christmas present in care of me,” wrote Nick Suksdorf. “She put 34th in the address instead of 39th as it should have been.

“The gentleman on 34th who received the UPS delivery took the time to look in the phone book to see where I really lived and brought the package to my house during that virtual blizzard we had (Wednesday) evening.”

He told Suksdorf’s wife he figured there was no way the package would reach its proper destination by Christmas if he simply had UPS return it to the sender.

Today’s Slice question: Who is the richest man/woman in town?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email It’s bad form to blame reindeer if your roof needs to be replaced.

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