January 10, 2012 in Features

The Slice: Making mountains out of molehills

By The Spokesman-Review
 

As you know, large portions of the United States are pancake flat.

In those parts of America, you can stand in a field and see a storm coming from three counties over.

In other vast swaths of U.S. countryside, the highest elevations are found atop low, rolling hills.

Sometimes people who live in such places wind up moving to the Spokane area. Upon surveying their new surroundings, these individuals determine that we have mountains here.

And that’s where it gets complicated.

Yes, it’s certainly true that there are mountains hereabouts. Quite a few, actually. They just aren’t particularly tall or breathtakingly jagged, as is the case elsewhere in the Northwest.

That inevitable comparison looms over any discussion of our area’s modest peaks.

Now I am not saying that those who live within view of, say, the Cascades, Olympics or Sawtooths are bad people. They aren’t. Many are hard workers, nurturing parents and responsible pet owners.

But a few are unapologetic mountain snobs.

And when they are here visiting our stomping grounds, they have been known to utter a certain assessment of our topography: “Mountains? You call those mountains?”

Such putdowns can have a chilling, intimidating effect on local people’s mountain pride.

Sure, you can dismiss such critiques as the charm-deficient spoutings of insecure blowhards. Still, you might well find yourself subsequently tacking on a qualifier when mentioning our mountains.

“Well, they’re nice for hiking and skiing but I admit none of them is really license plate material.”

There’s another mountain/image complication that I haven’t even mentioned.

Some people move to the Spokane area from high-topped Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

But let’s deal with that another day.

Today’s Slice question: In your circle of acquaintances, phoning someone at home often means hearing which background sound?

A) Crying baby. B) Barking dog. C) TV with volume turned up to freight-train loudness. D) Music playing. E) Power tools in use. F) A toddler going nuts with what sounds like a cowbell. G) Yodeling. H) Other.

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Ever tried making your own yogurt?

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