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The Slice: For better or worse, she brings out Dad’s best

Fri., Jan. 10, 2014, midnight

Let’s recall a couple of memorable long-distance snowballs.

Today the Rev. Martin Wells is the Lutheran bishop of Eastern Washington and Idaho. But back in the mid-1990s, he helped oversee Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center and gathering place in the North Cascades. That is where our scene unfolds.

“It was a beautiful spring day when the snow (average of 250 inches per year) was perfect for throwing,” wrote Wells. “I have a decent arm and no decency at all about my targets. So when I saw my 13-year-old daughter, Mary Emily, standing on the dining hall porch, about to ring the bell for lunch, I started salivating – not for lunch, but for a best-ever throw.”

As Wells recalls it, he was about 150 feet away from his unsuspecting daughter.

He let loose an epic heave. “Across the side of a buried Jacuzzi, two trees, the aforementioned bell and under an overhanging porch roof, I pegged her in the chest.”

Yes, it was superlative aim and delivery. But it came with a price.

“I have this ambivalent memory of my sweet girl looking across the snowfield at her beloved dad, who has just hurled a laser shot that froze her in place. As I recall she whimpered a bit and looked back at me with that wounded look a father can’t forget.”

Wells now labels the snowball throw “cruel.”

It was also his greatest ever.

One more.

Mike Carlson was walking home from high school on the North Side a few decades ago when a couple of ne’er-do-wells hurled snowballs at him and a friend just before the throwers headed toward the entrance to a grocery store.

The throwers were far away and missed. But Carlson promptly returned fire, also from long distance.

Because of a slight delay in the store’s automatic doors opening, the volley’s instigators were still outside when Carlson’s mighty launch nailed one of them in the back of the head.

“To this day, I can still replay it in my mind,” said Carlson. “It was amazing.”

Today’s Slice question: In your household, what are the consequences for sticking a knife or spoon smeared with butter and crumbs into a previously pristine jar of jelly?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Some people repeatedly abuse stores’ return policies.

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