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Huckleberry King

In this file photo a girl feasts on huckleberries during the Schweitzer Huckleberry Festival.

In the latest edition of  Sandpoint Magazine and on her blog Slight Detour, Marianne Love writes of Joe Nieman, the Huckleberry King.

"This Porthill native and Co-Op front-counter clerk owns a T-shirt with “Smokin’ Joe Nieman, World’s Fastest Huckleberry Picker” to prove it. His shirt and a charm offensive, armed with huckleberry chocolate kisses, once landed him a spot on “The Price Is Right,” Vegas-style.

 Nieman, 68, of Ponderay, keeps a logbook, filled with meticulous berry-picking notes from his 43 years of supplying loyal customers in North Idaho and even one Idaho politician. Full story.
 
I've never gone huckleberry picking. Instead, I rely on local farmer's markets for my yearly haul. How much do you love huckleberries? Any berry-picking secrets?
 

Marianne: Keep Sandpoint Viewtiful

This morning's paper tells us that we won a contest, sponsored by big names in the media business—-USA Today and Rand McNally.  Yesterday the word spread quickly on Facebook that—-after the judging, which involved visits to several communities throughout the country—-Sandpoint is America's most beautiful small town. What that will bring is now the question.  Will we,  who love this place as it is and has been,  want all the more to put up the gates?  And, I'm not talking about gates to exclusive developments but gates to city entrances/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: If you could, would you put up a fence around your North Idaho community and not let anyone else in?

Marianne: Australia Dreamin’

Why did that Oprah have to take us to Australia this past week anyway? I did not watch every episode of her trip Down Under, which included hundreds of her ultimate fans, but I did watch enough to wish I could magically shut my eyes and open them a second later,  leaning on some remote Australian ranch fence, admiring horses. So far, I have to do that in my dreams.  Annie's been to Australia.  She and one of my former students and good friends, Kelsi, visited there at the same time on separate trips.  They hooked up with each other on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, and they've been good friends ever since. I've written about Australians for the Appaloosa Journal, and that story, published more than a decade ago,  about a mounted Search and Rescue team in South Australia's wine country,  will bring me even closer to the culture I've longed to experience most of my adult life/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here. (AP file photo of koala bears, for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you been to Australia or New Zealand? Would you recommend the trip to others?

Marianne: Stop In The Name Of The Law

Bill was craving a brick-oven pizza from the Loading Dock downtown, and since I was doing some errands, I drove on toward town from Wal-Mart to get it. Looking down at my speedometer, between Yoke’s and Co-Op, I noticed 50 mph and immediately slowed down but not before the Ponderay cop saw me too. She wheeled around in the highway and proceeded to follow me with no light. She didn’t really need to flash it cuz I knew I’d been had. I pulled into the nearest wide spot just past the Y and on went the lights. It’s been a long time since I’ve been stopped, so I did okay with the driver’s license but stress set in when she asked for the registration and proof of insurance. I hadn’t opened that glove compartment for months, and I remember the last cop stop when I kept handing the officer my Les Schwab envelopes/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here (scroll down)

Question: When were you last pulled over by a patrol officer? Did you get a ticket?

Huckleberries: Keep It Inside Beltway

You will learn what Don Sausser saw on Sherman Avenue earlier this month by reading 2nd item in Huckleberries (follow link).

I’m not one to discuss butt-crack sightings usually. Nor is Marianne Love. But when you spot the Mother of All Butt Cracks (or is that the Father of All Butt Cracks?) … it’s hard not to say something. Marianne was swapping motor-home-tour stories with two friends in the produce department of a Sandpoint supermarket when the MOABC burst into view near the lettuce display. Now, we’ve all seen butt cleavage before, especially those who enjoy swimming at City Beach during the summers. But this one was so pronounced that Marianne flirted with the idea of documenting the length and depth of the canyon with her cell phone/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: I’ve seen a parade of neo-Nazis stopped by protesting neo-flower children on Sherman Avenue. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on Sherman?

Marianne: Much Ado About Butt Cracks

Boots wasn’t looking at the lettuce. Boots was transfixed on a full-fledged butt crack whose owner was looking at the lettuce. Now, I know Boots has seen butt cracks before, but to be standing in the presence of two fine ladies while viewing such a phenomenon.  That may have been a new experience for Boots. I know I’ve seen butt cracks before too, and I’ve always wondered about the bearer of the bare butt. Do these people have a clue about the reactions that take place all around them whenever and wherever they bend over?  Could these folks be the least bit embarrassed (no pun intended) if  they knew what fits of hysteria they cause during the time they’re leaning over to pick up a head of iceberg to see if it’s the one they’ll choose to drop in the cart/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here

Question: When and where did you last get an eyeful of an unsightly butt crack in a public setting?

Snow and Farragut Memories

Marianne Love gives us a taste of snow here:
http://slightdetour.blogspot.com/2009/11/for-snow-lovers.html

And spokelooneh offered a link to her fascinating article about Farragut: http://www.mariannelove.com/Farragut….

Keithincda says on Saturday PBS aired a documentary about Farragut “Americas Landlocked Navy.” You can purchase the video online at the KSPS televesion website or at Amazon. Not too early to start thinking about Christmas presents.

Just saying.

Love: Do My Dogs (Heart) Me?

I heard it for the first time while driving home from town the other day. At first, I thought I probably had heard it wrong. Then, the singer crooned the line again. It went something like this: Oh Lord, let me be what my dog thinks of me. Not a bad goal, I thought. Then, I got to wondering: what DO my dogs think of me? What do my horses think of me. What do my cats think of me? And, Lord, what about my family and my friends?/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: Can you tell whether your pets like/love you?

Slight Detour: A View From Above

“Having been inside a honeybucket once at The Festival with two naughty adolescents peering down at me through the vent,” writes Marianne Love/Slight Detour, ”I wonder how many people were a bit reluctant to use the facilities. I’m guessing, however, that Mother Nature’s calls far exceeded modesty in that setting.” Bryant Jones, a former student of Marianne’s, provided Slight Detour with this photo and others of offbeat scenes at Barack Obama’s inaugaration Tuesday here.

Question: Would you use a honeybucket with a person or two sitting on top who could look through the vent at you?

Love: Surviving Drive To CDA

While drivng to and from Coeur d’Alene yesterday (both trips taking a few minutes shy of two hours to cover the 45 miles), I could think of only two other times I’d been so fearful of the possibilities of meeting my maker. And I drove defensively every moment/Marianne Love. More here.

Question: Are you comfortable with winter driving?

Marianne Wows 3C’s Luncheon

Earlier this morning, Marianne Love posted this: The day has come. It’s been nearly a year since Betty Cheeley called me up and asked me to speak about my book “Lessons with Love” to the 3 C’s Book Club of Coeur d’Alene. If all goes well, by shortly after 10 a.m., I’ll be standing at the podium in one of the coference bays at The Coeur d’Alene Hotel. A potentially large number of women, many of them Coeur d’Alene’s shakers and doers, will be sitting there looking back at me with expectations. I anticipate several trips to the bathroom before that moment. And, Betty knows to plan her Oly and Lena joke to sunchronize with the last time she sees me head for the john. More here.

DFO: Now, former colleague Erica Curless said Marianne not only drove from Sandpoint in this miserable weather but she wowed some 100 women waiting for her at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Seems Merry Hucksters aren’t scared of a few snowflakes.

Question: Are you afraid of public speaking?