Unpublished correction: The name of Higgens Point is misspelled in this story. This information is from the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation.
Elvis lives. He’s a bit shorter and squattier than in his publicity photos. But there’s no mistaking the flamboyant clothes and swooped, black mane. He’s in the front yard at 7351 Fourth Street in Dalton Gardens - or he was last week.
This week, he could be Batman or Uncle Sam or a bride in satin and lace. His/her identity depends on Starlene Staudt’s mood. Starlene dresses the 80-pound concrete goose in her garden as a new personality every day.
Why? For fun, and because people love it. Sometimes, Starlene’s driveway is so full of cars and people ogling the cross-dressing goose that she has to drive around the block until space opens.
“You bring more joy and laughter to the commuters on Fourth Street than you will ever know,” one secret admirer wrote to her. Starlene, a middle-aged home health nurse who radiates warmth, has a shoebox full of thank-yous and greeting cards to Mother Goose, The Goose Lady, The Duck.
People leave flowers, cookies, presents. High school students honk their horns at their favorites of the goose’s 35 outfits. A school bus driver left three yellow concrete goslings. Elementary school children gave Starlene a banner declaring their love for her goose.
“Isn’t that enough encouragement to keep doing it?” Starlene says.
Her mother bought the goose as a gift for her daughter. It wore only painted feathers until her mother dressed it in a U.S. Marine uniform when Starlene’s son was sent to Kuwait three years ago. A star was born.
Now, the goose, who’s nameless because its gender changes regularly, stays out Easter through Christmas. Brides line up to pose for pictures with it in its wedding gown. Starlene’s mother brings her cement goose from Kellogg and dresses it as the groom. Starlene’s husband, Don, made a trellis to frame the wedding couple.
“I can be upset or in a foul mood, but every time I drive by and see that duck has changed outfits or has had babies, I chuckle and have a good feeling inside,” another admirer wrote.
That’s all Starlene wants.
Pull out the gardening gloves and head to the Lake Coeur d’Alene Drive segment of the Centennial Trail this Saturday. There’s fresh asphalt, but even better than that, there are cookies and drinks for trail cleaners.
The state Parks and Recreation Department will bring the safety vests, trash bags and refreshments. You bring the gloves, hats and sunscreen. Mother Nature will supply the warmth and the eye-popping view.
Trash pickup and brush removal starts at 8 a.m. at Higgins Point, where the trail ends. Call 769-1511 for details or just show up with all your friends.
If your chipping form is good, maybe you should consider entering the Greater Post Falls Area Open golf tournament on Friday. Play the Highlands Golf and Country Club, take a chance on a new car and promote the River City.
All proceeds will go to Post Falls Tourism, which will use it to toot the city’s horn outside the area. Call 773-4080 to register.
Beyond the call of duty
Moscow’s Lois Melina leaves home at 3 a.m. several days a week to drive her teenage daughter, Emily, to the 5:30 a.m. swim practice in Spokane. The Spokane pool is twice the length of Moscow’s, and the workouts are for top athletes only. Emily has athletic potential Lois can’t ignore and a mother most kids only dream about …
Tell me about the people you admire because they go the extra mile or two.
Want good news in the newspaper? Here’s your chance.
Pound out those profiles to Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814; FAX them to 765-7149; or call 765-7128.
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