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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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It’s Never Too Late For Love, A Good Cook And Companion

Ben and Priscilla Davis have 100 years of marriage behind them but still glow like newlyweds.

“I’ve been good for her and she’s been good for me,” Ben says. He grins devilishly at Priscilla. “I needed a cook and she needed a companion.”

A tolerant smile flickers across Priscilla’s face. She knows she’s much more to Ben than kitchen help. They are best friends, travel buddies, lifesavers.

“We appreciate each other more because we know how lonely we’d be without each other,” Priscilla says.

Ben was married to Betty when he met Priscilla and her husband, Marlon, in 1986. The two couples became friends. They lived on the same Coeur d’Alene street.

Betty died in March 1990 and Ben found himself alone for the first time in 52 years. He worked 600 hours that summer in Sandpoint’s food bank to keep from going crazy.

“I’d sit in the evenings and turn to say something to her, but she wasn’t there,” he says. “I was the most lonesome man in the world.”

Marlon died six months after Betty. He was the second husband Priscilla had lost since she first married in 1941.

She was lonely and a little gun-shy and had decided to move closer to her children in Wisconsin when Ben changed her mind. He impulsively invited her to lunch. She turned him down, but invited him to a birthday party with plans to match him up with her sister-in-law.

Six weeks later, Ben and Priscilla were engaged.

“I kissed her good-night and there were fireworks, skyrockets. Bells clanged,” he says.

She filled his unbearable emptiness and cooked for him. He ended her loneliness and made her laugh. They agreed that they didn’t need to wait a year after Marlon’s death to marry.

“That’s so stupid,” Priscilla says. “We’re getting older.”

Last fall, Ben, who’s 84, and Priscilla, who’s 78, toured New Zealand. They travel, play cards, dance and volunteer together.

“This marriage has brought us more happiness,” Ben says, gently squeezing Priscilla’s hand. “The loneliness has gone out of our lives.”

Slip up

North Idaho skiing must have created better memories than those of Rathdrum’s Lee Ann Hagen. She was at Schweitzer Mountain Resort 15 years ago with her friend, Lisa, when disaster hit.

First, she and Lisa crashed into each other right in front of the Ski Patrol. The girls laughed, picked themselves up and followed the Ski Patrol down a side trail.

Lisa fell and couldn’t move her leg, so Lee Ann chased down the Ski Patrol, caught the lift back up with them and took them to her friend. Then, Lee Ann took a second run for help after one of the rescuers wrenched his back lifting Lisa into the litter.

The final blow came as the rescuer reached the first-aid hut with Lisa, fell and broke his arm. Lisa hasn’t skied since, Lee Ann says.

Basque-ing together

Hayden Lake’s Izar, Maite and Julia Gorrindo are proud of their Basque heritage and want to keep it alive. They’re looking for other Basques to meet with them to eat, dance and study Basque. Call 772-4194 if the Basque in you is aching for release.

How have you kept your heritage alive in the Panhandle? Expose your roots for Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814; fax to 765-7149; call 765-7128; or e-mail to cynthiat@spokesman.com.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

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