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The Slice: ‘The lake’ isn’t all fun and games

Pullman’s Joan Harris wrote last week to suggest that those Inland Northwesterners without lake places don’t understand.

It’s no picnic.

“I just got back from my lake home where I spent two days cleaning up the beach that’s been flooded since June,” she said. “I stacked wood, carried wood, cut wood, burned wood, raked detritus both days and am sporting aches in every muscle.”

But she can’t say she wasn’t warned.

“When I bought my place on Lake Coeur d’Alene, a neighbor said, ‘See those people out there on the lake enjoying themselves – those are my guests. I’m in here working.’ ”

Well, that is a different perspective.

Harris concluded, “My point being, don’t always envy those who say they are ‘going to the lake’ unless they are the guests.”

Spelling out the differences, continued: “Tree houses can have girls in them,” wrote Kurt Laven of Moscow. “In tree forts, girls aren’t allowed.

“Tree houses are accessed via climbing the tree and entering through a door. Tree forts have trap doors in the floor and are reached by a rope ladder.

“Tree forts have an ample supply of projectiles and/or things to drop on attackers. Tree forts have passwords.”

Then there was this from Maggie Fritz.

“Tree houses have walls and roofs, a window, and are perfect for reading. Maybe even big enough for sleeping. So your dad has to build it.

“Tree forts do not have walls, the better to pelt people with (take your pick) green apples, horse biscuits, water balloons, et cetera. They also have ‘No Girls Allowed’ signs. They can be built by your brothers and/or boy cousins.”

Slice answer: We will know that the “fest” suffix has been thoroughly exhausted in the Spokane area when one day we read about what new community event?

“Sleepfest,” wrote Jeffrey Neuberger. “Because they’re all thoroughly exhausted. Don’t wake me up when it’s over.”

Today’s Slice question: Did you know longtime KSPS fixture Patty Starkey is retiring next month?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Check out The Slice Blog at There will be a quiz on the first 275 blog posts.

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