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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Column: Buffet of life experiences needs small plates

The Spokesman-Review’s outdoors guru, Rich Landers, led a hike at Riverside State Park during recent festivities celebrating the park’s 100th anniversary. He got a good crowd, and what I appreciated most was that the hike along the Spokane River lasted just 40 minutes, with an option to extend another 40 minutes at the end.

I did the first 40 minutes, and it was lovely and plenty for me.

More and more, I appreciate experiences that don’t take all day or all evening. Don’t know if it’s adult-onset attention deficit or general impatience with things that go on too long, or perhaps a nod to mortality. I don’t have as much time left on this Earth as I’ve already lived, unless I live to 116 – God forbid.

My boomer friends and family members often compare notes on this desire to have experiences in a relative hurry. One sister has lost her ability to listen to long, detailed stories. She says that style of storytelling is “so ’80s.”

Maybe this impatience could evolve into a boomer speed-living trend. One-hour concerts, no intermission necessary; 65-minute movies. Talks and panels that end in 45 minutes flat, no question-and-answer period allowed because that’s what drags those things out interminably.

PARTY FAVOR: Did you do a big blowout party for your 60th birthday? Or something extra special to mark the big Six-Oh? I am looking for 60th birthday party stories for an upcoming story. If you turned 60 within the past seven years, and did it up big, or did it up special, please send me a paragraph or two (no longer please) and attach a photo if you have one.

Email me at

SPEAKING OF THE RIVER: Spokane lost an amazing soul a week ago when Robbi Castleberry, 80, died. She and her husband, Vic, have been Spokane River ambassadors to the community, raising awareness of the great waterway that flows through the heart of the city.

In an interview in 2005, I asked Castleberry what she thought was the greatest threat to the river.

She said: “Apathy. It’s a type of ‘OK, the river flows through Spokane, so great, we look at it when we go through Riverfront Park or if we walk on the Centennial Trail.’ I fear that this acceptance does not involve the knowledge that there are things we need to look at to correct problems in the river.”

Robbi Castleberry did not live a life of apathy. She lived a life filled with passion for the outdoors. She hoped the river would remain strong and healthy for generations to come. A fitting memorial would be an empty canoe, filled with wildflowers, floating a calm stretch of the Spokane River.

WISE ELEPHANTS: “I used to be able to stand in a forklift truck loading dock at a feed yard and I could jump up on the ramp. Gosh, there is no way I could do that now. But one of the things that getting older does give you is wisdom and a perspective that you didn’t have before because you’ve been to a lot of places and you’ve seen a lot of things.

“That’s why, in a lot of societies, they look up to their elders. In elephant society, younger elephants look up to the matriarchs. Why? Because they know where to find the water from 50 years ago.” – Temple Grandin, 65, in Costco Connection magazine.

STRONG FINANCIALS: On Wednesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., AARP Washington is sponsoring a “Strengthening Your Financial Future” workshop designed to help people map out a retirement savings plan. These AARP seminars always come with a refreshing disclaimer: “This is not a sales presentation, and lunch is on us.”

It will be at CenterPlace, an event center in Spokane Valley. Registration is required. Go to or call (877) 926-8300.

CAN YOU READ ME NOW? While sharing lunch with a middle-school-age relative recently, he revealed that he can’t read cursive, nor can most of his friends. I knew that many young people were no longer learning how to write cursive, but I didn’t know they couldn’t read it.

Not sure how to feel about this one. My penmanship has deteriorated over the years, so maybe this can be an excuse to return to printing messages on greeting cards.


• Boater safety class – Tim Leeder of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol unit, will discuss the basic requirements of operating boats, rules of the waterways and safety devices on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Hayden Public Library, 8385 Government Way, Hayden. For more information, call (208) 772-5612.

• Quilted Gems Quilt Show will be Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Kootenai County Fairgrounds, Jacklin Building, 4056 N. Government Way, Coeur d’Alene. For more information, call (208) 667-2575.

For more activities, go to