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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: A final ride for the ‘White Whale’

Dave Oliveria (Colin Mulvany)
Dave Oliveria (Colin Mulvany)

Gail Curless has had many adventures in her 2002 Ford F-350 since she bought it eight years ago. She and her hubby, Randy, the longtime former mayor of Dover, have ridden the “White Whale” down to its hubcaps, hauling horses, sheep and border collies throughout the Northwest and Canada. The odometer showed 249,000 miles when Gail set out Thursday morning to hand her pickup over to a car dealer in Bonners Ferry. Still, she was surprised when the engine wouldn’t turn over after a stop at her local bank. She Facebooked about it. And then called Clyde’s Towing. Before hooking up to the White Whale, a driver for Clyde’s asked to check the pickup’s engine. He spotted a loose bolt, waved his magic wrench over it, and told Gail to “try ’er again.” Dutifully, the pickup started a last time for Gail. And she didn’t turn it off until she handed the pink slip and keys to the new owner. Gail tells Huckleberries: “I really loved that truck.” From her lips to the Ford Motor Co.’s ears.

Silence is golden

Last week, Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor elbowed his way onto Huckleberries Online comment section to wonder why no one is asking about a proposed upgrade to City Hall. To paraphrase, Sam said: “I’m here for you.” Crickets. Finally, former Coeur d’Alene Finance Director John Austin responded: “No comments because you and the city are doing a great job of communicating the big issues.” Bingo … Austin, by the way, offered this rhyme when he learned that Washington poet laureate Tod Marshall is finishing work on a book of poems from the late, great Tom Wobker (aka The Bard of Sherman Avenue): “His writing was sweet/With rhyming complete/But matching it’s hard/Rest in peace, our dear Bard” … Tod tells Huckleberries that he hopes for a book launch by Christmas.

Open at Christmas

Hagadone Hospitality outdid itself with the fireworks display for the 30th annual Christmas tree lighting at Hagadone HQ on Black Friday eve. Spectacular. But what’s up with the skimpy decorations on the Boardwalk this yuletide? Only a fenced-off fire-breathing display or two at the southwest corner … On the plus side, the Boardwalk remains open to pedestrians for the holidays. In times past, it has been closed from November through January … Post Falls Councilwoman Kerri Thoreson wasn’t taking chances with her 6-pound Yorkie when she spotted a hawk on her patio eyeballing nearby birds. Miss Annie stayed inside the house. But Kerri did worry about the squirrel that she feeds by hand. After all, Mr. Hawk & Co. have done a till-death-do-you-part number on two mourning doves that once lived nearby … A HucksOnline blog wag offers this driving lesson for newly arrived Californians: “Snow will kill you. Go back.” Apologies to newer California transplants. And some of the older ones, too.


Eighty-two percent of my blog crowd believes they’ve been nice enough to get much more than a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings from Santa. P’haps they’re grading on a curve? … OTOH, only 18 percent say they’re on St. Nick’s “naughty” list. No, they weren’t asked why. Huckleberries Online, after all, is a family blog … Google “Energizer Bunny” – and you’ll see a picture of Ron McIntire, former longtime mayor of Hayden and the founder of the Super 1 Foods supermarket chain, which began in 1970 as Ron’s Thrift in Hayden. Ron, who turned 80 last week, continues to open supermarkets in Idaho, Washington and Montana – and to work six days a week at the Hayden store … You’ll Drink to That: 24/7 Wall Street selected Coeur d’Alene as the (drum roll, puh-leez) “drunkest” city in Idaho. But there’s a sober lining. Idaho imbibes less than most states. So the amount of Coeur d’Alene adults who consume booze to excess over a month’s time – 18.1 percent – stands out. However, the Lake City’s booziness is only a tick over the national average of 18 percent … Do you suppose all the sots from Spokane who frequent downtown Coeur d’Alene bars on warm summer nights were part of the count?

Parting Shot

Bill Blumenauer, of Bonners Ferry, has served his country in the Navy (1992-96) and Army (1996-2000). He has served with individuals who came home in flag-draped caskets. He has worn the U.S. flag on his shoulder. He has saluted it. Many times. With tears in his eyes. So he has skin in the game when he hears that President-elect Donald Trump wants to toss flag burners in jail or pull their citizenship. First, Bill says, “I absolutely despise (flag burning). But it’s not against the law. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I have a visceral desire to get all throat-stompy about it.” Bill considers flag burners to be “idiots” and “heartless.” But he understands they have a constitutional right to be so. In other words, Bill has a better handle on the issue than Trump.

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