Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

The Slice: My father’s yuletide story

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 7, 2017

I’ve mentioned my late father’s famous cautionary tales.

You know, the ones about playing with guns, skating on thin ice, setting off fireworks and on and on. In each story, a childhood friend of his learned an important lesson the hard way. He died.

Or so my father said. Ahem.

I think his subtle safety message boiled down to this: If you’re thinking of doing something that might be fun – don’t. It’ll probably kill you.

I heard these stories when I was quite young. The victims always had authentic sounding Italian or French names, befitting a small mill town populated by immigrant families.

But even then, I had to wonder. How could my father’s hometown have endured carnage of this magnitude? Why wasn’t it national news?

Bedeviled Upstate Burg Buries Another in Child Death Binge

To hear my dad tell it, Whitehall, N.Y., was home to a youth mortality rate unprecedented in American history.

He had one story that was just for Christmas.

It seems there was a poor man in his town who had been hounded by his ungrateful children for expensive Christmas presents. But this noble fellow could not provide these lavish gifts. So, wracked by sadness, he took a drastic step.

Yes, he killed himself. And not only that, he did so in stunning fashion. He chopped off his own head with an ax, my father said.

Did I mention that some of his stories were more finely crafted than others?

I don’t know if I rolled my eyes or inquired as to just how one would accomplish this grisly feat. But I suspect I got the message.

It was sort of hard to miss.

The season for roast beast and other delectables: An avalanche of festive baked goods and other holiday treats is heading to workplaces throughout the Inland Northwest.

This happens all across the country, of course. But what makes the seasonal snacks people bring to work in the Spokane area distinctive?

You make the call.

A) Emphasis on huckleberries. B) Delicacies favored by white people. C) Dorothy Dean influence. D) Dishes incorporating game (hunted or roadkill). E) Not one darned thing. F) Marmot puffs. G) Other.

Today’s Slice question: What did you tell friends about your visit to the USS Arizona Memorial after you got home from Hawaii?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Pausing just a beat and then affixing a sonorous “for the holidays” nonsequitor to the most mundane statements can be mildly amusing if you limit yourself to doing it 30 or 40 times a day.

More from this author

Tags: the slice