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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Newspaper scribe of yesteryear would swoon at modern Coeur d’Alene

Dave Oliveria (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Dave Oliveria (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

That new digital archive system at the Coeur d’Alene Library is swell – you know, the one that eventually will chronicle the Coeur d’Alene Press from 1892 to 1964. Recently, Huckleberries perused the Feb. 27, 1892, edition. AND found an advertorial – yes, an advertorial – disguised as a news story on Page 1.

Written for the “investor, speculator, prospector and pleasure seeker,” it begins:

“As spring approaches and the God of day makes his presence felt and warms the cold blood that has been coursing through our veins during the winter months, we are aroused to the beauties about us; and unless we were stone or mummies of many generations ago, we must catch something of the inspiration that fills the poet’s breast and wonder at the beauty that surrounds us.”

You can pour that syrupy prose on IHOP pancakes.

A little later, the overheated journalist from the 19th century declines to describe Lake Coeur d’Alene, stating that “the description of which we do make the most daring pause to consider if we could do it justice and makes ye scribe tremble, and pass it without an attempt.”

Huckleberries suspects the Press journo of yesteryear would swoon if he saw modern Coeur d’Alene and the lake that carries its name.

Building bridges

Fun Fact: The U.S. Highway 95 bridge over the Spokane River was dedicated a little more than 50 years ago (July 27, 1968). Then-mayor Larry L. Gardner, Miss Coeur d’Alene XV Linda Drechsel and bagpipe official John MacLellan from Edinburgh, Scotland, headlined the ribbon-cutting activities. Yeah, there was a bagpipe competition going on at the time in town. The construction cost $1,934,000, of which $884,000 was for the bridge. This, from the Press annals. Using an online inflation calculator, a Facebook Friend guesstimated that the work would cost $14.5 million today.

Roses are red

Dave Gunter, of the singing trio Bridges Home, told his audience at the recent Art on the Green about a sure-fire gift that brightens wife Tami’s annual Valentine’s Day. The present doesn’t cost anything. And it always is a hit. What is it? A poem. While the crowd oohed and aahed, the lone female musician of the family group from Sandpoint concurred on stage with an enthusiastic nod.


Poet’s Corner: There are few things that farmers hate/ like arthropods that masticate,/ and so to stem the insect tide/ they fill the skies with pesticide – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Summer Travels: Crop Dusters Near Moses Lake”) … By the way, in that post above from 1892, the Press advertised an annual subscription rate of $2 … After seeing misuse of the apostrophe three times on Facebook and twice while driving Government Way, retired teacher Cedris Shepperd, of Kellogg, shared a peeve: “It’s huckleberry season, so you have HUCKLEBERRIES to sell. Not huckleberry’s!!!” … Erica Curless, of Dog and Pony Show Bodywork, now knows what it feels like to “stick your bare foot into a mouse nest hidden inside the muck boots (she hasn’t) worn since fall” … “How did Reese eat her chili?” asks the knee-slapper scribbled above the Caddyshack bar on Prairie Avenue. “Witherspoon,” of course, was the answer. Onward … The Caddyshack also has a sign in the back room warning parents that unattended kids will be given espresso and a free kitten … On the side of a white Entervan, parked near the front of Hayden Walmart, was a sign: “Please don’t park within 8 feet.” A second sign elsewhere hinted at the reason: “ALS sucks.” Big time … Believe it or not, a Kellogg police officer stopped a motorist this month – AUGUST! – for still running studded tires on his vehicle. The officer issued a warning – and wouldn’t let the scofflaw back on the pavement without replacing the illegal tires … Sign Language (above roses at the Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, south of Spokane’s Tower Mountain): “Weeds for sale: Pick your own.”

Parting shot

It has been 49 years since former Bonners Ferry Mayor Darrell Kerby attended public school. Yet, when the calendar nears the end of August, he admits feeling “a whimper or a twinge of excitement in the air.” Although the school bell no longer tolls for him, Darrell told Facebook Friends: “I still feel that anticipation that I felt as a youngster. I hope I always do.” Seems others feel the same way. At last count, Darrell’s post had 87 likes and 18 comments. Do you suppose kids today feel the same?

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at

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