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The Slice: Claiming Big Sky Country for his own

My friend Tim O’Doherty thinks he has figured out how to get around the confusion that sometimes arises about saying he is from Spokane when traveling.

He filed his report from Hawaii. First, a bit of background.

“I thought I would write about the lengths we go to in trying not to be confused with D.C. or Seattle.”

He went on. “I believe, in most folks’ minds, Spokane and Katmandu are in approximately the same place – the land of ‘I don’t know,’ very close to ‘Where the heck is that?’ Telling someone you are close to Coeur d’Alene doesn’t seem to help.”

But the creative pub owner has an answer.

“The solution, and come on admit it, you have done it, is to say, ‘We’re from Montana!’

“Yes, Montana, that magic place next to Texas, where everybody rides horses and says ‘Good morning, ma’am.’

“Heck, I think if I invested in a cowboy hat, every guy in Ireland would buy me a Guinness instead of chewing my butt because of the president or Congress.

“Some folks in Hawaii are upset with Seattle folks buying up real estate here, but Montana has no known enemies. Montana is like the ice cream man – beloved.”

And, by Tim’s reckoning, its biggest city is Spokane.

With an eye to the calendar convergence on Wednesday: Here’s a Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday mashup. What’s something that would be good to give up for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day Eve: When Shirley Foster and her future husband were dating, “The Purple People Eater” was their song.

“Just fresh from Arkansas, I had never heard it. Now I wish I had a copy. Just the thought of us singing together with the radio brings a smile to my face.”

And while we’re at it … what roles did the singer of that novelty song play in TV’s “Rawhide” and the movie “Hoosiers”?

I’ll send a coveted reporter’s notebook to someone randomly selected from the pool of respondents providing the correct answers.

Warm-up question: In your experience, how do acquaintances usually phrase it when they encounter you and express mild astonishment that you are still employed at the same business?

Today’s Slice question: An experience Slice reader Glenn Williams described prompts me to ask.

To what extent does the likelihood increase that someone will forget your connection is to Washington State University (and later refer to that school as the University of Washington) the farther East you go?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email What questions that your preschool kids or grandkids asked Alexa really cracked you up?

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