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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Everyone could use a Guardian Angel like Sharon Garwood

This aerial shows a frozen-over Avondale Lake, near Hayden Lake in North Idaho. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
This aerial shows a frozen-over Avondale Lake, near Hayden Lake in North Idaho. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

You may have heard that Nick Stilwell and Josh Helwich escaped an icy death after they crashed through the thin ice on Avondale Lake Saturday, March 17. But did you know they had a Guardian Angel watching over them?

From the kitchen window of her Avondale Lake home, Sharon Garwood saw the teens playing on the ice of the small, pristine lake. She was washing dishes before the tipoff of the Gonzaga vs. Ohio State game in the NCAA Tournament.

Her heart caught in her throat. She began praying for the boys before the ice cracked. She knew that the ice fishermen had quit the lake more than a week before, a sure sign that the ice was thinning. She yelled for hubby, Roy, who grabbed his binoculars and headed outside.

Less than a minute later, the boys were in the water fighting for their lives. The Garwoods called 911, as did other neighbors. Then, they watched helplessly as rescuers took about 45 minutes to reach Nick and Josh. Sharon tells Huckleberries that she kept praying. The boys did, too, according to media reports. P’haps that’s why the boys beat the odds and survived?

An arm & an egg

So why did a guy like Phil Tumminello of Rathdrum head from Hawaii to Rathdrum, Idaho, five years ago? Family, for one thing.

But a good argument can be made that eggs were a lure, too. At least, the price of them were.

A few weeks ago, Phil and Mary hosted friends from their home island of Oahu. The husband, Jeff Fujimoto, wanted his wife and young child to experience snow. Really. The Fujimotos were impressed by our snow – and by 18 eggs selling for $2.08 at a Kootenai County grocery.

In Hawaii today, Fuji told Phil, eggs sell for 89 cents apiece. Also, Fuji was amazed that three plastic bags of groceries cost $35 here. In Hawaii, he said, each bag would cost $35 apiece.

The Fujimotos are mulling a move to the continental US. But they’re setting their sights on warmer Nevada rather than North Idaho. It’s one thing to frolic in the snow for a few days and another to endure it for four to six months. Ask the old-timers.

Let us pay

The Tumminellos’ daughter, Angela Goodman, also of Rathdrum, and her 2-year-old were pushing a cart down a grocery aisle when the little one spotted fishy crackers.

Little One: “Eat Goldfish?”

Angela: “We have to pay for them first.”

Little One: “Pay?”

Angela: “Yes.”

Little One: “Dear Jesus … amen! Eat Goldfish now.”

Out of the mouths of babes.


Poet’s Corner: “Although it’s reported the Eskimo/has two hundred words he can use to say snow,/she has just one, with no ifs, ands or buts:/when she sees it falling she simply says “nuts” – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Linguistics of Snow”) … Huckleberries hears – that charities that collect hair for cancer victims now accept dyed locks. If you’re skeptical, ask one of the stylists at Supercuts in Ironwood Square to show you the large, plastic bag of ponytails that are headed for new homes on beautiful domes … Oopsy: Brent Lyles of Coeur d’Alene was correct when he identified “Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina as being among the “same lame soft rock that dentists have been playing for 40 years.” It was released in November 1971. Huckleberries didn’t realize it was that old … Bumpersnicker (riding along Coeur d’Alene’s 13th Street recently): “Save Our Planet: It’s the only one with chocolate” … My 2 Cents: Any politician who says s/he supports term limits is selling snake-oil. In recent mailings to Huckleberries Central, two Idaho Republican pols – Russ Fulcher (running for Congress) and Tommy Ahlquist (governor) – were selling snake oil.

Parting Shot

Exec Melissa Luck of KXLY offers one more grocery tale. So she’s standing behind a woman in the checkout line. The woman is explaining to the clerk that she’s buying wine and cookies for her book club. Then, she admitted she hadn’t read the book. She couldn’t remember what it was about. And that no one had read the book in “years.” Facebooks Melissa: “Ladies, that ain’t a book club. That’s Thursday night drinking. Own it.” Bingo.

D.F. Oliveria can be contacted at

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