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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: Rethinking that new Spokane slogan

Paul Turner (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Paul Turner (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Once in a while a reality check seems in order.

The next time some civic drumbeaters decide to cook up a gushing new slogan for Spokane, they ought to first spend a little time reading the public records listings in the newspaper.

It might open their eyes.

Of course, there is much more to life in Spokane than marriage dissolutions and sentencings for driving while intoxicated (amended to reckless driving). But reading the small-print public records reminds you that we’re not all nature-loving, wine-sipping romantics at heart. At least not all the time.

If, that is, you need reminding.

OK, on balance, Spokane is a good place. Most of us know that.

And there’s such a thing as taking candor too far. So we probably wouldn’t want to try to attract money-spending visitors to our riverside redoubt with slogans like these.

“Near nature, with credit for time served.”

“Where you can dream of possession of a controlled substance.”

“Finding your future, taking a motor vehicle without permission.”

“The city of no-contact order violations.”

“First class dining, fourth degree assault.”

“Sun, sky and sex offender nonfelon failure to register.”

“Spokane is for lovers and seeking damages for injuries from a vehicle collision.”

“Easy access to 16 hours community service.”

“First class hospitality, third-degree driving with license suspended.”

“Come for the elegance, stay for the reckless endangerment.”

“Food, folks and two counts of harassment.”

“Where the West meets second-degree possession of stolen property.”

“Love, shiny and new and pleading guilty to false statement.”

“Golf, good times and obstructing a law enforcement officer.”

Perhaps we would get points for warts-and-all honesty. But Spokane certainly has no monopoly on unlawful misadventure.

That’s the thing about reality. There’s a lot of it going around.

Following up

Got a note from Heidi Michaelis on behalf of herself and husband Jim.

“I had to laugh about your comments on the ‘Jazz Parents’ in Monday’s paper. My husband and I are parents of a band kid (which includes jazz), and we don’t really fit any of your daydreams about jazz parents.”

(I had seen that expression on an electronic reader board outside a middle school and wondered, among other things, if Jazz Parents smell like reefer.)

“Jazz music is probably not our favorite genre, but we do attend every concert.

“Every parent takes an improvisational approach to discipline because every child in the family is different. We are just as proud of our jazz student’s successes as a soccer parent is of their child’s winning goal. At least we don’t have to stand in the rain every weekend to watch our child – it’s usually indoors.

“The best part of watching him play (trumpet) is when he unbuttons his top tux shirt button, and takes off his bow tie, because then we know he’s going all out to hit that high note and hold it till the piece ends. Yep, proud indeed.”

Holiday road

Sometimes when I see children interacting with the elaborate entertainment consoles that are standard in modern SUVs, I think of the Petersons.

A delightful couple, they appeared in a story I wrote about summer vacation road trips. It ran on June 5, 2005. Here’s how it started.

“When Sidney and Doris Peterson drove from Spokane to Disneyland for its grand opening in the summer of 1955, their three kids entertained themselves in the back seat of the family’s Oldsmobile 88. ‘They had coloring books,’ said Doris. ‘And didn’t they have those coonskin caps?’ added Sidney. Times have changed.”

The idea of a Davy Crockett hat being a significant diversion for children enduring a 1,229 mile trip still delights me.

As summer vacation season approaches, those long-ago road trips come to mind again.

Some of us who survived might be available for museum exhibits on the mid-century American family. We could provide oral history.

“I remember my dad reaching back, his arm wildly flailing as he tried to grab one of us and mete out some frontier justice.”

“My mother would look back and snarl, ‘I’ll give you something to cry about!’”

Good times.

Contact the writer: (509) 459-5470 pault@spokesman.com

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