It has been almost three years since Tom Wobker shuffled off this mortal coil. But his poetry, penned under the nom de plume, The Bard of Sherman Avenue, remains popular.
Tod Marshall, the former poet laureate of Washington state, deserves credit for keeping interest in Wobker’s short rhymes alive.
In 2016, Marshall released a compilation of Wobker’s poems, “The Bard of Sherman Avenue,” many of which appeared in this column from 2002 to 2016. Now, Marshall has triggered renewed interest in Wobker’s work by penning a story for the alum magazine of the two men’s alma mater, the University of Kansas.
As a result, Marshall reports, “The Bard of Sherman Avenue” is selling “like Zags T-shirts.” Melissa DeMotte, of Coeur d’Alene’s Well-Read Moose bookstore, has noticed the sales spike. She has been getting orders for as many as 10 books from Jayhawks living in Kansas City, Missouri, Minneapolis, St. Louis and elsewhere.
“I feel like interest in poetry has grown over the last couple years, especially lighthearted poetry like The Bard’s,” she told Huckleberries. “It’s fun to pick up, read a few poems and have a chuckle. We need that these days more than ever.”
Kerry Cochrane, of Auntie’s, said the Spokane bookstore has sold 130 booklets in three weeks. Auntie’s sold about 60 volumes when it was first released: “It’s not that unusual for a book of poetry to become popular – Rupi Kaur and Mary Oliver are a couple of examples that come to mind. However, it is exciting to see a small, locally produced book of poems garner so much attention.”
You can find reruns of The Bard’s poems in this biweekly column. Or you can hustle to the Well-Read Moose or Auntie’s to buy one. The operative word here is “hustle.” Marshall is almost out of books. Unless he orders another run, procrastinating fans of “The Bard of Sherman Avenue” may be out of luck.
Out, out, damn Uber
Jennifer Ostrom Schmidt, of Coeur d’Alene, offers a cautionary tale for Uber users: Don’t ride Uber to the Florida Everglades. She and hubby, Bob, tried Uber for the first time during a recent vacation to Boca Raton. They were dropped off at the end of a rural road on the edge of the Everglades, about 6 miles from the nearest gas station. Their guide was there, operating out of her car. So far, so good. Their hour in an air boat flew by. They spotted five gators, including one that swam into the boat and a 12-footer that bumped it. But things fell apart upon their return to land. None of the five Uber drivers in the area would pick them up. Ditto for taxi drivers. Desperate, with cellphones dying, they were about to stick their thumbs out when a family of three from Ohio, the Schusters, gave them a ride. Ostrom told Huckleberries that she’s willing to try Uber again. BUT in she’ll “stick to in-town trips.”
Poet’s Corner: Enclosed for you herewith you’ll see/ some dollars that once lodged with me./ I send them each year without fail/ so you won’t throw my (rear) in jail – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Dear Taxperson”) … A sure sign of spring on Monday: Street sweepers from the city of Coeur d’Alene cleaning up after snowy February … Angela Goodman of Rathdrum, a mother of four herself, recently lost her “Mommy” in the Coeur d’Alene Ross store. Sez Goodman: I was about to stand in the middle of the store and scream her name. Then, I remembered, I’m a grown-up – and texted her instead.” (Insert Smiley Face with red hearts for eyes here) … Darryl Heisey, the regional veterans’ rep for the state of Idaho, wears his love for wife, Anna, on his sleeve. Or at least on a TeeHee Shirt front, which sez: “I promise to always love you even during deer season.” Hey, it’s Idaho. That’s true love.
During the second week of April 1900, the Coeur d’Alene Press offered a warning for scofflaws of every stripe: “We are not running a newspaper for the suppression of news nor the protection of lawbreakers. If persons get into trouble, they may expect the facts to be published regardless of their condition in life or standing in society. That is what we are here for.” Those are words to live by for media all these years later.
D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at dfo.northIdaho@gmail.com.