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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: So you moved here. Your first impression?

For those who weren’t born here, this time of year is the setting for many stories that begin “The first time I saw Spokane …”

That’s because a fair number of people came through town in the course of summer travels long before moving here years later.

At least that’s what my family did. When I was about 12, we drove from Ohio to Tacoma, from where my father departed for a year at an air base in South Korea.

My own memories of Spokane from that trip are scant. We spent the night in Moses Lake.

But I’m sure you can do better. What’s your first-time-in-Spokane story?

(Yes, I’ve asked this before. Consider it a summer rerun.)

Made in Washington

My friend Lawrence and I went to the airport last week to check out the visiting World War II aircraft.

We’ve both seen our share of vintage warbirds. But we’re happy to plunk down a few bucks to help keep them flying.

I never tire of observing little kids looking at a B-17. How much do you suppose they actually understand about what they are seeing?

Do they realize they are standing before arguably Washington’s best-ever product?

Do they have any idea why the oddly elegant B-17 was necessary?

Probably not. That’s OK. The Flying Fortress is still something to see.

And it always will be.

Local angle

Let me ask you.

Is being retired different in Spokane than other places?

I think it might be. And I would be interested in hearing you address these four questions.

Do Spokane retirees find that certain public sector salaries totally wig them out in a way that wasn’t always the case before they retired?

Do Spokane retirees get a little peevish when they find themselves saying, “Yes, of course, I have a turntable” over and over?

Does the desire to have a say in what other people do with their property increase after retiring?

Do you find yourself saying things like, “Well, I assume she’s got the gated community vote” with some regularity?


A two-page notice arrived at my home from JP Morgan Chase Bank of Wilmington, Delaware.

It pertained to a credit card. I’m not sure it’s one I ever used.

On the first page, there was some blah-blah message.

“Your account was eligible for a lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR). We lowered your APR where applicable and enclosed a check for any related fees and finance charges.”

It went on. But by this time, I’ll admit I was curious about the aforementioned check.

Would it cover the cost of a trip to Scotland? Would it allow me to acquire a restored “Route 66”-era Corvette without dipping into retirement savings? Could I use it to establish an irascible Spokane Political Action Committee?

I went to the second page of the Chase mailing. There I found a check. For $0.03.

Yes, 3 cents. Don’t spend it all in one place.

That’s pretty paltry. But if a bunch of people in Spokane received similar disbursements and we all pooled our resources … it still wouldn’t amount to much.

Let’s move on.

Mr. Turner’s Neighborhood

On Independence Day I was out in the yard harvesting a few berries, silently congratulating myself for having once again gotten to them before the raccoons did.

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me to, well, that’s the thing, I guess. Raccoons don’t get up early. They’re night stalkers.

While I was bent over and engaged in my battle of the species reverie, I heard a woman’s voice speaking to me. When I looked up, I saw a pair of sunglasses. She told me her name and said she was thinking of buying a house a few doors down. Had a home inspection scheduled.

She wondered if I would share my impressions of the neighborhood. So we talked for a while.

At some point she mentioned that she was divorced and had a 6-year-old.

She didn’t specify the kid’s gender. But I guessed it’s a girl.

Even before we concluded our conversation, I started imagining the little girl wanting to hide out at our house instead of matriculating to the first grade in a few months.

We could home-school the child and offer her snacks. She could have juice and watch old movies. Maybe help with the laundry and pick up apples in the backyard.

Would she request that we watch “Double Indemnity” again? Would she tire of my insistence that hand-washing can be fun?

Eventually the conversation wrapped up and I said goodbye to the prospective homebuyer. I wished her luck. I hope she and her little girl get that house.

End note

Was doing some business at a downtown optician’s place and saw a sign mentioning a “Senior discount.”

I asked Sam, the proprietor, at what age that kicked in.

He didn’t hesitate. “Eighty-five.”

We both burst out laughing.

Still smiling about that.

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at

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