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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Slice: It was the summer of ’71, those were the best days of their lives

It wasn’t Woodstock.

It wasn’t even Woodstock West.

But for those in the Inland Northwest, the Universal Life Church Picnic at Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Oreille had much the same appeal: Music, tons of young people, drugs, a somewhat casual attitude about carnal relations and plenty of uptight adults on the periphery.

It was July of 1971, man.

Do you know anyone who was there?

Those who actually were in attendance have a saying: If you claim to remember much about it, you weren’t really there.

Let’s move on.

Overheard at Huckleberry’s: A woman from Portland was staring at a display case when she asked no one in particular, “What’s an ultimate bagel?”

A Spokane man standing near her answered. “Ultimate is the name of the bakery.”

So she asked him which was better, Ultimate or (Brand X).

“Ultimate,” he said.

The “of course” was implied.

Planning your sports outings: Remember, the Seahawks don’t hold their preseason training camp in Cheney anymore.

This month at Expo ’74: Olga Korbut, Liberace, Victor Borge, Glenn Yarbrough, the Carpenters, Chicago, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jack Benny.

Stormy weather: I have a few questions.

Do Spokane area kids still play Wiffle ball? And if there are indeed local kids who do, how many of them have seen the 1984 baseball movie “The Natural”?

Not many, I suppose. I’m wondering because it’s tempting to think some of them should have been out in the backyard Tuesday night during the lightning pretending they were Roy Hobbs.

OK, in “The Natural” it was epically exploding stadium lights and just a few bolts of actual lightning. But that’s the great thing about kids. They have imagination.

Speaking of that lightning storm: Suppose some local couple was engaged in intimate social congress for the first time together during all the thunderbolts. Do you imagine they now regard that coincidence as a sign?

Something I said: After noting my praise for those who can operate a clutch and gear-shifter – over on the Northwest page last Sunday, longtime North Idaho reader Bruce Werner pointed out that young adults often cannot drive a standard transmission. “A manual tranny is also known as a millennial anti-car theft device.”

North Side grade school teacher Tiffiny Santos saw my suggestion that there are two kinds of people in Spokane – those who love summer vacation trips and those who would prefer to stay home. She added a third: “The person who loves to travel and then loves coming home to their house and own bed.”

She spoke from experience. “We went to Budapest and Lisbon right after school was out. Loved every second of it. Came home two weeks later. And I am so happy to be home and hanging in Spokane.”

Spokane trivia item No. 273: Rod Schwartz asked if I knew that singer/comedian Frank Fontaine died onstage in Spokane in August of 1978. I answered that if I had ever known that, I must have forgotten.

(A lot of stuff falls into that category these days.)

Some might remember Fontaine from his “Crazy Guggenheim” character on “The Jackie Gleason Show.”

He was here for a live benefit show that was part of a fraternal order’s convention.

Just wondering: If, like me, you have one of those old cars that always shows up on Spokane Police Department lists of most frequently stolen makes and models, are you just a little flattered?

Apple falling near the tree: I was in a South Hill grocery store last week, intently looking for a certain item on a shelf. A woman trying to go by said “excuse me,” and I immediately moved my cart out of the way.

I apologized and told her I used to get on my parents about that exact same thing – blocking a grocery aisle with their carts.

She smiled and offered a comment. “Isn’t it scary how we become them.”

Yes. Yes, it is.

On the other hand, some of us should be so lucky.

Today’s vital baby boomer tidbit (my way of saying “thanks” to the people who buy the paper): Remember that song “Red Rubber Ball” by the Cyrkle? Sure. It was a hit in 1966.

About getting over a breakup, it was written by Paul Simon and features a couple of clever lyrics.

The rollercoaster ride we took is nearly at an end;

I bought my ticket with my tears, that’s all I’m gonna spend.

Warm-up question: When you attend a real estate open house, does your partner attempt to distract the agent while you go around unlocking windows so you can come back later and steal stuff too big to fit in your pockets?

This month’s Slice question: Which happened faster – Americans growing blasé about going to the moon or Spokane residents no longer getting excited about urban turkeys?

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at srpaulturner@gmail.com. Even in Spokane, it’s not possible to rent a walk-in storage unit without being put in mind of the countless crime dramas that have featured such facilities as places to stash pallets of drug money or set up a kill room.

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