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News >  Column

Foul surprise didn’t ruin dinner

By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

Betsy Anderson was enjoying lunch with female co-workers on the patio at Bardenay restaurant in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone last week when the wind whipped up.

The Coeur d’Alene woman and her friends from Kootenai County Community Development had met to honor a retiring colleague. They’d pushed four tables together and were finishing their meals when the gust knocked over an umbrella at a nearby table. And dropped a baby bird into their midst.

A dead, baby bird. The small, black birdie had been dead for a while. It stunk.

While Betsy & Co. recoiled from the unexpected arrival of the avian corpse, a server calmly appeared and, using a napkin, plucked the bird from the table. Other servers replaced the befouled table.

“The staff was polite and acted as if it were an everyday occurrence,” Anderson told Huckleberries.

The only diners unfazed by the close encounter with the dead bird were the two small children who’d accompanied their mothers to the meal.

Ah, dessert, anyone?

Small beginnings

Fifty years ago today, the Coeur d’Alene Press ran a front-page article about a first for the Lake City – an Arts & Crafts Festival planned on McEuen Field for that July 19-20. Chairwoman Opal Brooten provided the details. Organizers had lined up at least seven booths for the event, not including two potters from Spokane and “possibly some Indian artists and craftsmen.” They planned to provide entertainment to draw people to the first festival, including music from Summer Theatre actors who would sing numbers from their four 1969 musicals. Three weeks later, the Arts & Crafts Festival buzz was lost in the hoopla surrounding the 7th National Boy Scout Jamboree at nearby Farragut State Park, which attracted more than 50,000 Scouts. Nevertheless, it persisted. Now, known as Art on the Green, the festival draws more than 50,000 to browse the work of 165-plus artists. Brooten is gone, killed in a car crash in 1992, but her festival thrives at North Idaho College. The 51st annual Art on the Green is set for Aug. 2-4.

Huckleberries

Poet’s corner: The wind it blowed/ so awful hard,/ rolled up the sod/ in our front yard, /and old skinny/ Uncle Harry/ came back down/ in Bonners Ferry – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Windy Day”) … The tourism season officially began for Huckleberries last week when we spied, outside the window of the Crown & Thistle, an SUV with Washington plates driving the wrong way on Coeur d’Alene’s Fourth Street … Sightem: Meanwhile, inside the Crown & Thistle, a London-style pub that offers knockout fish and chips, bangers and mash, meat pie and an assortment of beer for Anglophiles – friends Jennifer Drake and Sara Meyer hobnobbed. The two women, for those new to the Lake City, were instrumental in beating back that insane 2012 recall effort against then Mayor Sandi Bloem and three council members who attracted local Luddite wrath forever by voting for the needed overhaul of McEuen Field. Drake owns the place with hubby, Ben, and is currently looking for the cad who swiped the swell Guinness sign from a pub restroom … Sign of the Times (on the readerboard at Ramsey Elementary in Coeur d’Alene): “Parents, tag, you’re it.” Parents can tag back this fall.

Parting shot

The dreaded morning arrived on June 16 for Don Sausser and other residents of the Lake Tower Apartments in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Construction on the 15-story One Lakeside condo complex reached high enough to block their western view from the 10th story of Lake Coeur d’Alene and beyond. “No more softly lit morning sun on Mica Peak,” lamented Sausser in a plaintive Facebook post. “No more brilliant sky and sunset picture to the west.” Some would write the new structure off as progress. But not Sausser. He’d like to see Coeur d’Alene adopt ordinances that prevent developers from blocking the views of others. Still, he sees a silver lining to downtown high-rise development. “Fortunately, we will continue to enjoy the unlimited view to the south over the lake.” And, adds Don, the incomparable Hudson’s Hamburgers on Sherman Avenue remains one block away.

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at dfo.northidaho@gmail.com.