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Grinch Sighting!

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | December 22, 2020 1:08 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — The Grinch is restless. He paces. He sneers. He glares. He puts his hand to his chin as he looks across the dark waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Where is the boat? Where are the kids? Where are the parents?

He turns and folds his arms across his chest. He taps his foot.

Finally, shortly before 4:30 p.m., the first boat of the evening, decorated with lights, quietly pulls away from The Boardwalk at The Coeur d'Alene Resort. As it approaches, the Grinch hides behind a pole. He peers around it. Watching. Waiting.

The voice of a child rings out.

"There's the Grinch! Look, he's hiding behind over there!"

Kids and adults rush to the side of the boat nearest the dock and look at this green-faced character wearing a red coat and hat, and green pants.

The Grinch marches along the dock shouting, waving his arms, clenching his fist. For the next minute or so, the Grinch and his captive crowd exchange greetings.

"Hi Grinch. I see you."

"Hey Grinch, what are you doing here?"

"Go away Grinch."

"Grinch, Merry Christmas."

The words bounce off the Grinch, who points toward the kids as the boat glides out into the lake, then stands with his hands on his hips and scowls.

The Grinch takes a few moments, before the next boat, for The Press.

“Christmas? Christmas? I hate Christmas! In fact, I hate it so much I came all the way from my cave above Whoville to try to spoil it for everyone here in North Idaho. When I heard all the happy noise coming from these cruise boats, I knew I was going to have to do something about it! The trouble is I can never seem to get on the boats. I’m always just stuck out here on this miserable dock!”

The Grinch, whether rain or snow or subzero temperatures, is there to greet every boat full of boys and girls. He doesn't tire of his task. It's what brings him out of his mountain cave.

"When you have a heart as small as I do you don’t need to stay in good shape," he said. "Besides, I don’t eat all these Christmas goodies that everyone else does. I’d rather just eat a bowl of mush! Umph!"

Mind you, the Grinch does more than think of ways he can spoil Christmas.

"Not that I have been enjoying it, but my dog Max has been wanting to go see all the cool things around here. I had to take him to explore Tubbs Hill, see all the Christmas lights on the boardwalk, and to go see the eagles at Higgens Point. Ahhhh, his happiness exhausts me!"

The smiles and laughter of children on the boats don't set well with the Grinch. In fact, it's upsetting.

“Kids! I loathe kids! They are always so happy and cheerful," he said with a frown. "And all the noise! I can’t stand it in the least!"

Surely, something can be done to warm the heart of this creature, right?

The Grinch said indeed, there is.

"The only thing that could win over this tiny heart of mine would be for them to find a way to make the true meaning of Christmas come through, and make my heart grow the size of 10 grinches — plus two.”

Because the Grinch, as we know, isn't all bad. Deep, deep down inside, he's good. He really is full of love, though it takes work to bring it out of him.

Would he like to share a message of hope?

"I don’t have any message of hope! Wait a minute, did you say message? That reminds me. I have a message to open from Cindy Lou Who," he says as he takes a note from his pocket. "Now let’s see here. 'Dear Mr. Grinch, I hope you have not forgotten the wonderful Christmas we shared together last year. All the Whos still talk about how you yourself carved the roast beast! Don’t forget to be nice and remember, that Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Christmas in fact means a little bit more.'"

The Grinch folds the paper back up and carefully places it back in his pocket. He reflects on this message. His face softens. His eyes twinkle.

"Well, I suppose I had forgotten the lesson I learned from the Whos — maybe Christmas isn’t so bad after all. I think Cindy Lou’s message says it all."

But the Grinch still has a job to do this holiday season. More boats will be coming with more kids excited for Christmas.

So we must ask the obvious question: What would the Grinch himself like for Christmas? Surely, there is something that would warm his heart.

The Grinch tilts his head, folds his hands under his chin and looks into the starry night sky.

He nods, yes, he has an answer.

"Well, I suppose in the spirit of Cindy Lou, it would be for us to give each other the gift of kindness and love the things we need most! Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand."

•••

Take a holiday lake cruise across the sparkling waters to view more than 1.5 million twinkling holiday lights and visit Santa Claus and his elves at his waterfront toy workshop, where he magically speaks to each child by name!

These 40-minute cruises depart daily through Jan. 3. Cruises depart at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets and boarding takes place 30 minutes prior to the departure time at The Resort Plaza Shops. Tickets are: Adults, $24.25; seniors (ages 55+): $23.25; Kiddos (ages 6-12): $9.50; Ages 5 and under: Free. Ticket prices on Sunday-Thursday decrease by $1. bit.ly/2GvOo7d, 208-292-5670

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BILL BULEY/Press

The Grinch marches along with a Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises boat as it heads out on a holiday lights trip to the North Pole.

photo

BILL BULEY/Press

The Grinch points toward children on a Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises boat as it departs from The Boardwalk at The Coeur d'Alene Resort.