Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oh, that beautiful shrieking

| May 8, 2020 1:00 AM

Mark Sales had a right to be annoyed after he was awakened by happy squeals from girls outside his hotel window.

The air ambulance pilot from Coeur d’Alene had worked a long shift the previous night. And the celebratory Cinco de Mayo dinner enchilada had helped him doze off.

Mark, who has flown choppers for 29 years, bunks at a downtown Moscow hotel during his alternating weeks of duty flying from the Pullman, Wash., airport. He ferries sick and injured people to area hospitals, with about half of his flights to Kootenai Health and Sacred Heart in Spokane.

Sleep is precious to him.

About 6 p.m. Tuesday, he was napping before his 12-hour night shift when screams, laughter, and loud chatter jolted him awake. At first, he told Huckleberries, he was frustrated. Then, he heard what the kids were saying: “I’ve missed you so much!” And: “I’ve been locked in my room!” Et cetera.

The upbeat tone in the middle of our COVID-19 crisis was wonderful to hear, Mark said: “I had long ago noticed how quiet the world around me had become. But I didn’t realize HOW quiet.”

Mark and wife Leigh love kids. They have two grown daughters. And Leigh counsels at Canfield Middle School. Now that he’s wide awake, Mark has a message for the hollering youths who disturbed him: “Carry on, kids! And thank you!”

Show goes on

A little virus isn’t going to stop Chris Guggemos, of Handshake Productions, if a serious bout with cancer didn’t 2 ½ years ago. Coeur d’Alene’s “Music Man” is collecting sponsorships and lining up bands for his 29th season of free summer concerts at three venues: Coeur d’Alene City Park, Sherman Square Park in downtown Coeur d’Alene, and McIntire Family Park in Hayden. The series begins at City Park on Sunday, July 5. Chris tells Huckleberries that fundraising has lagged in this year of COVID-19. But he won’t cancel the season: “Unless the governor or some government at any level makes a decision (to the contrary),” Chris said, “I’m going forward with it.” Huckleberries knows Chris could use help raising money. You can send donations to Handshake Productions, 408 E. Sherman Ave., Suite 303, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814. Chris, I suspect, will let you in free to his concerts this summer, whether or not you make a donation.


• Poet’s Corner (from May 6, 2015, the day after Coeur d’Alene Sgt. Greg Moore was slain in the line of duty): “Please rest his soul/and keep him Thine,/this good man of/the thin blue line” — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“A Prayer for Sgt. Moore”).

• On the plus side, former newspaper colleague Erica Curless was using her self-isolation to clean out closets. All was going well until she pulled out the leftover Christmas wrapping. “Hey,” said Quinn, her observant 10-year-old, “isn’t that the same wrapping paper that Santa used!” And that’s how Quinn found out that her Mom shops at the same Christmas gift store as Santa.

• Wrong Number: What’s it like to have a phone number that’s two digits off from the one used by Smelterville Walmart for grocery pick-ups? Rick Price of Sagle says wife Julie gets several calls daily from Walmart customers saying they’re ready to pick up groceries.

• What were those owners thinking — or not — after they bagged their dog’s poop and then left the plastic sacks littered along Dike Road Monday? Sure, city trashcans were missing from that stretch. But considerate owners should be willing to carry their bags home, if necessary. Cads.

Parting Shot

Occasionally, the late Ray Stone dictated letters to personal secretary Nancy Trusty during his two terms as Coeur d’Alene mayor (1985-93). Nancy, now of Richland, Wash., recalls one Friday that Stone dictated several letters, including one to a prominent citizen thanking him for a “sandwich.” Then, Stone instructed her to sign his name and mail the letters. When Monday came, Stone asked her if she’d sent the letters. She said she had, except for the one about the “sandwich.” She couldn’t bring herself to mail the letter for something so trivial. “Dummy,” Stone teased, “I said ‘sand wedge.’” You golfers know the difference. And Nancy does, too — now.

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You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at