Thursday, June 30, 2022

HUCKLEBERRIES: Gotta grab a Golden State guffaw, y'all

| October 29, 2021 1:00 AM

Tracie McLinden knows what it’s like to drive around town with out-of-state plates.

It’s comparable to walking around with a “Kick Me” sign on your back.

When she moved here from Nevada in March, she “was chased and harassed" multiple times while waiting for Idaho plates, sometimes with her “little humans” in tow.

Since that rocky start, Tracie and her husband, Sean, have become contributing members of the community. They’re raising their kids around family. And they’ve found help for their special-needs son.

Tracie hasn’t forgotten those first days in town.

So, she decided to have fun and make a point when her mother, Melanie, arrived from Tahoe this fall, chauffeuring the North Idaho equivalent of a Scarlet Letter: California license plates.

Tracie taped a handwritten sign to the back window of her Mom’s SUV: “Visiting Grand Babies. Don’t worry — I’m not staying. But I love Idaho.” The words were followed by a hand-drawn heart.

“If we helped (others) smile just a bit, then fantastic,” Tracie said. “You always have to find positive, especially in today’s world.”

I smiled more than “just a bit.”

No smile here

Then, there’s the California refugee who arrived in town with a chip on his shoulder and a soaped message on the back window of his Toyota: “Idahohome — (F-bomb) Cali!! Trump 2024.”

Mike Kennedy of Coeur d’Alene posted a Facebook photo of the offensive wording and this comment for Cali Man: “Before you even get your license plates changed, you write this message to your new neighbors, including those of us driving our kids around town on a Sunday afternoon.”

Mike’s post attracted 151 comments, including one that summed up the consensus sentiment: “I’m so sick of seeing the F word out so publicly where our children think it’s ‘okay’ and a normalized thing. It’s everywhere now on clothing and flags parked in our high school lots.”

And you wonder what Californication looks like?


• Poet’s Corner: “A penny for your thoughts,” they’d say/when he was in a pensive way;/for cogitations more sublime/they’d sometimes offer him a dime — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Thinker”)

• Do you suppose Councilman Dan Gookin still hands out full-size Snickers bars for Halloween? Here’s how he responded to a Spokesman-Review query about Halloween candy in 2016: “I like hearing the kids say, ‘Look, Mom, it’s a big candy bar!’ when they’re walking away. I live on a street that doesn’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters. So, if the kids make the effort, I think they should be rewarded.” Giant Snickers bars? Mmm-mmm.

• Plaintive note from a patron on the Coeur d’Alene Library bulletin board: “Thank you so much for having books out that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, written by folks within the LGBTQ+ community. I feel seen.”

• The answer: Yes, he is. The question? Is Roger Dunsmore, the renown former Montana poet, still posting monthly poems on local telephone poles and selected businesses? Roger rides his bike around CdA to spread his love of poetry. He’s 87 now. And plans to keep going until age 106. Then, he might take up rock climbing.

• KVNI-AM radio turns 75 Monday. The station began broadcasting in the old Desert Hotel before Election Day on Nov. 1, 1946. Therefore, political programming filled its early lineup. Later, the station evolved into must-listen-to news and commentary with Bob Hough, Dick Haugen and Kerri Thoreson exchanging the baton. Today? Meh. I haven’t listened to KVNI since The Powers That Be axed the local talent and content.

Parting Shot

Mayor John McHugh’s 1971 Halloween proclamation didn’t go over well in the Coeur d’Alene Press newsroom. McHugh, in the name of safety, declared that trick-or-treating would launch at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30. But Editor Terry Schick said, No way. His children had Halloween outfits that weren’t meant to be worn before dusk. “If (McHugh) thinks our three kids are going to go out trick-or-treating at 3 p.m. Saturday, when the sun is bright, then he’s forgotten a lot about Halloween,” wrote Schick. Next, the editor targeted the many warnings about Halloween “tricks” that endanger children. “And then there’s the law enforcement guys,” Schick huffed. “Their statements certainly didn’t do a thing to make me think Coeur d’Alene is the relatively peaceful community it is.” Doesn’t this make you long for simpler times?

• • •

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at


Courtesy photo

Roger Dunsmore

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