Your Masked Columnist living the good life.
I’m going to be 73 in a month.
I’m not bragging or complaining about the approaching birthday.
I enjoy sharing the Nov. 20 date with former mayor Sandi Bloem. She seems to be holding up better than I am. As you can imagine, at 72, I have a few miles on me. It shows up in wrinkles, aches, and an occasional shock of sciatica down my right leg.
I’m of the age – some people refer to the post-70 numbers as “years young” — when it’s wise to be careful during a worldwide pandemic.
Therefore, I still wear a mask when most don’t, while shopping, visiting the library, attending church, visiting indoors with others — for health reasons, not political ones.
I was wearing a mask and my Chico State baseball cap at Rite Aid Tuesday while trying to buy two bota boxes of Franzia red wine. I was surprised — and pleased – when a store clerk asked for my identification.
I couldn’t recall whether the state drinking age is 18 or 21. I know it’s not 70. But I whipped off my ballcap and mask before the clerk could change her mind. I wanted to tell my two, smart-aleck urchins that I’d been ID’d while buying alcohol in this year of our Lord 2022.
I was sure the salesclerk would wave me through when she saw the white caterpillar on my upper lip and all that silver and gray hair up top. But she insisted on the driver’s license.
I complied happily, announcing to the clerk and the customer behind me, “I’m almost 73.”
“You don’t look your age,” she responded.
I didn’t know whether to give her a high five or tip her.
Long before Patty Duke brought her TV series, “Amazing Grace,” to the Lake City for filming and before Pierce Brosnan saw “Dante’s Peak” blow its top in Wallace, another famous actor arrived here.
In fall 1979, Andy Griffith showed up at the city dock and the Jewett House to film his new series, “The Yeagers.” Producer Robert Papazian Productions planned to shoot the first four episodes here.
In the 53-second program intro, that’s still available on YouTube, you can see snippets of our waterfront and tugboats on Lake Coeur d’Alene piloting logs to local mills that no longer exist.
“The Yeagers” was a far cry from Mayberry and Barnie, Opie, and Aunt Bea.
In “The Yeagers,” Griffith played Carroll Yeager, owner of a logging and mining company and paterfamilias of a family struggling to maintain a business. In the first episode, “The Strong Survive,” aired on ABC on June 1, 1980, the family survives a plane crash in the wilds. In the second episode, Andy as Carroll Yeager “learns what hatred can do after he sells some land to a Mennonite family for less money than bid by his neighbors.”
The strong survived in that first episode. But the show didn’t. It was canceled after the second one with the other two episodes left unaired.
Where is she now?
The Goose Lady of Dalton Gardens still lives in the area, but her Stylin’ Goose has vanished. An item in a recent Huckleberries (Oct. 9) spotlighted Starlene Staudt (pronounced Stout), who delighted motorists on Fourth Street 25 years ago by dressing an ornamental yard goose in different garb daily. One day the faux fowl might be displayed as a soldier. The next as Elvis Presley. Huckleberries tracked down Starlene. She’s now living near Lake City High. She told Huckleberries she sold the goose when she moved to a quiet street near Canfield Mountain. The woman who bought it intended to continue dressing the yard ornament. But she didn’t follow through for long. Starlene lives on a busy street again and wouldn’t mind dolling up another yard goose. But she’s not sure what her current neighbors would say. She never named her goose, she said, because it could be a boy one day and a girl the day after. In 2022, of course, that doesn’t matter.
· Poet’s Corner: The pilgrims came in little ships/and wore quaint hats and britches;/they’d sometimes take a break from church/to go and burn some witches – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“A History Note”).
· Overheard (at CdA Albertson’s): “Who needs a Chubby Girl Bagger?” asked a store worker as she approached a checkout stand. “What?” replied a customer. The Worker Bee repeated her question. “Oh,” said the other woman, “I thought you said, ‘Who needs a Chubby Customer?’” Staff and queued customers laughed. Then, the Worker Bee said she was comfortable embracing her chubbiness. And those in line felt a little better about their perceived imperfections.
· Did You Know? – Jim Risch may be a powerful U.S. senator today. But 20 years ago (Oct. 20, 2002), the Press endorsed his opponent, Democrat Bruce Perry, in the race for lieutenant governor. The Press said Risch had been “virtually invisible in the Panhandle region.” Risch has done a better job of representing North Idaho since.
· It may be hard to believe now, but there was strong opposition to plans by Walmart to build a superstore at Highway 95 and Honeysuckle 20 years ago. At the time, Ron McIntire, the owner of competing Super 1 in Hayden, a short distance away, also was the town’s mayor. Ron, to his credit, announced early on that he wouldn’t vote on the proposal. And that’s how you model integrity.
· During her 20 years in the Legislature, Hilde Kellogg was a trailblazer for women and a staunch advocate for business and her community, Post Falls. She was so effective in her role in bringing short-lived greyhound racing to Post Falls that owners named the track’s mechanical rabbit after her. Announcers launched the daily races by shouting, “Here comes Hilde.” Hilde also broke a gender barrier in October 1987 when she became the first female member of the Post Falls Kiwanis Club.
· It’s the old Coeur d’Alene Fire Station now, the one at 4th and Foster. But 49 years ago (Oct. 17, 1973), the station was merely a proposal when ground was broken for it. Jack Morgan Construction of Dalton Gardens was low bidder at $110,000. The bid was cut somewhat when city officials decided some of the work could be done by the streets department. Quite a bargain.
You may know that Richard Butler got booted from his Aryan Nations compound after he was bankrupted in fall 2000 by a $6.3 million civil lawsuit. But did you know that he landed in a quiet Hayden neighborhood – on Skyview Lane -- thanks to a helping hand from a racist pal, Vincent Bertollini? The Realtor who sold the property for about $109,000 on Oct. 12, 2000, said she had no idea who buyer Bertollini was or that Butler would move in. Neighbors were shocked, too. They didn’t like the traffic or types of individuals that Butler attracted. Occasionally, individuals who would live with Butler caused petty trouble. Butler, then 82, was a shell of his former self at the new location. However, he did use his residency to run for Hayden mayor once. And lost handily. Still, it remains disquieting that he attracted about 50 votes.
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.