Friday, December 04, 2020

16 Years of Slight Detours



It's the blog's birthday today. Hard to believe it's been 16 years since I scrawled off the first post on Dec. 4, 2004, but I checked, and sure enough about more than 5,800 posts ago, Slight Detour was born.  

Twas inspired by my brother Jim's cartoons and by David Oliveria, whom we referred to in those days as the "Blogfather."  

Dave worked as a columnist for the Spokesman-Review newspaper at the time, and when he decided to try blogging with his "Huckleberries," some of his fans from the region soon followed with their own versions.  

In my mind, the blog was envisioned as just an experiment soon to be put aside in favor of another pursuit. Also, in my mind, I would never have dreamed that 16 years later, I'd still be at it every morning pushing for a deadline of 8 a.m. 

After all, a few years in to this process, I hired an editor, for free.

Since that time, if my blog wasn't posted by 8 a.m. sharp, Helen Newton either got on the phone or shot off an email, wondering "if everything was all right out there." 

I will note that Helen occasionally sleeps in these days, but how am I to know which days she picks for an extra snooze.  

So, I still push myself frantically like a big bong is gonna go off in my head if I'm putting the final touches on each morning's production and the clock has struck 8 a.m. 

It's truly a crazy thing to hold oneself to such a daily responsibility, especially when long retired, but I've always been a little crazy, so what the heck!

Following the general guidelines of keeping the blog family friendly, generally upbeat and often fun, I've gradually added elements over the years and have gradually drifted toward including more photography and more recently, my favorite music. 

I also always keep my audience in mind.  

Regulars range from friends, family, locals, former students and readers from all over the world. 

My hope each morning is that something included in each post will resonate with someone or maybe, even at times, with the entire audience. 

Sometimes, I'm genuinely surprised when something seemingly mundane to me evokes enthusiastic responses from members of the audience. 

It's especially fun and heart-warming to hear from readers who may have grown up in Sandpoint but live far, far away.  Providing them with a sense of "home" through stories or photos makes me happy. 

I also love the motivations and personal satisfaction associated with this daily routine:  discipline, creativity, quirkiness, always working on improving my writing and photography and, of course, the treasured connections with blog readers I know well or even many whom I've never met.

The blog has definitely meant an open book for me, my family and many of my friends.

Nonetheless, when those slices of life reveal triumph, deep sadness and loss, tales of exemplary human beings, a rich, simple life, laughing at one's self and commonality, it all seems worth it.  

Veering off on all these slight detours has been a fulfilling and fun run these past 16 years.  

I have no idea how long I'll keep at it.  

In the very recent past, a couple of folks knew my private plans to simply write "The End" if certain circumstances dictated that need.

Happily, they did not.  

So, we'll move on into Year No. 17.  

As is often the case when I sit down to start writing, I have no idea where the road will take us---but hoping that when Year 17 is complete, some of the major subjects of late will have turned into distant memories on that road behind us.  

Thank you, to all who have in the past and continue to inspire me. Also, deep thanks to readers who have stuck with this work in progress and to those who, over these past 16 years, have joined in on the slightdetour fun.  

I appreciate you all.

Happy Friday. 

Hats off to Schweitzer manager Tom Chasse and his staff.

Masks on to skiers, boarders and everyone else who is fortunate enough to recreate at Schweitzer Mountain Resort!

I appreciate leaders who courageously take responsibility for the benefit and safety of themselves and others during these times.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Tromping Around and TBT

As promised in yesterday's post, I made the most of another pretty day.  

I never drove the car, just let my boots take me on my occasional journeys. 

Twas another gorgeous day, and that sunshine sure does add a nice touch to pretty much any scene. 

The deer pictures are holdovers from the day before, and just as I began my post this morning, Bill yelled up my way, "There's a d-e-e-r in the south lawn near the bird feeder.  It has tiny antlers."

That when I told him I have that very deer on my blog today.  It made a quick pass through our front yard, on Tuesday. 

Today is looking just as gorgeous as yesterday, and tonight Willie's Bulldogs are playing at Les Rogers gym, taking on a tough team from Timberlake. 

If you're on Facebook, you can watch the game by searching for Sandpoint girls basketball. 


Thursday Throwbacks . . . . 

Theres' always lots to choose from in my photo library, featuring various stages of the triplets Jacob, Grace and Justine, below. 

They're about to finish their first semester of college at the University of Idaho.

Twas a gathering of librarians from throughout the state of Idaho, so, of course, when I was asked to speak about my second book, I brought along a proper prop. 

He's considered a family member, and our friend Monty has trained two of my three horses.  This was taken during Lefty's first training period when Monty was working out of Spokane Equestrian Center. 

I've heard him talk about getting back into training.  CB wouldn't mind making it a trifecta for the Lovestead, Monty. 

Just sayin'. 

Two ways of looking at this photo.  The farm a couple of miles down Selle Road once belonged to my classmate Janet's parents.  

Now, it's the Parnell Ranch and home to beautiful Clydesdales.  My former student DeeDee and her hubby Todd have just taken over as ranch managers. 

On this day, my view between Lily's ears changed instantly a little ways into this trail ride at our friend Nancy's when she got nervous going down a hill and dumped me. 

It's the only time that has ever happened with her, and I know she wasn't trying to unload me.  She was just scared. 

Eventually, Lily got better about walking down inclines, but that day was memorable as was the bruise on my arm which hit the stump when I landed. 

My favorite picture of Willie, taken by either Nancy Holm or her sidekick Ann Johnson. 

The two were members of the Ponderettes drill team, which was like family to me. 

One night when Bill and I were invited to three Christmas parties, we asked them to babysit.

Well, it wasn't Willie's best night.  After we left, he became ill and vomited several times. 

The girls would call me and give me updates, saying to stay at whatever party we happened to be attending. 

They would clean him up and change his clothes.  Turns out, though, they couldn't find a proper tee shirt with the last upchuck, so they pulled out the adult shirt and when he was dressed, took his picture. 

A classic, indeed.  What's not to love about that cherubic face?

The Love's meet a Hemingway. 

Dale Inman, it was one of your twins who arranged for this memorable experience.  

I received a call on a Friday evening during the Winter Carnival.

The voice at the other end, one of the Inman twins, asked, "Mrs. Love, how would you like to ride on a float in tonight's parade  with Margaux Hemingway?"

For those who don't know, in the 1970s, Margaux, the granddaughter of legendary authro Ernest Hemingway, graced the covers of fashion magazines as a supermodel. 

Who would turn down an opportunity like that.  Of course, I'd love to, I told him. 

Bill had yet to come home, and the kids were home, but around the same time as the call, Mike Bowman, our Schwan's man, came in the driveway.  He said he'd stay and watch Willie and Annie until Bill came home. 

Bill was told to then come to town and meet me at City Beach. 

Did we have the time of our lives riding on that hay wagon?  Yes, we did.  Margaux was the nicest lady and a downright kick in the pants. 

Though she did have personal problems that led to her eventual demise by overdose, we saw none of that.  We just figured that when she came to Sandpoint, all the problems took a break. 

A fun experience which we'll never forget. 


Yesterday, I moved the couch to clean up the area and get ready for a new lamp.  

It was obvious I had not moved the couch for some time because the wooden autographed rifle had a layer of dust and a good collection of cobwebs. 

That rifle is more than 55 years old.  It was part of collection used as props for a Ponderette performance when we were in high school. 

At the time of its construction (I believe in Wayne Ebbett's shop), Marilynn McKenney led as drill team captain.  I vaguely remember the story of her working furiously in that shop to finish the project in time for the performance.

Afterward, they were stored in the drill team storeroom and probably used for a few other drills when the Ponderettes were still performing for halftimes at football and basketball games. 

Later, when the Ponderettes were no longer functioning and the storeroom was abandoned, I must have grabbed one as a memento.  

Once it appeared in my classroom, the inhabitants got busy with their pens.  I have no idea how long it took for all these autographs to show up on the rifle, but it's obvious, the artwork occurred in the early 1990s.  

Some fun memories of great students on that prop. 

Maybe there's a book:  follow the journeys of each of these SHS grads.  Heck, one of them already has written a book of his own about world travels. 

And, all this because I moved the couch. 

Stories unfold from the strangest places and for the oddest reasons, sometimes. 


Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Cold and Beautiful


I think there may actually be some agreement from people of all ages and persuasions here in our area.  

While the fight continues locally about mask mandates, nobody should dispute that it was a truly beautiful day in North Idaho yesterday. 

If all of winter could be like yesterday and today, I would never complain.

For those who don't live on farms, imagine pushing a cart filled with hay across a glistening white field in the bright moonlight. 

There's crunch with every step while walking to and from the cart to distribute single flakes of hay around the field.

It's a breath-taking and wistful experience:  could it please be like this during feeding time every morning?   

If it were, maybe we'd take it for granted.  If it were as beautiful as these days are every day, would that  become mundane?

In my mind, NO!

These are my favorite days throughout the year because chores are easy, walking is easy.

Plus, it's really easy to stop a minute, take a deep breath and embrace the encompassing wonder that Mother Nature has dished out.

We can enjoy such moments in the moonlit dawn all by ourselves. 

I love solitude, but I also love people.  

So, when I saw both Colleen and Joan going opposite directions on our country road in yesterday's brilliant sunshine, I headed their way, as did the dogs. 

Maybe Kiwi, Liam and Foster are getting a little tired of seeing the same ol' faces every day too.  

They do love their role as the four-legged welcoming crowd. 

While dogs inched their way closer to the road, only to have their mom "bark" at them to get back, trucks and cars rolled down the road passing in between Joan, who stood by the mailbox and Colleen who remained just inside our driveway. 

We all reveled in our endorphin-enhanced day while enjoying a little roadside catch-up on each other's lives. 

I count Joan and Colleen as members of "our pod."  

It occurred to me the other day that the circle of humans with which I interact on a face-to-face basis has diminished significantly. 

From a distance and now always masked, I see my sisters occasionally, our son and daughter-in-law, my neighbors in the Bode-Dickens family, Joan, Colleen and the staff members at Yoke's who bring my groceries to the car each week. 

I also occasionally go into Co-Op on a quick run for animal supplies. 

That's pretty much it.  

Fortunately, there is one other:  Mother Nature.  

She does a nice job every so often to put our uplifted spirits on automatic pilot for a day or two. 

And, on days like yesterday, the thought of wasting what's been given seems almost unforgiveable.  

So, I made the most of my Tuesday with camera in hand, documenting exquisite scenes as I walked around our place and over at the Meserve Preserve.  

Beauty in abundance---that was Dec. 1, 2020.

For that I am thankful. 

I'm also thankful for the tech dimension of life where we can't meet in-person, but, at least, we can share our tales of life in Pandemic and keep up with each other. 

Here in Selle this morning, we have another cold, beauty out there, so I'll probably make the most of it again. 

Happy Tuesday.  And, if the beauty outside isn't enough, we're looking for more beauty in action on the TV tonight. 


No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 West Virginia

4 p.m. PST on ESPN.