Monday, January 21, 2019


I’m sorry to have disappointed some readers by posting my reaction to footage of what appeared to be disturbing and utter disrespect of a Native American man during a series of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

My written reactions were based on watching and reading numerous news accounts and several videos throughout the day Saturday.
To say the least, I was horrified, angered and once more disappointed with the disturbing, inhumane and vile trends I see in occurring almost daily in this divided nation.
What made the scene even worse, in my mind, was the sheer number of teens, each with their individual mocking expressions, as the Native man sang and beat his drum.

The scene bothered me for numerous reasons but most of all because they were young people appearing unsupervised by any adults and clearly enjoying the moment at the expense of the older man.

According to some readers, what I observed in all those news accounts was inaccurate.

If it is, I apologize to those individuals for my reactions and for my blog response. 

A reminder to readers:  Slight Detour is a blog---NOT a professional news service.
For those who worry about me and my integrity, you can rest assured that when writing stories for publications, I make every effort possible to ensure that every word written is accurate.  

As with any journalist, even with editors, I have made a mistake or two over the past 50-plus years and have learned from them.

The purpose of my blog, however,  has pretty much always served an informal reflection on daily life as a rural retiree, as I live it and see it.  

I saw ugliness on Saturday several times over while watching and reading the various accounts, so on Sunday I used my blog as a tool to express my feelings.  

That’s my prerogative because it’s my blog. 

I tell others that if they don't like my blog, don't read it or, even better, go start one of their own.  It's free and very simple to start a blog. 

Since "Slight Detour" is published daily---in the morning----there was no way I had any knowledge of all the other videos out there showing, as one person related to me, that the boys were “victims.”

In my case, I knew only how I felt and what I had seen on Saturday. 

Apparently, this morning, as I read professional news accounts,  additional videos are surfacing and statements clarifying the chronology of the event are being made, including other accusations. 

Nonetheless, what I stated in my blog posting yesterday stands.

**This  nation is quickly moving toward a trend of wanton disrespect and inhumanity, thanks to horrid examples displayed by so-called "leaders" at the top.

**We do not need to spend $5.7 billion to build a wall symbolizing hatred.  

**We should, instead, spend that  $5.7 billion educating our young people to understand and appreciate cultural awareness so that situations like what we observed in the videos never happen again.  

**Adults/chaperones/parents should have been present to supervise and to de-fuse the potential for ugly situations like what we saw in the Washington, D.C situation.  

**I truly believe Nathan Phillips is a hero and a caring man of peace.  He deserves respect for the part he plays as a citizen and a Native American. 

So, let the videos play out.

Let the truth be known.

While we're on the subject, if  more videos of his speeches and examples of his tweets should surface to clearly convince me that Donald Trump never lies, never publicly demeans, demonizes or victimizes the citizens of this great country and that he serves as  sterling example for our young people, I'll be first in line to view them. 

In the meantime, on this Martin Luther King Day and every other day, let peace and goodness prevail.  

Let us strive to get back to the America we all can love.

This country could use some help.

From the man we honor today . . . .

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

"If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; if you can't walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving."

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right." 

                                                                    ---Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

We Weep

Nathan Phillips

 Omaha Elder

Vietnam Veteran

 Former director of the Native Youth Alliance

 Keeper of a sacred pipe Honoring Native American Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

 Water Protector at Standing Rock ND


Most of us have seen the photos and videos of the taunting.

If not, Google "Students Taunt Native American."

There's plenty to be found, even a variety of visual angles, about the taunting that occurred in Washington, DC on of all things, the eve of Martin Luther King weekend.

These kids deserve punishment.

They also deserve to learn through their actions by taking personal responsibility and spending every possible day for the rest of their lives trying to do some good for humanity.

If they do, we will all be better off as a nation. 

These students also deserve better examples than what many so-called adults in leadership positions are teaching through their reprehensible, mean-spirited behavior or negligence.

Where were the chaperones?

Where might they have seen or read---on numerous occasions---in numerous settings, their disrespectful and mean  behavior modeled?

In honor of Nathan Phillips and others who have been victimized by the ruthless and insidious behavior that sadly is becoming the norm in this country, I have a proposition.

Before allocating 5.7 Billion dollars for a steel or concrete or paper wall along the Mexican border, put that same amount of money into American education, both public and private. 

With that allocation, deem that every school in America require, during the next year or so, a course, carefully created to reach various ages of students,  on Cultural Affairs and Appreciation. 

With all the chaos we have in this country, I fear most for our young people. 

For the most part, we adults have learned and lived our American values.

 For many of us, that is why we  now weep (figurately speaking) nearly every day as we see them eroding before our very eyes.

If we don't find some way to stop this trend, future generations may have no idea of what truly made America great. 

It was certainly not red hats with a slogan on the heads of unsupervised teens on a school trip. 

What has made and still, in many corners, makes America truly great, and, thankfully still in many circles, are scores of people, like Nathan Phillips----all part of a diverse tapestry of beliefs and traditions.  

Those kids may have had their moment of notoriety demonizing and mocking him for his cultural beliefs, but, good still does rise to the top

Thankfully, in this case, Nathan Phillips is getting the respect he deserves, and maybe, hopefully, some kids will learn the lesson of a lifetime and do the right thing.  


The following story originally ran in the Omaha World-Herald on Nov. 26, 2000.
Spiritual Journey Grounded in Mall Prayer Vigil
For 26 days now, Nebraska native Nathan Phillips has conducted a personal, somewhat eccentric vigil on Washington's National Mall.
Joined by his companion, Shoshana Konstant, and their two small children, Phillips plans to spend all of November praying for his fellow American Indians from one of three tepee lodges he's set up on an expanse of grass between the Washington Monument and the White House.
A member of Nebraska's Omaha Tribe, Phillips says he doesn't consider himself a protester but rather a man answering a call to honor his people and his Creator.
"I would call myself a spiritual runner, " he said.
Born and raised in Lincoln, Phillips conducted his first month-long prayer session last year in conjunction with Native American Heritage Month. 

Joined by Konstant and their kids — 3-year-old Zakiah and 14-month-old Alethea — Phillips spends his time praying and tending to a fire inside a canvas lodge that for weeks has served as the family's primary home.
Those searching for a neatly packaged social studies lesson, however, won't find it at Nathan Phillips' prayer lodge.
While friendly enough, Phillips directs most onlookers away from the lodge where he lives, sleeps and prays. 

He asks them instead to peek inside two other lodges set up nearby — one for storage and one for display. And he almost always demurs when tourists ask him to pose for photos.
"They want us to be happy Indians for them, " he said. "They don't want to hear about the struggle."
That struggle, as Phillips explains it, involves centuries of religious, economic and cultural oppression of American Indians.
More personally, he says, it involves his own fight against alcoholism, a childhood floating through foster homes in Nebraska, and an early adulthood spent first in the Marine Corps and later being thrown in and out of jail.
Now 45, Phillips has been sober for 16 years. He met Shoshana Konstant, a former middle school teacher, in 1990. For several years, the couple bounced around the country agitating on behalf of American Indians being displaced from their homelands.
They settled in Washington, D.C., about six years ago, Phillips said, after their truck broke down and caught fire during a demonstration in front of the White House.
When asked about his reasons for living for 30 days on the Mall, Phillips doesn't offer an easy or quick answer.
"It's just everything, " he says, sitting beside the fire. "We've got so many issues in Indian country."
After struggling for a few more minutes, Phillips expands his cause to include suffering children in Africa and the soldiers left missing in action in Vietnam.
"This is not just for the Indian people, " he says. "It's for everybody."

Today's charcoal/pencil drawing I was working on an important painting today, I stopped so I can draw this I'm disgusted with the racist behavior & ignorance by the students who harassed indigenous Omaha Nation elder & Vietnam Vet Nathan Phillips at the

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday Very Slight

It's Copenhagen!

A couple of photos from this morning featuring the latest "Where in the world is Annie Love?" lifetime events. 

Yup, she says she already likes Denmark after seeing the pizza and steak restaurant somewhere in Copenhagen.

She should have a good time there, touring and geocaching over the weekend cuz it's touted as the "happiest place on Earth."

Last I saw, the United States was ranked 18th, and that was last March. 

Twould be interesting to see how it ranks this week. 

Anyway, Annie flew to Copenhagen overnight from Seattle, with a stop in Iceland. 

She's there for the weekend, so the rest of us can live vicariously through her adventures on this wet weekend in January. 

I noticed that the temperature there today is almost exactly what we have here in Sandpoint---33. 


Anyway, here in Sandpoint we'll just deal with what looks like a typical day in January---fog, a slight drizzle and ice turning to water. 

The latter is good, cuz it's actually kind of fun to get the feel for walking normally again. 

Yesterday I took a spin all through the woods on my snow shoes, and, later, upon returning to the house, I could feel a slight hint of spring in the air, which has warmed up considerably since earlier this week.

Happily, today is GAME DAY for the ZAGS. 

They'll be tipping off in Portland at 7 p.m. PST, and, Esther, if you're reading, you can watch the game on Fox 28. 

Seems like today fits a favorite response my daughter-in-law likes to make when I ask her "What's new?"

"Not much," she'll say. 

There IS much to talk about in regard to things I do see in the news at all levels, but on this quiet Saturday, it's probably best to leave it at that:  not much.

Happy Saturday!  GO, ZAGS!! 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Simple, Down-Home Times

I had just finished reading the morning paper. 

Bill had left earlier for Spokane where he's taking a continuing-education course to maintain his "Certified Forester" status.

The paper was filled with the usual sad, disturbing, good, and bad news. 

On the back page two obituaries told of a 2-year-old life taken far to soon due to tragedy and a 72-year-old life sadly cut short by cancer. 

Active playing and hanging with his canine buddy highlighted the life of the little boy who died in a fire last week.

Meanwhile, widespread community service and inspiration described the life of the highly-respected and beloved 72-year-old CPA. 

Life is  so precious. 

Along with continuing almost hourly OMG blurbs dealing with the sad state of our nation, the news can get downright discouraging and maddening.

Then, come moments like the one I happily embraced after putting the paper aside,  simply sitting there and gazing at the comforting scene in my living room. 

As I gazed, Liam gazed back with his head resting on the arm of the love seat. 

It was a scene that reminded me, as so many do, to appreciate these quiet, peaceful moments and to cherish the life I have the good fortune to live.

Oh, I do ruminate!  

I read an article about ruminating this morning.  It's for cows when they eat their food and then regurgitate it. 

People do the same thing, thankfully not often with food, but with what's weighing heavily on their minds. Some call it "over thinking."  

I tend to be a ruminator, thanks to my ultra-sensitivities. 

Thankfully, I've learned over time, like the article suggests, to recognize myself in the act of rumination.  

Find a distraction, they say.  If it's in the middle of the night, keep a pen and pad next to the bed and write about it. 

I tend to do the former cuz if I actually got up and started writing, I'd never sleep. 

Anyway, I could easily have fallen into rumination at 6:45 a.m. this morning after reading all the heavy news, but Liam and the warm comfort of that scene before me set me off on another track.  

It was a delightful, wonderful moment of solitude, and I did distract from it just a bit by snapping a photo.  

Liam cooperated and continued to gaze back at me.

Which brings me to another subject:  Liam does not always cooperate, especially when we call him to come inside the garage when he would much rather stay outside.

He makes us come directly TO him before cooperating and trotting to the house. 

I caught him with the camera as Bill was summoning him to the house.  The expression you see is the "insulted" expression we always get upon finding him wherever he happens to be hiding and listening to our beckoning calls.

On that snowy day, we had decided to take a chance and follow our plan to drive to Bonners Ferry for "the chili." 

I've mentioned "the chili" before.  It's to die for, and I learned yesterday from "Mason with the mullet," that the potato soup served at the Bread Basket Bakery ain't bad either. 

BTW:  Mason is a former student who has a bunch of siblings and who loves to "act the part" for specific occasions.  The mullet, he told me, was grown for his class reunion. 

Anyway, after Liam went to the garage, we did make it to Bonners Ferry and Super 1 and the Bread Basket AND the Antique Mall at Three Mile. 

Twas a lovely outing on a snowy day.  We came home with groceries, full stomachs from lunch, a jug of "the chili," and a new/old fishing rod for Bill, purchased at the mall. 

While Bill was doing his looking, I took pictures of .00001 percent of the stuff available for purchase.

Some of it is truly just "stuff," but a lot of it conjures up stories or suggests that maybe "that funky chair with the oars and the door" would look good sitting out by the barn. 

A tag taped to the door portion says it can be easily disassembled for transport!

And, of course, that cream separator immediately made me think of my mother when she dreamed one night about flying through space in our separator bowl.  I can't remember if it was filled with potato chips or popcorn.

I also remember that my dad figured out a way to motorize our cream separator so he wouldn't have to crank the handle. 

After strolling through the various rooms on the west side of the mall, I headed back and wondered when that lady had shown up cuz she sure was quiet.

Twas only when I walked past that I learned she was a mannequinn. 

And, I also wondered when the bacon and tomato sandwiches became BLT's.

Lots of distractions to avoid "rumination," and a lot of simple, ordinary fun on a snowy day. 

I know I'll ruminate a bit today.  

Trump guarantees that 24-7. 

Nevertheless, I'm glad that the simple life we are so lucky to lead is always available any ol' time to serve as an antidote to bad or sad news. 

Happy Friday.

P.S.  Do ya think that chair would look good in front of my barn?  

Bill did ask me if I wanted it.

Maybe I will have to ruminate about the chair.  Should she or should she not?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

At Home Stuff, Friends, TBT

Ice is nice for cold drinks or owies or figure skating.

I feel confident, however, in saying we've had enough of the stuff as ground cover for 2019. 

It can go away any day. 

As the huge slabs pretty much everywhere we want to walk hang around, they get shinier and shinier. 

And, slicker and slicker!

We're supposed to have some snow today and some warmer temperatures over the weekend, so maybe we'll get a break.  

And, if we don't get a break, we may get a break.

Nobody wants that. 

After three days of outings, we decided to spend our leisure afternoon time at home yesterday. 

So, the doggies and horses and I enjoyed some time together while I did some snow shoeing in the fields, the woods and around the yard. 

Later, Bill took his chainsaw out to the woods (where the dogs are allowed) so they enjoyed some bonding time too. 

I never tire of watching the dogs and horses do what they do while passing the time through their winter days. 

An intruder with big feet came through the place down along Love Canal, so Foster and Liam gave its tracks a thorough sniff down. 

Meanwhile, over in the barnyard, CB went down for a good roll in the snow. 

I included a photo of his four toes (hooves).  Horses used to have 20 toes, but evolution and the way they develop while in the fetal stages has changed that. 

Last night, part one of a fascinating PBS documentary on horses provided some fun explanation of what has happened to those extra toes over the years.

Anyway, CB's four toes are kinda cute, I think. 

On another subject, I read an interesting article about "friends" this morning and have included a link below. 

The piece differentiates the layers of our friendships, extending from our acquaintances and narrowing to what the writer considers "friends" in the true sense of the word. 

I'm thinking Facebook may have done a little skewing on what we commonly perceive as friends, but I also think we have enough one-on-one experiences to know who the true blue friends are in our lives.

It's definitely worth a read and some reflection on just who in our lives fit the qualifications to land in our "inner circles," especially those who still like and respect us in spite of our flaws. 

Finally, a few TBT's, which I'll explain below, and you'll see one reflects why today is important.


Happy Thursday. 

Ten years ago in January, we had a lot more snow.  

On this day, Bill and I took a snow shoeing trip up Grouse Creek, which was definitely a lovely winter wonderland. 

In today's paper, the history column mentioned the county employees who were assuming their offices.

One of them was Norma Strecker (mother of my classmate Steve).  I took this photo a long time ago and can't really remember the occasion.

But I can remember that nice lady with the gray hair on the right who's listening to Norma speak.

That's Leora Bandy, a beloved local leader with rural and ranch roots.

If anyone recognized the two ladies in the middle, please let us know.

Five years ago I must have made some applesauce in the winter.

And, Lily had to be mighty happy to eat the peelings in the snow. 

Twas a few years ago, that I flew off to California and Palm Springs  to get a break from the winter.

Annie met me there, and we had a wonderful brunch with my classmate Janis and my longtime friend Jean "Mow" Tobin.

Good memories. 

Two members of the Selle Club, my neighbor Geneva (right) of the Meserve Preserve and Nita Schoonover, who seldom misses a girls basketball game at Sandpoint High.

Nita gave Willie a big hug Saturday night before the game and wished him well.

The girls won, and we're betting Nita's influence played a hand in the victory.  

Ten years ago, we loved the ZAGS. 

Twenty years ago we loved the ZAGS.  And, even longer ago than that, we loved the ZAGS.

Do we still love the ZAGS! 

Yes, we do, and eventually our house will be completely wall-papered with ZAGS posters.