Saturday, June 24, 2017

Journey toward "Old" and a Magical Land

My mother Virginia Tibbs, my brothers Kevin and Mike
 and my younger self standing in front of Mr. Best's
 field about 66 years ago.


Normally, pretty much every day at this time, I'm seated at my upstairs computer, sipping on my latte while banging out some crazy thoughts or posting pictures for the daily version of Slightdetour.  

This morning is very different.  When it's time for readers to turn in for today's posting, I'll be taking a slight detour via American Airlines and probably flying eastward over Idaho after departing from Seattle with Bill and Annie. 

Following a 3-hour layover in Charlotte, North Carolina, we'll land in Dublin, Ireland where it will be tomorrow morning AND I'll be 70 years old. Then we'll drive to a charming little town in southwest Ireland called Kenmare where we'll stay for the first four days of our Irish visit.  

This will be Annie's fourth visit, my third and Bill's second. Twould be an understatement to suggest that "we are stoked." 

If I were to stay in Idaho, I'd have to wait a while longer to turn 70. Actually, I'm not really in that big a hurry to pass this lifetime milestone.  Instead, in my mind, this adventure to the country we all love so much significantly softens the blow of being THAT old.  

Since it's pretty hard to send a blog post from 30,000 feet up in the skies, I'm cheating a bit, having prepared today's post in advance. 

Earlier this year, I wrote an essay for the back page of the 2017 summer edition of Sandpoint Magazine. The piece dealt with the pure joy of living in my hometown for the past 70 years.  I hope you enjoy the essay and that you'll forgive me to taking the easy way out with the blog this morning.  

As penance, I promise to do my best to take you along on our adventure where we plan to immerse ourselves in the magnificent Irish countryside and to connect with the people who add so much to its magic---a magic which keeps calling us back.  

You can count on the fact that we'll be conducting a Border Collie count over the next several days!

It should be a good time had by all. 

Thanks so much to our friend Elisabeth who is helping to make this possible for us by watching our beloveds Lily, Lefty, Kiwi, Foster, Liam and Festus back at the Lovestead.  

And so, the next post comes to you from Ireland, written by a newly minted 70-year-old who's hails from Sandpoint and couldn't be any prouder.  

The photos of family below are those which appear in the print edition of Sandpoint Magazine, which is loaded with wonderful stories. You can pick up a copy at various stores around Sandpoint or google it online. 

Happy Saturday. 

Back Page
Sandpoint Magazine Summer Edition
By Marianne Love

I loved Sandpoint when Sandpoint wasn’t cool.  In my mind, the place has always been pretty cool, even long it before it was “discovered” on a national level. As I celebrate 70 years here this summer, I still view my Lake Pend Oreille homeland like a giddy tourist “driving across that Long Bridge,” discovering the area for the very first time. 

One day this past winter, on a sunny afternoon drive with my husband Bill, I glanced toward the main channel of Lake Pend Oreille near Hope, enjoying the glorious vista. The lake’s cold waters sparkled with sunbeams dancing off waves. I turned to Bill and remarked, “I feel so lucky to have lived here all my life.”

My parents discovered Sandpoint in the mid-1940s. My father was already working in the central Idaho woods when, on Christmas night, 1945, Mother arrived on a train from Chicago filled with soldiers returning from war.  

On that drizzly, cold winter night, walking from the depot with my brother Mike and her dog Peggy, past several dim-lit, busy bars along First Avenue to the Rolands Hotel, she seriously doubted she’d be staying in this rough-and-tumble place for long.  Mother remained the rest of her life.

Six of her seven children thrived, despite hardship and challenge, while growing up on our North Boyer horse and cattle farm. We truly began to flourish after my mother remarried, and Harold Tibbs, a Sandpoint city employee, became our dad, starting us down a path toward making something of ourselves.

That journey succeeded with advanced education and satisfying careers for each of us, thanks to the influence of our parents, 4-H, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a great school system, farm animals, the gorgeous North Idaho outdoors and a community where pretty much “everyone knew our names” and watched out for us.
Sandpoint High School teacher Bob Hamilton set me on my way as a journalist, and oh, what a life that has been. My most treasured stories have always involved the fascinating people who make this culturally diverse community tick — sometimes strangers, occasionally old friends and often former students from my Sandpoint High School teaching experiences.

 As a feature writer, I have witnessed Sandpoint’s greatest influences:  the railroads, fishing, Farragut Naval Base (where I met my husband at a Boy Scout Jamboree), Schweitzer, the Long Bridge, Lake Pend Oreille itself and Coldwater Creek Catalog Co. In the 1970s, I submitted photos for a two-page Spokane Chronicle piece called “North Idaho for Sale.”

Our population gradually grew as local mills and farms gave way to tourism, recreation and later to small manufacturing and retail businesses able to relocate, thanks to technology. We locals watched each chapter of the great migrations, sometimes scratching our heads. Other times, we simply embraced the next wave, ranging from hippies to yuppies and even an ongoing mass of Californians escaping high taxes and too many people.  The latter soon learned discretion in disclosing their origins.
These days I post on a daily blog, Slight Detour, subtitled “Mutterings of a Country Hick.”  My slice-of-life entries spring from happenings on our Selle Valley farm or from my day-to-day encounters with people around our beautiful community or region.

It’s been a wonderful life living here in Sandpoint. As the town has transformed with new blood and broader perspectives, so have I.  Regardless of changes, some constants remain:  downhome friendliness, generosity, compassion for others, endless outdoor opportunities and incomparable natural beauty, drawing so many to this place where they have happily succumbed to their own lifelong love affairs.
For this 70-year-old confirmed country hick, that’s as cool as it gets. Thanks, Sandpoint!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Beauty, Baseball and Gratitude

I can't seem to get enough of the lovely array of pansy blooms around the place this year. They have thrived in the relatively cool weather,  pretty much all around the house, dozens of them have been putting out some striking displays of color and happy faces. 

Meanwhile, in one of my floral pots, there's a flower growing which has me baffled.  

I'm sure I must have planted it, but I have no idea what it is.  So, if someone could let me know the name of the flower pictured below, I'd appreciate it.  

The mystery is, "why only one?"  Hope it's not a weed.  If so, it's a pretty weed.

Of course, daisies are known to be weeds, but the setting they provided for the lone deer standing in Del Bader's field last night was mighty pretty. 

We're headed to Seattle today. Tonight we will join Annie, watch a Mariners game and cheer on the return of King Felix.  He's the one in the bobblehead photo below.  

Annie purchased tickets for tonight's game as an anniversary/fathers' day gift.  Thank you, Annie. 

For those who don't follow the Mariners, Felix Hernandez has established quite an impressive reputation as a Major League Baseball pitcher, and at Seattle home games whenever he pitches, there's a special section in the stands called the "King's Court."  Fans wear  T-shirts and cheer him on. 

Felix has been recovering from an injury for several weeks, so his appearance tonight is bound to be something special.  

Let's hope he has bounced back and regained his magic for another Mariners' win.  

Should be quite a game. 

This morning I am sending out special thanks for the lovely card and for the amazing horse sculpture, which you'll see pictured below. 

Helen, you are the best, and you can be assured that I'll treasure the card.  Margaret, I was speechless when I opened the package and saw the magnificent and unique sculpture. It will definitely hang in a place of honor in our living room. 

Thank you both very, very much. 

As I bid farewell to the 60s and look forward to a chronological milestone ahead,  I can say that it is definitely a beautiful life, filled with the blessings of family, friends, pets and the infinite glories of this world.  

Because of these blessings, I am forever grateful. 

Happy Friday.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwbacks, Friends and Horsin'

Stephen (pronounced Steff-en) and Andrea were our neighbors when we lived in our folks' rental house on Great Northern Road.  Stephen was also one of Bill's Boy Scouts.  I taught both Stephen and Andrea.  Both have always been industrious and have led very productive lives as adults. 

Yesterday I ran across some old local papers, which I had saved in a photo album for one reason or another, and all these years later, it's fun to see the treasures immortalized by journalists and photographers for these papers.  

On an editorial note, it's also really nice to see names with the faces.  

Nothing is more exasperating to me than to be reading the paper and see a photo with a group of local people who have won an award or contributed something special to the community AND NO NAMES. 

One of the principal rules of beginning journalism is NAMES MAKE NEWS and that we as journalists are also chronicling the historical record.  

For the most part "back in the day" we could always count on seeing names to match the faces in these pictures, although there's one below where I still haven't found Craig Wooden---maybe a sister or two and maybe Kim McDonnell Bond but no Craig Wooden. 

So, yes, mistakes do happen when listing names, but at least the effort is there and 40-50 years later that effort becomes all the more important.  

I really wonder what kind of printed historical record we're going to have several decades from now when all those photos of folks with no names frustrate the heck out of future historians. 

Granted, with small-town newspapers, resources are stretched, especially on daily papers, but taking a few minutes to jot down those names and include them with the photo is more than worth the effort.  

After all, as evidenced this morning, print journalism has a long shelf life, and, in a small town, those names are very important to readers as well as the people in the pictures.   

Just sayin'!

Anywho, I know my blog assistant editor may get a kick out of the photo below from the Sandpoint News Bulletin.  Seems like Cherry might see a relative.

Twould be fun to hear from one of these ladies a few decades later to see how the camping experience was.  I do see a few of them around town; maybe I'll have to ask. 

Challenge of the day:  find Craig Wooden. 

The Love Family at an event back in the day when we had no gray hair.  I was asking Annie a while back if she has gray hair; seems like she says she's seen a strand or two.  For the record, three of us have lightened up a bit since this photo, which I believe was taken by Marie Sulze O' Brien. 

For the record, William E. Love III, Mom Love, Annie Love and Bill Love.

Yesterday, while walking into to Elite Tire to see the gentleman pictured below, I saw one of my classmates, Karen Martin Rolf, who lives at Hope.  We enjoyed a nice visit, talking about our kids and fellow classmates.

I included this photo in today's blog because I know that Meserve family members might see it and mention the photo to Geneva, a good friend of Karen's.  

Last week during my day-long cell phone update saga, during one session, one of the AT and T staffers who sold me the phone told me that her brother was Billy Mueller.

Well, that ended up with my bringing her a copy of my last book where I devoted a couple of pages to Billy.  She also told me that Billy had moved back to Sandpoint after spending five years in North Dakota AND that he had opened a tire shop on Kootenai Cut-off Road.

As I mentioned to Billy yesterday, he's one of the many reasons I am grateful to have been a teacher.  The anecdote in the book Lessons with Love tells of Billy getting into some trouble at the high school.

The fighting incident resulted in his being kicked out of school for the rest of the year.

In an attempt to get re-instated, he approached me and asked if I would write a letter to the school board in his behalf.

I responded with an emphatic NO.

Then, I told Billy what I would do for him.

You take responsibility for your actions, deal with the consequences and when you come back to Sandpoint High School, I'll be your biggest cheerleader.  
Billy did just that.

He returned to school the following year, and later he even spoke to the entire student body at a Veterans' Day Assembly about his grandfather Jack Stevens, whom he truly admired because of his service in World War II.

I have to say that watching Billy address the student body that day was one of the proudest moments of my teaching career.

Billy has never been afraid of work in any way shape or form, and to know that he now has his own tire shop back home is pretty darned neat.

Elite Tire on Kootenai Cutoff Road is open five days a week and on Saturday mornings.  I would vouch for the fact that Billy knows tires with all of his experience at Les Schwab and with his tire shop in North Dakota.

Go check it out, and tell him Mrs. Love sent you.

No grass growing under these new retirees: 

Barbara Tibbs

My sisters have been cleaning up at a regional Arabian show in Nampa this week with Barbara's Half Arabian gelding Dun in Style aka "Dusty."

So far, they've won two Top Five Ribbons in trail competition and showmanship, respectively.  That's Laurie below after her class yesterday.

More to come as Barbara shows again today.

So, I'm guessing retirement has been agreeing with them so far. 

Laurie Tibbs

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Country Assorteds

Jim Taylor, our neighbor across the road, started cutting hay last night.  He's getting a late start, considering the stunning fact that he began harvesting the same field in May of last year.  That was a first!

Even this time is generally early for hay harvest around our county, but with the crazy weather we've had the past couple of years, I think the farmers have put aside the norms and are resorting to the tried and true rule:  make hay while the sun shines. 

And, it's supposed to shine pretty much every day this week. 

So, the sound that greeted us when we moved here nearly 11 years ago on July 1 will soon return for 2017.  At that time, Jim was baling the field across the road, and I loved hearing the familiar and distinct noise of mowing, raking and baling in farm country once more.

Where we had lived before, the sound of farming equipment had been pretty much muted by several trains a day and loud lear jets taking off or landing.  

We had given up haying our small field in exchange for the simple process of ordering a few tons of hay, hay, opening the gate for its delivery and handing over a check to the driver as the rig went out the driveway.

When we moved here to the Lovestead and saw that the place had a newly planted hay field, we decided to harvest our own once more.  Each year, we are at the end of a long list of Harvey Lippert's customers, so I'm sure it will be well into July before we see haying equipment rolling down our lane. 

In the meantime, best wishes to Jim as he continues his first of many harvests around the neighborhood. 

After spending a few minutes over at my sisters and having fallen short of my daily goal of 20,000 Fitbit steps yesterday, I went on an early evening walk in our neighborhood while Jim was going round and round his field. 

After turning onto Selle Road and figuring there might be potential for some evening horse shots at the pasture where Paula Sandelin keeps her horses, I met up with her dad Jerry who was just leaving on his 4-wheeler.  Jerry and I talked horses and traveling for a while, and then he went on his way. 

It was a lovely evening to be outside last night, except for those darned mosquitoes who are relentless in their attacks. Their ammunition is both powerful and instantly itchy. For some reason they refuse to go away and this year. Maybe they're following new routines, just like the farmers. 

Anywho, we have the longest day of the year today.  Hope to make good use of it here in our beautiful Selle countryside and to enjoy the extra and abundant sunshine. 

Happy Wednesday. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meeting of Minds

Twas a mix of perfect ingredients, including yummy carrot cake and mint brownies prepared by the Pack River General Store. 

Weather cooperated.  Mosquitoes provided a few minor irritants, but overall yesterday afternoon's gathering of committed minds in our front yard was truly inspiring.  The gathering served as a lovely example of democracy in action. 

I felt like the lucky one as a host of friends, new and old, came together, got acquainted or re-acquainted, enjoyed each other's company and then shared their views on some issues important to all:  support of public education, public lands and access to Medicaid in Idaho. 

The group included respected educators, foresters, an engineer/rancher, a member of the tech industry, a retailer, a former City Clerk/City Council member and even a Republican candidate for the Idaho State Legislature. 

Discussion was spirited, passionate, insightful and, above all, respectful among the group, many of whom have voted across the aisle throughout their adult lives. 

The purpose of the gathering:  to get the ball rolling on ensuring that all three issues are strenghthened through the election of legislators who will safeguard, support and enhance their future in Idaho.  

Yesterday's guests listened to Sandpoint High alum, author and Columbia University professor Luke Mayville. Luke and his friends have spearheaded a movement called Reclaim Idaho 

They are devoting their summer to introducing the concept which encourages citizens to vote in the 2018 primary and general election for Idaho legislative candidates---Democrat, Republican or Independent--- who share their concerns on the three issues.

In addition to leading the discussion, Luke also offered ways for people to get actively involved in the movement, which, he said is gaining traction around the state. 

Foremost among the suggestions:  expanding the involvement in Reclaim Idaho by encouraging gatherings exactly like yesterday's at the Lovestead.  

In addition, the organizers have invited Sandpoint native Pulitzer Prize Winning author Dr. Marilynne Robinson to speak about the importance and value of public education at the Panida Theater, Thursday, July 20. 

To bring attention to the Medicaid issue in Idaho, they will travel the state in their 1976 RV aka Medicaid Mobile, stopping in communities, and calling on local officials to support Medicaid funding in Idaho.  

During a discussion lasting nearly two hours longer than expected,  participants yesterday expressed a collective desire: feeling the need---for the first time in their lives---to get involved in the political process, at the local, state and national level.

Luke Mayville and his friends are to be congratulated for their vision, their passion, their personal sacrifices and especially their willingness to take on this commitment of leading the way for voters to contribute to the political process far beyond the ballot box---but definitely affecting what happens when voters step inside Idaho's polling booths in 2018.

I believe in their efforts, especially because of their innovative, knowledgeable and sensible approach.  It's a very refreshing and reasonable phenomenon, especially in the midst of this era so much political negativity.  

Thanks, Luke.  Thanks to all who came.  If Reclaim Idaho sounds interesting to any readers, please visit the website listed above to learn more.  If you like what you see, then sign up and welcome aboard.

Feel free to pass along the message of today's blog.  

Happy Tuesday.


Betsy Walker and Sally Moon met for the first time yesterday but found a commonality:  their daughters are classmates and good friends. 

Betsy and Chris Moon meet for the first time. 

A former city clerk, an engineer and a teacher:  that's my editor Helen Newton visiting with our neighbors, Jack and Colleen Filipowski. 

The two Moon sisters listening to discussion. 

Last week it was hauling manure from the Lovestead; this week it was joining in on a political gathering:  my two dear friends Ann and Rick Gehring. 

SHS grad Luke Mayville, author of John Adams:  Fear of American Oligarchy (available on, Columbia University professor and founder of "Reclaim Idaho," explains the goals of the organization. 

Carol Holmes, a neighbor from down road,  came to participate. 

As Betsy speaks passionately about an issue, Mike Boeck, a recently announced Republican candidate for the Idaho Legislature, listens.  Mike is a longtime friend (we rode horses together in 4-H) and he has worked as a highly respected forester for Merritt Bros. Lumber Co. 

Luke gets acquainted with Jim Imholte, a close family friend and a member of the tech industry in Phoenix.  Jim, an Idaho property owner,  visits his hometown of Sandpoint as often as possible. 

Hubby Bill Love announced his general tendency to be apolitical, but he was happy to share a Huey Long story from his native Louisiana.

When I saw this flag across the street from Pack River General Store yesterday morning, I thought about the upcoming afternoon gathering and how it would involve a slice of Americana at its very best.

I hope we see more such events and that we reclaim the civility and respect for others that have made this nation so great.  With bright, young, articulate and committed visionaries like Luke Mayville, I think it can be done.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Monday

Last day of spring.  First day of the work week.  It may not be 8-5 on the job around these digs; actually more like 6-8 and seven days a week, but still, there's just something about a Monday signaling a start of some sort.

On Mondays we receive only one paper, the Spokesman, so paper reading goes pretty fast. On Mondays, there's a possibility that my multi-retired husband may be going to work. I think he is doing just that this morning, at least for a few hours.

I know that for a fact only because of all the time I spent at the phone store last week. During all those multiple visits, I met Clem, who's a member of the Master Naturalists. Clem told me shortly after we got acquainted and I mentioned my husband Bill Love that he would be seeing Bill today.

So, I asked Bill about Clem's phone-store claim. Sure enough, the two will be getting together for something dealing with Bill's affiliation with Trout Unlimited.  When Bill says yes to volunteer work, it's like everything else he does-----total immersion. 

He'll be heading off fairly soon but will be coming back at noon.  We have some fun folks gathering here this afternoon to talk about involvement in some important issues like public education, health care and public lands.  For some reason, those topics interest me greatly AND, of course, Bill. 

On this Monday I'm also getting pretty aware of a significant countdown---my last few days of being a young'un in her 60s.  There's lots to think about each ten years when you are looking toward those milestone birthdays.

As I look back, some have been good, some not so good.  I spent the last one praying and walking and hoping, all in vain.  The second of two horses, lost in one month did not make it that day due to a twisted intestine.  Twas an unbelievably sad, sad day. 

So, as I look forward to this next milestone, I'll be hoping again---this time hoping that there's no sadness associated with being THAT much older.  

Guess I'll have to find some ways to dull the shock. Hmmm.  What's to do?  What's to do?  

Bill tells me this morning that Felix Hernandez is set to pitch for the Mariners Friday night.  Maybe we could go to Seattle and watch THE RETURN OF THE KING!  

Time will tell, I guess. 

Anyway, it's a pretty Monday out there, both here at home and over at my sisters' where I happened to be earlier this morning.  So, of course, the camera is doing its 6-8 gig, along with me. 

Enjoy the photos.  Happy Monday.