Friday, June 09, 2006
A night to remember
The stories began to flow faster than the placid waterfall. Pascal Spade, a spry 90-year-old family patriarch, was taking credit for bringing his wife Bernice to North Idaho from Nebraska 69 years ago.
"I've known her since she was nine," he repeated a few times. Pascal had come here three years earlier and then brought his bride. She wanted to go back home in the worst way, but after a while, home turned into the Sandpoint area. She never wanted to leave, once she got used to North Idaho and its people.
I teased the Spades last night about signing up for the SHS alumni site, suggesting that if they all did so, it would double in size. Bernice and Pascal raised a large crop of kids during their long marriage. And, during those years, Bernice got into 4-H. Like her new home in Idaho, she grew accustomed to the 4-H way and gave it her all until her death a year or so ago.
Bernice was just one of several longtime folks associated with the Bonner County Fairgrounds who've passed away after influencing hundreds of others with their vast amounts of farm knowledge as 4-H leaders, community leaders or teachers. Our dad Harold was one of them, as were Leora Bandy, the Falks of Priest River and their friend Ann Van Fleet who recently passed away; Werner Paulet, Bernice Wood, Elizabeth O' Brien, etc.
A special dedication to their memorial garden and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to the fairgrounds band stand envisioned by musician Ed Brown brought nearly a hundred people to remember their loved ones last night. After the program in the indoor arena and the ribbon cutting ceremony outside, most attendees gathered around the beautiful pond, waterfall and garden next to the main exhibit building.
It was a peaceful setting near that garden, and it was fun to eavesdrop on the tales being told. Mother was having a great time telling Gail Curless and any others who came along how handsome Harold was and how he'd helped start the Bonner County Horsemen's Assoc. next to our old wood shed on the North Boyer farm.
During the program I passed the picture of him riding on old Toby I, his famous Appaloosa stallion. It was taken when he won the performance championship in the first-ever National Appaloosa Show in 1948 and it had been sent to us by the Appaloosa Journal staff shortly after Harold died nearly three years ago. I passed it around because a lot of those people never saw much of Harold.
His influence and teachings showed up in big ways, however, through his family, especially his two daughters Barbara and Laurie. While Harold stayed home working on the farm and taught through example on how to care for animals and how to do any job right, Barbara and Laurie passed that knowledge along to hundreds of 4-H'ers at shows and seminars.
During the program, Tim Cary from Priest River got up and told how Leora Bandy would have loved the peacefulness of the memorial garden because she always radiated a sense of peace herself. One lady inspired some chuckles when she told a Werner Paulet story about the difference between line breeding and in-breeding.
It was a nice evening, which provided a good time to remember these people who contributed so much for others and to remember that their remarkable influence never dies.