|Vanderford's bookstore manager Michelle Jacobson Finley arranged an attractive display and sold copies of newly released Travelers Rest at last night's Keith Lee Morris event.|
I have a feeling my friend and former student Keith Lee Morris will be a "resting traveler" after the week he has put in during his book tour through the Northwest, culminating in last night's finale at the Bernd Barrel in downtown Sandpoint.
He admitted fatigue when he walked through the door at the old Coldwater Creek wine bar. After all, since Sunday, he has appeared in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Wallace and finally Sandpoint----putting in hundreds of miles through some dicy weather conditions.
I also have a feeling that the big turnout of old friends, classmates, booklovers and even his adoring mother-in-law provided an extra boost as his book tour came to an end and he returns to South Carolina where he teaches at Clemson University.
Keith's reading and signing event reminded me more of a class reunion for those in his Sandpoint High Class of 1981 as well as several other graduating years.
Twas a fun event, and from what I saw and heard, everyone was very happy to be there.
Congratulations to Keith who has always kept in close touch with his North Idaho roots, which means a lot to those who've cheered him along his literary journey. Enjoy the photos below.
Wear Blue: On a more somber note, I'll be attending a couple of gatherings today which will bring forth a host of familiar faces for entirely different reasons.
In one case, it will be a snowy walk of remembrance; in the other, a service followed by a reception.
I did not know Army Special Forces Sgt. Matthew McClintock who died last week in Afghanistan, but I do know his mother-in-law, Sara Gilmore. She was one of my students, and she graduated with my sister Barbara in 1978.
Since Matthew's death, Sara has also become acquainted with my brother Mike who lives in Western Washington not far from Sgt. McClintock's wife and son.
The connection came because Mike, a Vietnam veteran, is passionately involved in a Wear Blue chapter in his community south of Seattle.
After seeing on Mike's Facebook wall that the Wear Blue runners were honoring the sergeant's memory, I mentioned to my brother that Sgt. McClintock's mother-in-law lives in Sandpoint, and I told Sara about the group.
Soon, Mike and Sara were Facebook friends. Almost instantly, the knowledge that these people all across the nation who wear blue while running weekly in memory of fallen soldiers inspired Sara.
The rest you can read in the story within the link provided. From what I've heard via my brother, Wear Blue provides a tremendously positive outlet for those left behind when soldiers give the ultimate sacrifice.
There's not only an ongoing camaraderie and lofty sense of purpose among the runners but also a spreading of warmth and comfort to all who suffer these tragic losses of war.
Hat's off to Sara for trumpeting this cause in Sandpoint as a way of remembering her son-in-law, and hats off to all who have participated and to those who will participate in ongoing Wear Blue activities across the nation.
Wear Blue. Keep the memories of those very special people who have given their all for our country.
Today's informal Wear Blue event----12 noon, near the underpass to City Beach.
Remembering Claire Sodorff: This afternoon friends and family will remember former Sandpoint High counselor and educator Claire Sodorff who passed away a few weeks ago.
Claire meant a lot to me as a teacher and a friend. I knew she always had my best interests in mind from the time I sat in her honors English class as a junior in high school, through our years as colleagues at Sandpoint High School and throughout her retirement.
We all have those historical moments in life that we remember collectively and individually. I always think of Claire when the topic of President Kennedy's assassination comes up.
Shortly after the announcement at our school, she recognized a teenager overcome with inconsolable grief that day and reached out to extend comfort as I cried and cried.
Moments like that remain with us forever.
I'll always remember her as a warm, caring good friend and educator, as I'm sure will be a universal feeling among those who attend today.
RIP, Claire. You left a positive, endearing mark within many hearts on this earth.
Guess that's enough for today, except to say, "GO, ZAGS!!" Happy Saturday.
|Keith and his mom-in-law|
|As Keith hurriedly looks through his notes, his best buddy Chase Sanborn (owner of Wallace Brewing who hosted Keith's appearance in Wallace) compares notes about beers with the Bernd Barrel bartender.|
|Three of Keith's "Amigos" and very possibly inspirations for some of his stories.|
|One of my outlaws, Judy Thompson, also one of Sandpoint's most inspirational shakers and doers! Yay, Judy!|
|And, of course, the reason everyone attended the event, besides the wine, beer and overall good cheer---to carry home a copy of Traveler Rest as Kari happily demonstrates.|