Larinda Cook loves people. She also knows how to prepare a tasty, fulfilling and memorable sandwich.
I met Larinda yesterday after Bill and I had taken a drive through the Bearpaw and Snow Valley.
To get to the Bearpaw, one turns left off the Priest Lake highway a few miles north of Priest River at the Falls Inn.
When we turned off, I realized I'd never been to the Bearpaw, which is a beautiful area almost immediately suggesting a sense of being off the Beaten Track.
This place is also a snow belt. Snow Valley Road involves a short, scenic drive to a couple of farms.
Part of the route passes through impressive stands of trees accented by hundreds of white-capped stumps, remnants of a bygone era when the Humbird Lumber Co. had a ubiquitous presence throughout Bonner County.
After driving through this area dressed with a fresh layer of newfallen snow---even spending a few minutes in Washington---and passing a road to Mystic Lake, we turned around at the Bearpaw-Ojibway intersection.
On our way out of the Bearpaw, we decided to stop at the Falls Inn. Earlier, Bill had mentioned the sandwiches from one of his visits a few years back.
With doggie obedience class for Liam a couple of hours away, we decided one of those Falls Inn sandwiches would suffice for our dinner.
That's when we met Larinda who has deep roots in the Falls and Priest Lake area, including a mother and another relative who were some of the first women to ever work for the U.S. Forest Service in that area.
Larinda has been making sandwiches at the Falls Inn for most of 33 years. She told us they sold the restaurant/pub once but took it back when the buyer couldn't make payments.
She truly loves what she does because she's proudly a "people person." Larinda even invited me to step behind the bar to take a photo of the falls from Priest River which put on a dramatic show of power while rushing beneath her establishment.
That giant sandwich, made with smoked Virginia ham and the trimmings, did, indeed, suffice. I ate a third with sprouts and no onions, while Bill ate the other two thirds with onions and no sprouts.
I won't forget Larinda. We'll definitely go back to the Falls Inn for another sandwich and to once again greet her friendly, welcoming face.
For some baffling reason my daughter Annie thinks I should visit a rather unique museum next time I go to San Antonio.
Yesterday she sent me the link to a YouTube video featuring the about the place and its owner Barney.
Warning: this presentation could make you flush with emotion and smile with a sense of pleasant satisfaction.