I spent some time in town yesterday. My brother Mike and sister-in-law Mary are here, so we met for coffee at Foster's Crossing. It's been a while since I've visited the place where my mother worked once a week in the upstairs loft.
The atmosphere offering a step back in time has not changed a bit, and I especially enjoyed some brief conversations with other friends while sipping on coffee and visiting with Mike and Mary.
Afterward, I decided to go for a downtown walk with my camera. While driving toward the beach, I noticed the bike trail along Sand Creek was clear.
With ice starting to form and making most of our trails around Lovestead a bit dicy, I decided to take advantage of a much safer walking situation.
I enjoyed the walk and the peace and quiet, interrupted only by an occasional hello to folks out walking their dogs.
The "jewel of Sandpoint" is pretty much frozen over with some occasional openings where the substantially low creek level appears.
I saw a lone Mallard duck, seemingly comfortable in its own feathers and perfectly happy to enjoy a swim in the water and then a climb to the snow-covered ice to waddle around.
A flock of geese flew over, squawking and headed somewhere south.
Otherwise, lots of silence and an expanse of gray, somber scenes. Within those, however, a few sights stood out, demonstrating that even in the darkest of situations, uniqueness can shine.
During yesterday's experience, I wanted to just keep on walking, but always, time and thinking about the pups at home anxious to get out for their own outing overruled my selfish desires.
So, I decided that after turning off on another branch of the trail headed toward Ponderay, I would head back. Walking through a short tunnel as cars rolled north and south overhead, I saw a familiar profile among two women walking the trail.
Turns out that was Pat Ekwortzell, and she was walking and visiting with her friend and former teaching colleague Lois.
So, I joined the group, and we had a lovely time talking about birds and Terry Gray (a regionally known birder) and school experiences and the even the old days of "fuddy-duddy" stuff in Sandpoint.
When I had first encountered the two retired elementary teachers on the bike path, Pat was telling Lois about the word "fuddy-duddy," which had shown up on this week's spelling bee list.
Each time I had pronounced it on Monday, the word had brought a smile to a contestant's face.
Seems Pat hadn't heard it much lately, but Lois noted that she uses the word quite often.
Consequently, "fuddy-duddy" enjoyed a couple of more revivals before we completed our walk along Sand Creek.
Once more, a last-minute outing with no real plan turned into a memorable and pleasant experience. That's how it tends to be here in Sandpoint.
Just as the enthusiasm toward the ZAGS continues to escalate as they continue their journey toward a perfect season.
Another stop on that road happens tonight at 7 p.m. PST on ESPN2 when the ZAGS visit the Waves of Pepperdine University.
GO, ZAGS!!! Let's make it 22-0 and possibly No. 1 in the nation.