Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reachin' Out

Today is the day. I finally get to use my car, after 10 days or so of being a pedestrian. You see, there are several things that have to come together for my way to be clear. First, The road district has to clear the road. Then the trailer park has to clear the internal road and the berm left by the road district. Then I wait for Phil Stephan with his bobcat. He sees my car, sitting lonely, covered with Idaho sunshine, parked at the 'Wheel.

He comes up and removes the berm left by the trailer park. Now I should be OK to motor on out of here. At least I will if the Road dept. hasn't bermed me in at the Wheel. There are just too many damn things that have to line up when the mother of all winters comes to town. Well, It's time. I'm walking down to the car, confident that I will either move it out, or declare myself sir crazy.

Shazam! I got out of town thanks to the help on several people and even got back OK. I'd hate to be above 300 feet with the wind blowing like it is, though. Got the groceries. spent too much. Business as usual, however there is one difference. I now have a supply of wine that, barring Armageddon, will last me through the next cold spell. New Years Eve. Will I or won't I. Chances are, now that I made it back to the nest, I won't be moving around tonite.

I do wish every one of my friends, both acquainted and through the blog as anonymous followers, the best of New Years. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those folks that don't know me and are still interested in what I have to say about Bayview, the economy and life in general. Comments are appreciated, as long as they are respectful and to the point. We that blog for the public are like newspaper reporters, insofar as we send information out but don't get any back. That is what the comment section is for. You can leave a remark as anonymous, or check the box that allows you to insert your own name or e-name. Anyone, of course, can use the e-mail address in my profile to communicate directly with me. Have a good one, and watch that economy. It's going to bite us in the ass.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When will Recession/Depression End?

Now that the federal government is finally admitting to a recession around one and one-half years after it started, people are asking how long will they have to endure. It's a difficult question to answer because there are so many things that got us here.

Certainly not until 2011 and perhaps even longer. Many things got us here and the Federal Government sending us money will not pull us out. Not until our leaders realize that global free trade isn't free, unless your trading partners are buying from you in equal amounts.

We have been running trade deficits that are abhorrent for many years. We have shipped our heavy industry off shore, so as to not have to face high wages and the Sierra Club. We have even shipped our light industry off shore, all in the name of cheaper prices. Well, it doesn't help much to have cheaper prices, if the purchasing public are home out of work and can't buy anything, cheap or not. We used to get along without Chinese or Japanese cheap stuff just fine. We charged tariffs against the poorly paid labor of third world countries. This is how you level the playing field amongst dissimilar economies. When and if those other economies lift themselves up to our standard of living then and only then would we have reciprocal trade.

We started by giving up the gold standard, then the silver standard, believing that the US dollar was a world standard and didn't need to be backed by anything other than confidence, and that is where it begins and ends. Confidence, is deduced by those that totally believe in a currency. But currencies are backed by productivity. We no longer produce much of anything. The service industry, that of each career field supporting any other, as in a circle jerk is a false sense of security. I don't recommend that we return to the gold standard, or even the silver standard. But we must produce enough gross national product to offset our imports.

I see a possibility of an actual depression coming unless our government starts thinking of us rather than the entire globe. There are areas of this world we live in that have never transcended from tribal life that can't even form a workable government outside their own tribal sphere, let along how to produce farm stuffs food and more importantly, develop a manufacturing economy.

Our schools are taught by either people with an agenda or those without a clue as to how business, industry and labor co-exist and why. Prejudices are fed from one generation to another, reflecting not what is happening now, but the grudges from yesterday.

The United States of America once had an attitude. It was one of we can do anything we think we can do. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten or don't care about the sacrifices that our parents and grandparents suffered to give us. We are now a nation of spoiled brats that feel the world owes us a living, without the intellect to figure out how we got it to begin with. I am totally disgusted with how this generation is turning out, and the waste of our forefathers and mothers efforts.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm An Addict, And My Name Is Herb

I'm an addict. Not to drugs or alcohol, but to writing. Like all addictions, it started innocently. I just started opining on my blog. Soon, I had delusions that I could make a difference. Be a communicator. While I still maintain my blog, I mostly do it because of the cutbacks at the Spokesman-review. Also I do it because so many snow birds tell me it's their link to the community during the winter.

I believe it was the spring of 2007 when I heard the clarion call of "journalism." The first issue of the Prairie Voice had hit the stands with neighborhood news.A bunch of amateurs and a few professionals were putting out a section dealing with everyone. I called the editor in charge, Tad Books. I sez, where is the news of Bayview and of Athol? He sez, I don't think we even circulate this edition to those places. I sez, yes you do, I got one in my paper this morning. Then he sez, we don't have anyone up there to write for us. Hah! fightin' words if I ever heard them.

I politely explained that perhaps I could fill that role. He sez, send me a sample column. Well, I sat there, staring out over Scenic Bay, when my fingers started walking.I told of the green kicker boat waddling across the bay, towing a behemoth behind, as MacDonald's Resort went through the seasonal dance of winterizing/un-winterizing the power boats that line the bay, or at least used to.

Armed with my three years of high school journalism, I boldly struck out to finally, after 48 years write for pay. It has been a blast. More recently though, I've been cut back to two columns per month when in the summer of 2007 I wrote an average of six and sometimes more columns/stories. In all of that time, I never had a story turned away. The more the merrier, Tad Sez.

Tad is gone now ... to where I don't know. I just know that he was a great guy to work with, always criticized with learning as the goal and made me a better writer, as well as a better person. I'm not particularly enthused as I once was, since I can write three stories and maybe, just maybe get one printed, but usually without pictures. You see, pictures they have to pay for as well as the stories themselves. Many stories that now appear in the Voices, are not even of Idaho. It is cheaper to reprint a story from Spokane valley or any other human interest story than to pay me and those like me for original stuff.

My Mom has been gone for many years. She was my inspiration in many ways. She also wrote a neighborhood column for the weekly, Renton News Record. I guess like buggy whip manufacturers, I'll fade back into the woodwork. It was a short, but great run.

I am teetering on the edge of quitting this relationship. I cannot any longer write with the enthusiasm I once did. I suppose that those who are college educated and hold degrees in journalism can do it. I can't. I still have the relationship with the river Journal, but that is just once a month. Who knows, maybe next season you'll see me at Silverwood again.

SNOW! Day 10 and Counting

Will this crap never stop? Ten days straight now with snow. The storm that we are currently in is predicted to last through the rest of today, Saturday and into most of Sunday. More is on the way for New Years Eve and further. We are seeing signs of people being housebound. We are at about three feet of snow with it falling at the rate of an inch per hour.If you know of anyone that can't get in or out of their house or driveway, please call me or e-mail me with the information. I will find someone that will help. 683-9107

Oh, and if I hear Bing Crosby singing, "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas," one more time, they are going to have to lock me up. My car is semi-permanently parked at the Captain's Wheel for the duration of this freakin mess. My house is like the hotel California. I can get in, but I can never leave.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Slippin' & Slidin' into the Christmas Holiday.

The utter stupidity of those big SUV's speeding along the highways at posted speed limits and above,during icy, snowy weather is amazing. It would even be entertaining if it weren't for the fact that in an accident caused by the aforementioned ignorance might cause death or serious injury to others that are behaving.

I would like to see the ISP ticket each and every one of these knuckleheads with reckless driving, not speeding.

Noted are the smug grins of our friends in Arizona.

On a more enjoyable note, people like Mark Streater, Dave Vig, Phil Stephan, Bob Prince and many others I don't know about have spent the majority of their last week rescuing people with snow removal, both driveways and roofs. These are the real community leaders. The ones that lead with action, not words. Three cheers for the good guys. (and gals) Thanks to Phil, I can end my weather imposed 3 day long housebound existence. Well, I could have walked, but (reference the last post regarding laziness)

As I ponder the mysteries of the period, the biting question occurs to me: Just what is a "Sugar Plum fairy?" Also, how much does one have to drink before they dance in your head? Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It Ain't That I'm Lazy ...

It's been snowing for a freakin week with no end in sight. We started with 17 inches then just kept on keepin' on. Can't tell how much snow is on the ground now. One, I can't get out the door, two, if I walk out to get the paper, I'm a human snowplow. The wind came up two nights ago and all the snow on the trees and my roof, plus half the mountain behind me now resides in my way. The only way I go outside is if I suddenly grow a few inches so I can see where I'm going.

The other day I paid a young couple to shovel me out. He sent his wife. The wind knocked my snow shovel over wherever it was and it's now buried somewhere. May it rest in piece er' peace. That night the wind came up and buried me even deeper. I don't need a shovel anyway. Maybe an ark. I'm doing a bunch of cooking for the Christmas Eve and Christmas parties. Christmas Eve is a potluck at the Wheel, followed Christmas Day at Terry's Cafe.

I have no idea how I'm going to transport these goodies, but I'm hoping that if I open the door, someone will like the smell and bail me out. It would give me great pleasure to stuff this snow up the ass of all green freak global warming advocates. May your stockings hold coal, Christmas morning.

Addendum: Praise be to the spirit of Christmas. I'm about to be released from captivity. The beleaguered management of Scenic Bay Marina has been like the little Dutch boy with the finger in the dike, trying to save boat sheds and houseboats from sinking under the weight of snow with more to come. That they have been able to plow our meager little access road in the trailer park is nothing short of miraculous. Unfortunately, when Hans plows, he obliterates our parking areas. this makes it possible to navigate the roads if only we could get to them.

Arrives a white knight. Bob Prince, president -elect of the Chamber of commerce has offered his services in support of the community. But he's not the only one. Dave Vig, Phil Stephan, many others that we have been unable to identify have stepped up. It you are house bound, call me at 683-9107 and I will find you someone that will help. Isn't this town a great place to live?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Donald Faubian

Don Faubian died Thursday doing what he does best. Helping others. Every year when snow hit, Don would be out plowing not just his own driveway, but others as well. He was in the process of clearing the road for himself and neighbors when he got his ATV stuck in a snow bank. Struggling to get it out, He finally walked up to his home, where he called a friend to help. When the friend arrived, Don was dead. Most likely he had a heart attack which is not uncommon when heavy snow hits and we over exert ourselves.

Don was always helping others. Back about three or four years ago when I needed a ton of pellets for my stove, Don's reply was hop in (his pickup) we'll go get 'em. He then proceeded to help unload and stack them. He did so many selfless things that go unnoticed except to those that were helped. Don Faubian will be missed by many.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Passing of Maggie Mae

It seems that just when I am preparing to write upbeat good things for Christmas, a whole string of bad things happen. first the boat fire, in which one passenger lost his life, then just as I was preparing to talk about all of the holiday cheer, the Saddle Up Grill in Athol burned down. Ah well, I'll certainly find something good to write about.

Huh-uh. Cleaning up after the big snow storm, out at the very tip of Cape Horn, was Don Faubian. Retired consultant to many African governments on various engineering projects, he died of an apparent heart attack trying to get his ATV unstuck. When He realized he couldn't get it out of the snowbank it was in, he walked all the way up the hill to his house, where he called a friend to help. By the time the friend arrived, Don had died.

Now comes an e-mail about Maggie Mae, the Athol Zebra some saw two years ago at the Athol Daze parade. It turns out that Lady, her companion horse had to be put down three weeks ago. Maggie Mae, the only Zebra ever to be used in mental therapy, died of colic. Her mistress and best friend believes that her death was from a broken heart.

When You're Buried, Stuff Happens

Our current weather situation has claimed at least one victim. Don Faubian,of Cape Horn in Bayview, friend to all, perished Thursday. He got his ATV stuck in the snow at the bottom of his hill. He walked back up to phone his friend for help. When his friend got there, he was gone. Snow storms bring out over exertion which, if you are out of shape can bring on heart attacks. Shoveling snow is one of the highest causes of death during stormy weather.

We are attempting to put together a list of snow plowers, but haven't managed to confirm yet. I'll act as an information central for a while. If you are trapped in your driveway, call me and I will attempt to get some help to you. This just applies to Bayview. 683-9107. Those of you that have snow removal equipment and would like to be of assistance to others, call me too. Another wintery blast is expected tonight through Sunday and possibly Monday, so be ready.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Guest Post from Gary MacDonald

Bayview Snow Report from Gary MacDonald. Picture by Herb

Dear everyone with a boat. mobile home, and/or
float house at MacDonald's Hudson Bay,

Because we may not have everyone's email in our
files, kindly read this email and then forward it to
anyone that you know in our little community. Your
boat might even be out of the water, but if you have a
dock neighbor without email you may want to make
some calls and keep them posted. People in our
entire area may have more snow that we do, so far at
least, but they aren't floating.Your getting this
information to your dock mates may mean that people
get multiple copies, but that's ok.

This is the situation: At 11:45 a.m. Thursday (now) we
have approximately 17 inches on flat ground, roofs, boats,
docks, etc. The snow is very light, but it is still weights
something and is still adding up. We have plowed our
roads and parking lots. We are working on the docks at
this point. We are keeping an eye on our floating covered
slips. At this writing they are low but ok.

Float houses: All of the float houses whether they be one or
two story are getting lower in the water as you might
expect. We do not have the manpower or the means
available to tackle any float house roofs. Most houses
have roofs that are high enough that one cannot reach
much with a snow rake, even with an extension handle.
Heat in the houses typically is not that helpful in getting
the snow to slide when the weather is this cold. Most
improved float houses have some insulation and the heat
can't really get to the roof anyway.When heat does get to
the roof, it melts a little snow and then it refreezes to the
roof making sliding impossible. I really think that we will
have to hope for the best.

Boats: All the boats are currently fine.They are all a bit
lower in the water, but I don't feel any are in any particular
danger. If you have soft tops they are at some risk
currently. If we have time we will do our best to push the
snow off the soft tops, but frankly I cannot make any
promises at this time. Jon is snowed in West of Athol and
Tyler is stuck in Spirit Lake. Kevin, Loren,and I are here
working. We have our hands full at this time.

Mobile Homes: At this point I don't believe any roof is in
danger and even with more snow I think that they'll be ok.
Most are protected from some of the snow by adjacent
trees. But, of course I don't know what the future will

Safety: If you do come out to shovel anything that you
own, please keep in mind that your property is not worth
your life. The water is very cold. If you fall in you might
not get back out. You should not work by yourself.

One thing NOT to do: If you have a boat in one of our
covered slip buildings and you visit it,you may find your
boat lines are tight because the building is low and your
boat is still floating. DO NOT LOOSEN them. Your boat
will help hold up the building and we have never had any
cleat failure with the additional load on your cleats. If you
have a boat in your float house, the same is true. Your
boat will help hold up your house. Thanks.

There is not much that any of you can do at this point.
However,if you can't stay away and end up here for
curiosity's sake you can do something. You can make
sure all of your power cords, rope, driftwood, knick-knacks,
etc. are off the docks. If you have extra rope,tie it up to
your boat. We don't like to find the mentioned items with
the snow blowers. But remember, this is absolutely NOT a
request to show up here. In fact, with the roads like they
are you're probably better off keeping off the roads as
much as possible. You be the judge.

We are not by the telephone very much. You can call my
home phone and talk to Mary (208) 683-2542, but frankly
she won't know any more than what I have written in this
email.You can be certain that we are doing whatever is
humanly possible to see that everyone's property is still
whole and floating after this storm is a memory.

Thank you for your assistance in getting this information to

Gary MacDonald


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow ...

I would give a running commentary on road conditions in Bayview, except I can't get there. Currently, I have 17 " of new snow with it still falling. We are now told that after a 2 hour or so pause, we're going to get another 6 ". Just what we need.

My car is where I left it, (I think) though I can't see it anymore. Snow is coming down in Bayview reminiscent of 1991-92, when records were set. I recall we set a new four day record of continuous snowfall of 44" Thursday through Sunday. A snow plow finally appeared just now, which would be real good if, one, I could get out of my access road, and two, if I wanted badly enough to go somewhere.

If anyone wants to visit me they are going to have to shovel their way in. My snow shovel fell over yesterday and is buried somewhere. So then,the rules are these. If you are coming over, bring shovel, beer, more beer.

This week-end is reputed to bring us another storm. Global warming is beginning to be a pain in the ass. Anyone want to talk to me? I'll be right here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brutal Weather Affects Holliday Traffic

This Christmas season for most of us residing in the Panhandle of Idaho, is going to be one without a lot of travel and visiting involved. Single digit and less, temperatures in the last week are threatening to extend on into next week. Low temps, snow, blowing snow and dangerously untrained winter drivers are all contributing to a stay at home attitude this year.

I have a trip planned for Saturday, December 20 to my Son's home in north Spokane, but am thinking very seriously of canceling it. As long as we have SUV drivers with all wheel drive thinking they are 10 feet tall and bullet-proof, it's life threatening out there. Several lives have already been lost in the last few days in traffic accidents.

A coat of ice underlies the snow that is currently coming down, as one more storm hits us. The unfortunate use by road department officials of chemicals to melt the ice made it worse. I read the other day that these chemicals don't work below about 10 degrees. they just start to melt the surface, then refreeze making it much worse. It's too bad they can't think before acting, but there it is. Procedures are written in stone.

For this Christmas I'm going to stay near home. I'm hosting a small dinner for myself and neighbors Christmas Eve, then I'll go to the community dinner Christmas day at Terry's Cafe. Oh, and I'll be thinking about all of my friends and relatives that will be celebrating elsewhere. Fred Gindreaux, a quasi Brother-In-Law, just diagnosed with terminal brain cancer will be in my thoughts and prayers as well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Kinda Chilly Out!

I can't remember a severe arctic outbreak like this one for many years. Back in the 1969-70's era it wasn't too uncommon for an arctic outbreak to give us a week to ten days and sometimes a little longer of highs in the single digits and lows fifteen below zero. That hasn't happened for a long time. With many southerners moving into our area within the last ten to fifteen years, some surprises are in store for many.

Bitter cold is not the same as being uncomfortable and having to wear heavier clothing. It is life threatening. Frost bite and deaths from exposure await those that don't respect these conditions, along with ruined plumbing systems for many. Some hints to those that are not old timers with this sort of cold are: Drip all of your faucets and open all under sink cabinet doors for heat circulation. A little increase in your heat bill from dripping the hot water is nothing compared to replacing all of the plumbing in the house. If you live in a mobile home with central heating, use it. Those ducts follow the same path as your water pipes. Using your wood stove will not protect them.

For the enjoyment of our friends in Wellton and other Southern Arizona spas, the following is our weather forecast for Athol, Idaho. It may be slightly colder or warmer in some other close by areas.Today has an expected high of 13 with a low tonight of minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Temps through the 19th will range from 14 daytime and 5 to 6 at night. Temps will rise into the 20's starting Saturday, December 20, but with a price. With the rising temperatures comes snow which is predicted to fall each day through the 28th of December, that being the latest date on the long range forecast provided by Accuweather.

It's hunker down time here while we attempt to get used to weather more common in the Dakotas that Idaho. The predicted 12 to 15 inches of snow did not occur, as the cold ridge of high pressure beat the moist air from the pacific, forcing the storm to change tracks. Had they arrived at the same time, which was predicted, it would have went off like a "weather bomb," the term the weather guessers used.

Yes, global warming has kicked off with a bang. Hard to tell how cold it will get next year, what with global warming getting even worse. Hopefully, most of our neighbors here in the Bayview-Athol-Careywood area are safe and tucked in. Most around here are old veterans at this type of weather. For those that are not, it would be wise to consult a friend that is.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Messages In The Dark

If you ain't tellin', RPB, then I ain't listenin'. Howsomever, you have tickled my curiosity. Just remember, good communications are what make the world go 'round. ...

White Christmas, and then some ...

It would appear that my smug notion that give the need for wearing a heavier coat here in North Idaho during the winter was all of the difference between here and Arizona was in error.This week-end is going to usher in the holiday season by bringing us 10 to 15 inches of snow, beginning Friday, today and continuing through Sunday. This, sez the weather bureau, will be followed by high winds, drifting snow and oh, did I forget? below zero temperatures. Not just wind chill, but actual temps as low in some areas as minus 15-17 degrees by Wednesday.

As I take a longing look back at Wellton, Arizona and Los Cajones, Mexico, and the accompanying 80 plus degree weather, I feel badly that my friends down there may have to don a sweater during the chill of an evening. Here, we are going to hunker down, get those last minute essentials. Beer, Wine and possibly some food.

Then we will gather around the scanner and play North Idaho's favorite winter sport....Actually, second favorite winter sport, both of course played indoors. This number two sport is listening during a blizzard, while rescues are taking place on Rathdrum Prairie during the occasional whiteout and roads drifted shut. The sound of a dispatcher saying... "when you get through with that slide off, we have 73 more waiting. Call when you are clear."

Merry Christmas to all. I'll post another as soon as I can find the street out front again.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

An Historic Epiphany

Sometimes, people just do things right. What is amazing, in the case of the beleaguered Bayview Chamber of Commerce, it was unexpected. Suffering through at least six years of dysfunctional management, somehow this group found it's feet again. A nominating committee headed by Skip Wilcox, realized that the community had been torn apart by various events and cliques were sadly mishandled. We are not going to belabor these points. What is done, is done.

What we would like to do, however, is congratulate the new officers and board members that were carefully chosen by this committee with the apparent goal of finding people that wanted to serve,not rule. That hadn't fouled their collective nest by joining into damaging clique activities. This little village has produced an amazing amount of vitriol in the last two years.

Much of that has been the rapid change in the community structure. Money moved in, citizens moved out. We are a village in transition without a goal, just resentment. The first to move in was Bob Holland, of Waterford Park Homes, LLC. A developer with no boundaries, he gobbled up three tired businesses, all marinas that wanted out. In some cases he bought them at way below market value, but then he was making the market, wasn't he?

The community, long settled into a sleepy fun resort for the lower and middle income groups, had been discovered. Eight miles off the main road, you can't reach Bayview without intending to go there. Many of our neighbors from Spokane that were our summer people, were our friends as well. Suddenly, everything changed. Mobile homes were kicked out of Vista Bay, a spot that summer people had used for decades. Then the Bayview Mobile Home Park, centered in the downtown area was evicted for future sale.

When the real estate bust started, all of these grandiose plans were at full speed ahead. They are now at full stop. Lots aren't selling, spec building loans are laughed at. The problem facing Bayview,though, isn't really any of these previous events, except indirectly. You see, with the motel shutting down, the trailer park vacated, Vista Bay mobile homes gone, we are bordering on becoming a ghost town. Our restaurants may not be here to greet you this spring, because of the lack of customers during the winter.

The new administration of the Bayview Chamber is facing a daunting task. Not only are they facing a huge recession bordering on depression, but there aren't many permanent residents left. When the real estate market picks up again, which I predict not to happen for about three or more years, will there be any businesses left here.

Some of the problem lies with the Chamber itself. Faced with the loss of the way of life they had always known, residents rose up in protest to this violating of their lifestyle. Unfortunately the lifestyle that most had enjoyed for decades was over. It is time for the Chamber of commerce to recognize that commerce includes the developers, the marinas and all the other businesses that have been considered intruders. They are here, they have most of our waterfront and we need to engage them in dialog, not anger.

When they give money to the community for the enjoyment of all, we need to stop vilifying them for doing so. The Chamber of commerce is no longer the Chamber of Business. Hopefully this will change with the new group taking over. Otherwise, it's just another bunch of blowhards listening to each other. We can not any longer entertain a bunch of destroyers. To quote a famous street person, Rodney King, "Can't we just get along?"

Giving When It Hurts

Gift Tree - Bayview Mercantile

Every year around this time the drumbeat for donations is heard. This year is terribly different. It is different because of the increase in unemployment and a recessive economy. While many give when times are good, it is much harder when times are bad.

I remember a Christmas back many years ago where things were tough. We decided that all Christmas gifts would be used items. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding Christmases I've experienced. Everyone tried to use their imagination, instead of just swooshing down an aisle at Walmart.

For many, this will be the first time that hunger has become an issue in their entire lives. Perhaps for most. Please, give to your local food bank. I bet that there are thousands out there that leave this chore to others and have never helped out. You are the ones I'm talking to. If you have never faced meal time without anything to eat, nor a prospect that there will be anything, it's hard to imagine, but the pressure on food banks is going to be immense this year and I expect each and every one of you that can, to help out.

Here in Bayview, we have the ABC food bank, located at the Athol Community Center, which stands for Athol, Bayview and Careywood. Many of you will recall when druggies burglarized this food bank, carting off all of the gift cards and many gifts that were sitting out waiting to be distributed. What happened after that was a miracle, was people and companies lined up patiently to give and then give more.

Today we have a different challenge. One that involves hunger, instead of treachery. We need those that stepped up before, to do so again. Gift wise, the Bayview Mercantile has a small Christmas tree that is decorated with gift wishes. You are invited to take one of these wishes home with you, and return it with the gift meant for this child. We ask that you do so. Athol City Hall is accepting gifts as well as food donations for the food bank which is located in the community Center. Please help. Please don't let there be children waking up Christmas morning, crying from hunger and cold.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dignified Behavior At All Times

While I do attempt to act my age, I seldom reach that goal. I am one of those that after reviewing the options, find no value in acting grown up. The above picture will prove that point. I'm not sure if I was doing an off Broadway rendition of La Cucuracha, or what, but I had a good time. But I still wonder about a culture that worships cockroaches.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Goat Trail

U.S. Highway 95 starts in the south at I-8 just east of Yuma, Arizona. It meanders roughly north with some notable zigs and zags to finally conclude at the Canadian border. I drove that highway for most of it's length during my recent road trip.

This time around I took U.S. 93 south from Twin Falls, Idaho into Nevada and south through Ely to Las Vegas, thence joining up with Hwy 95 again into Yuma. For the most part, the goat trail is a well kept up highway that is a favorite of truckers and those that enjoy great scenery. That applies to Nevada and Arizona, not Idaho.

My destination was Wellton, just 30 miles east of Yuma, Arizona where I spent five nights with the Campbells, late of Bayview, and visited with several other snowbirds from here as well. When I left Wellton it was to detour west to Manteca, California where two of my children and a horde of grandchildren reside. Oh, and I have been informed that my great-grandchild count is passing 7 to soon be 9, as two of my grand-daughters are expecting.

When I left Manteca I drove north on I-5 to Sacramento and up over Donner pass, elevation 7227 feet. Starting in Sacramento which is about 200 feet above sea level, that is quite a climb. I was on I-80 which starts in San Francisco and goes to Salt Lake city and beyond, clear to New York City. I got off at Winnemucca, Nevada and headed north on ... you guessed it, "The Goat Trail."

On the map, it appears that 95 intersects I-84 flawlessly. No way. This is where the goat trail starts to live up to it's name. Actually that started back when for some reason the U.S. Government decided to use part of eastern Oregon called the Jordan Valley between Nevada and Idaho. The road twisted and turned much like up here, except worse when finally you break out of the mountains into the Treasure Valley. Ha, were almost home, right? Huh-uh. The Caldwell, Nampa, Payette corridor sends you through every little burgh that comes along, and they all seem to think it would broaden your experience by touring their downtowns while passing by.

Finally, the last little town in the valley is past and I start up into the hills. Fog. Lots of fog. For those of you that think fog is found only in valleys, wrong. the higher I got the more fog I encountered. Finally, as I started down the long grade that would terminate in Lewiston, the fog disappeared, only to return in it's usual location at Lewiston. Not to worry. Everyone knows that about two-thirds of the way up the Lewiston Grade you leave the fog behind. Not this time. I drove through dense fog all the way back to Bayview, where I am now recovering from dead butt syndrome. There's more. Much more, but I'll leave that for a forthcoming column.