Friends are best gift of all

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Clayton Bonsell turned 16 yesterday, a milestone birthday by anyone’s standards. My friend Dorene Russell tagged me in a post on Monday on the CDA Crazy Love Facebook page. She (and all of you) know how I love birthdays.

The post was made by Clayton’s mother, Melissa Bonsell and has already touched a lot of hearts. She said her special needs son really doesn’t have a circle of friends so she’s inviting anyone who’d like to celebrate with them to come to McEuen Park near the pavilion at noon on Friday.

Melissa said no gifts needed, her son just loves being around people and that makes him happy.

Well, I’ve not met Clayton but I’m looking forward to joining him and all of his new friends to celebrate what’s sure to be the best birthday party ever. If you’re in downtown Coeur d’Alene on Friday at noon time come wish this young man happy birthday.

Welcome to the Main Street Birthday Club, Clayton!

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Until Sunday morning when I volunteered at the Ironman sunscreen station I was unaware that each athlete receives a red wristband at registration to give to a volunteer along the way to show appreciation. According to the Ironman Foundation website, athletes are encouraged to “give this wristband to your favorite volunteer this weekend to thank them for their service through sport and commitment to community.”

I was having fun and “mom” -ing the athletes as they transitioned from swim to bike on the sunny, hot day, making sure they had shoulders, arms, neck and even ears, noses and knees sunscreened before heading out on the 56-mile bike course. It was like an Indy 500 pit stop to slather sunscreen in record time.

I wish I would have noted the bib numbers of the two athletes who gifted me with wristbands during my shift. What a really nice gesture. There are always a lot of thank yous from the athletes to the volunteers but how nice to receive a tangible keepsake. Do you have a red wristband story? Ironmanfoundation.org

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For over half a century our family tradition of celebrating America’s birthday includes the Coeur d’Alene parade. I have great memories of the event from my own youth living on Sherman Avenue and watching from the front porch, when my daughters were young and later with my grandsons.

For many years my late father rode in the machine gun turret of a tank at the front of the parade with his buddies from the Marine Corps League and the Chosin Few. I’ve driven beauty queens and a grand marshal or two, memorably the late Ace Walden in his centennial year. I’ve accompanied floats but mostly have been an enthusiastic, flag-waving spectator on the sidewalk.

For the seventh year I’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view announcing the parade from the skybox between Second and Third streets on Sherman Avenue. Scott Hough will be the roller skating wingman on the street in front of the skybox. Curtis Ormesher from ROX provides sound and tech support, including music for the pre-parade dance party that has become a fun way for youngsters of all ages to burn some energy right before the parade makes it to downtown.

A special treat will be Jadd Davis singing the national anthem to kick things off, just before the parade starts at 10 a.m. Thanks to Diane Higdem of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber for her hard work organizing the parade and to parade sponsor Numerica.

Hope to see you all on Tuesday morning for a star-spangled hometown parade! Don’t forget to note this year’s hour earlier start time of 10 a.m.

• • •

“I’d much rather be walking “barefoot” on a hot sidewalk in a noisy crowd of thousands of people with temperatures of 90+ degrees than in the comfort of my own home and backyard.” Said no dog ever.

I’ll never understand why people bring their fur friends to huge events, putting them eye-level to small children, surrounded by all of the noise or heaven forbid leaving them locked in a car. I’m a pet owner and as much as I love my dog I know she appreciates being comfortable at home during the dog days of summer, unless of course we’re heading to the lake or river to doggy paddle.

• • •

Happy birthday today to Luke Thoreson, Todd Banducci, Gene Tillman, Connie Gridley, Dave Stutzke, Janet Smith, Cherry Jones, Jack Danielson, John Goodlander, Terri Mercer, Sheryl Sipe, Scott Hamilton and Nathan Gubbe. Tomorrow Jessica Zazueta, Brandan Stone, Neil Conner, Kiley Archer, Monty Danner, Krystal Gordillo, Kiley Nick, Lyndon Harriman and Carolyn Havens celebrate.

On the last day of June birthdays will be marked by Patty McGinnis, Kyle Rutley, TR Williams, Katie Disney, Kimberly Carlson and Rosie Brown. July 1 birthdays belong to Tim Riordan, Arlene Reichenberg (60!), Bill Brown, Terry Alexander, Chris Harrison, Byron Hamby and Mark Johnson.

Sunday Tonya Glinsky, Jim Dennison and Ted Wright will celebrate another trip around the sun. July 3 birthday wishes to Jeff Ward, Dana Merritt and Mark Durant.

On Tuesday the United States of America, Jedidiah Riley, Brent Regan, Chris Atkinson, Jennifer Locke, Joscelyn Ramsey, Jake Campbell, Keri Roybal, Dan Brockway, Sr., MaryBeth Matthews, Dick Lind, Tyson Chamberlain, Britney Davenport, Jack Smetana, Glenda Johnson, Amber Hunt, Teresa Espe, Orla Kahl and father and daughter, KD and Keely Spalding celebrate star-spangled birthdays.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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