Bonus days are a blessing

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Here’s a personal On This Date in History:

On Jan. 17, 2008 I was emceeing the Post Falls Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet. During the evening, I felt a bit clammy and muddleheaded and a little short of breath but finished the event. I told Bert that I was feeling “odd” and didn’t want to go home, I wanted to go to the emergency room at Kootenai Health. That decision very likely saved my life.

At the ER, within minutes the doctor told me the bad news was that I was having a heart attack, but the good news was that I was at the hospital. In less than an hour I was receiving two coronary arterial stents. I was 55 years old. Today I’m 65 and since 2008 I’ve enjoyed 3,651 bonus days. Every day is a blessing.

Don’t wait for Heart Health Month in February to learn about heart disease, which claims twice as many lives every year as all forms of cancer combined. www.heart.org.

•••

While the rest of us were living in a snow globe, Coeur d’Alene residents Kareen and Greg Link were enjoying an Hawaiian holiday. At least until Saturday morning, when they, along with thousands of other people, were awakened by the missile alerts. Kareen said the police were driving slowly through the streets with their bullhorns warning, “Incoming missile, take shelter. Not a drill.”

I love how the couple reacted to the confusion and uncertainty.

“So surreal trying to figure out where we would go and watching everyone else scramble, so we put on worship music, prayed, and sat on the lanai watching the ocean,” wrote Kareen in a Facebook post.

And to that I say, Amen.

•••

Brian Walker’s story in the Press last week about the demolition of the restaurant building on Ninth and Sherman brought back so many memories. Many locals recall the location as the home of Rustler’s Roost, when Woody McEvers moved from the little place between Sixth and Seventh on Sherman. But before that it was a beautiful historic home belonging to Frederick Blackwell in the early 1900s. Two generations of the John T. Wood family later owned the home, and in the mid-1960s, my family leased it from the Woods.

Growing up in downtown Coeur d’Alene in the 1960s was a magical time. With a population of about 15,000 people, Coeur d’Alene had yet to catch the eye of tourists from around the world. I could walk downtown to JC Penney’s and Woolworths, and to my very first job at Robby’s Drive In — where a couple of decades later, Woody opened his original Rustler’s Roost. We walked to the library on Seventh and Lakeside and also to the junior high school on Seventh Street, and later the high school on 15th and Montana. We walked to Sanders Beach and to City Beach. And oh yes, in a house that big, slumber parties were epic!

So after the house was sold and demolished in 1975, and my parents and two youngest siblings moved to Kidd Island Bay, Sambo’s Restaurant moved to that half a city block. Then in 1989 came Rustler’s Roost, expanding from their nearby location, and a handful of other eateries followed through the years.

An interesting note is that before the historic home was demolished, many of the incredible interior features — such as leaded glass windows, big pocket doors and cabinetry ­— were sold at an antique auction with buyers from all over the country. Dr. Bill Wood kept some of the really special pieces, including a bookcase, hearth and built-in buffet that he moved to his home in Fernan Village. Several years back, Jay and Connie Gridley — who bought Dr. Wood’s Fernan home — invited me and my sisters to see the “Wood Room,” and it was like being transported in time to our childhood.

Fast forward to today, and once again that block of so many special memories will again become homes. I’ve long said that if I were to win the lottery, I’d buy the property and have an architect recreate that most special three-story, 26-room house right there. Alas, I may still need to win the lottery to buy one of the new townhomes, but I know what was memorable about living downtown for me will make for a wonderful life for a new generation.

•••

On Friday, Dr. Mary Sanderson will share stories and photographs from her African safari adventure at the Coeur d’Alene Library Foundation’s Novel Destinations at 7 p.m. Free to the public in the library’s community room.

•••

Happy Birthday today to Eden Irgens, Michelle Martens and Charles Newman and tomorrow to Kenna Smoot, Travis Chaney, Aubrey Davis, Mike Webb, BJ Holinka, Suzanne Courtney, Amanda Kralicek, Kristy Walsh, Mike Taylor and Nina Tikalsky.

On Friday, Austin Isakson, Wade McLean, Roy Carlson, Gavin Krieg and Terry Drapeau take another trip around the sun. Bob Short, Mary Spridgeon and Larry Sackett share birthdays on Saturday.

Ryan Davis, Chelsea Camarata, Nicole Jones, Carrie Beals and Mary Crosby blow out the candles on Sunday. Eric English, Analisa Raynor, Nora Horn, Larry Spencer, Angie Phillips, Glen Abbott and Peggy Brothers will celebrate on Monday.

Chelsea Dickinson, Sadie Lynn Fisher, Daryl Gankema, Joy Lynch, Paul Lash and Jamie Crawford mark the date of their birth on Tuesday.

•••

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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