Here I am up in Sandpoint. It is late July and it is hot, hot, hot. Really hot. I slept late, occasionally getting up to look out my window at Lake Pend Oreille. It was calm, dotted with sailboats for an upcoming regatta. There was not a cloud in the sky. Really a fabulous day except for the heat.
Alex and I had breakfast — my usual, English muffin, eggs, and orange juice-rested, and then started to walk into town. It was too darned hot. After about an hour of walking, I felt short of breath, then desperately short of breath. With aches in my stomach and shoulders. I was only about five minutes from our condo, so I just bravely went to my condo and lay down, wheezing and feeling miserable.
My thoughtful bride went out on the deck next to my bedroom and lit up a cigarette. We called our pal Tim Farmin and his wife, Penny, to come over and look at me to see if I were about to die. Tim is actually a boat mechanic, but he is so thoughtful and observant that we use him for all kinds of tasks, like pulmonary observation. He watched me for about half an hour, during which I fell asleep. I awakened feeling a lot better so we went out on my wonderful boat and headed down the lake.
Now, bear in mind, I have been coming to Sandpoint for about 20 years, more or less, and this was the first time I dared to go the whole length of the lake, which is roughly 40 miles from our marina. This is my first lake-long venture.
Why the difference? Because I have a new (actually used) boat that goes a lot faster and handles better in the water than my sturdy gorgeous Thompson. It goes over waves that would in the past terrify me.
Anyway, we raced past Whiskey Rock, about 20 miles down the lake, where, years and years ago, I would go with my late pal, Peter Feierabend, and where my son and his son would dive off the boat and swim in the cool waters of the lake. Peter was a dear friend who died in a rafting tragedy on the Snake River about 13 years ago. He was one of my best friends and I miss him keenly day by day. I felt safe around him. Then he died in circumstances we still do not know.
Anyway, we zoomed by Whiskey Rock, steered to starboard, and found ourselves in a large bay next to a naval station used to test submarines. Farragut Naval Base or something like that. Amazingly, the lake is so deep at this point that the U.S. Navy uses it to test submarine hulls. It is around 1,200 feet deep at the bay we were in, which, charmingly, is called “Bayview.” We stealthily came into port in an endless no-wake zone, then my pal Tim parked the boat in a maneuver that allows him to make the boat go more or less sideways. It is always a shock to me when he does that.
Then I got off the boat and went into a bar and had a Diet Coke and popcorn. The people at the bar were all super-friendly. Many of them said they were big fans of Fox News. They are not generally fans of Mr. Obama.
Then back to the north end of the lake and off to port to the “Bottle Bay Resort,” actually a smallish café, on the dock in Bottle Bay. It was jammed with revelers who all seemed happy and cheerful. The recession has hit this area very hard but somehow the people here seem quite buoyant.
The people looked so cheerful that a thought came to me that often comes here: Sandpoint is America the way it used to be. No one here litters, literally no one, because it is their town and to litter would be like littering in their own back yard. No one honks, except people from outside Bonner County, because it’s inconsiderate to beep at your family or in your club. Everyone greets each other by name. Because it’s a family as much as a town. Maybe it’s a club.
That’s what I keep thinking: America used to be a club. All Americans were members and so we all took care of each other. Then, troublemakers started turning us against each other, and now we have a certain class of people who think America is just a big beautiful woman to be raped and vampirized. We have others who think America is a villain to be blamed for their own failures. Heaven forbid that anyone should ever assume some blame for his own situation. No, no, no. It always has to be the capitalists’ fault or George Bush’s fault or Ben Stein’s fault. We cannot ever open that Pandora’s box known as adult responsibility. Then we would have to ask painful sociological questions that no one wants to ask….I had better not go there. That way lies the worst possible crime, ThoughtCrime, from which all other crime flows…best to stay away.
Well, anyway, we had a good meal at Bottle Bay, then headed back in the gathering dusk to our dock at our development here, The Seasons. We sat out on the dock for a long time watching the moon come up, then I headed back to my hooch with my bride.
My downstairs neighbors were being noisy but they eventually went to sleep. I hate noise so much I cannot express it, unless it is self-inflicted. I read once that shows I am deeply fearful. Certainly true.
Alex and I stayed up watching a documentary about the Korean War. Wow, what a freaking nightmare. Cold, snowy, or else hot and raining. Huge numbers of infiltrators and traps and ambushes. Terrifying numbers of Chinese troops. Greatly inadequate equipment. Thank you, Harry Truman.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?