Ben Stein's Diary

The Way Life Should Be Lived

Congress and the President need more time on cool mountain lakes.  

By 7.29.11

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Wednesday
A beautiful day in Sandpoint. The sky changed all day from blue to dark gray and then to blue again. Off to the north I could see immense rain storms. A workman told me they were having lightning strikes in the hay fields north of town.

I went to our local bank to get some issues straightened out, was helped by a beautiful young teller, then went out to Wal-Mart, then came home, rested and -- with my perfect wifey -- went out to meet our pal Tim Farmin on my boat.

We rocketed across the top of Lake Pendoreille in the Cobalt and soon were in the lovely inlet of Hope. The air was cool and crisp with a tiny breeze. We moored at Ivano's del Lago, a new restaurant on the water. It is part of Ivano's, a fine Italian restaurant in town, where we (Alex and I) had dinner last night.

The view out over the lake was phenomenal. Clouds, blue water, pink highlights in the air as sundown approached. We ate on a deck with a lovely green lawn running from it to a perfect dock. I wonder who built this dock. It is just a work of art. My friend Dana Martin builds docks. I wonder if he built this one. It is the Sistine Chapel of docks. Concrete and steel. Solid. Just the right height from the boat. I really love it. A good dock makes for a good day.

Then, a spectacularly well-prepared meal, especially delicious fingerling potatoes. Wow, they were good. And great soup and salad and heavenly bread. I am not sure when I have had a better meal. Then a brownie for dessert. I am telling you, this is the way life should be lived. I am on my knees with gratitude to the fighting men and women who make it possible. The meal was inexpensive by big city standards. It was the simple majesty of the setting and the unpretentious deliciousness of the kind of meal a superb backyard barbecue chef would make that made for a memorable evening.

The sky grew more dramatic as we finished. We got in the boat to go and the sky looked as if there were a furnace in the clouds, churning out anthracite gray power.

It was dark by the time we pulled into our dock. A dock at night, lit by small lights, is an evocative scene -- to put it mildly. Shelter and adventure all in one place. I never can quite figure out how to get the cover on exactly right but I struggle with it and Tim does if effortlessly.

Then, back to our condo to read about the debt crisis. It is so perfectly heavenly here, just so close to paradise that it's hard to imagine how torn apart this country is. Everything is together here.

Congress and the President need more time on cool mountain lakes and less time in hot, humid Washington, D.C. As I got ready to turn out the lights, I thought about Somalia. I am going to figure out how much I spent on restaurant meals on this trip and give that much to CARE. Straightforward. I wish I could also give them peace.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.