Sandpoint Out of Reach - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Sandpoint Out of Reach


Nobody’s on the road,
Nobody’s on the beach,
I feel it in the air,
Summer’s out of reach …

Summer in Sandpoint is over for us. It is sad but it has to happen. Only in L.A. can it be summer all year round. Maybe in South Florida, too.

It has been a fine summer. We have been ill for a large part of our time in Idaho, and have been in bed sleeping most of the day for the last few days. But truth to be told, it’s truly great to lie in my bed and sleep and then look out at the lake and then at the clouds and listen to the trains of Mister Buffett. More than look at them — feel them make the building shake.

I had two days away from Sandpoint last week. I flew to Minneapolis, gave a speech to a great group called Woodbury Financial, and then, by a gift from on high, a kindly man at the conference flew me right to the Sandpoint airport in his Cessna Citation jet. It saved me about ten hours of airport waiting and changing planes and more waiting and security lines. What a way to get around.

Having a private jet is about the lushest luxury I can imagine. I will never be able to have one but it is a stone pleasure to be on one.

We have had our glorious pals, Mike and Nancy Visser and their beautiful children, David, Tanner, Megan, and Peyton, visiting us. They are the most polite people there have ever been. They are from Calgary, Alberta. The kids open the door for me, carry packages, call me “Mister Stein,” it’s great. Plus, they are amazingly good looking kids and parents, to the point that it’s hard to believe they’re real.

On those days when we did get out of bed, we had many great meals, many speedy jaunts on our boat, many drives along the Pendoreille River and along the wetlands adjacent to the lake as you pass through Kootenai towards Hope, many dining extravaganzas at Hills on Priest Lake. My head spins at the sights. I cannot imagine anywhere more beautiful than North Idaho.

It’s a magical experience here in Sandpoint. Everyone waves to me. Little kids skateboarding on by say, “Hey, Ben,” and I feel as if I belong somewhere. People here look you in the eye, say, “hey” and it’s just overwhelmingly touching. My perfect secret gem in the Gem State, Sandpoint. I’m not being taken away by cattle car to be gassed. I am in my little haven looking at an endless lake. How can I ever stop feeling grateful?

This past week has been the 20th anniversary of the killings at Ruby Ridge, very near here. There, federal marshals and the FBI killed a little boy and his dog and the boy’s mother because they were angry at the boy’s Dad because he might have had sawed off shotguns — or maybe not. The man the feds were tracking, Randy Weaver, also had a friend with him who shot and killed a marshal. The whole thing was just horrible and everyone said how bad it was and let’s hope it never happens again. It really was a nightmare.

By the way, I am fascinated by this whole drama about Todd Akin and his strange comments about rape and abortion. There is no doubt he said something extremely mistaken and offensive. But there is also no doubt that he’s standing tall against abortion when even his own party has turned on him. Is there a braver candidate out there right now? What are the merits and demerits of making a stupid comment on a TV show as compared with killing a baby because you don’t like her sex or you want to move on with your career?

Somehow, in this brouhaha about Mr. Akin, the fundamentals of the issue have been lost.

Is it a good idea to have unlimited abortion? Do unborn babies have no rights? If not, why not? The pro-abortion people have done a genius job of framing this debate in exactly the wrong way. They always do that. It’s really about the taking of innocent life and not about miscues on a TV show.

I totally understand why women have abortions. It is very understandable. That does not make it right. But maybe I just don’t understand.

Well, none of this has to do with Sandpoint. We packed our bags. The Vissers lined up to say good-bye to us. The boys carried our bags down to our fabulous rented Chrysler 300 (a great car). We felt sad, and then we were on our way back to L.A.

Life just seems right in Sandpoint. People don’t seem hard and mean the way they do in big cities. The pace seems sensible. When I got to Sandpoint in June, I was frantic, out of my mind with fear and worry. Now, I feel calm. I hate to leave a place that makes me calm.

On the other hand, my Julie Good Girl is waiting for me in Beverly Hills, so off we go, over the Long Bridge and back to Gomorrah.

I am so happy that we found North Idaho. I thank God for that. And for my wifey, my constant companion, and for the lake and Mr. Buffett’s trains.

Ben Stein
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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.
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