The Sandpoint the New York Times Missed - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Sandpoint the New York Times Missed

So, it’s Thursday. Wifey and I are packing to go back to L.A. for a while. Then, if all’s well, we will come back here to Sandpoint. I have been feeling extremely punk lately. I think I have had some malady for about 35 years now and I never can get ahead of it. It hits me extremely hard when I am in the heat. Just devastates me. And there has been so much heat lately it drives me insane.

Still, I love Sandpoint. I had some little bits of business to do yesterday — Vanderford’s book store, the ultimate store, Sandpoint Super Drug, the Safeway, my very favorite grocery store, Dairy Depot, world’s best milkshakes. They all know me and greet me by name. I love it. This is small town life as it is supposed to be lived.

I visited at dinner with my dear Sue Hatch and her charming husband, Larry. We ate at Ivano’s, and the food there was close to perfect. No, that ain’t right. It was perfect.

I am embarrassed to say that earlier in the day I was short to my wife over the subject of money. I blame her for my own wild, insane extravagance. I begged her forgiveness and I hope I got it.

A few days ago, on July 4, 2015, the New York Times ran an article about Sandpoint. It was a laudatory piece but it still missed what Sandpoint is all about. I am sure the Times won’t run it, and I know I have hit a few of these themes before, but you might want to see it. 

July 5, 2015
Dear Sir or Madame,

I read with great interest your article very recently about my beloved Sandpoint, Idaho. I have divided my time between Sandpoint and Malibu for 24 years now. With great respect to the author of the piece, I must tell you he missed the magnetism of Sandpoint.

Simply put, it is the real “enchanted kingdom.” You usually get here on Route 95 over an enormous bridge over the peaceful, blue green Lake Pendoreille/Pendoreille River junction. Once you are over the Long Bridge, the whole world changes. There are no gangs. There is no violence to speak of. There are no sullen people on street corners. No riots. No one even honks his or her horn. I have been coming here since ’90 and never heard a horn honk in anger.

There is no fear because there are no strangers. Everyone at the Safeway or the Sandpoint Super Drugstore or the Bottle Bay Resort (best cheeseburgers in the world) knows everyone else. Everyone knows whose kids are on the beach of the lake and everyone keeps an eye out for them. Anyone who comes in peace is immediately not a stranger.

There is no one-upmanship here, no Bentleys, no Ferraris, the most successful people here drive old pickups. There are no designer clothes. People are seen as people, not as mannequins inside clothes or cars.

This is a place of staggering beauty — mountain lakes, wetlands, railroads lighting up the night, a river with no billboards of red neon, spectacular blue/gray/ pink clouds, a downtown with no billboards.

And its ultimate beauty is that it is safe. In a world of fear, we can sleep at night with our neighbors nearby and no strangers. Without ideologies, without gurus, without central control, we have a safe place. We love it here.

Best regards and thank you,

Oh, and by the way, two doors down from me at the fabulously beautiful Seasons, a family have adopted three sweet Ethiopian children. I get along great with them. They are the most loving kids you could imagine. They are younger versions of one of my dream girls, Ozzie, a professor at Virginia Tech, a frequent visitor to D.C., whom I have been close to for twenty years. I really am crazy about Ethiopians. This was not in the letter. That’s probably why they didn’t publish it.

Anyway, off to the aeroporto. I will be in touch. And I will add, I am not sure there is any better place on earth than where I am right now, in Sandpoint, with the world’s finest person, Big Wifey. I do miss my sister and brother-in-law, though. They were here for a few days and it was heaven having them around. My sister and brother-in-law know me.

My wife is God’s messenger sent directly to me.

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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