• Maureen O’Shea at Torrey Pines

  • Sky Mountain Golf Course, Hurricane, UT

We were always ready to help anyone in need. Doc often stopped and helped people having “car trouble”. We also were helped by other people. I want to tell you about two occasions where a “car” of ours was instrumental in RECEIVING help, not just once but twice.

First of all the vehicle was the 1978 Pontiac Grand Safari trailering special. 3/4 ton rear end. Air shocks. Heavy duty front brakes. The nicest possible wagon in the GM group. I remember all the lights on the dashboard and even inside floor lights by the doors.

Helper Number One

Doc knew of a Triple E Motorhome that had been in an accident in Alberta and was written off by the insurance company. It was in a auto wrecking shop in Calgary. Doc had phoned to see what damage there was to this motorhome and they told him the frame was damaged. Doc could not see how the frame could be damaged from the accident. So we thought it was worth fixing and drove our 1978 Pontiac to Calgary to see for ourselves the damage.

With metal measuring tape on Saturday morning we were heading to NE Calgary on the Deerfoot when the station wagon slowed down and stopped. No warning. No lights, Nothing.

Within minutes a young fellow, originally from Newfoundland stopped in his pickup truck to see if he could help. He asked where we were going and said, let’s just leave your car here and I’ll take you where you need to go and back. I’ll call a tow truck then.

Away we go with him to the Auto Wreckers. Doc and I found the motorhome (at the far end of the lot) and we crawled underneath and measured the frame. ALL WAS SQUARE.

Our new friend took us back to our car and he called a mechanic he knew to have him meet us at his shop. The tow truck driver took the Pontiac to the shop and the mechanic soldered the clip on the distributor…..the problem was fixed. We were back to our friends home, the Way’s, after a long day. Many thanks to our friend from Newfoundland.

Helper Number Two

Destination Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, Montana

School was out for the Christmas break and the kids were anxious to go skiing. So we packed up the station wagon and drove to Billings after work on the Friday. An overnight stay at the Holiday Inn and after breakfast we were heading west on Interstate 90 when we passed the town of Laurel. The Pontiac stopped. No lights. Nothing.

West Railroad Street at I-90 was where we were stopped. What to do? Well, the two oldest kids left walking down that street back into Laurel to see if they could find a tow truck. (This was before cel phones).

Murray and Lisa

Neil and his friend Bill were driving downtown for their Sunday morning coffee and saw these two youngsters and asked if they needed anything. “ A tow truck”, they said. “Our car has quit on the Interstate.” Neil said “there is no tow truck here but I’ll go and bring your car into town.” So into town he towed our car. “I think we can have a good look at what’s wrong in my garage,” said Neil. Doc said that this had happened back in Calgary and we should look at the distributor. Sure enough that was the problem. “But, NAPA doesn’t open until 11 a.m. so come on in for coffee”, said Neil. Into the house we trooped. Marie, Neil’s wife, had the coffee ready in no time.

Now these people were really good people. Their home was probably built in the 1940’s, very small, white clapboard and they were far from being well to do. What they had was generosity. Marie said they had done what little Christmas shopping they could afford and she had money for a new dress. She had a sister down the street that she and I went to visit. Her sister had bought a string of colored Christmas lights she was so proud of and had put them in her window. Back to the house and we must have had at least two pots of coffee before 11 a.m. Then the guys went to NAPA

In no time the new part was installed and of course Neil was taking no money for all his help. Doc did manage to put a couple of $20’s on his workbench in the garage. We were so thankful for the family we found in Laurel, Montana. We were off to Bozeman by noon and the next day the kids got skiing. The next time we were on our way to Bridger Bowl we stopped, to thank them again, but no one was home.

Bridget with her instructor

The world is full of good people. I just told you a couple of “good people” stories.

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This is a story about Paprika in Spokane, Washington but of course it all begins with GOLF.

If you have lived for any length of time in Alberta you must have heard about the affordable golf in Spokane. Spokane is not that far from Calgary, about 690 kms, and an easy drive. In the fall of 1998 a friend of mine suggested we take a golfing trip and we planned to leave October 18. I know I didn’t make the bookings online for the hotel accommodations and the golf tee times, I believe we had seen promotions of golfing in Spokane in golf magazines. For sure we were both familiar with the course Indian Canyon and I made phone calls to book the courses we wanted to play.

We arrived in Spokane in time for dinner and checked into our hotel. It was late by this time and right away I asked to be moved as we weren’t happy with the beds. Although they couldn’t accommodate a move that night they assured us we would be moved into a brand new room for tomorrow night. (Remodeling was taking place in the whole hotel!). They kept their word.

Our first 18 holes of golf were at the Creek at Qualchan. What a treat we were in for: a beautiful course, well maintained, smooth greens and away from the bustle of the city.

The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course

Day two took us to the Indian Canyon Golf Course. We were so excited to play this highly rated course. Well it was spectacular but very hilly. We had a hard time with the dog-legged holes to the left as both of us were most often hitting balls to the right. Uphill, sidehill and downhill lies made for pretty high scores for both if us!

The Indian Canyon Golf Course

Day three featured Hangman Valley Golf Course. This course featured well bunkered greens and Latch Creek which comes into play on seven holes. With wide fairways, you can launch your tee shots which makes the course fun to play. A well-marked course, mostly what you see is what you’ll get for your golf shots. We really enjoyed the open space of this course and scored much better here.

Hangman Valley Golf Course

Day four took us back to the Creek at Qualchan. We had booked just three rounds of golf to be able to pick one we like the best for our fourth game. We loved it at “the Creek” and we were not disappointed in our choice. We were paired with two young doctors, Ron and Bob, and we had such a good time. They were both really great golfers. Lucky for us they hit it long and straight down the fairways. This gave them lots of time to look for the errant shots we had into the trees. They were happy to be out golfing and so were we and it was so much fun.

Ron asked us if we had made plans for dinner that evening which we had not. He suggested we try this unique, small, restaurant called Paprika. He gave us directions to the restaurant as it was close to the hospital where they worked. I can’t remember exactly what it was that he told us to tell Larry, the manager of the restaurant. It was something that Larry would know came from Ron and he would treat us royally.

Paprika at its finest

We were excited to go for dinner. Paprika was a small place, maybe 600 square feet. There was wine and beer but no mixed drinks as Larry and his wife Karla (the chef) were the only staff. What a fantastic place, small tables and cozy. I had Lamb chops and my friend had Pot roast.

This was the first time I had seen on a menu mashed potatoes with several added choices:

  • Onions: green onions, shallots, garlic
  • Chives.
  • Thyme, parsley or rosemary.
  • Cream cheese.

There was an article in The New Yorker in October 1998 that had an article about mashed potatoes. A restaurant in Chicago, the Mashed Potato Club, offers more than 100 possible toppings for mashed potatoes, including anchovies, pickled beets, jalapenos, granola and peanut butter.

My dinner plate was awesome. The mashed potatoes were underneath the asparagus and to top it all was the lamb chops in a tee-pee formation. I believe dessert was sticky date pudding for two.

At the table next to us were two young women. I couldn’t help but notice they were trying all the appetizers, then portions of all the entrees. Curious as I am I asked them if they were reporters for some newspaper. They said yes they were sampling the items on the menu for the New York Times, Food Section. How cool a job was that?

When I searched the Paprika restaurant a few years ago I found although it had closed in 2006 there were these remarks I want to share with you. We were not the only ones who really appreciated the “Paprika”.

Paprika 1228 Grand Blvd., Spokane Washington

OK so I know Paprika restaurant closed in December 2009 (sob, sob,sigh).

This review is only historical in nature because this was THE best restaurant in all of Spokane and easily rivaled many top restaurants in the US. My wife and I, have enjoyed many fine meals and of course the scrumptious deserts at Paprika’s. 

They have been missed sorely, and in some ways I wish I would have taken Larry’s and Karla’s offer up to buy the place, but to follow in their footsteps would have been some pressure that I did not want, since I am enjoying my early retirement.

For everybody who ate a Paprika’s I am sure that you sorely miss them as much as I do and for those of you who missed out that is a shame. Spokane had for over 10 years one truly great restaurant.

Farewell Paprika’s and thanks for the memories

There was no name for the above but I’m sure many people could have written those kind remarks.

Thanks Spokane for a wonderful golf vacation.

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