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Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Folded Napkin

I don’t know where this originated, and I  don’t know if it’s true…but, I would like to think so

The Folded Napkin – A Trucker Stop Story.
If this doesn’t light your fire, your wood is wet!

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome. I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The ones who concerned me were the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded ‘truck stop germ’; the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks…

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.

After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and peppershaker was exactly in its place, not a breadcrumb Or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.

If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine.

Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news.

Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table.

Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Bell Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. ‘OK, Frannie , what was that all about?’ he asked..

‘We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.’

‘I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him What was the surgery about?’

Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery then sighed: ‘Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,’ she said. ‘But I don’t know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.’ Bell Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

‘What’s up?’ I asked.

‘I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,’ she said. ‘This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.’

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed ‘Something For Stevie’.

‘Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,’ she said, ‘so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.’
She handed me another paper napkin that had ‘Something For Stevie’ scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: ‘Truckers!!’

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.

His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called ten times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

‘Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,’ I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. ‘Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!’

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.

I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins ‘First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,’ I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had ‘Something for Stevie’ printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. ‘There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.

But you know what’s funny?
While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table….

Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it, fulfilling the need!

If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.

Well.. Don’t just sit there! Send
this story on! Keep it going, this is a good one!

Blessed are those who can give  without remembering and take without forgetting.

5 Strategies to Rebuild Your Credit after Foreclosure

This is a reprint from RISMEDIA, November 30, 2010—(MCT)—

If you’ve been through a foreclosure, you may wonder if there is hope for you to become a homeowner again. The answer is yes, but it will take a while. “It doesn’t mean you’ll never be a homeowner again,” said Linda Davis-Demas, director of housing at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas.

But you’ll need to examine what caused you to fall behind on your mortgage and take steps to fix the problem. “You have to look at what were the reasons you didn’t make the payment,” said Davis-Demas. “Was it budgeting? You can modify that type of behavior.”

A foreclosure is a major hit to your credit history and stays on your credit report for seven years.

“Foreclosure is one of the FICO seven deadlies,” said credit expert John Ulzheimer, referring to the dominant FICO credit score. “It’s considered a major derogatory item, regardless of the back story”— whether it’s a job loss, rate reset, underemployment or other reasons.

Your credit score will also suffer “the minute the foreclosure process begins,” said Ulzheimer, founder of, a credit education website. “It doesn’t have to be completed for it to be very damaging,” he said. “The damage will vary based on your scores, but it can damage the score as much as 200 points, especially if your scores are very strong to begin with.”

So, after a foreclosure, your priority has to be rebuilding your credit. You’ll have some time to do so, because mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac impose strict rules on how long it will take before you’re eligible for another mortgage.

For example, borrowers with a prior foreclosure and extenuating circumstances—such as a job loss, divorce or medical issues—must wait three years before they can qualify for a Fannie Mae-backed loan, said spokeswoman Amy Bonitatibus. For all other borrowers, the waiting period is seven years.

At Freddie Mac, those who can prove extenuating circumstances must wait three years before applying for a new mortgage; everyone else must wait five years. But that will change in February, when the waiting period for those whose foreclosure was caused by their own financial mismanagement will increase to seven years.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have strict rules on the credit score and the size of the down payment required of borrowers with a prior foreclosure.

Here’s what you need to do to rebuild your credit to qualify again for a mortgage:

Pay your bills on time: The FICO score, the dominant credit score used by lenders, gives the greatest weight to payment history, so make sure you consistently pay your bills on time. “Stability is the key,” said Craig Jarrell, president of the Dallas region of IberiaBank Mortgage Co. “Have you demonstrated that you are now capable of owning a home and paying the bills, and have recovered from whatever circumstance caused the original foreclosure?”

Review your credit report: You’re entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three national credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You should get a copy and check it for any inaccuracies.

To get your free credit report, go to “Make sure it is about you and only you,” said Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “If you find errors, dispute them. If you discover old debts, it will weigh in your favor to satisfy them. Paid late looks better than not paid at all. Make sure that debts older than seven years have rotated off your report, as these could be dragging your score down unnecessarily.”

Check your mortgage: You want to be sure that you don’t still owe anything on your old mortgage. Sometimes proceeds from a foreclosure sale aren’t enough to cover what’s owed on the mortgage, which would leave you owing the difference.

“Make sure there is a zero balance reflected, and if you are responsible for a shortfall, make arrangements to repay the remaining balance,” Cunningham said.

Many lenders are willing to settle that “deficiency judgment” for less than what’s owed because “it’s better than getting no money at all,” Jarrell said.

Apply for credit: In particular, apply for different varieties of credit. “Credit scoring models value having different types of credit,” Cunningham said. “Having some revolving accounts, typically credit cards, and some installment fixed-payment loans, such as a car payment, can improve your score.” But don’t apply for too much credit at once. “This can appear as though you’re desperate for credit and perhaps make lenders less inclined to extend credit to you,” Cunningham said. “Further, too many credit inquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score.”

Don’t fall prey: Watch out for credit repair companies that promise to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job—after paying a fee for the service. “The truth is, that no one can remove accurate, negative information from your credit report,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. “It’s illegal.” Only the passage of time can assure that negative, but accurate, information on your credit report will be removed.

When it comes to repairing your credit, there are no quick fixes, the experts say. What lenders want to see is responsible financial behavior over time.

“Know that time is your friend, as the farther you move away from the financial distress, the less negative impact it has,” Cunningham said. “Follow with responsible behavior with your new credit, and you’ll soon have a solid credit file.”

(c) 2010, The Dallas Morning News.

Little Silverhawk Gemstones

Greetings friends,

For those of you that are new to our site, our youngest son cut his first gemstone when he was 3. He started selling his cabs when he was about 10 and puts up groups of stones under the Little Silverhawk title. (For those that have been buying from Chris for years, he is now 17, towers over me and isn’t so little anymore. Can you believe he is that old now?)

Despite his youth he carries the same good eye for shapes, and he gets to use our rock. This is a great chance to pick up some nice stones for a lower price and encourage a young talent.

In this offering you will find:

Montana agate

Marra Mamba tigereye

Botswana agate


Red jasper

Native Silver



Mohave turquoise

Dinosaur bone X3

Cherry Creek jasper

Imperial jasper with orbs

Lake Superior agate

Montana agate with bands



Blue tigereye

Chinese turquoise

Morgan Hill poppy jasper

Bull Canyon agate

Mexican crazy lace agate

Oco geode

Ocean jasper

Pilbara jasper

We hope you can come by for a look.

Our best wishes,

Rain, Sam and fam

Cold weather paying it forward week 4 to be thankfull for

This weeks pay it forward was really just the normal cold climate watch out for your neighbor.  We got hit by a real nasty cold snap that dipped the themometer way below 0.  Everyone had frozen pipes, wet clothese, cars that wouldn’t start, animals that needed protection etc. 

The great thing about living in a rural area in Idaho is that it is very much an aguarian society.  When one person sneezes everyone brings the chicken soup and kleenex.  This week everyone had a sniffle of some sort.  The entire community was  making sure that their neighbors had wood, propane, horse blankets, extra coats, snow suits, gloves, pipe insulation, heaters. If it had to do with warmth, everyone needed something.  A big applause to Idahoans for coming to the aide of their neighbors, so that everyone had something to be thankful for.

Scotchman Peaks Paintout Art Reception.

November 13th 2010 at  Foster’s Crossing, 504 Oak St. from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  This reception will  showcase the art produced during the 2010 Scotchman Peaks Air Paintout. Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served. Be sure to see the “best of show” paintings from 2009 (Jared Shear’s “Bull River Valley”) and 2010 (Robert Bissett’s “Sam Owen”). Also presented will be trailers for two upcoming films made in and around the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness,  A portion of the art sale proceeds benefit the FSPW.

Pend Oreille Playhouse Beauty and the Beast

November 12-14 and 19-21 Broadway junior production of Beauty and the Beast will be presented by the  Pend Oreille Playhouse Community Theatre, 240 N. Union Ave in Newport Washington.  Play starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. Sunday. Please come give our middle school and high school youth from throughout the area abig hand.

Tickets are $10 in advance at  or $12 at the door; youth ages 5 to 18 are $5. 509-671-3389


Coming in December will be the production of Annie

“Annie” – Opening Night POPA is sponsoring a fund-raising night for 
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) 
Silent Auction starts at 6:00 PM – Performance at 7:00 PM
100%  of the proceeds from the Silent Auction will go to 
benefit local CASA Programs.

SARS Ski and Swap

Annual Schweitzer Alpine Racing Ski Swap at the Bonner County Fairgrounds 4203 N. Boyer Rd. Drop off your old skis and snow toys between noon and 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12; then come back and shop the Ski Swap from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13. Great buys on new and used equipment and clothing – skis, snowboards, boots, hats, coats, snow suits and more. Admission to Saturday’s swap is $2 per person, or $5 per family, and proceeds benefit SARS

Pay it forward with a barn raising week three

Here on active Rain there is a new group called pay it forward. You know the concept, do something nice for someone else, and they in turn pay it forward by helping someone else. Each week we post about some event or idea that we have to help pay it forward. It can be small or big or somewhere in between. I am on week three of Pay it forward and am having a ball.

This pay it forward week was with the good old barn raising mentality.  In the old days when someone needed to build a barn, the whole community came with hammers, helpful attitudes and maybe even sandwiches.  I think we have lost something valuable along the way. 
As everyone is getting ready for the winter months, I see a whole lot of home owners out building shops, barns, garages and sheds.  Last week I was out showing property and was talking to the neighbor of  a listing.  He mentioned that he was trying to get a barn up all by himself before the winter hits.  I have been going through that one myself, so I know what he is going through.  So Sunday my son and I arrived at this guys house with our tool belts and the biggest smiles we could muster and asked if he wanted a couple of willing hands.  By the end of the day we had managed to get the osb sheathing on and the tar paper tacked down.  One more day of putting on the metal and he is shelled in.
Now you might be saying I don’t know how to build a barn.  That’s ok an extra hand is always a good thing on a building project.  Have you ever seen a USDA self help group full of single moms, grandpas build a neighborhood of beautiful homes.  They might not show up to the job site full of skills, but willingness to work and learn will get you through.  It may be something as small as holding the end of a board or handing up a tool.  Especially with someone trying to do a project all on their own, it just brings joy to someone to have someone care enough to spend a day to further their cause. 

Scotchman Peaks Paintout Art Reception

November 13th 2010 at Foster’s Crossing, 504 Oak St. from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This reception will showcase the art produced during the 2010 Scotchman Peaks Air Paintout. Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served. Be sure to see the “best of show” paintings from 2009 (Jared Shear’s “Bull River Valley”) and 2010 (Robert Bissett’s “Sam Ow<br>en”). Also presented will be trailers for two upcoming films made in and around the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, A portion of the art sale proceeds benefit the FSPW. <br>Rain Silverhawk Realtor <br>Sandpoint Realty 223 North First Ave. <br> Sandpoint, ID. 83864 <br>Phone (208) 610-0011 <br>

Ski and Swap

Annual Schweitzer Alpine Racing Ski Swap at the Bonner County Fairgrounds 4203 N. Boyer Rd. Drop off your old skis and snow toys between noon and 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12; then come back and shop the Ski Swap from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13. Great buys on new and used equipment and clothing – skis, snowboards, boots, hats, coats, snow suits and more. Admission to Saturday’s swap is $2 per person, or $5 per family, and proceeds benefit SARS

Rain Silverhawk reviews