Category Archives: People, Places, & Things

Mlle. Moutardier: Heroine with humility

I hope most of my readers recall with admiration and gratitude Mlle. Hermis Moutardier. Mlle. Moutardier, a senior flight attendant, led crew and passengers in disarming Richard Reid, aka the Shoe Bomber, on an American Airlines Paris-Miami flight in 2001.

I have admired Mlle. Moutardier for the past 16 years since the incident. The hapless, thankfully thwarted Reid is serving 10 consecutive life sentences plus 110 years (the rationale of Federal corrections formulas gets a little arcane for me).

I wrote a post in 2015 celebrating once again the admirable Mlle. Moutardier’s actions. Yesterday, Mlle. Moutardier herself submitted a comment to my two-year-old post! I was teary that she would thank me for honoring her; I felt she was honoring me, for which there was no reason at all. She was the hero; I was a mere reporter, years after the fact.

I have always thought of Hermis Moutardier as an inspiration. This is the crew member who led the capture of The Shoe Bomber! She poured a pitcher of ice water on his head and backup arrived from all over the plane. I believe one of the three captains in the cockpit even came out to help secure the inept Reid.

Hermis Moutardier’s comment is posted on my 2015 article at the above link. It is very brief. Her humility is stunning. I believe she must have simply been doing a search for her own name, as many people do, and come upon my blog. And wow! She thanked me for writing about her. How many people thank people they don’t know for anything?

Hermis Moutardier remains a heroine to me, as well as an example of humility. I am  grateful our paths have crossed  in space.

It seems sometimes that space is where real people are.

Related imageHermis Moutardier
Image is from Time.com

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Grey as driftwood or cream as ivory–smoke is smoke

The forest fires generating the smoke I find so discommoding make me want to “lay my hand over my mouth,” as Job did (Job 40:4) when God had humbled Job’s contentious whining. Job’s misfortunes could hardly compete with God’s power and nurture.

The smoke has enveloped us for five days. Crews have been fighting the fires, but fires are difficult, and new ones keep springing up. They are in Montana, Canada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington–we’re surrounded, but how fortunate we are to be surrounded by smoke and not flames!

My heart goes out to The Beautiful City: Houston. I lived there for five years in the 1970s. I lost the car I had just made the final payment on. Water had subsumed my electrical system, an unhandy occurrence known as a “total.” The flood of 1976 took a lot of cars, but was a sprinkle compared to Hurricane Harvey.

Harvey has taken over 70 lives in Houston. Destroyed homes and cars have yet to be been tallied. Contaminated water is spreading diseases. Pets are being flown to San Diego for safe keeping. (I thought this was terrific!) If you have driven in Houston, traffic congestion now is probably right up there with Hong Kong.

The Alley Theatre where I saw some very good plays, is soaking rubble.

I have friends in Houston. They are some of the strongest, most resourceful people in the whole world.

If you have a heart for Houston, check out The Houston Chronicle.

I can hardly complain about the smoke surrounding my quiet prairie home. It’s nothing like Houston’s hurricane floodwaters. But, grey or cream, smoke is irritating and limiting, and the region currently has a “very unhealthy” smoke level rating. We can only pray and hope rain will come and the wind will change.

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Our July 4th on Soldiers Meadow Lake

Soldiers Meadow Lake, elevation 4,500 feet, is about 12 miles past Waha Lake, where we fished Saturday. Soldiers Meadow Lake has Kokanee salmon, Rainbow trout, and Smallmouth bass. We encountered no crowds–a kayak and a skiff were the only other boats on the water in our nearly three hours there in Pisca-Dory. We caught no fish, but a few chased Vic’s lures a few times. It was a beautiful day, notwithstanding the 11 miles of rugged, dusty road, arriving and departing.

 

Soldiers Meadow Lake

Water Smartweed, a riparian native of the northwest plains

Wild roses at the shoreline

 

Vic recently installed a shade over my chair!

Vic hitches Pisca-Dory to her trailer and the trailer to the truck. . .”Gosh, Vic–you couldn’t do this back home on Krypton!”

(My husband Vic took all the photos in this post, except the final one, which I took.)

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Our beautiful day at Waha Lake

We decided to make our first visit to Waha Lake today and see how it would be for fishing. The 94-acre lake has trout, bass, crappie, and pleasant scenery of the Waha Mountains and lots of trees. Waha Lake is south of Lewiston, Idaho, about 45 minutes from our home in Washington near the Idaho border. We hold fishing licenses for both states.

After driving down an unpaved hill to the parking lot, it was obvious that our truck and boat trailer wouldn’t fit. Vic barely managed to get them turned around so he could unload the boat at the ramp. He tethered the boat and returned to the top of the hill where there was room to park our Ford 150 and trailer, and walked back to the dock, which took just a few minutes. I remained with our boat while chatting with an amiable lady fishing from the dock. Her husband was fishing from the shore, and he caught a large trout and hailed her to let her know he had “one on!”

It was my turn to be skunked, but Vic caught two hefty trout, 14-1/2 and 12 inches. I helped him net them so they would not escape–trout can be canny about staying on a hook.

The scenery was serene and refreshing, and the lake was quiet. Very few fisherman were out, and none were in boats, except for one kayaker.  I think it’s likely we will return soon.

I chat with a woman fishing while Vic parks our truck up the hill from the boat launch.

Vic runs Pisca-Dory’s motor.

Rocks and plants along the shore

Vic’s 14-1/2″ trout

A canola field provides colorful scenery along the way home.

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The Ice Returns to the River

p1020592Following another temperature drop into the low 20s, patches of ice returned to a section of the Snake River near Asotin, Washington.

Pisca-Dory’s Garmin fishfinder showed a lot of fish directly under our bonny boat. The fish moved slowly and mostly vertically, and from their 8-15-foot depth, they showed no interest in our lures. The tugs on our lines were most likely river weeds and the River’s currents.

The clouds blotted the sun, leaving us cold, but our propane heater kept us from serious chill.

For my husband and me, fishing is not defined by the objective of catching fish; if it were, we would shun the River all winter, and that is not an option. We like staying in touch with “our” River.

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Thanksgiving at the jail

Our county prosecutor and his staff have a tradition of organizing a Thanksgiving dinner at the jail, and this year my husband, who is a county public defender, and I took up the offer to help serve the dinner. I’m so thankful that we did, because it turned out to be the most enjoyable Thanksgiving I have ever had, and I didn’t eat a thing. We served, and the “resident guests” as I call them, took their plates back to their quarters.

Everyone was in pleasant, gracious spirits, and all the resident guests were upbeat and thankful for everything. One fellow even took the opportunity to thank the prosecutor for getting him there!

I was pleased to meet several of my husband’s clients, who very kindly extended to me their appreciation for their attorney. Our resident guests all were pleasant men and women. Had I thought about it beforehand, it would have been difficult for me to imagine such contention-free warmth in a diverse group of 50 people at a holiday event. It would have been difficult for me to imagine being comfortable around so many people. But there it all was: the unimaginable. My best Thanksgiving ever.

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Fishing the mighty Snake north of Heller Bar

This past Saturday, having decided to fish from shore because of the wind, we took to Snake River beaches north of Heller Bar, where the Snake and the Grande Ronde have their confluence. Some beaches were rocky, some were sandy; they had varying ease of access, and all were incredibly beautiful. I caught several smallmouth bass; my husband caught some bass and a Northern pikeminnow, which he pronounced quite delicious after canning it. It was the first pikeminnow either of us has caught, as well as being very pretty.

My husband took all the photos this time; I wouldn’t put my rod down long enough.

pikeminnow

My husband caught this 14-1/2-inch Northern pikeminnow. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife pays a nominal bounty on these fish because they eat salmon eggs, and thrive better with the dams than do the salmon, so they are regarded as a threat to the salmon population.  We forewent the bounty in favor of keeping and eating the fellow. I think the pikeminnow is an elegant fish, with his golden scales and red-tipped tail and fins.

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No dearth of seaweed here, and it’s a cinch to catch (as well as a nuisance)!

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According to Dan Landeen, the basalt formations of Hell’s Canyon were formed 1-2 million years ago.

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Fishing from the shoals means frequent encounters between lures and rocks. . .

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The sandy beach seemed a wonder of the world after negotiating so many rocks.

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