Happened to overhear a fascinating conversation in the Little Nell the other night. Four people were talking about the desert monstrosity foisted upon their little community by the same man who has desired to make my hometown a company town. He's never fully succeeded in his drive for self-proclaimed monarchy but remains a highly controversial figure in Coeur d'Alene, in no small part because of the ratio of his excesses to his contributions. He is a man who has the means to make a difference, but chooses only to make token contributions to the well being of the people. As he owns the hometown newspaper there, he also is unfailingly lauded for these benvolent sips and snacks in headline news. He is so last century.
These people I was listening to at Montagna's gave me great amusement as they righteously assailed this man's devastation of their ecological, visual and psycho/social well being. They, of course, are residents, for at least the time they don't spend at their houses in Aspen, of the Palm Dessert; the 32, 000 sq ft house that Our Boy is building is an assault on their lifestyle and their life in the modest little community known as Palm Springs. The pain of it all is so great, they will stay in Aspen longer than is typical, even if the season is past, because they just dread going back to to their homes in California only to have to gaze at this heinous dwelling that has so gauched up the neighborhood. Damn the North Idaho Trailer Trash.
I always marvel at the House of Widsor when in the UK ; it's their homes that amaze and cause me to pause: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham, Holyroodhouse, St James Palace, Kensington Palace, and my particular favorite, Balmoral. Just why do they need all these places and what kind of life do they live that these places serve them? My North Idaho parochial outlook doesn't appreciate big and many homes; it's not lost on me that even people in my family don't share this outlook and that many think that a big home and multiple homes are an indicator of one's success and achievement in life. I believe they are a false positive of such. But I digress. And the House of Windor never deacquisitions; they've kept every house they ever built. Real royal familes do this.
Back to Our Boy, the hometown one, who never did get the final permits required in building his latest, he says final, temple, where presumably he will worship the gods of American Estate Law who are tended by the Virgins of Undeveloped Real Property. Seems now that it's finally time to get those pesky plans signed around by the city fathers and such, the people, his neighbors, are exercising their American right to expression. They do not like him nor his damn house. And they got their own religious rites to observe. They just don't think they can do this in the shadow of this atrocious monument, pagan to the California desert community lifestyle. Poor Duane. He just can't get the respect he so openly craves.
From this seat in the stadium, I think he could be forgiven for his past errors and omissions and live in the hearts of the people of the Great State of North Idaho forever with a few strokes of the pen. But he'd have to forget about situating Lola for widowhood in an effort to dominate her life even after he leaves it; further, he'd have to abandon his guilt about his dismally poor fiduciary watch over his family's empire. Free of these, he'd need to pick one house and live there for the rest of his life. Not buy another boat. Set aside whatever money he wishes his children and grandchildren to have. Then make a plan.
First, he should form a non-profit foundation and beg blue chip philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to act as directors in the foundation's developing years. He needs someone to model the behavior and show him the way. He should listen to them and take their advice. He should not have his wife, his employees nor his business cronies remotely involved. The foundation should serve, in perpetuity, the well-being of the people of North Idaho. Then the Hag can formulate and articulate the change he wishes to be and to see in people's lives.
I personally would like to see him buy all the lakefront property from the Jewett House to Tubbs Hill in our hometown. Of course, the beach would be open to all people again, and The Burl and Beverly and Brad Foundation would serve the people in additional, unique ways, with one foot in the future and one eye toward the past. There are some architectually significant homes in this particular real estate acquisition and upon the advice of seasoned philanthropists on his board, The Hag could find purpose for these homes and plug them into the mission statement of his foundation. For instance, one house could serve as the office of an outstanding Coeur d'Alene non-profit, another a cultural center of a specific sort, say a children's art gallery, dedicated solely to children's art. Another yet could be a joint venture with the Shriners, devoted to physical rehab of a cutting-edge, world class nature. Because he'd own all the land and houses down East Lakeshore, The Hag could at last build a cunning and extraordinary botanical garden that would stretch in and around the homes and down the blocks, Tubbs Hill to the Jewett House. I think he could even get East Lakeshore vacated for this project because it would be unlike anything ever imagined and would serves the hearts and minds of North Idaho always. He could open up those gated patches of grass that have fascinated Coeur d'Alene children for generations now and make places for people to celebrate weddings, birthdays and anniversaries with the souls and the spirits of the nearby Coeur d'Alenes as witness.
I do hope in my lifetime that I am sitting in Aspen or in Scottsdale but mostly in Sandpoint or in Genessee and overhear people saying, That Hagadone! Have you seen his East Lakeshore project? People always said he's amount to no good. That he was a spoiled rich kid whose specialty was tantrums but they were dead wrong. He really was a special man whose influence and experience were worldwide, but whose heart and soul never were anywhere but across the street from Lake Coeur d'Alene....
The 'Kan EWA