Feb 17, 2015

Last January I was at Lindaman's on Spokane's South Hill as part of Humanities Washington's Think and Drink speaker series. The topic of discussion was the attack on the Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris, France. I used to draw editorial cartoons for the Spokesman-Review newspaper from 1987 to 2000.  For me, going back to eastern Washington was like a HS reunion.

The first face a recognized was Elaine Forrester, executive assistant to the publisher of the S-R. Then, also from my newsprint days, I got hugs from top-flight S-R writers Jamie Tobias Neely and Karen Dorn Steele. I kinda thought some former co-workers might show up but I was also pleasantly surprised to reconnect with Floyd Lee, Sacagawea JR HS teacher whose classes and school I used to visit every year. Another good friend who arrived with a big smile was Gordon Jackson, a college professor from Whitworth College.

Lindaman's quickly filled up to standing room only...mainly because the bistro was cozy venue not an auditorium. Along with the familiar faces of friends I like to think there were a few fans of my Spokane cartoons from the last century.  

The moderator, Shann Ray, Gonzaga professor, was going to be introducing David Fenner, my T'n'D discussion partner and I. Shann arrived in Spokane in 1995- eight years after I started slinging ink at the S-R. 

Along with some of my favorite cartoons I also brought the 'I heart Priggee' and 'I don't heart Priggee' bumper stickers the newspaper produced to piggyback on the community buzz my cartoons generated when I first arrived in Spokane over a quarter of a century ago.  I wasn't sure where I was going to use them during the discussion about editorial cartooning but I had them tucked into my shirt pocket, ready, whenever the time was right.

My HW speaker intro lists all the different platforms and products my cartoons have appeared in and on. The list does not mention the bumper stickers. So I was caught slightly off guard that Shann even knew about the bumper stickers ....but when he did remind the audience about the bumper stickers- I whipped them out and raised them above my head as if we had rehearsed it. The place went wild with laughter and cheering, remembering when my cartoons generated quite a bit of discussion in the letters section of the S-R. The Lindaman's crowd made me feel like I was home...yes, I could feel the love. 

I've professionally drawn cartoons in Chicago, Dayton, Wichita, Spokane and now for the past 15 years NW of Seattle in Oak Harbor, WA. Spokane was special, the readers were special, all my co-workers at that newspaper were special. My time there was a perfect storm of special.....special friends and co-workers who believed in producing a special kind of first draft of history.

There's an old adage that applause never get's old and neither does cheering and laughter, in fact I'd say all three are pretty damn addictive. 


-Milt Priggee

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