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"Dear Mr. Hillman: I wouldn't dream of having that dent removed. It is such a lovely reminder that others have the same problems I do. I hope your slice is improving."
TO THE REAR, MARCH
The Christmas catalog of Neiman-Marcus, which is not known for encouraging inconspicuous consumption, contains the following listing: "Skiing days never end with your own ski slope in the back yard. 121' long, 25' wide, 25' high with SkiTrak plastic surface that skis like snow and no snow shoveling. $100,000 complete with lights for night skiing. Toy shop."
None have been sold to date, but there are 13 days until Christmas.
VERDANT YSLES (CONT.)
Two weeks ago we reported that the Skagit County Planning Commission, heedless of the virtues of relatively unspoiled land, had ruled that a $100 million aluminum-reduction foundry could be built on pastoral Guemes Island, which lies off Bellingham, Wash. Although construction is still far from a certainty, neighboring Sinclair Island wants out; specifically, it is trying to secede from mainland Skagit County—an unprecedented but legal process. As Sinclair's plea states: "We will feel safer in San Juan County with the remainder of our sister islands...." Cypress, Vendovi and Guemes, the other San Juan islands in Skagit County, are expected to follow suit.
These islands were cut off as a result of the comic-opera Pig War, the last armed confrontation between the U.S. and Great Britain, which was settled in 1872, the only casualty being a boar owned by the Hudson's Bay Company.
In the Oregon Treaty of 1846, the U.S. and Great Britain set the Canadian-American boundary at the 49th parallel, with the provision that the line should drop down between Vancouver Island and the American mainland, and then cut out to the Pacific through the middle of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Unfortunately, the authors of the treaty hadn't the haziest notion of the multitude of islands and channels thereabouts. The Americans decided that the boundary should run through Haro Strait, west of the San Juans, while the British figured it belonged in Rosario Strait, east of the islands.
In 1859 an American squatter on San Juan Island shot the British pig, which was rooting in his potato patch. Within days, 2,500 troops were braced for action, the Americans encamped at the southern end of San Juan Island, the British at the north. Happily, both sides realized the ridiculous figure they would cut in history and agreed to a 100-man joint military occupancy until a commission could settle the affair.