Cheney Free Press -

By Luella Dow

There is a rhyme and reason to Hal Meili

Of Cabbages and Kings


Hal Meili is a well-known man in the Cheney area for his multiple talents. He was born in Bismark, N.D. and came with his family to Spokane when he was six years old.

Now, right here it’s up to you to keep Meili’s secret. You see, he wanted a job with the Forest Service and boldly told them he was 18.“They never checked my age,”he said. Now you know and you must promise to never tell.

Meili worked hard for the Forest Service and put himself through college fighting fires. One thing he knew for absolute surety, he would never become a teacher. His buddy had another idea. He said to Meili as they walked the halls of EWU (then Eastern Washington State College), “Let’s take these classes together.” When Meili graduated he had a degree in biology and another in art.

The degrees were set aside while Meili spent some time in the Coast Guard. He landed at Kodiak, Alaska and served on an icebreaker. I guess in our daily vernacular you’d say that was cool.

In due time Meili waved goodbye to the Coast Guard and turned toward Spokane School District 81. “I was hired on the spot,” he said. He served as vice principal at one of the schools for several years. A pretty young lady from Deer Park, Wash. was a teacher there as well. Both of them taught elementary classes. Soon they became Mr. and Mrs. Hal Meili.

Meili used his talents well as a teacher. He taught the children to combine science and art and worked the study of animals into science projects. One of his innovations to help the children create and learn was a life-sized dinosaur. You can imagine children flocking into that schoolroom to be part of the excitement. After 25 years of teaching Meili retired. However his wife, Mary Kay, continued teaching for several more years.

Poetry has been another one of Meil’s interests. Before he left the classrooms Meili taught the children to write poetry as well. Meili has published an 87-page book of poetry titled, “Metered Magic” and can recite any one of them easily. His artistic talent helped him design the attractive home he and Mary Kay enjoy. Meili has a great sense of humor and a lively interest in the world about him. Here is one of his poems:

Imaginary Anthology

To compose your book of poetry requires more

than formality.

You have to meter every line remembering the tail must rhyme.

Inspiration inspires the key that opens the door to harmony.

The rhythmical verse that you create must warm the heart, mind, and correlate.

When you have finished your last line, embracing your book with heart and mind,

Your gift will be, “You did just fine.”

Yes, Hal, you certainly did “just fine.”

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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