Monday, November 04, 2013

Alaskan adventures

When I was maybe nineteen, a friend and I decided to drive the Alcan Highway to Alaska--can you tell we were bored with our lives? The plan was patently ridiculous. For one thing, I drove a VW Bug and she, a French major, had a Peugot, neither car suited for the trip. Our parents kept quiet about this great plan, apparently knowing it would never happen. And it didn't. Our attention turned elsewhere. Since I have turned out not to be a great traveler, it  was a good thing.
I had lunch today with two friends--both former book review editors for the Dallas Morning News. Bob retired before the great newspaper layoffs, but Cheryl got caught and eventually accepted a job with the newspaper in Anchorage. Periodically she sent back tales of life in Alaska--vegetables preserved somehow so they turn black almost as soon as you get them, wild animals roaming in the streets. Today her tale was about two teenage girls who banged on her door, begging for help--a mama moose was after them. Apparently they had gotten between mama and her babies. Cheryl let them in and slammed the door, but the moose hit it so hard it bowed. Cheryl herded the girls through the house and into the car in the garage thinking if the moose got into the house, she'd just drive away. But she had visions of the moose tearing up the inside of her house and said it was the only time she, a totally nonviolent person, ever wished for a gun. Except if she killed it, it would be her responsibility to salvage it--skin and butcher the carcass. You can't just call someone to do that for  you. I decided once again I was glad I didn't go to Alaska.
Bob and I actually spent a lot of time talking Texas politics, and Cheryl has apparently been keeping up because she chimed in. Then we got to "Whatever happened to so-and-so?" I finally asked Cheryl if she'd had enough Texas talk and she said quickly, "No. Keep right on." I think that girl is homesick, but it was good to see her.
Hearing her moose story also made me realize how fortunate I am...and how dependent. I rely on the contractor who takes care of my house (he would have done something with that blasted moose!), the friend who takes care of my yard (and removed the dead possum, which was surely above and beyond the scope of yard care), and the woman who cleans my house. People ask all the time when I'm going to give up my house, and I guess the honest answer is when they all retire. It takes an army...or at least a village to run my house, and I'm grateful for them. I'm also glad I don't live in Alaska.
Thanks for a lovely lunch, Cheryl, and a delightful visit, Bob. I am flattered you came all the way from Dallas.

No comments: