An Anniversary to Remember & Haines' "Cookie Water"
Boy is it windy-- gusting to 55 knots at the Eldred Rock lighthouse. It was work walking Pearl into the wind this morning. But we friends and dogs walked with light hearts from just living in these historical times-- what news-- gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. I won't forget the date either, because June 26 is our wedding anniversary. 33 years ago I chose to marry the person I love, and I can't imagine my life without him. Like the song goes, home is whenever I'm with him. It's great to know that now everyone in America can have that opportunity, isn't it?
At the pool this morning the news was water. (The drinking fountain was taped over and there were don't drink the water signs.) My friend the retired public health nurse said our E.coli scare and boil water order is a "tempest in a teapot." Typically, such news follows an outbreak of serious gastro-intestinal distress, but we've had no more or less than the usual around here, as far as anyone can tell. It might be the water, but it might be too many wild strawberries.
I think everyone is drinking bottled, boiled, or fresh spring water though, just in case. (Paul said his Haines Brewery beer is always a safe choice), and the distillery is still serving gourmet cocktails using glacier ice from Glacier Point, and I heard Sarah J's cafe had some clean ice boated over from Skagway. At the lumberyard, where the coffee is free, terrible, and can kill anything in your gut, it's still being brewed with town water and no one seems to care. (They figure it's hot, and always consumed at your own risk...but they are sipping spring and well water from jars brought from home.) At Mountain Market, where the espresso is always "to die for," the owner said the kitchen is making sure no one has to-- "It is like a field hospital around here," Mike said, with pots of boiling water everywhere. He said they are taking extreme measures to keep everything clean and safe, just in case.
At a Gregg family birthday party (more later) on Officer's Row in Fort Seward last night, one person hadn't even heard of the boil water warning-- she had been away and just came home and there was no note on her door or anything. She hadn't had a glass of water yet, "I don't think"-- but wondered if it could make her dog sick, and we didn't think so. We recalled the last time this happened about 25 years ago.
My daughters Eliza and Sarah were little kids but they even remember the bath water running as brown as tea. Then, a moose had died in Lily Lake (the lake and spring on Piedad Road are the Haines water system sources), and I think the carcass got stuck against the out-flow pipe. Turns out there was an even earlier incident.
Someone heard Lily Lake water used to be called "Cookie Water" because apparently in the 1920's a cook from the Army drowned in it and they found his body after a routine water test indicated high bacteria. "That's not true," another old timer told me. It wasn't Cookie water, she said. "We called a glass of Lily Lake water a 'Bruce Cocktail'-- don't quote me on this," she warned-- but his name was Bruce, or maybe she said Spruce?-- Something like that. I do know that after she observed that they all survived that, so, "This too shall pass."
In the meantime, most people are heeding the two minute boil water warnings while we wait to see if there was some mistake on the test. I told my daughter, whose home is on town water (we have a well) to pretend it's Mexico without the good avocados. She said that actually, no matter how this all turns out, she is ordering a Mexican style drinking water jug and stand for her kitchen, and will be hauling water from the fresh spring on Mud Bay Road from now on.