I just read a few of E.B. White's letters. I'm back at my desk, for a day anyway, getting caught up on emails, some writing I want to do, and some homework for my summer residency next week at UAA. I like to "warm-up" with some reading, poems, or an essay, or author's letters. Today, it is letters from E.B. White. (He signs them Andy, which is what everyone called him.) My favorite, so far is, "Dear Alice: Thanks for the letter.
You can tell it is summer in Haines when you are walking out of the post office and a friend is pulling in with their car, and you lean up against their window to chat about the weather, (it is freezing) and a mutual friend's health, and the person in the parking space you are blocking honks his horn so you'll hurry up and get out of his way. Honks! (It was a big truck with, a friend noted later, "foreign plates."- Colorado, I think.) In February you can chat like that on Main Street until your coffee gets cold.
Corey Piper is the hero of the 4th if July. The high school sophomore cross-country runner won the annual Mt. Ripinsky race, and was part of a three man all Piper family crew that won the Mad Raft Race down the Chilkoot River a few hours later. Trust me, kneeling on a home-made styrofoam raft in frigid water after bounding down the Ripinsky race trail (forget about the climb, it is the downhill that does the quads in) earns him the toughest kid (heck, person) in town award.
My 19-year-old daughters JJ and Stoli and I were waking in the woods, wearing rubber boots (it was raining) when JJ said her boots were too small. Stoli said JJ could have her old ones, she has two pairs, and one will fit JJ. Now, Stoli is smaller than JJ, and so JJ's old boots usually go to Stoli, not the other way around. (Stay with me, this is a good story.) Stoli said, "You can have the pair I had when I was a size 10." That seemed awfully big to me. "Aren't you more like an 8?" I asked. "8 1/2," she said.
It's my birthday, I'm 51 and very happy. (Also, happy birthday to L.A. Katzeek!) Last year I had a big party. This year, it is a family day. It is raining so we have the fire going and the house is full of children and dogs. All five of my girls are here (including cooing baby Caroline) our three old dogs and Sarah's young bloodhound. (Christian is off to Elfin Cove for the salmon trolling opener tomorrow.
My Dad brought his wet suit to the cabin this weekend, and Sunday morning swam for forty minutes in Rutzebeck Lake and almost died of hypothermia. (He is training for the annual swim across the Hudson River in NY in July. It is warmer there.) JJ and Stoli had to lift him up from my canoe onto the dock and we wrapped him in a sleeping bag and cranked the woodstove up so hot the cabin was about 100 degrees. Luckily, the cut on his head had healed and the frigid water brought the swelling down in his knee from his crash (on foot) Friday evening.
This morning as we cooled down from Morning Muscles, I said to Marnie, "He's going sky diving with his girlfriend for her birthday, should I be worried?" Barbara overheard me, and said, "Is this Christian?" (My 21 year-old son.) "No," I said, "My dad." Papa Bob is visiting from N.Y and at dinner last night announced he's going sky diving in July with a lady friend-- for her 70th birthday. (He's 76.) Later this morning he and I are going to jog the 3.9 mile Small Tracts loop. (His knee replacement is a success, apparently.) Guess I shouldn't be worried.
I should have enjoyed sleeping in this morning, what with the steady, much needed, rain, and no need to bike in the wet, (the race is over so we can be fair weather riders) and no Morning Muscles class ( T Th Fri.) But it was a tosser and turner night, thinking about Mike Saunders and his shocking death, shellfish poisoning is suspected, but not confirmed. I was at the happy party where the suspect crab was served.
I'll be in Skagway at the Skagway News Depot bookstore on historic Broadway, Monday June 28th from about 1:00- 6:00pm-- all afternoon-- I take the ferry over and back from Haines, my dad may come too, he'll be visiting from New York, so stop by and get a book signed, or just say hi, or send a cruise ship traveling friend over.
One crazy man rode his leg of Saturday's Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay wearing nothing on his bottom but a thong. Honest. And, Rosalee, who is newish in town and working at the paper some, rode the leg before mine on the Chilkat Valley News sponsored "Rolling Papers" team two months after birthing a baby. I've had a lot of babies, and ridden a lot of bicycles, so trust me when I say that she is a lot tougher than I am. I'd rather run a marathon two months after giving birth than sit on a bicycle for ten minutes, much less 20 miles.