At least now when people say I'm a Kumbaya singing why-can't-we-all-get-along softie, they will be right. I sang Kumbaya today at Haines Assisted Living with Liz and her guitar and the folks that live there. It's a nice song, really, once you get past the whole Kumbaya thing. Everybody knows it, from elders to toddlers. All together now, "Oh, Lord, Kumbaya."
We babysat Caroline Cooper last night, her dad calls her CC. We call our daughter Joanna Jeanne, JJ. This got me thinking of community nicknames. I think it is a Haines and Klukwan thing. Fireman Al, Alex the Shovel, Pizza Joe, Whoopie Sam, Leo the Logger. I wrote an obituary this week for a former pre-school teacher who moved away in 1986. Her family said that her Haines name, Teacher Toni, stuck throughout her career as a pre-school teacher. Just like Teacher Sandy in the Haines School kindergarten.
Went to John and Sharon Svenson's gallery opening Sunday and it was so artsy I felt like I was in New York City, only with more light and color. No one wore black, and there was no concrete, just lots of wood and windows and flashes of light off glass and silver. It smelled a little like smoked hooligan, too. Okay, so it wasn't like New York at all. It was like the best of Haines.
So, my elbow and arm and hand have been killing me. It hurts to pick up a can of tomatoes and to type. (I am an ergonomic nightmare- two fingers pecking hunched over a laptop too high on my desk...) Anyhow, at Morning Muscles I was explaining my symptoms and Gina said, "tennis elbow." I said I don't play tennis. Then Mary, who just returned from a winter in Micronesia said, "you have firewood elbow." I kind of knew that all the grabbing of chunks of wood with my right hand had irritated it. I have been moving the wood from the shed to the wheelbarrow to the porch to the stove for months.
I've been reading an advanced copy of Alaska writer Charles Wohlforth's new book The Fate of Nature to be published in June. It is in many ways the story of the human side of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and even more heartbreaking to read as the Gulf communities wait helplessly for their own disaster. Read what Charles has to say on a NY Times blog today.
I have some stuff everywhere today, it seems. Read about hooligan oil and hearts at the Alaska Dispatch and about writing at 49 Writers, where I'm May's guest blogger. There's a new book story in the Chilkat Valley News, and I wrote Doc Ramsey's obituary for the paper too. I promise to write more here soon.
It's May Day, and the kids at Mud Bay will be dancing around the May Pole at Paradise Cove, and there will be a party this evening to remember Neil " Doc" Ramsey on the beach near my house. Doc died April 12. I wrote his obituary for this week's paper. He was a sociology prof. for 32 years at Virginia Wesleyan before retiring here to be near his son. He was a sweet, smart man, who liked opera and sitting in the garden looking at the mountains. I have to clean the garage and basement. That's why I'm not going to the Hospice Rummage Sale this morning. I have too much stuff already.
I'll be at the bookstore in Haines today from noon until two or so, if you'd like a book signed.
So, while I was fretting about the early release of Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, my friend called and said she was thrilled. Now she has a Mother's Day gift. Then she said I should be happy. "It's like having a baby early. What's not to like about that?" She's right. I feel better already. Here's a funny story. When If You Lived Here came out I was in a Seattle nursing home recovering from that smashed pelvis. Everyone sent cards, but the best one (okay, one of the best) congratulated me on the birth of my new baby. Ralph and Ellen Borders sent it.
Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs is now on sale in Haines at the Babbling Book store. (907)-766-3356. Crazy, but true, I just signed a few hundred copies. I am as surprised as you are. I'm also scared to death. I wasn't in town the last time a book came out. I thought I had until the 17th of May to get ready, you know, wash my hair, clean the car. Buy some clothes that look better. Memorize some poetry. Practice being an author. That sort of thing.