Walter Hickel

There's plenty being written and spoken about the former governor, but I may be one of the few lucky people that know he began each day with a 'hip-hip-hooray.' In Alaska, and probably everywhere by now, Governor Walter Hickel may be best for remembered for his 'you can't just let nature run wild' observation. But I knew him for another, funnier, and happier line: 'hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, today is a wonderful day.' When I was run over by a truck five years ago ( now, I can say read  the book, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, if you want the details) the Hickels, Walter and especially his wife Ermalee, played a significant role in my recovery. I met the Hickels years earlier when they lived in Juneau during his second term as governor. I corresponded with Ermalee regularly, (although I always call her Mrs. Hickel.) Anyway, when I had the accident,  Mrs. Hickel sent a letter instructing me to do this exercise every morning, and more if I found myself discouraged.  She said I could even do it in bed. All I had to do was to raise my hands high over my head on each 'hip-hip' and say out loud: 'Hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip hooray, today is a wonderful day.' The best part of this, was that she said she and the governor did it at the breakfast table every morning. Honestly, just thinking of the Hickels, especially Governor Hickel, hip-hip-hooraying over his poached eggs made me smile. It still does. Try it, and think of him, and I'm sure you will start the day a little happier. Also, in the new book, I write about forgiving Kevin, the guy who ran me over. (I didn't really need to forgive him, it wasn't his fault, but it's kind of complicated.) I was prompted to do it by a sweet as bread-and-butter note from a wise elderly friend. I didn't identify her in the story, because I didn't want to seem like a name dropper, but that friend was Mrs. Hickel.  I'm sorry for her loss. 


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