Boats, Books & Six Degrees of Separation

I managed to wake up for Morning Muscles without my early rising husband, who is off deer hunting, but I didn't sleep well. It was like catching an early morning ferry- every hour I'd wake with a start and check the clock radio. Maybe I should figure out how the alarm works? I woke up at five yesterday, too, in Eliza's apartment in downtown Juneau because the ferry home left at 6:15. Coming down Sunday the Fairweather was so full from the eagle festival that I was on standby, as a walk-on. Really. Someone joked that maybe they'd offer ticketed passengers a free trip anywhere the Alaska Marine Highway sails to give me a seat. Then we had some imagining where we'd go. Hoonah? Petersburg? You can take a ferry to Kodiak, can't you? But not from Haines. Tony Tengs has been everywhere on the ferry, he first began working on the boats in the summer of 1972, when he was in college. For the last fifteen years he's been a bartender in the fleet. He was on the boat yesterday with his mother Helen. Tony talked about the time he met the Texan that Dick Cheney accidentally shot in the face.  Turns out he and his wife took a cruise on the ferry about ten years ago. Tony said he's the most famous person he's ever met on the state boats (the big-wigs prefer cruise ships) and that he was a gentlemen, and nice guy and not a fan of Cheney's boss,  George W., the then governor of Texas.  "He said he had 60 watt brain, but they're going to make him President." Tony said, and we all wondered who "they" were.
In Juneau at the Hearthside holiday signing there were, I think, about 40 local authors signing their books-- all new this year. That is pretty amazing. Judy Hall and I represented Haines, she's a guide for Alaska Nature Tours-- and yes, she wrote the book on  southeast Alaska plants, and has one on our mushrooms coming out soon. Juneau's Bob Armstrong had his bird books, and photographer Mark Kelly was there with his beautiful calendars and picture books. My friends Nick Jans and Seth Kantner gave an Egan lecture Friday that had folks sitting on the balcony railings,  and were busy signing their books as well. (Google them if you don't know who they are, and buy their books if you want to know what Alaska is really like.) Of course, the coolest guy in Ketchikan, Ray Troll, was there. It was a lot of fun. Here is how small even big-city Juneau is:  a midwife came by my table, and  I asked her if she knew Vanessa Phillips who has been waiting in Juneau for her baby # 2 forever, it seems. She said she was her midwife at the birthing center, and promised that the baby was only inches away... that was Sunday night. I'll let you know when I hear if it's a boy or a girl. (Vanessa didn't want to know ahead of time.) 


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