Different Look, But Still the Same Place

As you can see, we have been updating the site, doing a little spring cleaning, and making it mobile-friendly. It looks different, and I'm figuring out how to use it, and may tweak it a bit more, but what's here is still pretty much the same.  I hope you like it. (I prefer plain-ish, and easy to navigate, and I trust this will be.) 

I do have a list of observations to share with you in the somewhat random, but fundamentally important department. Enough to fill a book, it seems. And of course there was the big opening of the cultural center in Klukwan, but I'm writing a column for the Alaska Dispatch on that, so you'll have to wait--In the meantime, first: from NYC last week,  while visiting my sister, we talked about an old friend who is having memory issues, and sometimes gets lost-- in Manhattan. I asked my sister if that was dangerous, especially for an elderly woman, and she said not really, as 9 out of 10 people our friend stops on the sidewalk and asks for directions will help her, and the 10th either doesn't speak the language or is hearing other voices in his head and wanders off.  

Second: all the rest rooms on Alaska Airlines are transgender-- men, women, whatever-- we all shared the same loos from Seattle to NYC and back-- as we always have on planes, without any fuss. (Only first class gets their own bathrooms, and that use is regulated by ticket price, not gender.) Almost everyone wipes the sink after using it as a courtesy to fellow passengers.

 Third: yesterday I texted our plans for the afternoon, "Erma's funeral then Ivy's 4th birthday party." Which is a perfect reminder of the big old wheel of life. Erma was closer to 90 than eighty, and had been ill a long time. When Ivy's mother, my daughter Sarah, was four, Erma came to her birthday party dressed as a clown bearing balloons. Erma's funeral was a kind of a party too, even though it was in the Presbyterian Church, it was festive from the beginning. Daughter Debra played the piano, and got things started a bit late, as her sister Sandra and cousin Jan were still over at the Senior Citizens Center down the block making crostini and lasagna for the Italian meal afterward. (Erma was from a big Italian family-- she had 14 brothers and sisters.) Sandra read Erma's favorite prayers, and they were all thoughtful and familiar, then friend  Cathy sang O Solo Mio, and Ave Maria (it's nice to have an opera singer in town, I think all funerals should have a little opera to sing souls back home) followed by Gladys Erma's oldest friend, who gave a perfect eulogy, full of Erma stories and no sadness, only joy. HAL's Pals (the Haines Assisted Living center's house band that plays every Monday night for the residents) played guitars and mandolins and sang Amazing Grace and a tune Erma liked best, Walkin' Shoes. That's when I ran up the hill to Ivy's party in the sun with all the pre-schoolers, hot dogs, and pink cup cakes, just in time to see Ivy blow her candles out, before going back to the dinner, and finally bingo in Erma's memory at the ANB Hall. (I sat next to Smitty who showed me how to play.)

They say the secret to a long happy life has a lot to do-- maybe everything-- with the people you share it with and the ways we socialize. I know most people are basically good-- from Manhattan to Manitoba-- but I also know that if, or when, I get lost, the people I ask for help will not be strangers, and that's a long way of saying that while it's nice to go away, it's very nice to be home in Haines.




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