At our Hospice of Haines board meeting this week we passed the tissues. Vince began the meeting with a prayer, and asked that we keep Mary Miles in our hearts as her husband had suddenly died. Nancy said grieving is hard, and you never really get over losing someone, you just adjust to life without them. Beth told us she loved the board. At choir practice last night she said, "I can't believe I told the board I love them." She said we all must think she's crazy. I told her not all.
So, my daughter JJ was once featured on the Prairie Home Companion annual joke show. She was about ten, and her joke was about introducing hamburgers, the punchline was "meat Patty." Anyway, JJ missed the joke show this year (it was last weekend) but had hoped we listened carefully, since she loves jokes, especially bad ones. We didn't. But she has some new jokes in her repertoire. This morning she emailed me this one from college in Anchorage:
Q: What does your father do for a living?
A: He's a magician. He saws people in two.
Here are a few images of the second Skagway-Haines basketball game. The mighty Panthers won it. They played fast and passed the ball hard, sank three-pointers and were fun to watch.
Here's Coach Elliott and Coach DeWitt on the bench.
Fans watch the game.
I wrote a little sketch on snowshoeing on Mt. Ripinsky for National Geographic Traveler that was just shared in the latest edition of the news magazine, The Week. So far so good. But as soon as anyone googles Mt. Ripinsky + snowshoeing they'll find Tom Morphet's great Chilkat Valley News story about Keith Hutchins' fall off the mountain and the amazing rescue. And I wrote it was a wonderful place for a nice winter hike.
Sometimes the best teamwork is not on the basketball court. After school superintendent Michael Byer announced the players and coaches for the Lady Glacier Bears and Wrangell Lady Wolves Saturday night, he said, "And now with the presentation of our national anthem, Harley Williams." There was a pause while we all stood and put our hands over our hearts and turned toward the flag on the wall. Then, Mr. Byer began singing. Eyes were raised, people smiled, some snuck looks over their shoulders his way. How about that? The Superintendent had a pretty good voice.
We heard the emergency broadcast on an EMT's pager at church, the voice said there was a 63 year old man, unresponsive on Mosquito Lake, CPR had begun. When the service was over another EMT, arriving to pick up his wife said the man hadn't made it, but couldn't, as per the volunteer ambulance crew code, say who it was. But he was shook up. "It'll be a real blow the town," he said. " He was pretty popular." It was on Mosquito Lake, in January. A snowmachiner? An ice fisherman? I guessed hoping to get a clue. "Skiing. He was skiing with friends." That limited the possibilities.
In Bishop Desmond Tutu's book, God Has a Dream, he writes:
So how do we ensure that goodness does prevail?...Our decisions--personal, corporate, at play, at home, in private and in public-- make the moral fabric of our society, indeed of the world. How we interact with people in our lives... makes the difference. The sum total of these interactions determines nothing less than the nature of human life on our planet.
It's wet and windy today, about forty degrees warmer than last Saturday's sub-zero temperatures. A good day to be indoors timing the annual swim meet. Yesterday there was a a brief moment around two when the snow stopped and before the rain came blowing up from Juneau that was really pretty. One of my friends argues that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. Maybe they haven't been here on a morning like this, with slush running down the icy streets and rain blowing sideways.
The ferry arrives with swimmers and basketball players for this weekend's competitions.
Loading up the Wrangell Girls in the school van for the ride to town.
Tonight the Haines miners will no doubt lose another 1000 dollars and face imminent financial and personal ruin. It was fun to see Dorsey fishing with friend Greg Bigbsy in last week's show, and the summer scenery was terrific. But I can only willingly suspend disbelief for so long. I do like to see clever people beat the odds, using their wits and skill. It's part of the appeal of life in Alaska, but that seems less and less likely on this show. The last episode hinged on getting morphine for the mechanic's pain, (you can't operate machinery on narcotics, can you? ) and a fuel emergency.