All five of my children are now safe in Haines. The two big girls, women really, already live here, but the three college kids are back. The house smells like bacon and eggs and the music is up loud. The shoes in the mud room have multiplied and there are guitars on the couch. It is all a kind of a noisy mess, and I am grateful for it. Tonight, I read from Garden and Dogs at the library. They have sold tickets and apparently there are only a handful left. Wow. This morning I had my annual mammogram in the mobile unit parked at the clinic.
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.
Last year for Mother's Day my children sat me down and said they had a surprise, I was going to be a grandmother. I surprised them by asking which one was about to be a parent. At the the time my four daughters and one son were between 18 and 26. It seemed a reasonable question. They were shocked. Shocked! (I am so grateful it was the married one and that baby Caroline's parents are her main caregivers and I can be a regular grandmother. ) That was going to be a tough Mother's Day to top, I was so happy, and am still so happy to have that baby around.
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.