Red Sky at Night is a Delight

 Lucy said that all you have to do to get a baby to sleep is put them in the hat rack on your plane and fly to 5,000 feet. She said the same thing works for ornery drunks, although they sometimes have to go higher. "The blood oxygen level drops" with altitude, she explained, sipping her tea.
We were all around the card table yesterday afternoon at  the Haines Assisted Living home (H.A.L.) Belle was playing solitaire but the rest of us were talking about life and death. Father Blaney spoke of an old friend who was ready to meet his maker, and had hoped it would be quick, but it took two years. "Why is it so hard to die?" Father said he had asked him.  Each of the elders,  (my neighbor Betty was there too, having afternoon tea) had a similar story. Luckily, Fireman Al was standing by,  and he said we should change the subject to babies,  with a nod to my new status as a grandmother, and so I told them all about Caroline. That's when Lucy ( in her 80s and a former pilot) shared the 5,000 feet tip in a story about helping her then infant daughter to sleep in the small plane Lucy once flew.
Then the sun began to set behind the white mountains, and out the wall of windows the whole sky went pink and orange and lavender. It was so stunning that we stopped talking, and then someone turned off the lights to get a better look. Belle was the only one who minded, since she couldn't see her cards, but when we showed her the view she too was silenced by the show. Father noted the beams of bright pink light shining from behind one mountain and said they looked like the light you see in paintings of Jesus.
Lucy, who is also a sailor, (she's taking her 32' tug boat from Haines to Seattle next summer, and says it takes from 12-16 days, depending on the weather) said "red sky at night sailors' delight."  But Betty, who was  a commercial fisherwoman and is also a retired pilot,  noted that the old saying isn't always true in Alaska. "The clouds here are different" she said. We all looked at that magical sky and agreed that they certainly are. 


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