I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

Caller: Hi Heather, this is Senator Mark Begich.

Me: No it’s not. Who is this really?

Caller: It’s Mark Begich, your senator.

Me: Is this John? Don, is that you? Funny.

That’s when the senator said, “It really is me,  do you need some proof?” I thought of that famous prank call from a pretend French president to the woman who used to be our governor.  I needed to be sure this wasn’t a joke. Then again, I wasn’t on TV, or even the local radio station’s Talk Around Town show. This was my living room, at 6:30 on a Saturday night. There is a four hour time difference from Alaska to the East Coast.  “Where are you?” I asked. He wouldn’t be calling me at 10:30. Senator Begich said he was in California, on his way back to Washington, and saw an email I sent his office last week about guns and thought he’d respond. “Really?” I said, and apologized for not believing him. “You’d be surprised, it happens all the time,” he said. He must do this a lot. Then he said he appreciated my comments about banning assault weapons, but that he would not support a ban on any weapon. He did say he would push to have current gun laws enforced and do more to care for the mentally ill. I told him I appreciated his honestly, and  that even though I disagreed, I’m a fan. I mean, he called me for goodness sake. I noted that as a senator from a big gun state  his opinion, should he change his mind someday, would carry a lot of weight, and that even among our diehard hunting buddies there is agreement that no one needs an assault rifle in the house. We have half a dozen hunting guns. My husband makes his  own bullets. There’s deer stew in the crock pot.  It’s not like we are anti-gun. We are pro-sanity. Of course I didn’t say that. But, once I regained my composure, I gently reminded my senator that the tide on gun safety may be turning, especially since there are more women than men in America right now, and that more women vote than men, and that I’m pretty sure I’m not alone among my sisters when I question why there’s such a fuss about requiring background checks and waiting periods for potential gun buyers when I had to have a year’s worth of documentation to adopt a child. A lot of us women must have background checks  to care for the elderly, babysit, and even to teach Sunday school. We’re still doing those things. The Senator agreed that was food for thought, and thanked me, and I thanked him. (I was proud of myself that I didn’t scream that I can’t even believe there is a debate about this.) My friends and I  walk our dogs in the morning and solve all the problems of the world. We often joke that if they’d just ask us, we could fix just about any mess. Well, I was asked, and I politely said my peace. You think it will make a difference?  I do feel better knowing at least one senator is brave enough, and I believe concerned enough, to listen to a dissenting opinion. Let’s hope they all phone home. What they hear might surprise them.