Remiss again in updating this blog, I offer my apologies and this synopsis of our summer.
1. We went to Seward in May. We saw train tracks and trails that were still snowed over. Zach began identifying all horses he saw in books as moose. And all moose he saw loping along the road as moose. He wears his “Alaska” hat exclusively and prefers plaid shirts to plain white onesies. He appears to have renounced his Kansan citizenship.
2. My parents and nephew came up at the end of June. We went to Portage Glacier and an Anchorage Glacier Pilots baseball game. My nephew and Zach each got a foul ball (Anna got two in subsequent games we went to in July). Anna began standing on her own and saying “Da” which means, “I love daddy more than mommy.” The whole family was part of my promotion ceremony. They were proud of me.
3. I went to Guam for a week in July for work, a place I lived on from ’94 to ’95. Andersen AFB has grown up. They have planes now and a Burger King. I went by my old dorm room in Tinian Hall. Chris Tinker and I shared a room that was no more than 120’ square. The same room is now for one person. You can still see the ocean from the balcony and the storm shutters they put in just before Super Typhoon Wanda hit are there. The houses which were new are now weathered. The twenty years has gone too quickly.
During my tour on Guam, the Guam Power Authority had something called “Load Sharing.” We lost power for an hour a day, but didn’t know what hour it would be. On my trip in July, we only lost power twice, for a total of eight hours.
4. August brought the salmon spawning. We went on a couple of hikes and drives to find them. We saw a few back in a river in the forest. We came across two bear cubs and their mom on the way back home. Anna said, “Da” and Zach said, “moose.”
5. We spent Labor Day weekend in a one-room cabin about 10 miles outside of Talkeetna. It was about the size of my dorm room in Guam. Chris Tinker has been replaced with Kris, Zach, and Anna. It appears I traded up. Anna woke up both mornings at 4:30 a.m. Kris and I played cards and watched Northern Exposure. Zach didn’t like the orange power boat on the river. It rained most of the weekend, but we made it up to Mary Carey’s McKinley view lodge. We had breakfast in front of giant windows where, if it were clear, we would’ve been able to see Mt. McKinley. Zach was happy to see the trees at the lodge.
6. Today, we celebrated Anna’s first birthday. Last year at this time, Kris was 50 pounds heavier and a huge storm rolled into Anchorage. It knocked down trees and knocked out power. It was kind of like Guam, except my wife was complaining about “labor pains” and the hospital had a generator. Whenever we see downed trees, Zach says, “Anna.” She is our stormy girl. She got a little push bicycle, a book about pajamas, and a big cake with downed trees on it. At each turn, she said her favorite word, “Da.”