Tuesday, December 01, 2009
"Wife in Awaska"
"The Fam at Thanksgiving"
In three-year-old vernacular, “wife in Awaska is pretty funny…”
As I write, “snow globe” snow falls gently outside. Winter is here. The studded tires* are installed on the truck. The skis, snow machine, and sleds are dusted off and at the ready. My husband had to plow our road for the first time today.
I love winter time. Once the snow piles up, Alaska is a pretty fun…and funny place to live. It never fails to bowl me over at how industrious Alaskans are in the winter. Summers may be filled with fishing, gardening, canning, and hunting, but winters are far from sedate. When I want to crawl in for a long winter’s nap and “layer up” with chocolate cake every day, these crazy folks are rearing and ready!
The day after Thanksgiving we went up to Kenai to catch their winter carnival. The Cress family invited us to attend with them. They told us we needed to get our parking place early for the light parade. At 6:00 we lined up with well over 200 cars to watch as Christmas-lit floats drove by slowly at 6:30. As we waited I marveled at the families lining the street. We warm-blooded Texans were waiting in the truck, meanwhile the crazy ones stood, sipping hot cocoa and watching their kids throw snowballs at each other. From young to old, entire families clad in all manner of cold-weather gear stood outside awaiting the parade.
"Leif and friends at Thanksgiving..."
The first to come down the street was the high school band. They oom-pah-pahed with great effort and sounded pretty good…at least well enough to send me mentally on vacation to a Friday night football game. (Hmmm...I used to think I was cold at some of those games.) While watching them shuffle past in their plumed hats and unprotected ears, I thought of many family members and friends alike that bemoaned their marching days.
“These kids are hosses,” Jeff said!
I tend to agree. We watched as they marched a good two miles, lips pressed against freezing cold instruments, in their uniforms, without coats.
After the parade, we drove over to the baseball field to watch the fire works; again, more waiting with the Alaskans playing out in the snow and the Texans in the truck. When we got there the Cresses joined up with their extended family. Jesse (dad Cress) came over to our truck and invited Jeff to go have a “fireball”. Where we come from fireballs are hot, cinnamon flavored jaw breakers. However, in Alaska the word “fire ball” actually involves fire and a ball. I looked over and saw a group of men huddled in a dark circle, with a flame that kept leaping up from among them. Occasionally, the flame would die out only to be re-lit and tossed about again. A few minutes later, Jeff runs back to the truck stating, “I think I caught Craig’s beard on fire!”
As he explained they were tossing a lit, tennis ball soaked in lighter fluid. The key was to keep the ball moving around the circle as long as it would stay lit; kind of like hackey-sack, only with fire…and a little stupidity. Luckily, the children were at a safe distance eating snow and playing in the sub-zero temperatures.
The night ended with an amazing fire work display. I love fire works…they are my favorite. You can’t watch fire works without smiling. It is impossible. Try it. These were especially good and especially close. It felt like we were right under them. I didn’t realize how much I had missed a good firework show.
The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday after Thanksgiving. I like Thanksgiving because it is all of the food and fellowship without the stress of presents. I like the Fourth of July because it is all of the food and explosives!
However, the Fourth of July is rather anticlimactic here because the sun never goes down, thus no fireworks (or ones that you can see, anyway). Kenai saves their display for the day after Thanksgiving and New Years. We will most definitely be back again. Leif has yet to stop talking about his fun day. Maybe, next time I’ll remember the hot cocoa and brave the elements like one of the crazy folks.
You know it is chilly when the poor dog's toy freezes up into a block of ice.
*Studded tires are siped, all-weather tires, covered in 200 1/8" steel, studs.