Getting ready to go to Alaska

Jerry discovered the Rubaiyat.  We were talking about what to take to Alaska in the way of food, and for starters came up with bread and wine.  I quoted Omar, “A book of verse beneath the bough, a jug of wine a loaf of bread and thou, beside me singing in the wilderness.  Ah Wilderness were paradise enou.”  I found the book fairly quickly.  Odd that I knew where it was, since there are hundreds of books in the house, and I don’t often reach for that one.  I told Jerry that I read it first when I was sixteen.  That’s when Jerry was getting his pilot’s license.


That verse seemed appropriate for a trip to Alaska with bread and wine.  I read a few more to Jerry, and he took a passing interest in the book.  It was an old copy, with brittle yellowing pages and illustrations, old-fashioned ink drawings.  He lingered over the ones with unclothed nymph-like female figures, and he observed that there were a lot of verses about drinking.


Tonight we had dinner out to use a coupon for Anthony’s before it expires at the end of the month.  I started with oysters on the half shell.  I love them, but I don’t go for the fancy French notion that they should be so small that you have to eat two at a time to taste them.  I like big juicy oysters that you can chew.  These were so small I hardly noticed them in my mouth.  Never mind, I was content as I looked out at Bellingham, watching the seagulls twisting and gliding over the town in the darkening sky.  The marina is still full of boats.  The downturn doesn’t seem to have affected that yet, at least not noticeably.


There was a grandparent couple with 4 grandchildren sitting near us. The oldest kid was a pre-teen, just sprouting breasts.  The youngest was a toddler with pink flowers tying up her blond curls.  She sat on her grandfather’s lap and he spoon fed her most of her dinner.  Occasionally the pre-teen would lean over the table to give her a spoonful.  The other two were wiggly little boys.  They all seemed to be having a grand time.  As they left I said to the grandmother, “You’re brave people!”  She replied, “Grandchildren are the greatest.”


There are so many things to think about to get ready, like how to pay bills, since the mail to Manley can be iffy. We have decided to take all the phone numbers of the various bills so we can pay them by phone.  Then we have to plan food purchases.  Manley is a 3 and a half hour drive from Fairbanks on a good day, and sometimes the road is closed if there is a lot of snow or wind.  We don’t like to go more than once a month.  That means taking a lot of food.


Oh, and all the pills.  At our age we are held together by chemicals.  There are both prescriptions and vitamins to think about, and enough for a couple of months.


We bought Jerry some new shoes.  They are just like his old ones, only not all bent down at the sides.  Jerry has wide feet, and he has found shoes that suit him.  He likes to keep everything the same.


We went to the bookstore.  Since we were in Fairhaven for shoes we were able to go to Village Books, an independent bookseller, rather that Barnes and Noble which is more convenient to where we ordinarily shop.  We need to take a good many books with us since there’s not a lot to do in Manley.  The choice of books and the knowledge of the store personnel at Village Books are really superior to that at B&N.  I resolved to go there more often.  This time Jerry got Endless Universe, Beyond the Big Bang, by Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turbok and I got Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.


We still have not quite decided whether to get studded tires to drive up.  Jerry thinks we might need them.  I hate the noise they make, but don’t want to get stuck in the snow.


I need to take stuff for knitting and some sewing too.  I’ll never finish getting ready if I stay glued to the computer.



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5 Responses to Getting ready to go to Alaska

  1. Jan says:

    I can’t think of the Rubaiyat without hearing Hermione Gingold in The Music Man, stuttering her way through the name and proclaiming, “It’s dirty Persian poetry!”

    I’m going to miss you while you’re away!

  2. Marja-Leena says:

    All this reminds me of the years my parents, in retirement, spent winters with us then in the spring packed up and headed back to their cottage in Manitoba. Not in the snow though. Have a safe trip and hope you can still keep up the blogging up in Alaska, somehow. I’ve only just gotten to know your blog…

  3. anne says:

    Bon voyage! Hope you get on the internet there!

    You’re probably really busy, but if you have some time you might want to download the podcast series “Ideas: How to Think About Science” from It’s about 20 hour-long radio shows, I just finished listening to the entire series and it is definitely food for thought if you are interested in science.

  4. Alan G says:

    Don’t forget the camera…..and extra batteries!! 🙂

  5. dale says:

    A muezzin from the tower of darkness cries,
    Fools! Your reward is neither here nor there.

    I should read that again. It bowled me over when I was sixteen. Of course, I knew nothing whatever of Sufis or the Persian tradition in those days. I wonder what I’d think now?

    I can still quote a number of lines from it, though. I must have read it a number of times for it to stick like that.

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