"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Postprandials, Part One

 Armed with a pocketful of red and silver foil-wrapped chocolates, I set out for Anchorage with a minimal shopping list and plans to visit with friends whom I haven't seen in many months.

I say "I set out" because three miles from home I realized I didn't have the China and Tibet photos I wanted to show them.  I considered skipping the photos for this visit, but then an idiot light on the dashboard lit up and dinged for attention.  I'd known before I'd left my driveway that the truck was low on gas, but I'd though I could make it to the nearest gas station 55 miles away.

First sunlight since November in my yard
The idiot light and bell said otherwise, I realized after computing the distance remaining, the approximate three gallons left in the tank, and the 17 mpg the truck gets.  So, I turned around and headed back, where I got the photos and a few gallons of gas out of the bulk tank in my yard.

As I waited for the gas to pour into the tank, the sun rose high enough to clear a notch in the mountains and sunlight hit my property for the first time since mid-November.  We're gaining more than five and a half minutes of daylight every day now, rushing towards the summer solstice when we'll have more than 19 hours of official daylight, a number that doesn't include the twilight hours in between sunset and sunrise.

I called my neighbor, the one with four kids and a husband working in a remote village, and got her shopping list for Costco.  It included six loaves of bread.  When you live a hundred miles from the closest large grocery store, there's no such thing as going to the grocery for a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou beside me...  No, wait.  That's something else.  "For a loaf of bread and a jug of milk."  Instead, you stock up because your next grocery trip might be a month away.

The day was utterly beautiful, if a bit chilly at one degree above zero with a brisk northwesterly wind.   Seventy miles from home, the Dall sheep were grazing alongside the highway, as is usual.

Dall Sheep

 One of the first things I saw in Anchorage was this raven couple.  Aw, how sweet, I thought.  He's taken her out to lunch in the Sam's parking lot.  They must be waiting for the next table.

A raven couple, crouched behind a curb for partial shelter from the wind.
Scraps, that is.  Table scraps to be ready.

A very special chair.
Then it was time to visit the first friend.  We had a grand talk, chatting about Tibet, mutual friends, and reminiscing about a long-departed treasured friend.  And then, because it was Valentine's Day after all, I sat in a very special chair that once belonged to that treasured friend, as well as his father before him. I left a handful of candies with my very much alive friend for he and his wife and the others in the office

Now it was time to begin checking things off my very short shopping list.

I looked at the first item on that list. That's when I realized what it meant. 

I have a death wish.

(to be continued)


  1. I remember the light never hit the ground until Charmion's birthday...the 13th of February :) Glad the sun is showing itself again to the mole people :) Happy belated Valentine's to you Jeanne.

  2. Heart-shaped chocolates for your friends--what a fun way to spend the day.

  3. Thanks Jeannie for the fun writing. My favorite way to end my evening is to read your stories.


  4. 55 miles from the nearest gas station? Wow, you are farther out than I thought. The sunrise this morning was incredible; bright pinks and purples. Perfect for Valentine's day, just a few days late. I'm so glad to see all this sunshine lately!

    What a fun way to spend Valentine's day. And I LOVE that old chair.