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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Ruth

Moose Pass, a little town snuggled hard up against the mountains along the Seward Highway, is one of those towns just small enough--and big enough-- to throw a hell of a goodbye party when losing one of  its own.   Sunday night we said goodbye to Ruth with a pot luck dinner, lots of hugs, and many good wishes.

She wasn't going to get off that easily, though.  After dinner, a large purple hat (oh, yeah, just Ruth's style) was placed on her head.   It had to be extra-large, because kid after kid and adult after adult marched forward to tape a tag to the hat, each one marking many of the various volunteer activities for which Ruth had volunteered.

Ruth, fortified by a couple ummmm... libations encased in flavored gelatin, shall we say...managed to get through the whole display without too many tears, unlike the rest of us.

Story after story accompanied the black "activity tags," many of them hilarious memories of her pet care-taking for dozens of Moose Passers, of her crawling under houses to make sure pipes didn't freeze in 30 below zero weather, and of a horse daring her to clean out its barn.  Then there were the requisite bear stories and one about Ruth "porcupine sitting."  Literally sitting on a porky.

The line most-quoted when we heard Ruth was leaving us was, "But how are we going to go on vacation????"

She was a local volunteer EMT, a firearms instructor (I was one of her students), the gym lady (she opened the school gym on certain nights so locals could play basketball), a Girl Scout assistant, and on and on.   Her supervisor at the Forest Service, where she worked as a fisheries biologist, praised her work ethic and noted that she performed her duties so well that everyone wanted her to do more.

Some local dogs sent their favorite toys--a stick, a chew toy, and (from a husky) a Zip-Lok bag full of hair.

A hug from Mike.  The sign on her leg says I love Corgis.   I think there's an untold story in that.

She will be missed.   She has accepted a permanent,  full-time job with the Forest Service in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where she made a recent trip to find housing.  Apparently Klamath Falls didn't want to chance losing her because her return flight home was canceled day after day.   She had to drive north to get a flight back to Alaska

Today, on Facebook, Shawn wrote: " Go away! Just go! WE DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE!"

And Ruth wrote back:  I know you don't mean that Shawn!

To which Shawn replied:  I saw that on Old Yeller, it's supposed to make it easier. 

Yeah, well nothing is going to make it easier, except she promised to return.   We're going to hold her to that.

And Ruth?   You never got a chance to take care of Pablo Parrot.   He's waiting for you.... 

Pablo with broccoli beak.


  1. EMT training would come in handy for self medicating while babysitting Pablo... sounds to me like she got out just in time! This is a great story Jeanne, and probably one of the best farwells of them all