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Heading towards Alaska

February 16, 2013

The phone rang, and it was the director of the North Star Borough School District. I was so excited I almost dropped the phone, and yelling like an idiot, screamed for Hub to get to the phone. I’m certain the director was now questioning what kind of person he had hired.  At least, Hub remained somewhat calm while he spoke with him. As soon as the phone was down, we were screaming, laughing, hugging, and dancing in circles. Hub had done it! He had received one of the teaching jobs he had applied for. We were moving to Fairbanks, Alaska.

We immediately started calling friends and family to celebrate our victory. Then we went shopping for everything we thought we would need, and couldn’t buy in Alaska.  My father also bought Hub and I new fishing rods, and I bought a .350 Remington Winchester Magnum. This was recommended as the ultimate big gun for Alaskan hunting, and I was the proud owner. The final purchase was the crème de la crème of all Alaska travel books—The Milepost.

By the time we left on our trip this book was coffee-stained, dog-eared, and considerably worn.  It had been highlighted for all the essential roadside services, camping grounds, even where to get the best apple pie, or a good nights lodging. We almost felt like we had already traveled fifteen hundred miles of the gravel road that was predicted. We were prepared, and excited to fulfill our dreams of heading north.

Then the reality of leaving home hit me. I wouldn’t be able to drop by and see my friends or family for a long, long time. This was something I hadn’t thought about in my dreams of Alaska. As we drove way from my home in Two Dot, Montana, I saw my father standing in the big picture window of our kitchen. He gave a brief goodbye wave, and then I saw him wipe his eyes. My father, a tough Montana cowboy who did not cry over anything, and had tried to teach me the same, was crying. His tears flattened my excitement like a slap-in-the-face. Now I was also crying, so I turned away from looking at him, but then all I could see were the rugged Crazy Mountains and the deep cut of Big Elk Canyon. These mountains had been the sentinels of my life in Montana, their shapes and colors rimming my view for twenty-four years. It shocked me that I could so easily  leave these mountains, my home, and my family with just a wave of my hand, and now my eyes were leaking like a sieve.  Every time I stopped crying we made another stop to tell friends goodbye, the tears would start again. I think that first day, Hub drove as fast and furiously as the law allowed just so he didn’t have to look at my tear-stained face, nor listen to my cranky voice. Within three or four hours, we were out of Montana, and crossing into Canada. AND THE ADVENTURE BEGAN.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Candace Thompson permalink
    February 16, 2013 9:25 pm

    Donna, your tough-guy father crying truly touched me.
    Hey, how about using “Milepost” in your title? The Next Milepost, The Last Milepost, My Milepost …. Candace

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