Mom 'n Dad 'n Me

Because my Mom and I lived in Seattle, and Dad worked in Alaska, we didn't get to see him a whole lot when I was small.

My first trip up the Alcan Highway, though, (allegedly) took place when I was only two weeks old. I, of course, remember nothing about it firsthand. I heard some of the salient details through the years from my Mom. Enough to know that in 1950 it was a grueling trip up the rutted, dusty road even without a squawling kid on one's lap. I also got the impression that once we arrived it was a lonely place for a woman and child to be by themselves all day.

Too much so for Mom, and she only went up there that one time when I was small. She soon came back to Seattle, and declined to go again until a family trip was made when I was in my teens.

None-the-less, when Dad came back he always brought some kind of present or two, and had lots of stories to keep a kid bright-eyed and up until way past bedtime. He would talk about bears and moose and fishing and mosquitoes and what it was like being way out in the woods away from any stores or roads. And he would cook, sometimes with the sourdough that he said he had to sleep with in the colder months.

It all sounded pretty amazing, and looking back on it, I guess it was. I know he wasn't afraid of anything in the wild, and I haven't been either since the time the bears got into the garbage cans right outside our clear plastic tent-tarp. We were camping up in British Columbia, Canada, and I was about seven. "There's nothing to worry about," he tried to reassure me. "They're just hungry, and looking for food that won't run away or make noise. Go back to sleep." Right.