Friday, August 3, 2007

A Few Tales

Grace and greetings.

As I started out my last blog with prayers for the Korean Presbyterian Group, I again lift them up as I have not heard of any resolution as of this writing. Also, I lift up the people in Minnesota dealing with the I35 bridge collapse.

When I first moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1974 I was not sure what was going to happen. As I explained in my first blog, I came for six weeks and stayed a resident for thirteen years. While going to college and seminary outside of Alaska I loved to tell different stories.

One of the first, and I still tell, is the complaint from Texas about the size of Alaska. Texas claims to be number ONE in EVERYTHING. But in 1959 when Alaska became a state, Texas was reduced to be the SECOND largest state. To help heal Texas' feelings, I purpose that we divide Alaska into three, and make Texas the FOURTH largest state. No, Alaska is not that large, but almost, it is not quite three times the size of Texas.

When we moved here in 1974, there were four time zones in the state, the same as the Continental United States. If you were to put Alaska in scale on top of the Continental United States, you would have the pan handle (Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, etc) in the Carolinas; the North Slope, (were we are) would be in the Great Lake area of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota; then if you follow the Aleutian Chain, it would be WEST of Los Angeles, California. So when one speaks of what is Alaska like, it all depends on where you are at the time.

Another story I always wanted to send to Reader Digest is three quick lines.

"I love school here in Alaska, because come the summer time, the school melts."
"During the summers I use to work for the Alaska Railroad, and while training for
Cross Country I would have to run with a 357 strapped to my chest."
"If you wish to check on either of these stories, please check out the schools and buildings."

I did have to run with the 357 strapped to my chest for the brown bears, also known as the grizzle bear. Not that I would have been able to kill a grizzle with a 357, I could hope to scare it away. My thought was that if all else failed, I would save one bullet, ram the gun down the Bear's throat and pray. Understand that to kill a grizzle, you need to hit it in one of four places, and then it does not always mean the bear will "go down"; the brain, which is about the size of your fist sitting behind several inches of thick skull; the heart; the lungs; and the spinal cord. Again, just because the bullet finds these places does not mean that the bear will die instantly. Fortunately I never saw a bear while I was running, but we did see them while we were on duty working on the tracks.

Peace and blessings.

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