Sunday, March 27, 2011
People are interesting. If you take the time to engage others and show interest, you can meet interesting people wherever you go. The close quarters of an airplane for 5 1/2 hours from Alaska to Minneapolis proves to be more interesting than most however. Maybe it is because people that live in Alaska or go there for work or play have lives so different from mine, that I find them fascinating.
I have met the head of mental health services for the entire state of Alaska. I met a man who flies there every three weeks to work on the North Slope. I met a woman from New Hampshire heading there to share teaching methods with Alaskan educators, so that schools can get better. (As a homeschooler, I was thinking "good luck with that...") I met a soldier who has served twice in Iraq and is heading to Afghanistan for the third time. His situation is dicey because he just broke BOTH ankles snow boarding. He has a new bride, but has only spent 2 months with her in the last year. Even on the flight, they were sitting apart. He had a bright outlook and loves our country. He is disturbed by those in our country who get handouts, yet have no intention of making something of themselves. He observed my airplane knitting and told me his favorite socks and beanie in the desert are his hand knits made from Qiviut. This fiber from the musk ox is 8 times warmer than wool and softer than cashmere. Apparently he found some for 79.00/ skein from Canada and his aunt did him the honor. His buddies were all jealous. He is one of our country's finest.
The most interesting person I met was a young girl from Talkeetna, Alaska. It is a small town at the base of Mt. McKinley. She plans on joining the Navy, then attending med school to become a physician. This was a mature, beautiful young woman. Perhaps the reason why she exuded such maturity, was the life she leads. She helps with her mother's business...running a small gift shop and producing jams and jellies to sell. I asked her where she got the berries and other supplies. The answer astounded me. "We pick it all in the wild." When asked how many jars they put up each year, she said, "12,000." Now I don't know if you have ever canned before. I am quite proud of myself when putting up 48 jars of peaches. But 12,000!!! And picking all that fruit? This girl has had time to reflect, watch out for bears and a spirit that allows her to do a huge job that may seem tedious at times without playing the "boring" card. Needless to say, I was impressed. I hope her mother's business booms! Someday, there will be another fine physician. Here is the link to buy these wonderful jams and jellies, and remember, all ingredients were picked in the wild!