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Tuesday, September 06, 2005


From way, waaaay out beyond left field

I was lucky enough to be able to read some handwritten stories that a gentleman had written with no intent of ever publishing. The stories were short and quite good. I asked his permission to reprint them here and he agreed. I explained that I wrote about boardgames on my website with only a few references to Alaska. He was still okay with the idea of me putting the stories on the internet. He gave me permission to use his name as the author of the stories. I decided to not reveal his name until he has seen my blog and has a chance to read my transcription of his words. Some of his words are quite personal.

I am not a good editor. If there are spelling errors they are very likely mine. I only made minor edits.

I will put these stories on my blog over the next several weeks. I like them. If you do not, don't read them.


One note:

When most people think of Alaska natives they think of Eskimos and possibly Aleuts. Of the 15% of Alaska's population that is native, Eskimos make up about 50%, Aleuts 12%. Athabaskans in the interior and Tlingits in the southeastern panhandle form most of the rest of the native population. Many Athabaskan villages are found in the interior of the state and deep into the Canadian Rockies. Although Athabaskans dominated the interior of Alaska and the interior of northern Canada, there are tribes in the lower 48 that are Athabaskan in origin. The Apache and Navajo are among the most widely known. The fellow who authored these stories is Athabaskan.


When I was 3 years old I remember when my uncles would come back into town from their traplines. I would be so happy to see them and have them back again.

Of course they would drink, but they never fought nor argued. They'd stay at our house and did their partying there. They'd dance and sing Indian songs all day and night. We'd eat good fresh meat and they were all good cooks. I'd be right in there singing and dancing with them. They'd teach me all the right moves and songs.

After the holiday season I knew they'd be going back out to their trapline which was about 35 miles out of town. They were very strong and had a lot of endurance. 35 miles is a long way to walk pulling their sleds with food staples and whatever else they needed. I'd be so sad and wanted them to stay longer, or I'd want to go out with them.

The morning when I knew they were leaving I crawled into my uncle's sled and covered myself up good with the canvas cover and waited. I heard them asking for me, wanting to hug me up and say "We'll be back later". But I just stayed real quiet and still.

Then I felt the sled move and felt so happy, Oh boy! I thought. After hours and hours of moving, I moved in the sled. They seen me move and stopped, lifted up the canvas cover and their eyes got big and they laughed, "YOU! Doggone it." They moved a lot of stuff out of one sled and decided uncle Talbert would have to continue. Uncle Harrison said, "I'll be back tomorrow, brother." He had to haul me all the way back home which was at least 15-20 miles and I'd beg and beg, "Please uncle, I want to be with you!" "No, you're too small yet." And I'd cry. He'd hug me and kiss me on my cheeks. I knew he felt sadness also and said, "It's hard work, man's work, you're still just too small to do that kind of work." I saw tears trying to come out but he just hugged me. We got back home just as it was getting dark. Uncle Harrison walked in first and mom was so surprised until I walked in. Oh no. Then we sat down at the dinner table, and had hot tea and rabbit soup.

Nothing was said too much, until after dinner. Then they burst out laughing and laughing. Grandma was totally blind, so they had to tell her everything and she joined in the humor of it all. She'd hold out her arms and I knew it was for me. She hugged me so long and kissed me. At least I was happy Uncle Harrison was with us for one more night.

One year later the same thing happened, only this time mom and grandma hid my moccasins, mittens and hat. I cried and cried, until mom filled up a cup full of wine. It tasted sweet, but I still cried. They'd fill that cup some more and continued until I quit crying and then they started singing and I danced and danced and forgot all about my uncles.

Next morning mom asked me how I felt. "Sick. I don't feel good." That was my first hangover but I didn't know what it was called so she left me alone.

For years and years she'd tell that story and thought how humorous it was. 1965 grandma passed away and mom quit drinking totally. She told that story every once in a while, until alcoholism got a hold of me. She never told that story anymore even though I'd try to bring it up, but then I saw and felt the sadness in her for the road I was going on.

1972 she sat me down and told me her story.

My brother and I were put in a children's home, which I hated. I wanted to be home with mom, so we walked on the railroad tracks to Nenana. It took us two days, but we made it. We knew exactly where she was so we went there. Morris came out, saw us, and said, "Wait here." Mom came out looking not too well. She told us to go up to Auntie Daisy. Aunt Daisy saw how tired we looked and fed us. Next, the State Troopers were there. That was my very first experience in jail. 30 days just for running away from that children's home.

Mom got sober that summer, so we got back together. 1972 she told me what we told Aunt Daisy. Aunt Daisy told her "Look what your boys did and think about that. That's how much they love you."

Unconditional love is so powerful, it does miracles you would not believe. Unconditional love is not expecting something in return.

Thanks for posting this. It is powerful and inspiring.
Thanks, I thought so too. There is some more good stuff to come. I think I'll post about one a week.

The gentleman who wrote this saw my blog tonight. He reiterated that I could use his name.

Alcoholism is the common thread that runs through these stories. That is why I was hesitant to use his name.
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