Her blood runs strong
So we had a great surprise today, my Grandma stopped in for a quick visit on her way to Homer. Let me tell you a little something about my Grandma. You see, I grew up commercial fishing in the summers, literally I grew up on boats. I started with my Grandpa and Grandma, 3-4 months out of the year on a 42 foot boat with them for the summer. I have already explained how influential my Grandpa was, but all along Grandma was there right by his side. I thought she was old back then, of course everyone is old when you are pre-teen. But there she was stacking seine gear, pitching fish, scrubbing decks, cleaning salmon, digging clams, hiking mountains to pick berries amongst the legendary Kodiak Brown Bear, cooking for all of us and living on a boat with 3-4 guys. She was the Deadliest Catch before there was a Deadliest Catch. And she did this for decades. That, my blogging audience, is a true Alaskan woman. My Grandma was born and raised here, emerging a strong Christian woman from the small village of Ouzinkie on Kodiak Island. I remember her stories of WW II alarms and drills as a child. Stories of her sisters, cousins and more. She grew up in a tough time, and she emerged as a tough woman raising four kids along the way.
I share this with you because of her latest escapade that she shared with us today, laughing her patented chortle the whole time. As you all know, my grandfather recently passed away and for the first time in, um I don’t know, probably at least 60 years, my Grandma is somewhat alone. So what do Grandmas do then? Sit and knit, rock and talk, move to a home? Not my Grandma. I don’t know how old she is, but she is darn close to 80 if not past. She decided that she needed to go to Menominee Wisconsin to visit some relatives. So she hops on a plane, by herself, from Anchorage bound to Missouri to visit some friends, and then decides that she should take a bus to Wisconsin. Well she has never taken a bus before, and especially not from downtown St. Louis. So here is Grandma at the bus station in St. Louis. Now, I have been to that bus station, and all I remember is me and my buddies, strong strapping college men, hiding all our jewelry ( yes we had a lot of jewelry in college, it was the 80s) and banding together in case we had to “throw down’. The bus ride itself was near torturous, the smells, the stares, coughing, hacking, cussing, music, babies crying and pit stops at the truck stops, which are a whole story unto themselves. It was an adventure fit for a college guy. Now picture the same thing with an 80-year-old woman by herself, not only in a strange town, but in a strange state. Sitting on a bench, by herself, luggage close by, patiently waiting for her bus to arrive and eyeballing those around her. I would not be surprised if she was knitting or crocheting while she waited. That’s my Grandma. Not only did she do it, she had to spend a night in Chicago by herself, something she did not know when she boarded the bus. She was quickly able to discern which people who wanted to be her “friends” were not the right kind of friends, and she was able to befriend a couple of genuinely nice gentlemen to aid her along the way. She ended up spending over 8 hours at the bus depots, a good time for adventurer, and slightly stressful for Grandma. And here she sits laughing her head off relaying the story to us.
She made it safe and sound to Menominee, and had a great visit, and for some reason decided to skip the Greyhound for Jet on the return trip. But I share this with you because I am proud that my bloodline runs through a woman like that. A true pioneer of this state and a true blue tried and tested Alaskan woman, who decided she was up for a bus ride from Missouri to Wisconsin. Shoot, my kids don’t even like taking the bus to school ( and I can’t say that I blame them). I have seen her strength in my mother and my sisters and I can only pray that I get a taste of her strength to pass on to my kids.