I gave my heart to an Alaskan man

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This is my Dad……the first man I ever gave my heart to…Isn’t he handsome? Check out those sideburns. I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever known….still do.

He has a way with children, animals and old folks. He has a way of being totally present with who ever he happens to be with. He makes you feel special,  like you are golden.  When he was 36, he made the move up north to Alaska. He had wanderlust, and found that Alaska fit him like a perfect Stetson. He took to Alaska, like a fish to water. 

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The summer of my eighth year, I went to visit him in Alaska. It was the summer of many firsts for me. The first airplane ride I’d ever been on. The first summer without my mother. The first summer without electricity. The first summer without T.V. The first summer to taste and pick wild berries. The first summer to ever take a bath in an aluminum tub, with water that had been heated by campfire in the biggest black pot I’d ever seen. The first summer I had ever pumped water by hand. The first salmon I had ever tasted, straight from the biggest river I had ever been on. The first summer to go camping. The first time to ever see hail, dangerous hail, the size of golf balls. The first time I ever helped catch and prepare wild game (the state bird!). The first time I’d ever spent the day chasing squirrels around birch trees with beautiful white  papery bark. The first time I had ever seen sled dogs, fierce huskies, who ate fish stew, cooked in that same big black pot.  In the photo above I am sitting in the back of an ancient truck, wearing my dad’s cowboy hat. We were on an adventure. My dad drove that truck from Fairbanks, Alaska to Eagle, Alaska. We were going to visit his friends Sonny and Patty. I was to stay with them, while my dad fought fires to make extra money that summer. My dad was a truck driver.  His dream was his gold mining operation. He did that during the summer. He was a mountain man, and loved that life. To listen to him tell stories of Alaska is wonder filled, he lights up, and the listener is enraptured by that life, that time of  untamed wildness.

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This is a wonderful snapshot of a picnic lunch in Eagle, Alaska. We packed up the cooler, got on a boat and motored up the Yukon river to enjoy our lunch. We got off the boat and on the shore of the river were so many blue green stones. My dad said these were immature

turquoise.    I put a few in my pocket and had them for a while. I wish I still had them. I  do still , have the memory of that picnic, which is far more precious. What a gift my father gave me.
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Here I am in Eagle. I am walking Yeller, one of the gentler husky sled dogs. You can see the Yukon river in the back ground. I looked at this photo while posting it. It was the first I had really looked at it as an adult, and am in awe that I had that experience. What an inheritance my father has given me. Thank you Dad, I love you.

I have been inspired by Jude,     http://spiritcloth.typepad.com/ , to start a quilt for my father. I have decided to use a bear and fish in the quilt. I had to go and see what these totems mean according to native culture. My father is a deeply spiritual man, he never really had much need for “church”,  although he respects the worlds’ religions , and has always  had a profound connection to his creator and nature.  Here is a site to learn more about animal totems and their meaning-  

 http://www.religions-and-spiritualities-guide.com/black-bear-totemmedicine.html

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Here is the start of the quilt. It is a start……..

Thank you Jude for the inspiration to pick up a needle and get busy. SpiritCloth has taught me to be more free with the possibilities of cloth and to let the unexpected and often unexplored, fuel my creativity. I look forward to this journey.

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10 Comments

  1. Tracy said,

    September 16, 2007 at 11:00 am

    What a lovely, sweet post, Laney…Your photo of you Dad reminds me much of my own–those sideburns! I’m so glad to being seeing my own Dad soon. Thanks for sharing your story…and your stitching. Can’t wait to see more of the quilt! Happy weekend to you & yours ((HUGS))

  2. joan said,

    September 16, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Oh Laney,

    What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Mine has wanderlust too, and a deep connection to the ‘earth’… I had actually wanted to make him a wall hanging for Christmas, with photos and totems and love.
    Boy are we ever on the same page!!
    This post of yours is my favorite so far… remembering the things so many others take for granted.
    love to you today,
    joan

  3. kim said,

    September 17, 2007 at 4:01 am

    wonderful post and yes such a lovely tribute to your father. he is going to be bowled over with the special project you have planned. thanks for sharing especially love the photos interspersed throughout your narrative. I can’t wait to see how the quilt evolves…..

  4. martie said,

    September 17, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I can only echo the words of the others – a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Be sure to share the quilt with us when you finish (and as you progress).

  5. September 17, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Touching and sweet – I’m sure the quilt will be beautiful – gifts with that much emotion behind them can’t help but be.

  6. jude said,

    September 17, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    oh, goody, another story cloth, i need to send you some fabrics! take it slow, i want to savor the story….this is great!

  7. Mary said,

    September 17, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    oh beautiful Laney.
    just beautiful

    Mary

  8. laneyloo said,

    September 19, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Thank you Tracy, for the complimentary comments. I am glad you get to visit your family too. You must be so excited. I just live half way across the country from mine, and I miss them greatly. You are half way across the world from yours. It will be so much fun for all of you.

    Joan,
    I’m so glad you like this post the best, it may be my favorite too. It was fun to remember that visit and my Dad. I can’t wait to see what you make for your Dad. I hope you share with us.

    Thanks Martie, and I will definitely be sharing the quilt with you all, I may need some technical and artistic advice.

    polkadot creations,
    Thank you for the comment and your moral support!

    Jude,
    I’m so happy you are excited, since you and your work/art is an inspiration to me. I may be needing your expertise for guidance.

    Thank you Mary, somehow I am able to feel how genuine your comment is. You create such beautiful photos and have such an enchanting blog, I am so glad you liked this post.

  9. April 6, 2008 at 12:46 am

    as a personal historian, i am SO glad you’ve decided to preserve your memories and honor your father, yourself, and your relationship with your father in such a creative way. you know, many say that 8th year is a magical, milestone year for women. sounds like that might just hold true for your 8th year. will sure enjoy watching this project come into existence.

  10. sheesh said,

    October 19, 2014 at 7:49 am

    wow I recognized patty and sonny right away.they were part of my childhood.


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