Getting out and about

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 19:00

I spent the last week down in Colorado with family. We gathered together to comfort each other in the loss of one of our own, my cousin’s beautiful daughter Breezy, age 17. She suffered from a rare blood disorder, Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia. Last year she underwent a bone marrow transplant to cure the disorder. Unfortunately, as she was recovering her compromised immune system could not fight off an infection and she passed away. We all miss her vibrant personality, but know she is completely healed in heaven.

My family finds comfort playing games (with a liberal dose of cheating thrown in) and picking on each other. Now that several cousins and I have spread out from our home state, we also like to bash — I mean compare — our respective states. One of my cousins recently moved to a state where it is thought that everything is bigger. I had fun putting him in his place with the one-liners I’ve picked up from Embloom Designs’ t-shirts.

Coming from somewhere very few have been but all have heard about, I fielded a lot of questions. I was doing a great job of convincing everyone that, other than the cold and dark, Alaska is paradise on earth. Why yes, Alaska is a great place for big game hunting. The salmon fishing is great in Alaska; Copper River reds are the best, by the way. Then the questions got personal, “What fish have you caught?” “Where have you gone camping?” Ummm, I’ve been hiking. We saw the fishing boats down in Homer. We even got a fishing license two years ago, there just happens to be a reason they call it fishing, not catching.

I blame the Army for my lack of experience in the outdoor side of Alaska. Granted, the Army brought me here, so I can’t complain too much. But the Army doesn’t give freely. I might get to live in Alaska, but my husband may not get much time to enjoy it. It was nice that when we moved here the Army had an “Arctic Family Time” policy, giving an early release on Friday afternoons. It would have been really nice if my husband hadn’t been getting his shop ready to deploy and had been able to take advantage of it. I was looking forward to the slow-down period after re-deployment when we could use those extra hours on Friday afternoons. However, about the same time 4-25 returned, that policy was rescinded. I shouldn’t mind too much. The Army does give liberal amounts of leave, much more than we could expect from a similar civilian job. After a year of getting ready to deploy and a year of deployment, my husband has plenty leave stored up.

Now, if we could just get some of that leave approved so that we can do the fishing or camping I don’t want to do with three kids all by myself. Oh well, we will enjoy what we can, and there will be plenty to do when my husband retires and we move back here.


Eagle River’s Lori Spears is the wife of a captain in the U.S. Army.

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