During summer in high school my older sister and I worked at the fish plant in town. We earned our own money to order clothes for the following school year. We practiced dialogues in German for fun. I still remember the words and what each word means. Sometimes after a long work day, we would walk the circle around our village. We laughed and giggled and shared stories. Treasured moments that what would seem like hours, was only five minutes, as if time stood still from our laughter.
When I was a very young girl I grew up next to Maggie’s Grocery. A small snack shop and video rental that also sold soft serve ice cream. A family had just moved to our village. I was eating an ice cream one sunny day and my little sister ran up to me crying. She said the new sisters who moved to town were teasing her and being mean. I told her to show me where they were. They were living in my Aunts house not too far from where we lived and I asked why they were being mean to my sister. Without thinking about my actions I smeared the ice cream on the girls face, she ran home crying. That same day my mom found out what I had done. I was trying to stick up for my sister but I hurt someone’s feelings doing that. My mom made me go buy a new ice cream and give it to the girl I smeared in the face. It was very humbling at such a young age. I apologized and gave her the ice cream 🍦 after that I tried my best to not be mean, even when I stuck up for my siblings. Remember we are all given grace equally and that I am thankful for. Bless and be blessed! ❤️
When we grew up, each spring our family would go look for and gather eggs. All different types, every day for a couple of weeks was like Easter. Seagull eggs are green with brown dots, most bird eggs share similar characteristics with varying shapes and size. Duck, geese, swan, ptarmigan, arctic turn, and the small eggs we came across that we did not eat, we did not touch, it wasn’t allowed. When a human touches the eggs of birds in the wild, and does not gather them, the mother will abandon the nest.
I was always sure to carry a stick and wear a hoodie. Mother and father birds are fierce protectors of their nests. We had to be fast and nimble and in a sense cunning. Knowing what to look for on the flat tundra with many lakes. Myself and my four siblings were all very competitive when it came to who found the most eggs. I can remember where all the hot spots are. One summer our family went, what we call egg hunting, down the coast. We camped in a white wall tent on an island and it took maybe a day to cover many ground. I was running from lake to lake as fast as I could run. I was pretending to be in the Olympics hurdling event jumping over tall groups of grass. When I jumped over a good patch a ptarmigan flew out and I was so surprised, startled. I found five eggs. See, as soon as a birds nest becomes empty, they quickly lay more eggs. We do not gather eggs near the end of egging season, so that the chicks have a chance at surviving. We ate all the eggs boiled, sometimes my mom would make wild egg cakes or bake with them. The taste of fresh wild gathered eggs are more rich than chicken eggs. The consistency is rubbery for the whites and the yolk is creamier.
As spring nears month by month I miss harvesting fresh nutritious bounties. The first time I saw an ant was egg hunting. The first and only time I came across something amazing and unexplainable was egg hunting. It was a rock inlaid circle path, very old and very small on a tiny mound on the tundra. I showed it to my mom after I looked and admired this creation. It was a perfect spiral. I grew up believing it was made by the Ishigaqs, or what our culture refers to as small people. In our oral tradition we pass down legends of old. Most teach respect for nature and people alike. When I showed my discovery to my mom, she grabbed my hand and we were all of a sudden in a hurry to leave. Everyone had to go back to the boat to go hunting in a new spot. I hope to find it again one day and take a picture, of course only with my Moms approval. I remember the relative location of where it was.
I hope all of you are truly able to reminisce about good times in your life but never forgetting that each day is a new day for memories to be made. So we make the best of each day, for tomorrow is not promised. Love and be love ❤️
Today I found out how unique my name is as far as the State of Alaska goes. In history, I am the second person born in Alaska with the given name Gertie, there are only four of us! The most recent was born in 2012, two in the 80s and one before the 60s.
My mom had planned on giving me the name Cheryl, but at my birth she only thought of my great grandmother Gertie, who’s given name was Gertrude. I am happy my mom chose Gertie. I took a test to guess my age and the test guessed I was 79, based on my answers. Cute, 34 going on 79!
My best asset is not my looks, not how I act, it is literally my ability to put my trust in God and to love Him and His son, regardless of the struggles of this world we are called to endure. Even through our struggles a lesson is learned. I have and continue to learn patience.
There is no limit on faith, just keep your faith and He will keep you. I was sewing yesterday and was thinking of our families life up at the cabin. One summer my parents bought an old fashion hand crank laundry washer. It was an open circle with the roller pin. It didn’t work very well but it did do a good job of ringing out the clothes that were washed. We had the washer boards and a tin tub before and after we used this contraption. My least favorite chore is and always was dishes. I went through a month of paying my siblings Monopoly money to do the dishes, until they tried to spend it at the store. I was punished accordingly and ended up having to do more chores in the end.
We had over 20 mushing dogs for a long time growing up. We had a slop bucket for table scraps we would feed them along with fish backbones. My dad never relied on commercial dog food, and commercial dog food never made sense to me. It is a healthier diet for dogs to eat table scraps and fish. The commercial producers use a lot of by product that is considered unedible by human standards. Also, when a puppy is a puppy and dewormed, they have to continue to be dewormed because although they eat commercialized dog food, they get worms over and over again. I would imply that maybe there is a scheme with the dog medical and food industry, skeptical to say the least.
Chores are important for children. They teach structure and healthy living habits, Duke is required to clean up any messes he makes and is always happy to do so, I just make it fun. Make life fun!
Beluga whale skin and fat prepared by boiling for 5-10 mins. Salt to taste. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and something I feel blessed to be able to eat. One cannot go to a store to buy whale, one cannot sell whale, only at the table of those allowed to hunt will you be able to eat Muktuk.
The first thing in the spring that I was sure to pick for my mom growing up is what we call pussy willows, they are a white fluffy bloom on willow branches that are one of the first bloomage of spring. They are not a flower but they were pretty to me so I made sure to pick a bouquet for my mom and often times my grandmothers as well.
When summer came I loved picking blue bells and purple iris for my aunts, grandmothers and mom. They would smile and say thank you and it made me happy to make them happy. I still feel that way today when I make someone smile, it makes my heart happy. I have been struggling as of late to be my usual happy self. It is a inner battle of self esteem and wondering if “what if.” Then I surely snap out of it thanks to my sister who has been here for me when I needed her the most.
I am confident things will only get better as long as I continue to stay faithful to God and trust and rely on Him. I will teach Duke to admire flowers and pussy willows where they grow instead of picking them. I use a camera to take pictures of the flowers I love and come across because they do the world justice where they grow so beautifully.