I often joke that I’m rent-a-family. I love meeting friend’s parents, hearing about their siblings, peeking into the dynamics that make their unit tick. I’ve happily attended family reunions, birthdays, and weddings. Slipping into the mix, taking a ribbing from uncles, learning from grandparents, playing with cousins. Most likely connected to my turtle ways, I find comfort in family interactions. Interest in the ways they’re so similar, yet completely unique.
So when Camp Homer Charlie offers a day with the Anderson clan, I quickly respond, Sign me up, I’m in for the whole day.
By 9am we’re motoring back towards the harbor, having made quick work snagging our salmon limit and escaping the lagoon before the receding tide leaves us stranded. Back on shore, Andrew shows me how to clean and filet the fish. I’m slow and inconsistent, but by the end I waste less flesh, cut more smoothly.
Extended family in town, the boat shuttling begins. Dropped on the beach, we fall back on the standard entertainment. Skipping rocks, searching tide pools for sea life, lying in the sand. Army of cousins, aunts and uncles assembled we begin the hike towards the glacier lake.
Baylor is visibly thrilled to have so many new playmates. He charges to the lead. Falls back to the middle to see if I’m still following. Hearing children holler for him from up ahead, he grins at me as if to say, Gotta go mom, my friends are calling.
I see a glacier for the first time in my life. Get chilled by the cool, icy breeze. Hike along a trail chock-a-block with outrageous views. Stand with sun warming my face as we cruise back to town.
Baylor fed and tucked in for the night, I load up with my Homer family, head for dinner and a show. We settle in at the steakhouse to watch Alaskan legend, Hobo Jim. A treat in and of itself, it’s made even more special by the fact that Charlie’s grandpa was the cowboy that gave Jim a break early on, visibly turned the tide of his life course.
Having witnessed the fiery sunset I settle into the tent, a Hobo Jim song running through my mind.
Don’t you try to hold me, I’m a man of the road
A lover of life, like adventurers of old
There’s a whole lot of gypsy in my rugged, rowdy bones
And when I hit the highway, I’m a hittin’ it alone
I’m a man of the road
36 days down. Many to come.
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