Once again we find ourselves at the darkest and shortest day of the year....winter solstice. And once again we find ourselves huddled mindlessly in the corner of the basement, aglow by a solitary candle.... Able to pull off for the 2nd year what many before us have vowed that they could never handle...what many look at as an insane form of grit or unbalance. Will we make it for the 3rd winter of this bitter cold obscurity...... ?
Looking out our front door. The sun's position this morning at 11:35AM! Notice how it is just barely skimming the edge of the horizon?!
On a much brighter of a note, or notes we find ourselves in celebration for a multitude of reasons. John is 18 years old this day of December 21st 2008. yes, bless his parents for they have survived his 18 year reign of dominance on our patience, nerves, and attention. We can now sit back knowing we have successfully raised him to be the wonderful man that he has become. Was it easy....seldom is parenting ever so. But the gratitude of watching him grow and the successes and challenges that he has conquered makes all of those moments that we contemplated pulling our hair out well worth it! What becomes of John now....for his 18th birthday we gave him $100.00 dollars and a one way plane ticket to a destination of his choice...see ya son! Actually I am going to pay him to stay home for a few years longer (snicker snicker). And as a pure example of this kids determination, when he returns to school after the "Christmas" break, he will be getting out of school at 11:30AM from now until he graduates. Why, because he only needs 22 credits to graduate, and as of now has 27 credits!! So he is going to skate the second half of his senior year, Kudos, young dude! Welcome to the real world! All joking aside, Happy Birthday! We are so proud of you John, and we love you, son!
Another of reasons for celebration would be the end of a long hard run for pops. As of Monday, my dad will be officially retired from the City Of Stockton. After years of "keeping em in line", and standing his watch to keep order and civility in the city, it will now be someone elses' problem! As a code enforcement officer, the man never held a lack of excitement in his days, and has done the best to his ability to keep the city streets abundant and rosy. Friends....he made many. Pissed....still others ended up! Jackasses, they were abundant, and ever present even amongst his ranks. But like a super trooper of sorts, he prevailed the daily grunt and grind and served his time well and with honor. What will become of his days now, less the excitement in the 'adventures of inspector Smiley'? Somehow, I tend to think the city has not seen the end of him. My father...sit still and relax....yeah, ok! But whatever his endeavours will become, we wish him the best and congratulations for all his persistence, hard work, and dedication through the years. They say life begins when you retire, so enjoy it dad, and find some comfort in your life now! We are proud of you!!
And so we find the end of our descent into darkness and mark the beginning of a new period of light. A time to let go of all that has held us back and bring in a period of renewed hope. We will find ourselves once again with healers, hippies and natives celebrating, singing, drumming and eating around the sacred bonfire of this days Winter Solstice, attending one of the many celebrations that will be happening around the peninsula. Hopefully a scoche warmer than last years festivities. Alaskans do take the Winter Solstice serious. So to everyone, let go of that which has burdened you and held your soul, and welcome in a new period of light. Refill your soul with the hope of a new year and the dawning of new light!
Friday night we went to Johns' High Schools hockey 'home' game. They have an ice rink here in Nikiski at the community center where they play their home games. This was our first, so it was a new and enlightening experience for Maryann and I. Enlightening because next time I am going to wear my insulated cover-alls! Mind you, we loved going to the hockey games at the Stockton Arena when we lived in Dorrington. We would travel the 2 hour drive in a caravan with a group of friends from Arnold and Dorrington, and always had a great time. It was cold...but it was an arena! I mean, we were in the warmth of a huge crowd in an arena, right! Short of pond hockey, this arena here in Nikiski is a 'rink' surrounded by a metal roof and 3 metal walls, open on one side. T.H.O.'s, man! For the most part it is standing room only, with the exception of a small set of metal bleachers. Metal bleachers, in a large walk in freezer....my butt thinks not! Anyways, it was fun. Maryann as usual was more entertaining than the game itself! Watching her enthusiasm and excitement as faces were pummeled into the Plexiglas, and bodies slung across the ice into the plywood walls. Lets not forget the Zamboni! Yes, my wife is just hilarious when she is around hockey! And this night was of no exception! Johns team won with an amazing comeback the 3rd quarter. And I obtained an official souvenir! Yes, we were standing on the glass directly behind the goalie, and I watched in amazement as the puck was struck from about half way out and flew through the air, almost in a suspended animation, wobbling towards the goalie....only it was about 12 feet above the goal. As it came into the net at the top of the Plexiglas, two thoughts went through my mind in slow motion yet an instant, like this; "....this is righteous, if I was 12 feet taller and my head the goal, it would be a hole in one, or slapshot....or whatever they call it in hockey lingo....thank God there is a net between me and the puck...." Looking up as it made contact with the net, the second thought; "...Oh crap, there is an open slot between the top of the Plexiglas and the bottom of the net....I think I am about to...." Yes, that was the extent of the two thoughts that went through my mind, the second thought being cut short as the damned puck hit the net, fell through the hole and clobbered me on my head. Thankfully, the net dampened the sheer force and torque of the puck. Unfortunately, once again, my head found itself an unwilling victim of a 'gravity' related event! But, I got a cool souvenir! It's an official puck and was autographed by John's friend Anthony, who is #77 on the team! When the scouts find him and he makes the NHL and becomes famous I can say I have his autograph!! So for now we wish everyone well, and to make sure and have a very 'Merry Christmas'. Stay safe, be sober, and enjoy every ones love, comfort and company this 'Christmas season'! Good night to all.....and to all a good night.