Monday, May 13, 2013

Special Moms in Ketchikan

I love synchronicities—those occasional “magical” coincidences that remind us that there just might be more to reality than meets the eye.

This was a memorable Mother’s Day in part because it was bookended by a couple of them. It started the evening before. Glenda and I decided to go out to dinner at Bar Harbor, a tiny restaurant near the dock. Our waitress was a delightful young women (I would have guessed in her twenties, but was wrong.) We were absolutely taken by her. She and her husband had tried farming on family property near the Dalles Oregon, but when dry land farming didn’t pay the bills, were smitten by the idea of buying and living aboard a boat. They ended up with a 47ft steel ketch and one year ago sailed up the outside (e.g. open ocean route) to Ketchikan where they both found work. They’ve been trying to decide where to go next in Alaska, and we shared our experience with the various small towns we know. They want to go somewhere even more remote but with a bit more open space than Ketchikan. A place where their kids can roam (Another synchronicity. We just listened to a great talk on “free range kids” and how modern parents are overprotecting their children. Check out

Oh that’s right, I forgot to mention...

Our waitress has seven children ages 3-13! (“I got it all done in ten years and one day.”)

Turns out she’s in her mid thirties. Bright. Physically fit. And one of the most amazing can-do people you'll ever meet. What lucky kids!

The next day, Mother’s Day, we were wandering around town in the rain. It was noon and for some reason we’d put off coffee and breakfast, hoping to eat at a coffee house we liked. However, it had gone out of business. We were starving. And then we remembered Cape Fox Lodge on top of the hill behind town. Great views of Tongass Narrows and excellent food. When we arrived, they were serving a gorgeous Mother’s Day brunch, but it was packed because of a Rotary convention. Reservations only. The maitre d’ took pity on us, finding us a little spot in a corner, next to a woman in her mid seventies sitting with her middle aged daughter. She smiled at us and soon we got to talking. She was originally from Texas, but spent most of her working life in Buffalo NY. She was in her mid fifties and living in Virginia working as an occupational counselor, when a friend suggested out of the blue that they move to Ketchikan, Alaska. “Why not?” she said. And here she sat twenty something years later, still madly in love with this wild place.

Oh, that’s right, I forgot to mention...

She has nine children! And eleven great grandchildren!

There was something special about meeting these two amazing moms at opposite ends of their "careers". Their grace and courage somehow magnified the beauty and the miracle and the joy of motherhood. Meeting them was a gift, reminding us of how blessed we are for our own families. The entire day random strangers, women, would smile at Glenda and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. This on top of the beautiful messages she received from our own kids.

As special as Mother’s Day always is, this one seemed just a little more so, thanks to a couple of special moms crossing our path.

Creek Street in the Rain

Mother's Day Flowers Aboard

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