I went down to the Salvation Army church tonight to help take money out of the kettles and into bags for bank deposit, as I’ve done for years. I can’t even remember now when I started. I like doing these jobs. Out of public sight, and fun to do.
Loretta has been helping for years, too. She grew up in Angoon, and lived in Juneau for most of her life I think. Tonight we got talking about fishing and boats and history, and she said her dad built a double ender, and showed me a photo. The Loretta Ann. I know that boat, I said. Harry Samato runs it. That’s my brother, she said. Oh, how small the world is here in Southeast Alaska.
Harry was one of the first trollers I knew. He took me under his wing, and shared fishing information with me about his corner of Chatham Strait. Where to fish. Where to anchor. What gear he was using. One of my favorite people I’ve met over the years, along with the late Walter Baldwin and Eric McDowell.
Loretta, now in her early 70’s, went on talking about her family. Her grandfather was from Japan. I sort of knew this, but had always wondered how a Japanese man found his way to Angoon. He came over from Japan with his uncle to San Francisco, then found his way up to the whaling station at Killisnoo. He met Loretta’s grandmother from Angoon, and they got married. Loretta said he learned English and Tlinghit, which of course makes sense. But wow, all the way from Japan.
When WWII came, they took some of Loretta’s aunts and uncles to internment camps in Idaho. Even though they were born in the US. People today think of Juneau as a liberal, progressive onclave, but I can tell you it’s not always been that way. Japanese decent residents taken to internment camps. A whole settlement of Aleut people from the Pribilofs, settled in their own internment camp in Funter Bay, in squalid conditions, rather than them being brought just a little further and settled in nearby Juneau. Or the racism towards the local people who were here before “settlement” of the town.
Another milestone on my birthday. We sold our cabin. We bought it 25 years ago, and the couple buying it from us is about the age we were when we bought it, and are really excited. With the proceeds, we’re paying off both the boat we bought this summer and our house. We’re debt free.
Paying off our debts prompted me to get moving on my health and mobility. I went in today to do my annual physical to check my cholesterol and PSA and annual colon cancer test. I finally called to make an appointment for my ailing hip, too. What use is a comfortable retirement if I can’t enjoy it. I think the last thing in the near term is to check my computer use and my alcohol intake and get more exercise and actually clean out the garage and not just move stuff from one side of the garage to the other.
Dry firewood is such a joy. After years of keeping it under a tarp, we’re on our second year of it coming out of the woodshed. We’re burning wood that’s already been drying a year, and so easy to start and so much heat. It’s gonna get down near zero here in a few days, and that’s gonna put the heat pump down near its limit for keeping up with heating the house, so the dry firewood will be even more appreciated.