Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Land of the midnight daughter

About a week and a half ago my 31-year-old daughter Ewa, who lives for the moment in Whitehorse, Yukon, fell off a bicycle, hit her head on the icy ground and had a concussion. (She's much better now thanks. As soon I was able, I flew to Whitehorse to do whatever I could, which wasn't much except make her laugh. But that I did, and I'm home again.)
HIGHWAY: Not far from where Ewa's head met the icy road.

When she had the bike mishap, Ewa, who I'd like to mention is fluent in American Sign Language, was on her way to a Whitehorse bar called The 98 to hear a singer named Paris Pick, a singer/songwriter I'd never heard of until last week but who now has, for a fan, me and, as it turns out, Ed the Sock.
The things you learn from your kids.

To whit: Sam, the the hero of the famous poem The Cremation of Sam McGee , was a real person though he wasn't from Tennessee. McGee came from Lindsay, Ont., which would have rhymed too but what do I know?
The poet, Robert Service, was working at a Whitehorse bank. McGee came to town as a road builder. Service saw his name on a bank ledger and decided it was perfect for the poem he was in the midst of composing. Then -- and I love this part of the story -- banker Service contacted McGee and and asked if could use his name. McGee said okay.
really get a good look in.

Sam McGee in the poem died by being willingly cremated in the woodstove on an abandoned barge on Lake Labarge.

McGee from Lindsay died at 73 at his daughter's farm near Beiseker, Alberta, which isn't far from Calgary. Of a heart attack. But not before at least once returning to Whitehorse and being approached by a local offering to sell the visitor a vial of "authentic Sam McGee's ashes."

True--at least as true as it has to be--story.

Another thing I learned? Ewa is in better than excellent hands up there. Ewa's surrounded by a lively  commmunity of loving and fun-loving people, evidenced by what we had for supper the day after my return: Moose stew.

Ewa adventure immortalized
Before I caught my return flight, Ewa's Whitehorse landlady, Mary Gottschall, and her son Chris, outfitted me with about seven pounds of frozen moose meat, which pretty much monopolized my carry-on. I think the airport folks were a bit freaked out when they saw the meat via the x-ray machine. It looked like I was smuggling small humans. I'm still working on a decent carrion pun.

Also, before leaving, I asked Ewa if she minded if I mentioned her sore noggin on Facebook. She said "No, go ahead," her voice sort of  resigned to the fact that I'd try to distill a week's adventure into a blog post. Probably like McGee's when the banker pal asked to use his name.

I then reminded Ewa: "Just be glad you weren't one of those kids whose moms and dads paste every little-league win and brownie fly-up and dance into a gloating Facebook post; you know, the way young parents do these days."

We didn't have Facebook in my day. 

We had to use magazine columns.

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