“When did we meet the first time?” a question that Lola kept on asking me, but every time I recalled that most pristine, special moment, she shot me down like a clay pigeon, using her gun of choice, as the Tundra stretched out into the backgrou….”Lola, you can stop shooting now, OK. I am dead!”
I am pretty sure, it was when I was running a survey of the Diomede Islands in the Bering Strait. Being this close to the Absolute Most Easterly Boundary of Mother Russia, would have given most fellows an attack of the Willies, but not me. I was immune to that kind of thing, ever since that one seemingly minor incident that occurred when I was young as a child, that came to define my life from that point onward.
I was out on my parent’s Moose Ranch when one of the big ones, named Homer came over to me and Spit on my foot. My right foot mind you, and that made me want to wipe it off, or treasure it always, due to the local custom of “Love your Moose Spit, Like you love yourself”, or words to that effect? One of the locals, an Indigenous type of fellow was always telling me about local customs and such, and even invited me over to taste some Muktuk, which is something that I wouldn’t suggest for the faint at heart, or stomach, but as I
“It seems, we are diverging from the truth again, or have you forgotten the point of this story?” spoken by a local girl with her dark hair glistening in the breeze, while the Moose Spit was still glistening on my right foot!
The islands consisted of Big Diomede and Little Diomede, who were named after the famous Alaskan Explorer, “Vitus Bering” who some claim was Danish, while others adamantly insist he was Danish, which led to a fist fight between the two sides, with the loser having to eat Muktuk and wear a shirt that said, “Kick Me” on the back of it. I was standing on Litle Diomede waving to the friendly Russians on the other side, with their Kalashnikov Rifles glistening in the Arctic Sun, not unlike the impression from the hair of the girl from across the stream near to my parent’s Moose Farm on the Kenai Peninsula.
It was planting season, and my parents were discussing what type of Moose would bring the most money this year? I liked to look at the pictures on the different seed packages, and wondered about other Alaskan Boys my age, who would be making money hand over fist selling Moose Seeds from door to door, keeping a part of their profit, and asking the girl out when they found one that is, and just sitting there admiring her glistening black hair, while trying to rub off the Moose Spit from my right shoe.
“Oh don’t do that”, she remarked with her mouth moving, but I could only concentrate on her lips, and not registering the content of her golden voice. We really weren’t that different, her and I, even though we grew up on opposite sides of that stream. “Just think of when he finds his own girl, and doesn’t have to get Moose Spit on his shoes all the time” my mother told my father, while he just smoked his pipe, and wondered when the local team, The Fighting Muktuks were going to win the Championship against the Homer Habilis, bringing the Silver Cup back to our side of the Peninsula?
I often marveled at how my parents stayed married all those years even though they were on two different wavelengths. My mother spoke, while my father grunted about the poor reception on the TV, while I lay on my bed, under the covers with my flashlight, eyeing a newspaper-cutout of that girl from across the stream, dreaming about meeting the Homecoming Queen, Miss Moose Snout from Homer High School and taking her to the Senior Prom!
The first hurdle was pinning the Manzanita Branch on her dress, without upsetting the Tundra Apple Cart and ending up dangerously close to Big Diomede Island, and the Russian Forces that inhabited it. Dad told me, “Don’t mind those Ruskies, they are probably just like us, but being lucky for them is getting Moose Spit on their Left foot instead of their Right!”
Was the woman of my dreams really named, Lola Kalashnikov, and that stream separating us being the International Boundary between our two Countries? Was it really lucky to get Moose Spit on your Right Foot, and did my parents really like each other, or were they still together because of how Dad liked to eat Mom’s Apple Pie?”
And then I was awoken from my dreams with my mother slapping me silly and saying “Don’t forget to ask the girl to dance, before you try to kiss her! That should bring her closer to your side of the Island!”
-and that is the first time that we never met, but wanted to anyway…..