God’s gift to Alaska was not the town of Homer, or was I just being too negative on that cold December day when the two of us rolled into downtown Homer with sights set on cruising Homer Spit!
The trees ahead and the mountains visible across Kachemak Bay with their glaciers shimmering in the scant daylight told me why living in Homer was at least worth it, if you only were some kind of Landscape Junkie! I could just stand there all day, if only I could keep warm, and stare out at the beauty in front of me, keeping the wiles of downtown Homer at bay, at least for a while anyway.
Lola had pulled off to the side of the road to look under the hood of the Willies, while I took a short walk in the forest to take care of my own business, as it were. “Watch out for the Bears” she yelled to me, as if to say that she liked me well enough to watch out for me, or was it just her favorite spot to feed the local bears with her infrequent guests, and other passersby?
My view of places distant disappeared a bit as we drove through the hustle and bustle of downtown Homer. I wondered if they had stoplights in that town, while Lola just giggled saying, “They might even have indoor plumbing and running water as well” which might be a local joke, or was it just us that were laughing? We continued our drive along Homer Spit, a piece of land extending out into Kachemak Bay, which is thought to being left there by a glacier long, long ago. It had houses and business, a harbor and the odd this and that, which told me that it was better to be a tourist than a resident, unless you liked that kind of thing, which I didn’t and lucky for me, neither did she as well!
We made a 180, and started back when she pointed out a bar called the Broken-Winged Pelican. “I worked there once as a bouncer, or was that in another life?” If she worked there, then perhaps I was there as well, being all lost in the deja vu of the moment? “We might have been lovers in that other life”, a statement that I let slip out of my mouth and wander into her ears as she gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter, with nary a word uttered, which was as good a thing, as I could hope for?
She pulled off to the side of the road, and turned off the motor, while I wondered if our shared existences was at our road’s end? She opted though, not to answer me, not at that time anyway, and started to turn the key to get us out of town once again. “Damn Hamsters!” she yelled, and stormed out of the Willies, throwing up the hood while she tinkered with the motor. “Come here, you” she said, as I got out to admire her fine form, bent over that ticking engine, while she said, “Take this screwdriver and put it here” said while motioning towards a thing-a-ma-bob with wires attached and performing no doubt an important function down there?
“Push it in when I tell you to, then take it out when its job is done!” said by the woman whose very existence was starting to overlap my own, especially when she would talk dirty to me like that! Her facial expression told me, however, that I needed to keep my mind on the job at hand and leave other things to well, other more suitable times….
The Willies roared back to life and we jumped inside while we still possessed an opportunity to shuffle off the mortal coils of city-living in this niche of Alaska, and move back to our own, more nondescript section, where the cars passing by might remark, “Was that a filling station, or just another bump in the road?”
She just looked at me before propelling us onward, saying, “Just where do you come from, if I might be so bold in asking?” while I could only muster the smallest of answers saying, “Up around Healy-Way” I said with the smallest bit of pride in my voice, while she only said, “I thought as much.”
I’d read my fair share of books in my life, but I never read one like Lola. She could say a short-something like that, making me wonder why our lives had crossed at that intersection called, “Conoco Junction” or whatever she wanted to call her Filling Station, perched on the edge of my uncertainty, while the rest of life flowed past me like an Alaskan River after the Spring Breakup. We might just end up doing the Fairbanks Fandango together, or would I just end up being another statistic in the newspaper under the column, “This Week’s Accidental Gunshot Death(s).
If the latter does happen, I guess, I’ll finally have made a name for myself, just not being able to cut out the article and send it to my proud mother in Healy, but hopefully, I went out with a smile on my face…….