The postman stuffs them into our frozen mailbox on a daily basis now. The immortal Holiday (now that Christmas is no longer p.c.) Greeting letters are coming fast and thick, spewing from them illusions of perfection in 2007.
It is somewhat surreal up here in Alaska to read about achievements and accomplishments of the little gymnasts, equestrians, and young yacht captains who reside Outside, when some of the youth in Alaska are keeping busy with other pursuits, which, if not actually productive, are at least unique. Let me illustrate...
(Sample letter) "It's been another wild one up here in Tok. We finally finished the new smokehouse, just in time for (youngest daughter) to get her first moose. We were out in the bush for a week, waiting for that sucker to show up, but danged if he didn't and danged if she didn't just point and shoot the hell out of him. Now (daughter) wants to mount the head for her bedroom."
(Another sample) "The kids are all anxious for Christmas to arrive, and they all had long lists this year for Santa. (Oldest son) is just dying for an I-Pod port for his Sno-Go so he and his friends can spend all day out on the trails without coming in to recharge. (Middle son) wants a new fishing pole and chest waders, he swears he'll beat dad this year in pulling in the limit."
One woman I know who lives in a small village outside of Dillingham (way west of Anchorage, on Bristol Bay), wants a real bathroom for Christmas, hoping that the request will reach her fisherman husband, who is still completely satisfied with the "honey bucket". (I must correct those of you who are thinking in your minds that a Honey Bucket is not so bad. The term in Alaska means nothing more than a 5-gallon bucket with a plywood circle cut into it, and YOU are the one responsible for emptying it. Even on the -50 days.)
Yes, the Alaskan holiday greeting can merit some chuckles upon reading. But at least we are interesting!