TITLE: Why I Woke Up in Alaska
By Bella Rossiter
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“I’m thinking it’s about time for a cruise this summer. What do you think, Bella”, asks my sister, Karen. We had just emerged from the swimming pool and doing our exercise routine. Toweling off and ready to bask in the sunshine beneath the tall palm trees, it was hard to imagine needing a vacation from this beautiful cactus strewn environment. Besides, I had been spending my retirement funds like there was no tomorrow, and now tomorrow was coming.
“Well, I’m thinking I need a job to make money so I can have more fun,” I teasingly respond.
Two days later, a flyer arrives in our resort newsletter. Princess Tours representatives will be giving a presentation of summer job opportunities in Alaska. Cookies will be served. For further information, log on the princessjobs.com.
Fifty residents attended the meeting and ate all the cookies. I listened attentively for opportunities that would personally apply to me. But Rick Tingstad was focusing on hiring “Driver/Guides and Outfitters.” I knew being a bus driver was out of the question, and I had no idea what an Outfitter was.
Before he could get involved with people and their questions, I purposefully approached him requesting an interview. I displayed the application and resume I had in hand. He said we could talk out in the fireside room, as soon as he was free to join me.
Rick was comfortable to talk to and interested in my years of experience with customer service, before retiring from the State of Washington Department of Licensing. He seemed quiet and thoughtful as he scanned the position openings at Mt McKinley and Talkeetna. Finally, he said I would make an excellent fit in Talkeetna.
I wondered, “Who or what is a Talkeetna;” which made no difference if it meant I would be a perfect fit for it! I asked for his card, we shook hands, and we agreed to keep in touch.
I shared the news with Karen and asked her if she’d like to work in Alaska, too. She said quite emphatically, “I don’t want to go to work!”
I had been retired for over two years, and wondered if I could get back into the routine, myself. But, I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind that, even though Karen wasn’t interested, it was an exciting opportunity for me.
My daughter thought it was a desperate action just to earn a few dollars and urged me to use caution before making a commitment. Besides, she was hoping I would meet her in Washington State to visit her brothers this summer. She hadn’t seen them for over four years since moving to Long Island, New York.
Well, maybe I should forget about this “pie in the sky” scheme and just stay safely in my expected pattern. But, no, Alaska was calling me, in no uncertain terms. Within days of making a commitment by application, e-mail and phone that I was eager to accept the position in Talkeetna, I learned via e-mail, that the grandson I had not seen or heard of in thirteen years, was living with his mom in Ketchikan! My son, who was Devin’s father, died when Devin was four months old. I lost touch with him and his mom for all those years.
Now, I knew it was a “God Thing” that compelled me towards the North. My daughter-in-law had discovered me quite by chance. She discovered a website called faithwriters.com and submitted a poem, and read others. Out of the many thousands, one had been written by winged jewel...Bella Rossiter. She immediately sent me an e-mail, yet not saying where she was living. It was a shock to my system, but I responded with timidity. My son had died from the drugs he had been fatally involved in, and the circumstances of his death caused a rift between our families.
Then all the rest of this story began falling into place. The missing link that will be the ending is for me to meet my 14 year old grandson, and bring us together again full circle. Jim is a part of me and a part of Devin, and we will recognize and know each other. I can’t wait to look in his eyes and hold him in my arms...
This is the story of how and why I am in Alaska working for Princess Tours as an Outfitter in a remote town called Talkeetna. Isn’t that the best reason in the whole wide world? I can’t think of one solitary place at the moment that I would rather be. It is God who I thank for this “thing” that He has put together.
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