New Hobby

Snowshoeing?  Downhill skiing?  Cross-country skiing?  Dog mushing?  Nope.  It’s none of those.  I like to read the obituaries in the newspaper.  Now I’ll tell you, I’m 36 years old, not 86.  My apologies to my grandmother, Jean, who will probably be reading this and might be slightly irritated with the assumption all old people read the obituaries.  She’s the youngest 80 something I know, but I’m digressing.

For some long time friends they will not be shocked by this revelation.  I’m also one of those people who likes to go around reading the tombstones when I happen to be in a cemetery.  Anyway, everyday I read the obituaries.  The newspaper here actually divides it into sections: Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Peninsula and (my favorite) the Outside.  The Outside being reserved for people who at one point in their life lived in Alaska, but then moved back to the Lower 48.  I like to read how people came to find themselves in Alaska.  Of course you have the Native population that was born here.  You also have a few caucasian native Alaskans, people whose parents immigrated here before they were born. But mostly it’s people who came here for a job, loved it and stayed.  That includes former military personnel and people who came to help build the pipeline in the 1970s.  I’ve also read several obituaries of Baby Boomers who came here in the 1960s and 70s just looking for adventure.

I’ve discovered lots of Texans.  One woman was born in Shiner, Texas.  One day I had to interrupt Todd’s snow shoveling to tell him the featured obituary was a Texan, Class of 1961 at Texas A&M, a member of the Corps of Cadets and even a Ross Volunteer.  He had been in the Air Force and stayed after retirement.  Another Texan arrived in the 1950s because he wanted to live somewhere where “it wasn’t flat and so damned hot.”

You’ll also find many people from the Midwest or New England and a few from California.  Very rarely have I read of anyone from the South or the Rocky Mountain states.  I haven’t put a lot of thought into why that is, it’s just a general observation I’ve made.

And just to put everyone’s mind at ease, I do own a pair of snowshoes and I enjoy using them.  I also have a ski lesson scheduled for next Saturday.  Really, I do have some normal hobbies. 🙂