This year, if the ice goes out and my ship comes in, I won't be there.
For years, I've cultivated the fantasy that I'm going to win the Nenana Ice Classic. Every year my winning time is the same -- April 30, 7:31 p.m. Take it to bank -- the river bank, that is, because I'm as likely to find the money there as in the bet.
Reason says the odds are longer than the Tanana River, but the "what if" is compelling, and it's the classic old Alaska bet to win. Like many Alaskans who have never come close, I've known people who have won, which makes the possibility real. That's why an insidious notion haunts me, just a little: This is the year, and I missed my bet. When I went to the counter at Carrs on the last day, the red bucket was there but the sign said sold out.
No big deal. What are the chances? Someday, baby, when the river runs free -- and I make it in time to buy the ticket.
-- Frank Gerjevic