Heather Lende

HAINES -- My friend Joanne called Saturday night to ask if I saw what she saw in the sky. I was at the table, just finishing a moose stew dinner with the family and listening to the play-by-play on KHNS of the girls' high school basketball game down in Craig, on Prince of Wales Island. I hadn't been outside since an afternoon ski along the beach around Jones Point to the set tracks on the golf course and back. Then, the sun had been shining on white snow and it felt like spring, especially with the wind at my back. Now, I took the phone out on the back porch and looked up.

"See it?" Joanne said.

"No," I replied...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- Tuesday morning we were working on the logistics of another school day that revolves around a senior in high school's schedule of school, basketball practice and homework, when my husband sighed, "We should be in New Orleans. We could be on Bourbon Street listening to jazz tonight."

I said, "Let's go."

He said, "We're too late now."

The next day was the start of Lent and the end of the Mardi Gras party...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- There is so much to do in Haines that it is hard to choose, especially when the sun comes out and a head cold moves in. I should have been in bed, but I took a gentle ski under the bright blue sky at the golf course. After a nap, I went to the high school boys' basketball game. I missed the fourth grade's pancake breakfast, but I did attend the Arts Council's Northern Lights Showcase, an all-star night of local talent...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- The other night when the power went out I thought of the Emily Dickinson poem, "We grow accustomed to the dark -- When light is put away," because that is exactly what happened...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- Writing obituaries is hard on the heart. We had what may be a record of four to do for this week's Chilkat Valley News. The subjects died in a plane crash, from the effects of too much alcohol and kidney failure. We knew them all pretty well. The editor and I split them, spending hours talking with grieving friends and family. It really didn't help that we were in the middle of another snowstorm and my water heater was broken...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- My daughters said I had to tan before I went to Mexico. They said if I played at the beach all day and didn't, that I'd burn and then shed my skin like a lizard. Instead of wearing a sleeveless dress at dinner, I'd be plastered with Noxzema and wrapped in gauze like a mummy. Then they said that I would look even worse in a bathing suit than I thought I was going to.

That convinced me. It has been four years since I was in a warm place walking around in public in the moral equivalent of my underwear. (Well, summer underwear.)

It was as cold as it gets in Haines (minus 7, snowing, with a northerly gale) When we made our way to the beauty parlor on a dark January afternoon...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- I am having a heck of a time writing Mimi Gregg's obituary. Mimi was the First Lady of the Arts in Haines. She was 92 when she died of old age. Dying peacefully in the 10th decade of an extraordinary life is not tragic. What I'm missing most about Mimi is the way she was when I met her, and the way we both were when we were younger, she in her 60s, me in my 20s.

I laugh now at how Mimi convinced me to direct "Carousel" when I had three children under 6 and was pregnant. When I said I couldn't, she said, "Oh piffle."...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- I really should have shared "Happy Holiday Greetings" when everything was going so well, after I had such fun shopping locally for my gifts -- we are doing an all-Haines Christmas this year -- and finding everything from wool socks to handmade earrings, or right after the defending state championship Glacier Bear boys won their first game of the season and we all cheered...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- The rain turned to snow by the time the lighting of the historic Fort Seward neighborhood began Saturday night. Our fledgling women's a cappella singing group had practiced "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" just for the event. Instead of choir caps we wore knit ski hats and headlamps...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- We were skiing on Halloween and ice skating on ponds at the golf course the first week in November, but a warm front changed all that. The windy rain was good news for the Friends of the Library, because it is easier to get volunteers to make decorations and hang lights indoors when a trip to the woodshed requires full rubber rain gear.

The sixth annual Lighting of the Library took place, as it always has, (always ever since the new library was built) the Friday night after Thanksgiving. In the past, the mayor's wife has lit the star at the top of the giant Sitka spruce tree that fills the two-story hall. But the new mayor, Jan Hill, is a woman, so she did it herself...

Heather Lende

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