Change of Mind

Today’s post was supposed to be about the geography, climate, and other physical features of Alaska, but along the way, that idea became waylaid by other things that are so remarkable to me that relating it couldn’t wait. Admittedly, it is the beauty and sheer majesty of the land itself that first commands attention. Moving here has shown me the beauty of the people who live here.

My first venture out was to a grocery store where i was waylaid by a clerk in the bakery who was talking with me. It was, at first, a little scary. I’m not used to people at a grocery store being so happy to see me. But when I mentioned that I had just moved here, she practically glowed welcoming me and telling me all about the store, particularly, the bakery pointing out what was fresh daily and naming all the breads they made. She also told me about her husband who is a baker in Wasilla. She obviously loved her home state and her husband and showed equal pride in both. The grocery store itself was just like those at home with two exceptions. First, their fish section was amazing. There was scads of salmon, all fresh, looking so beautiful and inviting. There was fresh crab and other types of fish along side the more usual fish choices all marked as previously frozen. Frozen versus fresh fish makes a difference and I was grateful for the information. The second notable thing was the large section set aside for organic foods. It was amazing. I haven’t been brave enough to check out the prices yet. I do know that a single red pepper can cost two dollars or more and a twelve pack of soda is about ten dollars. Gulp!

My third shopping trip took me to a large store that carries everything from household goods, clothing, and furniture to food a la Walmart but definitely not. The store was spacious and clean like everything else here, but I was looking for warmer, larger clothing. Everything I have is years old and has shrunk from washing and drying and it’s cotton for the most part. I wandered through the clothing finding a ton of stuff that I would wear. I’m not picky about most things, but when it comes to clothes, I’m downright fussy. So, it was a shock to find so many things that I would love to own. I thought the prices were about par or less than I would pay anywhere else. Plus, the quality was above par from what I expected.

But it was when I was checking out that that Alaskan style of hospitality came through once again. The young woman checked all the items then turned to me and cheerfully said, “I suppose you want to know if I have any coupons.” For a few seconds I just stared at her totally dumbfounded before replying, “Do you have any coupons?” She had that coupon whipped out and run through the register before I could take another breath giving me another fifteen percent off each item. I could’ve kissed her but held back. That store can be assured that I will be back again with money ready to spend.

Down to earth, good people live here. For the most part, they eat what they fish, shoot, or preserve. They live simply enjoying the great outdoors no matter what the season. Having lived in Tennessee, I never thought I would find a friendlier place to live. It’s not necessarily friendlier here, but it’s a really close tie.

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