Stopping at Girdwood
I'm on the Seward Highway south of Anchorage.
Another trip to Alaska, this is the latest of many
that over the course of the past several years
have helped keep my battery charged and life in focus.
I pull into the Tesoro in Girdwood,
stopping for gas, some coffee, and a stretch
before resuming my pilgrimage down the Peninsula
for another crack at those Kenai Kings
and the halibut at "the end of the road."
As I enter the temple to the twin gods of petroleum and caffeine,
several "twenty-somethings" bustle past me out the door
with just-purchased loaves of bread and packages of cold cuts.
They sit down amongst a sprawl of backpacks and hiking boots,
enjoying the feel of the cool, green grass on their newly-liberated feet
as much as they are enjoying their hastily made sandwiches.
With food in their mouths and glaciers on their minds,
They smile and agree in unison when I walk past them and ask,
"Was it a good climb?"
At the pump next to mine, gassing up a very muddy Firebird,
is a young man with slicked-back hair
wearing a leather jacket and a new pair of blue jeans.
He's occupied with wiping a splotch of mud
off of his obviously expensive cowboy boots.
Satisfied with the condition of his footwear,
he returns the nozzle to the pump and he's back in the 'Bird,
heading north to the bright lights of Anchorage, a weekend spent answering his own "call of the wild"
Sitting on a picnic table is an older gentleman,
wearing a string tie and a crisply-pressed white shirt
He's looking up at his wife of forty-five years
who's in the passenger window of their Winnebago.
She's in sunglasses, wearing a kerchief on her head.
He has a map spread open on his lap and he points to a spot.
She shakes her head.
He moves his finger and points again and she shakes her head.
Again, moving his finger, he points, and is greeted with a nod of approval.
He climbs into the Winnebago and pulls out onto the blacktop.
I see the "Good Sam Club" sticker on the rear window,
next to the decals from most of the states west of the Mississippi. Sam's halo is in place and he's grinning down at me. His vantage point doesn't afford him the opportunity to see where he's going; what's on the road ahead is a mystery. But, like the couple up front and most of us here on life's journey, he knows exactly where he's been. And that's what makes him smile.