Sometimes our guests view a 12 minute movie about Tetlin Wildlife Refuge, Native American culture and the state of Alaska. We make them coffee or tea and sell them maps, beading kits, chocolate bars or books. Many complain about the Yukon roads and praise the fact that Alaska roads are paved, have shoulders, and are in good condition. They welcome knowledge about gaining an hour of time back and the lack of Alaskan sales tax.
The highlight of our positions is talking to guests from all over the world who tell us how they ended up in Alaska, what animals they've seen during their travels, and the stories that brought them to Alaska. We share stories, suggestions, and dreams although we'll probably never see one another again. Some stay for a few minutes and some stay for over an hour. The experience so far has restored both of our faith's in mankind and has made us realize that there really are a lot of great people in this world and that we all have our own little stories and our own little dreams and commonalities.
The other day Joy was on the back deck when a couple came walking out holding hands. They told her they were saying goodbye to Alaska after nine years and heading for a new job in North Carolina. They stood quietly looking over the valley, knowing that it was most likely their last view of Alaska and wanting to engrave it deep into their memories. Joy almost cried with them as the turned toward their car and drove off.
Our biggest blessing is we are allowed to be flies on the wall during some peoples' happiest moments. The other night after hours we were walking the dogs and heading toward the deck. A U-haul truck followed by an SUV pulled into the the parking area. A woman and a small child got out of the SUV and a man jumped out of the U-haul excitedly, yelling to his wife, "We made it, we're in Alaska!" Then he grabbed the little girl, swung her in the air and asked her how it felt to be in Alaska. "It feels good!" she responded.
We approached and said hello and welcomed them to Tetlin. The puppies both welcomed the little girl with licks and sniffs as she petted them. We asked where they were from and where they were headed. They reported they had driven from Delaware and would be stationed in Anchorage, another days' drive away. At one point, the little girl announced that she was going to go catch the wasp and say hello to it and that she'd be right back. He mother quickly stopped her as we all laughed. As Kathy and I headed to the deck, we caught a glimpse of the couple hug and kiss - obviously sharing a wonderful moment of great joy. We were privileged to share in that moment as our hearts sang with theirs. All this - and it was only our first week!