Further Adventures in Alaskan Retirement

I hope with all my talk of reading and cards and napping and eating you don’t think Alaskan Retirement is all bucolic. I mean, Alaska is to pastoral as grizzly bear is to frolicking lamb.

First of all, there is the shooting range, where I am now moderately proficient with a rifle as long as that rifle is propped up on something still. (Trap shooting — shooting moving clay pigeons with a shotgun — was another story. Turns out, it really doesn’t work if you sight with the wrong eye.)

Second, I went moose hunting. I did not go moose finding, but that’s ok.

Third, there has been a brownie in the neighborhood. When you are retired in Alaska, a brownie isn’t a dessert; it is a grizzly. Now, a couple of nights ago, Grumpy went outside to put in the chickens, and next thing we know he’s calling for backup. Something had spooked those birds and several of them were out of their run. One had been half-plucked and devoured on the side of the driveway. Soon I am clomping around in Grammy’s clogs in the pushki and fireweed along the backside of the run, looking for a lost chicken. I’m not the first big creature to clomp around back there; everything is smashed down from the alder thicket to right up along the fence. It is getting very dark and I can’t find the chicken.

The next morning we concluded it was a bear. Black or brown, we do not know. At water aerobics, everyone had an opinion and everyone had a story about bears and other things that eat chickens. Like the one where someone’s friend finds one of her chickens half through the fence, pulls it back in, and finds an ermine attached to the other end. There was a long conversation in the locker room on the subject, while I looked in the mirror and noticed my swimming suit was getting old and saggy and maybe soon ready for its own retirement.

Which is ok, because my Alaskan Retirement and my water aerobic attendance, is over now and I am back at home where Squinchy wishes we were barking at squirrels.


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