Crane Babies

We heard them before we saw them–two majestic sandhill cranes. Mom and Pop Crane dodged a car that braked wildly. Then Mom Crane launched upward, and Pop followed her, all the while frantically trilling loudly to… whom? Crane Baby One! Crane Baby One could have passed for a lively plucked chicken. In the middle of…

Old Hands, Young Hands

Grandson is 41. Grandma is 92. Her bed is her parlor these days. Grandson sits on Grandma’s rumpled blankets and their hands speak a language only they know. He is her firstborn grand-boy. In bygone days he curled up in a sleeping bag on her bedroom floor, laughing and talking into the night. French toast…

Smell It?

Right now you are breathing an array of “smell-cells” that travel through your nostrils to rendezvous and be analyzed at a brain terminal inside your head. The brain reads and routes these smell cells through what is called the limbic system from which an aroma of pancakes or perfume affects mood, emotions, behavior and especially,…

No Escape for Dads

Isn’t it amazing that a drop of saliva can identify the culture “soil” from which we sprout–European, African, Asian, Middle Eastern…? Our family fathers were stone masons, preachers, lawyers, engineers, and outlaws! Like old journals, their values gather dust until we face life-altering choices. Then it matters what kinds of fathers we have as a heritage.…

Leave It to Beavers

  Beavers have turned a swath of forest into a meadow.   Dried salmon leftovers from bear’s catch last year.     It’s been 15 years since we hiked this area. It’s only 10 minutes from our house. We didn’t see a single beaver in any ponds. Fish and Game may have trapped them out…

Whisper for the Prosecution

The trial was in its final days. Ms. Gentry had been questioned by the defense, and Prosecutor Hand had cross-examined her, but he wasn’t finished. Hand stood before the witness stand, and Ms. Gentry blanched at the question. “Did you hear me?” Hand delighted in pummeling defense witnesses. “I’ll ask you again: Does God talk…

God’s Grinders

God used my firstborn son to grind off some of my sharp edges. Sparks flew, and God positioned my second and third son to file down more barbs and burrs. I felt pretty smooth. But my wife looked over their work, and she immediately had a conversation with God–like I wasn’t even in the room.…

I Will, He Will

. When I reach down deep and nothing reaches back. When my heart beats hard and I have no strength. When no one knows the darkness inside. When something whispers, “Run!” but I stay. When hope is a mirage. When love is a word without substance. When all that is familiar seems foreign. When making…

Praying Protection

Someone told me that “God isn’t allowed in our schools anymore.” Is that true? I understand the sentiment. In 1962, the Supreme Court deleted a teacher’s ability to lead students in prayer or promote Christianity. Institutions are now designed to inoculate children against “unhealthy” and “dogmatic” beliefs. But isn’t God still omnipresent? We can’t blame…

Graybeards’ Charge

Have you ever considered how blessed you are, if the graybeards in your family are God-fearing, gentle souls? I look at my own family and feel cheated that my grandfathers hoarded their wisdom and experience during their golden years. I never met Grandpa Smith. He commercial fished in the Gulf of Mexico. He was a…

Promised Land

Like every family, ours has had its share of upheavals and trials. We live out our relationships imperfectly–and radically forgive one another to survive family life. I would be neglecting my calling if I let my 60+ years fade without encouraging you to live a Bible-principled life. I am convinced that knowing Jesus Christ delivers us to…

Where’s the Lede?

I worked at the Anchorage Times for about three years. Alaska statehood pioneer Bob Atwood published the newspaper, and his staff kicked out three-to-five editions a day. At the Times, a newspaper headline summarized the content of a story as succinctly as possible. A copy editor would proof a reporter’s story and often write and…

Misfits

Misfits. It takes one to know one, and that’s how Ward knew that Morey was a misfit too. Morey was a year younger than Ward, and Ward rolled his eyes whenever Morey followed him down the school breezeway. Ward wished he knew a way of being friends WITH Morey without being embarrassed BY Morey. Decisions that…

Swarming Warnings

Two young women felt something like insects swarming in their clothing as they hiked Rainbow Mountain near Anchorage. At Rainbow Mountain’s crest, Yvonne brushed away cobwebs from her face. She stopped by a boulder that was shaped like a giant thumb—and it seemed to be humming like a hive. Yvonne’s hiking partner, Ruth, swatted at…

Yak Attack

On a late-evening drive to the Eagle River Nature Center one expects to see a moose or a bear—but never a yak.  The English word “yak” derives from the Tibetan “gyag,” (which actually refers to the male of the species), and the females are called “naks.” So, a male and female twosome might be called a…

Joystick in Alaska History

Copyright © 2018 Richard Drebert All Rights Reserved. With 10 other Zeros and 20 bombers, Flight Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga attacked the military base and fishing village of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. After leaving the town in flames, oil bled from his engine and he realized that his crippled Zero would crash before he landed on the…

Bearing Pizza

The day melted away, and evening gloom had swallowed all shadows. I sat in our breakfast nook finishing off a late-evening plate of stroganoff when a dark shape a few feet away stole my attention. I dropped my fork when I realized it was a black bear just outside our window. A little scraggly, this…