Grand Season

As we walked, my granddaughter Edie’s song reminded me what really matters. Together we listened to the chorus of wind as it whispered to cottonwoods and birch trees, “Get dressed for winter.” It’s hard to wrestle time from the grasp of obligations — and then give it away. But those memories linger in the heart…

Margie’s Memorial

 © 2020 Richard Drebert. All Rights Reserved.  Starkey could barely see over the snow berms piled on either side of the highway. The forest, costumed in powdered sugar, stretched for uninhabited miles, and the old man pondered how that life had lost its sweetness. Margie was gone. He sipped bitter, cold coffee from a metal Thermos…

McMuffin on the Rocks

No bears on the trail today… Of necessity, I had set out to pick up groceries that I ordered at Fred Meyer days ago—but on this trip, I got distracted by ALASKA… In 30 years of Great Land living, I couldn’t have conceived a more nightmarish reality, where authorities order families to practice social distancing…

Facing Change

            A few of us are blessed with a primeval sense of abandon. We live for the satisfying shudder — bungee jumping from a bridge, or standing pat in the face of a grizzly’s false charge. Far more of us are contented to “partake” of Alaska’s perils behind a telephoto lens.              Adventurous or not,…

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…

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.…

Where Rubber Meets the Road

One of my boys never left our driveway without leaving rubber on Birchwood Loop. Our closest neighbor loved it (not). On our two acres of land, cannibalized 4x4s pleaded with me to put them out of their misery at the salvage yard. I couldn’t walk a straight line 20 feet without tripping over an engine,…

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…

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…

Arctic Mystery

  An Inupiat Eskimo grocery list certainly differs from most people’s. Residents of Kivalina, Alaska, eat bowhead whale, caribou, walrus, bearded seal, and a variety of fish. The village of Kivalina is built upon a barrier reef island, 625 miles northwest of Anchorage, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. Their drinking water is pumped one…

Baking Mileposts

“Would you make me some biscuits?” I dump flour into a giant mixing bowl, and Mom squints happily at the white cloud. For her, biscuits are mileposts baked into four score and seven years. On the fridge door I study her scribbled recipe: A smidgeon of baking powder, salt and Crisco … “Mmmm. Looks goood.”…