There are pros and cons about everything. No matter what way you cut any cake, there are going to be pros and there are going to be cons. The place I choose to call home is a seemingly abandon island. A place where the mountains dip into the seas, and thunder and lightning crash after the rare, long hot summer days. We are popular during the summer – with twice our towns population rolling in from out of country, and out of state to sample what they think is authentic Alaskan living. But is anything but.
Its secluded. Its expensive. Its isolated. Its an island. The only way off the island, whos population is big enough that you don’t know everyone, but small enough that everyone knows someone who knows everyone, is to fly or by boat. Both options are expensive, and unless people have business or are desperate – they don’t come or go. Unless of course, its by cruise in the summer.
Needless to say I can count on one hand how many times my extended family members have been here to visit. Infact I would only need ½ of one hand. Because the times are sparse, and few. And while many question why I stay here, when I don’t have but a few pieces of family here – I answer back that it is precisely why I love it here so much. Sure the surroundings help, but the seclusion helps too. Anyone who wants to see me, really has to want to. And lets face it – not many want to. And that is ok with me.
Obviously it gets rough going at times – but that isn’t because of where I live, or who lives close by. Its because of certain circumstances, and certain happenings. Its because sometimes – life gives you a run for your money. And that wont change, no matter where I live.
Life with Josh isn’t what you would exactly call, typical. There are things we avoid, things we give up, things we don’t do. An unspoken pact. Its not that we complain, we adapt. We readjust our lives and march forward. Trying, in vain at times, to see the gold at the end of the rainbow. We all know its there – its just sometimes that rainbow goes behind a cloud, and the path is lost.
Earlier last week, I took the boys to lunch. A feat that hasn’t been attempted in atleast 6 months. Josh doesn’t eat unless he is at home. And everything is just right. He doesn’t tolerate large crowds for long periods of time, and braving a restaurant at rush hour, during the summer when there are usually no booths available – was probably a somewhat stupid move.
But there we sat. In an all to familiar setting. An old diner, outdated and cluttered. The atmosphere attempting to bring back the 60’s is seemingly popular, because every seat was taken. We snagged the last both, and watched the people come and go after placing our order.
The wait was longer than usual, and Josh was doing his best to stayed glued together. Once the food arrived I barked the orders to Dylan that we needed to eat quickly, and set to work.
Josh, who had held himself together thus far, was starting to unravel. It became more and more obvious that there was something different about him. Not only would he not touch his food, his shrieks became louder. Feeling as though all eyes were on us, I attempted to quiet him, knowing full well it would do no good.
Mid way through, an older waitress appeared. Fearing she was going to ask us to leave, I beat her to the punch and asked for the check. And a to go box, because although he smiled when his pancakes arrived – he wouldn’t dare touch them. She smiled, and commented on the boys. Knowing that the next line was going to be something related to “…but we need to ask you to leave.” I shoveled in the last of my lunch.
“I hope you enjoyed that” she smiled. “Because we decided to pay for your lunch.”
She went on to add that they, the entire staff, was glad we have come in. And that we were missed. Even though we hadn’t been in for a long stretch, and our visits were few and far between – they were glad we showed up. And to show their appreciation, they wanted to buy our lunch.
This afternoon, as I reflect on life here – I am reminded that I may not have blood family here. But I live in a community that accepts their own, and embraces them, fully. And to quote our daily news: “It’s been a tough summer for Ketchikan. It’s also been one with an outpouring of compassion and understanding that makes us all grateful to call this community home.”
I couldn’t have said it better if I tried. This is home. This will always be home. And nowhere else, no matter how many blood relatives roam the streets, can change my opinion.