The last time we added up the miles (I won't mention the gas and the dollars!) we have traveled so far we had just returned from Fairbanks. Back then, it was approximately 926 miles! Since then, we have just drove down and returned from dipping for salmon on the Kenai river/beach.
Such pretty weather we enjoyed there. I loved listening to the waves on the beach again. That pleasure is something I miss very much since living inland and away from the ocean that I grew up around.
We had some time before dipping while we waited for the next tide to come in so we took a walk in Old Kenai Town. We looked at a lot of old buildings and then we saw the Russian Orthodox Church there. I saw that the door was open so I started to turn into the gate to get a closer picture. Then a Priest came to the door and he invited me to come and look. He asked me where I was from. I told him Big Lake. Then Doug (who was keeping Chewy on his leash) called to him and said, "She was originally from Old Harbor." He nodded and said, "Yes, I thought so." He said the resemblance is there.
Then I recognized he was Father Targonsky, the Priest that always came to Old Harbor when I was a little girl! I talked to him a bit. Told him I was Senafont Shugak's daughter. He said that he remembered that name and said he remembered Dad. I was not sure he was remembering the right Senafont since he said he used to stay with Dad and Mom. I felt that he was so very cordial and wondered if he would be if he remembered that he shook the dust off of his robes before leaving my parents home that day so long ago after talking with them about the Ten Commandment's, specifically, the one about not bowing down and worshipping any graven images.
I liked to believe that he did remember Dad and Mom.
He told me he was 76 years old now and the first time he went to Old Harbor he was 31 years old. While thinking back to then, it seemed like a life that I had never known.
"What is your baptismal name?"
"Ah, yes, Maria."
I remembered one day during confession when he asked me (and the rest of the village),
"Have you been a good girl?"
"Have you any sins that you need to confess?"
Targonsky asked me to leave a donation and then said that I could reverence the holy pictures. I knew that meant to cross myself and then bow down and kiss the icon. I stood there and just took in the whole church and the holy pictures that filled the room. I stood there and we both were quiet. My mind filled with the courage that Dad had to have to leave the Russian Orthodox assembly. It was as though right then, I was agreeing with Dad ---who had died in 1987. No. I cannot bow down and kiss these pictures.
I looked at him and smiled then asked if I could take a picture of him and the church.
We spent two days in Kenai dipping for fish before we began the drive back home. A local there stopped to visit with me and commented that it is still a bit too early yet for any good salmon runs. The day before a cannery worker had told us that there is not enough fish being caught to keep the cannery going all day and that the cannery has been shutting down by midday. She said that is not the way it usually goes for this time of July.
I think if we go back we could get a better catch. I just don't know if that is going to work out.
Motorcross racing is making fast, deep tracks in our lives right now! If a race happens to end up down there, then MAYBE we will be back there, if not, I doubt it.