Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back Tracking

We have been moving around on the highways in Alaska since Doug is on vacation, leaving our camper tracks here and there just like the pests are leaving their tracks on the poor Quaking Aspen. since I took this picture I have learned that the Aspen Serpentine Leafminer is the reason for the silvery look to the quaking aspen in our area right now.

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?"


"No sins?"



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.


Constance said...

Good to hear from you again! Travelling is SO much fun! Dave & I are headed to Yosemite in 2 more weeks!

I could relate to your graven images story being raised Catholic. I drove the nuns crazy as a girl, disagreeing with the doctrines and beliefs, questioning everything!

I have a question that will really show my ignorance. You mentioned in your blog that your baptismal name is Maria. Is Connie Marie your actual given name? You & your sister have 2 totally different names. Since my given name is Constance and I go by Connie, I've been really curious?

Connie Marie said...

I have the same first name that you have. :-) My full name is Constance Marie.

akeskileut said...

Welcome back (((Sis)))..Sounds like you had a nice time down in Kenai and seeing Father Targosky.
I'm so glad Dad made a stand for the Lord..PTL!! I miss him!:-)
Adam comes home on the 22 and we are planning to do to Kenai to do some dipping. We got a total of 10 reds from Seward on Nash Rd. side. Ken got 2 kings.

Constance said...

Okay you two, what is DIPPING????

Kerri said...

I hope you get a chance to go dipping again!

I don't know anything about other religions. Christianity is the basis of this community. The people who built this village did it specifically to live a Christian lifestyle. I can tell you the difference between Presbyterian and Pentecostal...that's about it. :o)

Ya know, for someone I've never "met" I sure do miss you when you're gone! ((((Connie)))) Welcome home!

Connie Marie said...

It's so nice to know I am missed when I am not at home!

To go dipping:

One uses a large net that is hung at the end of a long pole. The dipnet is dipped into the ocean while the dipper waits for a run of salmon to swim by. The salmon hit the net and the dipper (my husband) manuevers the pole so it traps the salmon then drags it in and deposits the fresh salmon onto the beach where the cute little salmon cleaning Gramma (that's me) has been waiting and now sees him coming in with a salmon (not a flounder again) and has eagerly dug out the sharpest filet knife to clean the fish with.

When the salmon are running strong this all is very hard work but when they aren't ----it's a very long, lonely day ---for both in this salmon dipping team!

Constance said...

Thanks for the explanation. Now I'm no longer ignorant, at least when it comes to "dipping". Down here in Texas, if someone "dips" it's usually dipping for snuff, certainly not Salmon. I love Salmon!!! Yummy. When we head to San Francisco on the 23rd, we're definitely doing the whole Fisherman's Wharf thing since we both love seafood so much. I agree with Kerri, I have never met you but it feels like we're friends anyway. I guess that's one of the many blessings of being heirs in Christ!