My Dear Kotzebue,
I love you. Go ahead and stick me in the side with your semi-famous photographers and published author of the wilderness, and then make a “TSK” noise at me for tying the same. Go ahead and walk in the middle of the road whilst drunk and yell at me to “BRING BACK YOUR JUG!”
I’ll simply smile and be on my way, what can I say, I love you, and you can’t stop that. Even your wretched winter weather can’t stop that, and if anything could, THAT surely would, with your teasingly hot summer days without a breeze in sight, to your snow in July and forty below in the dark, dark winter. Actually, I don’t mind the winter’s too much – especially since I’m married now, and can snuggle up to my hubby underneath my goosedown comforter and my grandmothers wool quilt. What I don’t like is how this winter makes you feel. SAD! Well, that and the softball politics draining every game until no one wants to play! Oh, and the Camo Clan arriving on the day of Hunting Season sprinkling their little white tents around our “pristine wilderness” just trying to get that trophy buck.
We both know you’re not one to let a little snow and ice get in your way, afterall, you ARE above the Arctic Circle. My Goodness, we have a blizzard warning at least once per week, and your trusty loaders pile all the snow next to my driveway, (and my mothers) so we can’t get out. But that’s you Kotzebue! You’d think we were in competition with Helsinki, Anchorage, Moscow, or Rekjavik, with the way you carry on about how winter’s on its way after only the first freeze in September. Hasn’t my undying love warmed you even a little?! I love you and want to see you smiling like you do when the Kattivik Trade Fair is here, and you give us 60 degree weather with no mosquitoes to enjoy our Qayaq races and Eskimo Dancing.
Go ahead, dump your snow on my porch a few more times, as I cuss and moan about cleaning it off. That won’t stop MY love. Hit me with your loader if you want to – I could use the money to pay for my heating fuel! Or wait, if you hit me, then I’ll have to disclose my physical and mental state and suffering, and even after that, I’d only get a predetermined sum, right? Well, I think you explained it once after a night of drinking and cards in the one of two garages here, so its kind of hazy. Anyway, did I mention that I love you?
Go ahead. Answer me in Inupiaq the simple questions I ask in English, your second language. The fact that I can’t understand even 60% of your messages on KOTZ is proof that the three decades I’ve been alive, trying to catch on to the language, wasn’t quite enough. I think you understand though, I do it all for you, because I love you, and this is why you allow me to live here. Thank you for that…I’ll do whatever it takes, so one day it will come as naturally to me as it does in the Upper Kobuk for women my age. I even love the new hunting rules that state that I need a hunting license to feed my family! Gee! I never knew that…to stand on the dock of the sound, you must have a fishing license as well. I still love you though. I even love your city laws, and all your other rules for that matter, because how am I supposed to do what is expected of me if I don’t know what that is?!
What gets me though is the sincere way underneath it all. You believe in yourself. I read online that 80% of people are from here, and of the other 20%, those are either people looking for adventure, or people looking for money. You don’t just give yourself away to the first person who asks! This is evidenced in so many ways! One, is the fact that those people looking for money are long gone…and those looking for adventure, are here to stay. If not stay, they’ll at least procreate and leave some new chromosomes to add to our plethora of genealogy. And I love it all.
I hope it doesn’t hurt you when I say this Kotzebue, but we both believe in being straightforward, so I’m going to just come out with it…a lot of your food is really bad here. I’d say about 90% if it anyway…and seriously, why charge me ten bucks for a gallon of milk from a cow? I mean, maybe a free range Appalachian goat herder who makes his living off walking the goats like a semi-Jesus and milking them by hand can get away with charging ten bucks a gallon…but plain old, manufactured, probably not even half milk, cow’s milk? Come on. Anyway, we all have our dreams and delusions, and the fact is, you charge too much to eat here. But, I still love you. I love your good subsistence food, it is absolutely exquisite and has to be patiently waited for, then taken care of so as to be magically discovered by those who want it. Kind of like true love! If you don’t care enough to try to find it, though, there are plenty of food traps within sight.
Together, though, lets feed the world a plate of Caribou Liver with camp onions (chives?) complete with lots of Johnny’s Seasoning Salt…or Pickled Beluga with jalapenos…or Eskimo salad, Fish Eyes, She-fish with mayo and parmesean topping, raw seal meat drenched in oil, and my favorite…boiled intestines with mustard. My treat. I have a big house, complete with a fake fireplace, and I’ve got a couple of bottles of wine chilling for the both of us. Because I love you…and I want to know where the Caribou herd is.