Thursday, September 28, 2006

Beluga Point Adventure

A beautiful September, even with rain, and last Saturday we called a mini-meeting to decide what to do with our day. You never know how many more weeks it'll be before there's snow, I can see it creeping down the mountains towards us as I speak--er, or write, or whatever.

We threw around different ideas, each person voting for what he or she liked best: David wanted to rent a movie, Spencer wanted to play ball, Lillian wanted to play Princess Fashion Polly and Grace didn't care as long as she could invite a friend.

Andrew suggested we take a drive to Beluga Point, about 20 miles south of Anchorage along Cook Inlet which appealed to me because A) the kids would be strapped into seat belts and contained in the car so I could expect a reasonable amount of conversation with my husband and B) I love taking drives.

The kids, however, were a tough sell--a car meant containment to them too--so we did what the parenting books say to do in those circumstances and we bribed them. Andrew promised they could each pick out a treat at the grocery store to take and eat on the way. Woo Hoo! Beluga Point it is! Talk about buying the vote. Don't let anyone ever tell you that money doesn't matter when it comes to an election.

So our first stop was Carrs grocery and Andrew for some odd reason had envisioned the kids happily picking out a donut, cookie or some other baked good to savor as their treat but as soon as David was seated in the car the child began rehearsing how he was going to get a pack of bubble gum--Bubblicious to be exact.

Spencer was intrigued once he saw the possibilities and announced he would be purchasing Altoids. Yes, Altoids. I asked if he knew what Altoids were. He said yes in a way that suggested he ate them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and sprinkled on his ice cream. I asked which flavor he favored but he was noncommittal. Andrew, upon hearing his sons' selections got somewhat irritated and said, "You can't get Altoids" as if Spencer would be breaking paragraph five of the International Dessert Regulations (Andrew is an attorney you know, he'd be all over that one).

I smiled, because I was having a great time: kids in the back, locked and immobile, another adult at my side and I didn't have to drive. Does it get any better? Pause. Okay, donuts would do it.

But I laid a gentle, womanly and persuasive hand on his arm and said in that certain way, "You know sweetheart it's okay with me if they want candy. The point is to let them have a treat and if fresh breath is a treat for them then it's certainly a treat for me!"

I wouldn't have opted for gum but then I'm not seven and can buy gum whenever I want. To David gum is a Controlled Substance and so all the more appealing. I have vivid childhood memories of my mother cutting gum out of my hair or finding gum melted in the drum of the dryer or stuck in the carpet. So my rule has been no gum. No way, no how. Not until you're old enough to A) chew, not swallow and B) dispose of properly--and that means in the trash!

So like all things forbidden, gum is a wonderful treat for him and if that charges his batteries, malzeltov!

But I can't explain the Altoids thing. Who knows where that came from.

First stop, Carrs grocery where Andrew made for the donut case, kids trailing along behind. He pointed with a smile to the jellies and said, "Who wants a donut?"

"I want bubblegum"

"I want Altoids"

"I just want a drink, where are the drinks Dad?"

"Candy!" (that was Lillian).

"Come on, don't you want a donut? Doooh-nut?"

At this point I left for the baking aisle to pick up an ingredient for dinner but when I met up with the crew at the check-out line there were no donuts to be seen. Grace had chosen orange pop and Lillian miniature kisses--I guess you'd call them misses--which were really just plain old candy-coated chocolate chips. I bet whoever came up with that burst of creative genius got a fat promotion.

Not even Andrew got a donut, which was the puzzler for me because wasn't he the one so hot to taste those trans-fats? Evidently no, he'd changed his mind. Did he feel like an Altoid instead? No, thank you he'll just have the hot chocolate we brought along.

O-kay . . .

But to conclude this melodrama we got to Beluga Point, parked and walked across the railroad tracks out to the island--really just an outcropping of rock, a miniature island just big enough for kids to explore. It's named after the white whales that are so often seen in the grey silty waters there and on the opposite side jutting into the inlet is a black beach in a private cove perfect for making footprints and watching the last bits of tide trickle through the sand (or Whale Fat as Lillian called it--I can only assume because it was quite jiggly).

I've been there plenty of times but something about the low misty clouds, the wind-brushed trees leaning north, the opaque yellow leaves fluttering but not yet falling, and the sun suddenly pushing down in slanting patches through holes in the clouds that appealed to me that day. Having lived in Alaska all my life I usually under-appreciate it's beauty but sometimes, like on Saturday, I'll see something and realize that I live in a beautiful place and that I'm happy here.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely family outing. The pictures are gorgeous. You are very lucky to live in such a beautiful place!

mothergoosemouse said...

Breathtaking pictures!

We've been talking about making a trip to Estes Park, also before the snow hits down here on the Front Range. Like you said, it could start anytime.

daring one said...

My word, that's gorgeous. I think the Altoids were a funny choice too but you're a wise mama to let the kids decide their own treats.