A Lesson Learned
As the great Alaskan holiday known as hunting season continues, the stories of the ones that got away and the exciting trips we’ve taken often get told at my dining room table over dinner. One of my favorite stories occurred on my first ever hunting trip when I was eight years old.
There was a large group of family and friends all together camping out on the banks of the Salchaket Slough just outside of Fairbanks. In the early mornings everyone would get up and head out to find the moose. By midmorning most of us would be back at camp, ready to make breakfast. On this particular morning we were having blueberry pancakes, made with freshly picked blueberries that bored me had foraged for instead of looking for moose. The camp stove was heated up and the pancake mix measured and stirred. The blueberries came next. My third grade self was ecstatic that the batter turned purple, a rookie mistake. I kept stirring with renewed vigor and in my excitement I dropped the spoon on the ground. A family friend retrieved it, the batter covered in dirt. I was upset, now we would have to find another spoon or rinse that one off. My friend winked at me and put the spoon back into the bowl, mixing it once again, dirt and all. That’s when I learned one of the most important lessons of my life, “A little dirt won’t hurt.” Those are still the best pancakes I think I’ve ever had.
Blueberries still hold a special place in my heart. Every year that I’ve gone out hunting I’m always sure to pick the last berries still holding on as an ode to those pancakes several years ago. Harvesting moose this year? Nope, I’m harvesting berries. CM Fairbanks