Origin Story, part 1

It's a long way 'round to the name of this fledgling enterprise. I think we'll take it in pieces.

For starters, there was Ornery Red. The following appeared on my now-neglected blog back in 2008.

Jim D. (one of many Jims in my life) selected his own nickname (as I remember it anyway). He tried to convince me he was crabby. Even imitated crabs now and then to prove it.

I never believed him. He was patient with this little girl who insisted on wearing a skirt or pink pants over her rubber boots while stomping through a bog or camping on a beach. He taught me to fish and helped me reel in my first (and most of my subsequent) salmon.

I wish I could remember specific lessons he taught me, but the best I can tell you is that he showed me SE Alaska, a place I fell in love with. He took us to a hillside outside of Wrangell where garnets lay at the surface of the soil. He made my 6th birthday a great one with hot dogs roasted over a fire on a beach. He taught me to fearlessly trot across logs high above rocky waterfalls; I suppose that means he taught me balance. He let me keep the ugliest salmon ever, and we cleaned it, wrapped it in foil w/lemon and dill, cooked it over another fire on another beach and proved that even aging salmon can taste great under an Alaskan sunset. He taught me that as fascinating as sea cucumbers are, they have the texture of erasers when you eat them. He showed me a pod of sea lions and took me to their islands where I found a peace I can still conjure in my heart.

Jim introduced me to Kitty (as Mom says: they were soooo in love). Kitty helped move my knitting from dishcloths to lace. She can fish and hunt and keep a boat running and make quilts. She knows botany and bakes amazing kolaches. She recently added building kayaks to her repertoire of skills. Though I haven’t seen her since 1990, she still inspires a lot of what I do. (and we're finally going back to visit her in July!)

About 20 (almost 30 now) years ago, Jim disappeared in a helicopter accident. There are still occasional nights when he appears in my dreams and I wake thinking he’s about to come back and take me to explore a glacier or a hot spring or drag my parents straight up a mountain because paths are for sissies. Or maybe he’d just take us to a quiet, rocky beach, build the biggest campfire you’ve ever seen and tell us where he’s been and what he's been doing all these years.