The year is 1991. Mike and I are caretaking for the first time at Bristol Bay Lodge. ‘Tis the season; the Dillingham public radio station plays holiday music, but we can’t get to the post office twenty miles away in Aleknagik because while the bay is frozen preventing us from taking the boat out, the main part of the lake is open due to relentless winds, so we can’t take the snow machines, either. We have cards and packages waiting for us, but we can’t get to them.
I want to make holiday cookies–ones that look like Christmas since that might be all the Christmas we get. Alas, we have no food coloring, no cookie press, no sprinkles or decorations, and no cookie cutters.
So we snip some aluminum, get out the soldering iron, and make cookie cutters.
It’s 2008. We still use those cookie cutters, though not very often because I’m not a huge fan of the kinds of cookies that use cutters. This year, however, Kiki magazine had a recipe for Polish Sugar Cookies, and I’ve been in a holiday baking/crafting mood, so bring on the cookie cutters, colored icing, sprinkles, paint brushes, and toothpicks.
“But my plaid cookie’s not done!” Mike protests after I snap the picture.
“That’s okay, a lot of them aren’t done. It looks fine checked.”
“But it’s supposed to be plaid.”
“Fine. Finish it now.”
So he did.
I didn’t wait for him to paint his hand.
Back in 1991, the lake did not freeze before Christmas; however, the caretaker of a lodge further north was a pilot. A couple of days before Christmas, he flew to Dillingham to pick up supplies. On his way home to his lodge, he stopped in Aleknagik and picked up mail for us and Val, a woman caretaking five miles upriver from us. He landed on the bay out front and delivered holiday gifts and mail in time for Christmas.
Santa doesn’t always drive a sleigh. Sometimes he flies a blue Supercub. We gave Santa a heap of cookies for thinking of us.