Monday, June 29, 2015

One Moose of a Summer

UPDATE: Unlikely Merger is available now! We will offer 
the book FREE on Kindle July 1-5, 2015.

My Craziest Summer
by Deborah Dee Harper

It was the summer of 2008, specifically August of 2008. I remember it like it was seven years ago.

I was living with my daughter, Darice, and her husband, Ron (as I still do), and it was in the days before Molly, their little three-year-old girl, was born. We moved from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi to Ron’s new assignment on Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. Ron’s first year of this four-year tour would be spent in Korea, so it was just the two of us to keep the home fires burning and try to stay out of trouble.

Darice and Ron had previously spent four years on Eielson AFB near Fairbanks before our tour in Mississippi, and I’d joined their household during the last year of that Alaskan tour. That made Darice a relatively knowledgeable Alaska resident and me still a newbie. We soon discovered that living in the middle of the last frontier vs. living farther south near the ocean changed everything from the weather (a bit warmer and lots more snow) to the number and kind of wildlife (vastly larger) we’d encounter.

Ron left for Korea and we set out to explore our new home. Since we lived in military housing, we were relatively safe as far as marauding human beings went, but the wildlife did whatever they darned well pleased. One day I leaned against the family room side of the kitchen counter while Darice worked in the kitchen. Suddenly her eyes widened and she pointed behind me. I turned to see a huge bull moose walking about a foot beyond our backyard fence. He meandered through the backyards of our neighbors and off to parts unknown. It was wise to look both ways before leaving the sidewalk to make sure we weren’t in the path of one of those magnificent animals.

The memories blur together, but during that summer and in the three years beyond, we saw fin whales, humpback whales (and their babies), gray whales, and Belugas. There were sea lions, dall porpoises, dall sheep, eagles, wolves, moose, fox, otters, great horned owls, and bears. Glaciers, icy glacial rivers, towering snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, granite cliffs, caves, and thousands upon thousands of acres of pine forests surrounded us wherever we went.

Although all wildlife was abundant, the moose were the ones we ran across most frequently, sometimes in our own yard. This one wandered past our living room window and through our front yard while I ran out barefoot to take her picture. She was not amused. I went back inside.
There was one other time when my daughter and I ran across a moose and her brand spankin-new baby mooselet. She rested on the side of the road while her baby slept nearby. We discovered her on the short road to the base hospital. Normally well-traveled, the road remained empty, aside from the two of us (well, four counting the snoozing baby and its wary mother giving us the evil eye), and we able to spend a full 45 minutes drinking in the splendor of God’s beautiful creatures and reassure Mama Moose we weren’t a threat. She must have believed us because any other time, a new mama would’ve charged an intruder, stomped on his/her head, and eventually taught her/him a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget. God was surely with his foolish children that day.

The next three years included several earthquakes, an erupting volcano and the resulting ash fall (don’t get that stuff in your eyes, for Pete’s sake), long, dark, snow-filled winters, short, but breathtakingly beautiful springs, sunshine-filled (and very long) days of summer, and crisp, colorful autumns that ended with the Termination Dust—that first dusting of snow visible on the mountain peaks signifying the end of fall and the beginning of a much longer and darker winter.

Eventually, our years in Alaska came to an end when Ron completed his years of service and retired. We moved to Tennessee, a beautiful state in its own right, but will never forget those  glorious memories of that first summer in Alaska.

We will return.

Deborah Dee Harper resides in and writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Besides writing her humorous and inspirational Christian fiction, she enjoys agitating wildlife, taking her life in her hands, and in general, doing foolish things from which her Heavenly Father has graciously rescued her time and again. She plans to eventually learn her lesson and behave.

Deb has another daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons in Kentucky, and a son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons in Michigan. In addition to writing, she enjoys being a child of Christ, visiting her loved ones, herb gardening, reading, astronomy, and photography.

Her Road’s End series will be published soon by Write Integrity Press, and her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, which includes the story of a trip along the ALCAN Highway, is slated for re-release in four separate books. It’s available now in print compilation of all six stories. She maintains three blogs:,


Pat Dyer said...

What a great adventure, Deborah!

Deborah Dee Harper said...

Thanks, Pat... it really was the adventure of a lifetime. With all the shenanigans I pulled, I really shouldn't have lived to tell the tale, but God was with me :-)