Open Thread: A Real Alaskan
by Linda Kellen Biegel
I attended a wonderful, Alaska star-studded fundraiser for The One Anchorage Campaign Sunday morning (before the Super Bowl) at former Governor Tony Knowles’s house. It was great to see everyone:
Governor Tony Knowles, Alaska Constitution signer Vic Fischer and former Anchorage Assemblywoman Jane Angvik.
Blake Merrifield, candidate for the Alaska Legislature against Wes Keller (R-Wasilla) talking with Governor Knowles.
Jeff Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU
Former Mayor of Anchorage, Matt Claman
The Knowles’ dog
I was disappointed that I had arrived at the event just after Senator Mark Begich made a rousing speech. However, I had an unexpected reminder as I was leaving of how politicians are different in Alaska (in a good way).
It seems that one of the guests got her car high-centered in next to one of the giant snow berms that Anchorage has as a result of our record-breaking winter. I saw a number of folks trying to help her get out but as I was walking slowly with my cane, a healthy, tanned man sprinted by me carrying two shovels.
It was our former Governor. (Yes, I did note that he is older than me and was sprinting.)
He immediately got to work trying to get the car unstuck. That’s when I pulled out my camera.
Yes, I was taking pictures and not helping. I have blown discs in my neck and back, dammit…and I was offering lots of verbal “help!”
The shovels weren’t working because they couldn’t get them wedged between the snow and the car.
I said, “If you had some kind of heavy duty pole or a stick, you could more easily loosen the snow.” When I said that, I gestured with my right hand…the one that contained the cane.
I said, “Perhaps a stick like this cane in my hand would help?”
I handed it to Governor Knowles and he crawled on his stomach, shoving the cane under the car to loosen the snow. (I didn’t take a picture of that. A gratuitous booty shot of my former Governor just seemed somehow wrong.) Another woman used it at the front part of the car to loosen the snow there.
Happily, the guest was then able to drive the car out of the spot without a push.
As we were all going our seperate ways to our cars, Tony Knowles was standing in front of me, grinning, holding out the shovel he was using. It had a gold plaque on it. He explained that it was presented to him (ground-breaking for the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, perhaps?)
“I knew this thing would come in handy some day,” he laughed!
So on top of championing the cause of civil rights for all, he’s not afraid to get dirty/snowy! I just can’t picture the politicians I’ve met from other states lying on the ground to dig snow out from under someone else’s car. However, I can picture many of the ones I’ve known in Alaska, male and female, doing just that. It was a nice reminder that we are surrounded by “real people up here,” especially since the news has made it quite obvious that is NOT the case nationally!
The next time it’s snowing another foot or it’s the 5th day of below-zero temperatures and I ask myself, “Why are we here?” — I’ll remember this.