November was spent mainly on the Elk Farm before a return to actual snow in Bethel. Early in November a 70th birthday was noted and there have been several events scheduled around that event. 70 years seem like a long time, so November 5th was spent walking around the farm contemplating how a person could get so old so fast.

One thing that immediately came to mind was that walking around the farm at age 70 was ironic in that walking around the farm was one of the first activities in this long escapade. As a kid, walking in the woods with a dog or two was a strategy to avoid duties such as piano lessons, church and dishes. At age 70, you could add work to that list and little has changed. Much of the time there were a lot more than 1 or 2 dogs involved, but for over 60 of those years the main focus has been escaping inside activity for outside activity, often involving a walk, and always involving a lifelong fascination with Mother Nature. A fear of eventually being stuck inside is one of the motivating factors when gearing up for a daily walk. In November the walks averaged about three miles a day, with the longest at 6 miles. On top of that many farm miles were logged on the electric golf cart specially equipped for off road use. If anything, the fascination with Mother Nature is greater now than it ever was, maybe because of the exceptional opportunities to enjoy the outdoors that currently exist. The silence of walking in nature has always been a time for thinking and planning. Maybe this is the reason.

Speaking of nature, the trail cams continue to provide glimpses of night life around the farm. This critter helped himself to a meal from a deer carcass stashed in the woods behind the garage at the farm. He was joined later by another coyote, a fox, and the next day by an eagle. Everyone has to eat. There was a time when predators were unwanted on the farm, but upon reflection they are now welcome. The fact that they can survive when so many people are determined to eliminate them is impressive. They have to hustle for a living and can only survive in an environment that allows them access to prey. Many predators thrive on the Elk Farm.

A couple of old friends composed birthday poems that are worth posting here. One was on Facebook already, from Beverly Hoffman, and the other was written 20 years ago for a 50th birthday by Debbie Fairbanks, but still applies. In Bev's poem, there are instances of abuse described that are accurate, but it should be noted there were plenty of paybacks. At public events in Bethel when there is a microphone, it always seems appropriate to tell a Bev story or two, which usually results in her throwing something at the stage. One time there was a Kuskokwim 300 event in Bethel while Bev was undergoing cancer treatment in Anchorage. Of course one possibility at such a time would be to ask for a moment of silence or some such solemn acknowledgement of her problem. But instead, it seemed like a good time to read to the audience several juicy parts from the best selling book "Going to Extremes" by Joe McGinnis which featured a section on Bethel, with an emphasis on Bev and her husband John McDonald. Bev complained later about being picked on while she was gone, but it should be noted that it helped her recover fully from her illness if for no other reason to get back to Bethel and get even. She got her chance a while later. There was a theatrical production in Bethel, and Bev arrived late wearing a giant wig to cover her then hairless dome from the cancer treatment. The wig was easily 6 inches high and nearly as wide. She decided to plunk down right in front of the wrong guy. Just before the show started, there was a tap on her shoulder. "Hey lady, could you take off that damn wig? Its blocking the stage." With that Bev exercised her patented move, a solid blow to the upper arm, to demonstrate that she was fully recovered.

Despite all the birthday festivities, ALO managed to settle one case for a client. A young Bethel student was driving her car near the local grocery store when an employee backed a vehicle into the side of her car and pushed her into a road barrier. The car was totalled and the young woman was moderately bruised. She was about to compete in the state basketball tournament so she didn't make much of a fuss about her injury, fearing it would prevent her from playing. It took a while to convince the out of state insurance company that Bethel cars are worth more than the same car in Seattle, and that Bethel injuries are worth more than the same injury in Seattle, but eventually they came around.

A young Bethel woman recently made the news from Budapest, Hungary. Natalie Hanson has been into power lifting for a while, and seems like she is doing fairly well. She won a world title. Here is a young woman who might look and sound familiar to at least the older readers of the ALO news. How does a teenager get a voice like that? A con artist stole a bunch of money from some good folks in the Dillingham area. He got caught, and now he's trying to con the judge.

So there is a new tax law in the works. It is not well supported by the voters, it seems. It was passed in a hurry, with little discussion. Some say it is a simple pay off to wealthy donors who stand to reap wads of money. Forbes Magazine, a long time voice on the right, had this to say about the bill. Adding more than a trillion dollars to the deficit doesn't seem like a good idea, especially when it is money going directly to America's richest people. And cutting Medicare, among many other drastic cuts, doesn't seem like a good idea either. Now today, it was announced that next year Social Security and other "entitlements" will be cut to reduce the deficit. Its not a good time to be a person of modest means in America.

Misconduct by powerful men dominates the news these days. The most powerful man seems to get a pass on that important point. 17 women have accused him yet he is still able to pass judgment on others accused, claiming all his accusers are liars. This is all going to erupt sometime soon, and Trump is in trouble. His 32% approval rating won't help much.

Finally a good tale from the old days in Bethel. This report comes from a friend who was on a Bethel area basketball team that got to play in an Anchorage tournament in the 1970's. There were some village players on the team, and trips to the big city were not common for some of them. To demonstrate how rural the Bethel area was at the time, few village stores had refrigeration yet. One item that rarely appeared in a village was juice, but in that era, Tang appeared on the market and was a big seller in the bush. In fact, famous musher Joe Redington was sponsored by Tang and he claimed to carry a thermos jug filled with warm Tang on his sled.

After one game, the Bethel team assembled in a favorite bar the called the Montana Club for some refreshments. A seasoned waitress approached the table and asked the players for their order. Coming to the last guy, a great shooter from Nunapitchuk, the waitress asked him what he would like. "Vodka and Tang." Never missing a beat, the waitress responded "Do you mind if we substitute orange juice?"