Last Thursday the Betster rediscovered why we live in Homer. After a busy day in town, yours truly rounded the corner into the Chez Betster driveway and came across a wall of snow drifts blocking passage. Seeking to get off the road just a bit, the Betster backed up, punched the gas pedal on the Subaru and danged if I didn’t push through those drifts and make it to the top. Whew. But when the Betster’s spouse came home, no such luck. “Stuck in car,” their text read. “Can’t get out.” The Betster strapped on snowshoes and hiked down to rescue said spouse.
Hurrah! Our neighbors appeared with snow shovels and pry bars and after a good hour of shoveling and poking, the Subaru was liberated. We got the car backed out onto the road, cleared out a space for the night and reparked the Subaru snout out for the morning.
See? Knowing you have neighbors and friends who will get your car unstuck has to be one of the best reasons to live here. We’ll pay it forward most likely in the endless good-deed chain that comes with being an Alaskan.
Right now in the Lower 48, we hope that people share that spirit. Texas had it particularly rough, with minus 2 degrees on Tuesday in Dallas and 7 degrees on Tuesday in Austin. Homer’s low temperature was 32. The Betster’s Twitter feed has been full of Northerners giving winter advice to Southerners — “walk like a penguin on ice,” and stuff like that.
We Alaskans like to tease Texans, but they’re good, tough people and will pull through. They’re like us — resilient and capable. When you face adversity, buckle down, push through and celebrate when you’re done, maybe with something like these best bets:
BEST GET OUT BET: Get some sunshine and exercise at Wynn-ter Sunday Family FUNdays from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center on East Skyline Drive. This is a day of free, self-guided or naturalist-led hikes and activities. Snowshoes are provided, there are two fire pits going to keep you warm and safely distanced, and s’more kits for a tasty treat. The self-guided and naturalist-led tours have a new theme each Sunday. Some of the upcoming activities include: learning how to identify birds that visit your backyard, make fire starters, explore snow science, off trail snow crust snowshoeing, building snow caves and more. Snowshoes are also available to rent at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies’ headquarters at 708 Smokey Bay Way. They are $5 per pair for a 3-day rental. Rentals for members are free. If you have made a donation to CACS you are a member. Please bring a mask/face-covering. They are required indoors at Wynn and when people are within 6 feet of non-household members.
BEST CARRY ON BET: The Homer Public Library’s celebration of Black History Month continues with storytelling by author Skywalker Payne. The library will host Mothers of Black History, a family friendly (best for children over 6) virtual storytelling series, led by Payne, as part of its mission to promote lifelong learning, cultural creativity, and community engagement. The series will be presented live on Zoom from 6-7 p.m. every Tuesday in February. To participate in the live storytellings, register for free at http://bit.ly/hstry11. The videos will be available for viewing on the library website.
BEST HAVE HEART BET: The Homer Council on the Arts features in its gallery a recent community outreach project, Art from the Heart. Through this initiative, the arts council distributed uplifting letters, almost 150 student artworks, and a compilation of commissioned performances by local musicians and dancers to at-risk members of our community who have been isolated during the pandemic. Stop by the gallery from 1-5 p.m. on weekdays through Friday, Feb. 26 to see highlights, including reproductions of student artwork and photos of grateful recipients.
BEST GET CREATING BET: Speaking of the Homer Council on the Arts, if you’re looking for some creative inspiration, the arts council invites artist to be part of a new community exhibit, “The Art of Wellness: Stories of trauma, loss, and resilience.” The exhibit will be on display in the council’s gallery during March and will also be viewable online. Works in all media (visual art, digital media, literary, performance recording) are encouraged. A portion of proceeds will support the Independent Living Center’s TRAILS program. The deadline to submit is 5 p.m. on March 1. To learn more and submit, visit homerart.org/gallery.