Last Thursday at his talk about William Seward and Tsar Alexander II, writer Michael Dunham tossed off a “what-if” that got the Betster thinking. In the Crimean War of 1853-56, the British war fleet attacked Petropavlosk and could have taken Russian Sitka, but didn’t. What if they had? Dunham asked.
Huh. So Great Britain seizes Alaska, and from Vancouver north we’re all part of Canada. We’d still be tough old sourdough Alaskans, except more polite, eh? Instead of Alaska State Troopers in blue coats keeping the peace, we’d have Mounties in red coats.
Who knows what else would be different. Benny Benson still would have designed the state flag, but instead of eight stars of gold on a field of blue, the stars would have been maple leaves. Juneau might never have become the capital since Victoria already ran things in Southeast Alaska.
Homer would probably be Homer, because it’s such a great port and who wouldn’t want to live here? Would it be named “Homer?” Maybe Homer Pennock would have had a change of heart and named us after the woman in his crew, Della Banks. Some things would have been easier, like only one border crossing coming into the country from the United States to Canada.
One thing we won’t have to speculate on is the weather. That wouldn’t change, and we’d still be grumping about how late this spring is and are we going to have the Winter King Tournament? The answer is “yes,” and that’s just one of the amazing things to do this weekend, like these other Best Bets:
BEST BIG WEEKEND BET: Monday is Seward’s Day, a holiday for state and local offices. Catch another lecture when Assistant Professor of History Jeff Meyers presents “Russia’s Folly” at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Kachemak Bay Campus. He looks at why Russia sold Alaska and a recent movement to get it back.
BEST BREATHE BET: Are you tense and nervous and can’t relax? Try the ancient practice of meditation. From 6:30-8:30 p.m. today at the Kachemak Bay Campus, Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche, internationally known Tibetan Buddhist teacher, presents “10 Ways Meditation Improves Your Life.” The event is free, part of Rinpoche’s visit to Homer.
BEST GOOD OL’ CHUCK BET: There are grandparents alive today who grew up reading Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” in the funny papers. The classic comic strip comes alive in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” the Homer High School Concert Choir’s Broadway musical this school year. It shows at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Mariner Theatre. Tickets are $10 general, $8 seniors and $7 students, on sale at the Homer Bookstore.
BEST BRING IT BET: Technically, it’s spring, but as we say in Alaska, “not current in this time zone.” Still, it might be warming a tad, all the more reason to start thinking about gardens and stuff. Check out Rachel Lord’s talk, “Growing a Cutting Garden,” from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the Best Western Bidarka Inn for the monthly meeting of the Homer Garden Club.