Best Bets

Batten down the hatches, Betsteroids. Get out the barbecue grills. Go find the garden tools. If you haven’t noticed, we’re coming up on the last Monday of May — Memorial Day, the traditional start of the tourist season, the weekend when the rest of Alaska seems to invade Homer, the day when finally all the tourist shops open up —

Wait a second. The key word here is “memorial.” While we celebrate the beginning of the season and the prospect of fish, fun and fortune, take a moment to remember the meaning of the day. In a tradition that goes back to the horror of the Civil War, on Memorial Day we pause to remember the American service members who paid the ultimate price for our country.

On Monday, many will remember the day sitting by graves fresh or weathered, honoring lives cut short in the hope that, as the Bible says, we study war no more. This weekend’s Best Bet? Attend one of the memorial services in Homer, Anchor Point or Ninilchik. Or, in the midst of a day off, pause to think of why this day matters, and why old men and women in caps stare off into space thinking of fallen friends.

Pray for peace. Our fallen brothers and sisters would rather those graveyards be filled with those who die natural deaths. They would probably want us to have a little bit of fun this weekend, because that’s what they fought and died for. Think of them, raise a glass in their honor and start the summer right, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST HANDS ON HEARTS BET: Our local veterans groups put on simple, but somber, Memorial Day services on the lower Kenai Peninsula. At 10 a.m. Monday, services are held at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery, Diamond Ridge. At noon services are at the American Legion Cemetery, Anchor Point, and at 2 p.m. services are at the American Legion Post 18, Ninilchik. If you’re a veteran or friend of a vet, the Anchor Point VFW has events all weekend. See the Calendar, page 14, for details.

BEST TELL ’EM’ BET: Want to know what’s going on in Juneau? Hey, the Betster is a bit confused, too. Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, takes a break from the session to check in at an Open House from 4-6 p.m. today at the Legislative Information Office. His staff also will be on hand to answer questions, and boy howdy do they work hard.

BEST TIME AND TIDES BET: We have some sweet minus 5-foot tides this weekend, and not at oh-dark-hundred, too. At 8:30 a.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Bishop’s Beach, Kachemak Bay Research Reserve and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge staff offer guided tide pooling. Wear rubber boots, of course, and maybe a jacket in case of r-a-i-n.

BEST BEST FRIEND BET: The Betster loves that bumper sticker that says “In a perfect world, every dog will have a home and every home will have a dog.” Help Homer Animal Friends fulfill that mission with the second-annual Dog Jog, Chariots of Fur, from 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday at Mariner Park. The tide will be right for a run or walk on the beach with your favorite canine companion. Pick a longer 5-km event or a short 1-mile dog jog for smaller dogs and people. Sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Running Club, the event is free, but donations are welcome for the animal friends.

BEST IT’S TIME BET: Here’s a good marker of the start of summer, the opening of the summer Homer Farmers Market. Get in line and wait for the market bell at 10 a.m. Saturday at the market on Ocean Drive.