Homer’s Best Bets

Remember KLM Flight 876, the jet that went through the Redoubt Volcano ash in 1989? All four engines shut down and the jet fell 13,000 feet before two could get restarted. Everyone landed safely, but what a ride.

That’s sort of how Alaska felt early Sunday morning with the 7.1-magnitude Iniskin earthquake. It was like an entire state flew in a ginormous plane. For about 30 terrifying seconds we didn’t know what would happen when the shaking stopped. Other than some broken bottles, in Homer we did OK. Four Kenai homes burned, but no one died.

No one died. In some places a 7.1 quake would mean tens of thousands dead. If the Iniskin shake had been shallower, the Betster might be writing this from the Homer High School gym on a beater Sears manual typewriter.

If, if, if …  That’s how life goes sometimes. In our fickle existence on this big blue marble, mere chance sometimes dictates our fate. What if the moose hadn’t crossed the road right then? Sometimes we get lucky. Subsurface plates slip right then, right there, shaking things up a bit, releasing megatons of energy, but otherwise not harming us. 

Count your blessings, Homerites. We built sturdy but flexible houses. We lost nothing more than things that would eventually break anyway. The universe spared us — this time. No wonder no one could get back to sleep on Sunday morning.

Prepare for the next potential disaster. Hug your loved ones a little tighter and celebrate the glorious gift of life and good health, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST BIG FRIDAY BET I: Hoo boy. There’s a lot going on Friday evening that you’re going to have to plans things well or make some choices. Starting at 5 p.m. Friday at the Pratt Museum, there’s a farewell party for longtime education Ryjil Christianson, who’s leaving the Pratt for other endeavors. Stop by, grab a snack, say hello and good luck, and then head over to …


BEST BIG FRIDAY BET II: At 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts on Pioneer Avenue, it’s the 11th annual Arts Awards and annual meeting. Check that out, congratulate the winners and then stroll up the street to …


BEST BIG FRIDAY BET III: At 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Kachemak Bay Campus the college honors the late Eva Saulitis with a memorial reading of her prose and poetry. Bring a short selection of her work to share and read. Bring finger foods for a potluck.


BEST CHOICES BET: Here’s where it gets tricky. You can’t be in two places at once, because also at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Homer Elks Lodge is the Kachemak Bay Masonic Club’s spaghetti feed fundraiser. They’re raising money for Hospice of Homer and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Tickets are $8. The feed runs until 8 p.m., so maybe if you zip through all the other events, you can still get a plate of spaghetti.