Homer’s Best Bets

Last Thursday the Betster took a photo safari looking for sandhill cranes at Beluga Slough. The B. got a solid tip that cranes had been seen at 11 p.m. last Wednesday, right on time for Earth Day. Out in the grass about 70 greater white-fronted geese waddled around feeding on whatever geese feed on there in the slough. The B. loves those darn goofy birds. 

Yes, they do have white fronts, and yes those white fronts are great. What makes them stand out, though are the greater white-fronted geese’s funky pinkish orange feet. “Greater white-fronted” sounds more sophisticated than “funky pinkish-orange feet,” which goes to show that bird namers don’t have a sense of humor. OK, “dodo.” That is kind of funny.

Try to build up a good grump this time of year. The Betster was working toward that the other day. The B. had created the grump of all grumps, one that would be held in awe forever by master curmedgeons, when out of the blue a little flock of sandhill cranes flew by, squawking away.

It remains mentally impossible to carry a grump, even a world-class, take no prisoners grump, when hearing sandhill cranes. You just can’t. Try it. See?

This time of year, no matter how wretched things might seem, even in the most horrible of times and grief, the sound of a sandhill crane will ease the pain just a little bit. Warm, sunny days, long daylight hours, melting snow, budding willow bushes, and, my gosh, just the wonder of the season — all of that goes a long way.

We can pull through. Birds arrive that have flown thousands of miles, some of them without stopping once over long oceans. Imagine that! Little tiny critters that weigh less than your finger have beat on against storms, winds and night. If they can persevere, what about we stupid, naked pink bears? 

So here we are, spring, May 1, Beltane as they say in the Celtic lands. What better time to celebrate this amazing world than these Best Bets? 


BEST FORWARD INTO THE PAST BET: Anchorage filmmaker Mary Katzke has made yet another great documentary, “Backing Out of Time,” about Baby Boomer adults taking care of their parents who have Alzheimer’s. The film shows at 6 p.m. today at the Homer Theatre. A suggested $5 donation benefits the Homer Senior Center’s new Alzheimer’s care wing.


BEST BUDDING ARTISTS BET: Yup, it’s the annual Paul Banks Elementary School Art Extravaganza, which you know means great youth art, awesome treats and a change to see new artists explore their craft. It’s part of First Friday openings and is 5-7 p.m. Friday at the school.


BEST YOU HAD ME AT CHOCOLATE BET: Get a jump on Relay for Life with its sixth annual Wine Tasting and Decadent Dessert Auction at 6 p.m. today at the Homestead Restaurant. Enjoy fine wine and, of course, decadent desserts. Admission is $30 and benefits the American Cancer Society.


BEST YUCK IT UP BET: This is totes amaze, The Second City Improv Group. We’re talking the group that gave us John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Dan Akroyd. They perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Mariner Theatre.