Homer’s Best Bets

The other day the Betster ran into a friend who has toiled for decades in the visitor industry. Oddly enough, she was not chained to the counter at her way-cool shop on the Spit, but out and about in the middle of the day. As if reading the Betster’s mind, she smiled, and said, “Late August.”

While school teachers, college professors and those who work in the education enterprise have been moaning about going back to work, summer employees run around town with big grins on their faces.

“Late August,” they say.

It’s 11 days until the end of the tourist season on Labor Day. You know the old saying “You can sleep in winter” that fishermen use? Tourism workers have made the bed, fluffed up the down comforter and pulled back the satin sheets. Come to think of it, fishermen are winding down, too. If you make your living by the light of long days, these lengthening nights are but a reminder that your work soon will be done.

“Late August.”

That’s the mantra that gets summer workers through one last gasp of separating tourists from their dollars (or Euros or pounds or yen). Hang in there. Keep smiling. Flip those salmon burgers, sharpen those J-hooks and swab the deck one last time. The sun now sets way before midnight and rises after 7 a.m. It all will end soon.

And what of us, we year-round workers? What of we who dutifully show up to work five days a week, 52 weeks a year (except for holidays and our three weeks of vacation)? What of we normal working drones who keep the power plants running, the streets plowed and the toilets scrubbed? The joy of a job well done will be our reward — that and a steady paycheck and a cushy retirement plan.

Sleep next winter? Sure, but not yet, not while we have plenty of cool things to do, like these Best Bets:


BEST GRIPPING WITH GRIEF BET: Ted Wiard learned about grief the hard way when he lost his younger brother, Richard, in a fishing accident near Cape Douglas in 1989. Wiard has now become a professional in grief counseling. With Carol Poteat the author of “Witnessing Ted: The Journey to Potential Through Grief and Loss,” Wiard speaks at 6 p.m. today in the Southwest Pilots Association building on Ocean Drive. The talk is sponsored by Hospice of Homer.


BEST KEEP IT GREEN BET: If you’ve been around Homer long enough to remember when the Blue Bank Building at the corner of Lake Street and East End Road actually was a bank, you know that Martty Zeller has been cracking people up for years. He’s back with yet another Fresh Produce production (now version 2.0) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Art Barn. A master of the art of improvisational theater, Fresh Produce is our own Second City. Admission is $7. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits. Fresh Produce also performs at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 and Sept. 26.


BEST SUPERCOMPUTER BET: That’s what you might need to figure out the family tree of singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. His mother is the late Kate McGarrigle and his dad is Loudon Wainwright III. His sister, Lucy Wainwright Roche, is the daughter of Loudon III and Suzzy Roche, and his aunt is Sloan Wainwright. Whew. All of them come from an awesome pool of family musical talent that goes back to the folk tradition of Montreal. Rufus headlines a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Mariner Theatre. Lucy Wainwright Roche opens the concert and then dad, aunt and stepmom join in. See story, page 8.


BEST BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE BET: They’re baaack! Well, maybe. That’s the big question in Ed Berg’s guided walk, “Return of the Bark Beetle?” from 2-4 p.m. Sunday in the Homer Demonstration Forest. Are spruce bark beetles making a return even after they chowed through thousands of acres of forest in the 1990s? The walk meets at the Homestead Trailhead off Roger’s Loop Road. It’s limited to 12 people; call 235-9344 to sign up.