My husband, Russ, and I take pride in finding unusual/comic ways to greet our grandchildren at airports. In the past, we have donned stuffed antlers, clown outfits, false noses, etc. I had been actively searching for inspiration for something uniquely Alaskan for their arrival in Homer from Colorado in late July. My search ended with an epiphany when I espied a resplendent 6-foot puffin accompanying the senior citizen float in the Fourth of July parade.
I called the Homer Senior Center and talked to Kate McNulty to see if I could rent the puffin outfit in exchange for a small donation in order to surprise the grandkids. She laughed but to her credit did not dismiss my request out of hand and said she would pass my request on to Kyle Edens, the Friendship Center’s activity aide.
They gracioulsy accepted my request and much to my husband’s relief, Kyle offered to don the puffin outfit. Kate volunteered to accompany him to the airport to help him in and out of the outfit. On their own time, Kate and Kyle met us at the Homer airport 20 minutes prior to the grandchildren’s arrival at 7:15 p.m.
The flight was delayed and the airport crowded with anxious greeters and departing passengers. When Kyle donned the puffin outfit, the crowd became jubilant. The plane finally landed, we held up our welcome signs, shouted our greetings to the grandchildren and the crowd joined us by clapping and smiling broadly.
The children were awed by the joyous reception and will no doubt always remember their arrival in Homer.
How we will top this, I am not sure, but since we are going to Denver for Christmas, I am contemplating arriving as a decorated Christmas tree, covered in blinking lights with a giant star on the top of my head. But I am open to any and all suggestions.
We want to thank the Homer Senior Center, Keren Kelly, Kate and especially Kyle for their generoisty and time to pull of this uniuely Homer greeting.
Jane and Russ LeFevre