Sunday, July 01, 2007

My Big Happiness, and the Slab of Bacon that Preceded It

My camera broke.

But to be honest, that's not why this post is so delinquent. The real reason has much more to do with the conundrums of propriety during this era of mass communication. And, well, I suppose it has even more to do with my own lack of talent. I simply didn't know, my friends, how to publicly describe my intensely private jubilations.

We are engaged to be married!

I am ecstatic. And sentimental. And, often, delirously enthused. Occassionally, I've wanted to scream with the inherent frustrations of attempting some sort of planned strategy of announcements but being consistently thwarted by voicemail answer systems and all the problems that sun spots and solstices inflict on our [free but dial-up] internet via satellite! At times I've revelled in the conversations that have arisen with old friends that I had sadly lost contact with. Many times I've simply sat quietly, basking in the summer sun whilst lounging on my snowmachine (who would have guessed it would be more comfortable than any pool chaise I've ever encountered)and appreciating the fresh North air, while my fiance grills our dinner and the neighborhood kids come by to play with the dogs and observe the progress of the plants we had started together.

While my initial instinct was to fiddle this news of our engagement from my hovel-top, there was first a mother to call, and a brother to find who was travelling around Patagonia with hot French circus performers (his description), and so many others to track down and make private announcements before I embarked on the public ones. I found it hard, however, to blog about anything else. This excitement - this extreme compliment from the man I love - it tended to shove out of my writing thoughts any idea that didn't directly arise from the engagement. However, it is true. This kind of news has its own momentum, and the news spread rapidly for me. So admittedly, after a short while, my own private desire to make private announcements was no longer a sufficient excuse for my delay in posting.

But I had another excuse for not posting. I wanted to set the scene. I wanted to share the story. The full story. About the slab of bacon that I braised for 9 hours in boxed wine and dried cherries the night before J. proposed to me on the Hovercraft. About David Lebovitz's roasted banana ice cream - and how I found it on the Traveller's Lunchbox the afternoon before the proposal and had made it for desert that evening before. About how we had left the roasted banana ice cream to churn while we took a gorgeous stroll with our dogs along the Kuskokwim River under the midnight dusk. About being the first couple ever to be engaged on the Hovercraft, and how entertained I was that on this voyage it was delivering the U.S. mail and pallets of Tang upriver to the villages of Akiachak and Akiak. About how I had fallen in the Kuskokwim mud before the proposal, and how I almost didn't get proposed to because I was so busy snapping pictures of the dog team, boats, snowmachines and homemade fish traps that decorated the Akiak beach. About how J. asked me to marry him and I went into shock, my mind unable to grasp his explanation that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me until I suddenly exploded into a rising pitch of "Yes, Yes, Yes!" About how the hovercraft pilot took our picture, and made note that we were probably the first couple ever to get engaged on the hovercraft and it was certain to make front page coverage in the local newspaper. About how J. had planned ahead, with a thermos of coffee, which we popped open to celebrate. Packing champagne, of course, would have constituted the local crime of bootlegging. About the two other couples that were on that same hovercraft with us - and shared this day with us. We had never never met before, but that day we passed around our separately packed snacks and shared a celebration feast of coffee, homemade trail mix, water, and sweet onion potato chips. About how, within hours of the Hovercraft's return to town, the local radio station congratulated us and played "Dancing Cheek to Cheek."

So you see - there was so much I wanted to describe before I even embarked on attempting a description of this sense of happiness and excitement. I think I could buy a couple more weeks of procrastination with this excuse.

And then there is also this excuse - I've been gone. Away from my tundra island, and this kitchen and table that I blog about. Work took me for awhile. And then a friend's bachelorette party in Portland, Oregon, our frolics in my Oregon hometown (where - oh! glee of glee - I do believe we discovered the place we are going to be married!), and our frolics in that fine, fine State of Iowa - well, these delayed me another two weeks.

But I'm back! And very happily so. I hear the fish are running. Less than an hour ago, I saw one of the law clerks walking somewhere with three ziplock bags of marinating chum. The mosquitoes are not so bad in town. We just took a stroll out to the BIA Road, however, and they are definitely swarming on the tundra. The berries aren't yet here - probably won't be for a month - and my herbs aren't lush, but I'm already full swing into planning and plotting to make Genevieve's Baked Salmon with Leeks and Cloudberriers as soon as the Fates permit. The local 4th of July festivities are heating up. Yesterday I paid $2 for a chance that a chicken would poop on my name and phone number, thus gifting me with a $750 grande prize. Father Chuck was on the radio announcing that they will be doing a greased pole competition and, if I heard correctly, a wife-carrying race. I heard someone stole the prop from Hoppi's boat, but she regained her set-net spot right in front of her house. I haven't yet seen Jimbo this summer. But I'm hoping. And this morning I ordered 4 pounds of fresh-flighted organic green beans, with every intention of gracing my pantry with a winter's supply of pickled green beans.

So, now that I'm back in line with this blogging thing my friends, tell me - do you think it's mere coincidence that I braised a slab of bacon for 9 hours in boxed wine and dried cherries, and churned up some roasted banana ice cream, and the very next day my Iowa-born love proposed marriage? I don't.

And though I fully understand if you don't yet trust me, I fully intend to share the recipes.....soon. Girl Scout's Honour! Seriously. I'd do it right now, except I sort of suspect that showering off this afternoon's four applications of Deet might be in my best - and more imminent - self-interest............


Figs Olives Wine said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful story. Can't wait to hear about the bacon!

Aileen said...

Thank you, Amanda! It was a wonderful day. So much fun to share the story - and the bacon recipe...soon! Meanwhile I'm eye'ing your recipe for pork chops with garlic scape pesto. Yum!

nicole said...

Just came across your blog and wanted to say many congrats! It sounds so uniquely wonderful.