D. D. Fisher's Elbow Room
Book Excerpts; Elbow Room Elbow Room Book Cover

Chapter 1

Being upbeat and positive, while useful in sorting out certain situations, was not always easy, and being upbeat and positive while bumping around at 30,000 feet in a compact aircraft designed to haul freight was downright difficult. I gripped both armrests tightly and pressed my feet to the floor as the cramped, stuffy plane banked hard to the right.

The wide span of flat metal wings tipped almost vertical as we circled around lush green mountains that were still wearing white snowcaps with white ribbons streaming down the crevices of the high rocky peaks. The plane suddenly dropped altitude and the nose shot down towards the ocean. I hoped this was it.

George and I had moved seven times in the first ten years of our marriage, partly because of a restlessness acquired from the obligatory military moves during George’s hitch with the Air Force, and partly because of an inner quest of George’s to “find our niche.” I tagged along each time, learning to pack and unpack with surprising efficiency, and typically felt that each new start brought new hope.

But this place was remote. We had always lived in big cities. Kodiak Island was not even on most maps of the United States. The few that depicted the Great Land showed Kodiak to be a smudge just below the left leg that swung out into the Pacific Ocean like some artist’s mistake.

“It’ll be great, you’ll see,” said George when I pointed out that the nearest mainland was two hundred fifty miles by air or twelve hours by a large four hundred foot ferry, according to a Milepost discovered in the local Colorado Springs library. The dusty dog-eared travel guide contained descriptions of Alaskan cities, towns, and other places of interest, including road maps and populations, but little was mentioned about Kodiak. The Internet would have been useful back then.

Kodiak was a small island in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska with no road access, no big city close by, and nobody we knew had ever heard of it.

“It’s still part of America,” persuaded George, “and people do live there. See, the description says population 6,195 and look, there’s even a college.”

“But it’s Alaska, George. It’s cold in Alaska. So cold that Eskimos live in igloos and all the animals are white because of all the white snow. And that figure probably includes dogs, cats, and bears. And they say it’s really dark up there, too,” I protested.

No argument reached his adventurous self. George was always determined to see what was over the horizon, always ready for the next adventure. He clung to his belief that something better was always around the corner. I clung to the last few personal treasures that I knew I would have to leave behind.