We live in a pretty remote area in Alaska about 50 miles from the nearest road. Our only full time neighbor is Bud who will be 87 this spring. Bud still gets his own firewood in and puts up a 5000 sq. ft. garden every summer. For Bud hard work is just a way of life. He grew up during the Great Depression when jobs were few and many times the whole family worked just to be able to eat. When Bud was in his early teens his family left Illinois for Alaska. Bud told me his dad didn’t want his sons to spend their lives in the coal mines, which was the only work there at that time. So they packed up their two cars with 6 kids and everything they owned and headed west. The family spent two years working around Renton, Washington area to save a little money for the trip north. There they did every odd job they could pick up Buds dad worked in a shipyard while Bud and the older kids did everything from picking strawberries to bucking bales. While they were in Washington his dad learned to bend wood and build boats so that he could build a boat to take the family up the inside passage to Alaska. Bud and his dad built a scow house, took the motor from one of their cars, rigged it to their boat for power and headed for the Last Frontier. Six kids from toddler to teen and everything they owned to begin their new life. I should mention none of them had ever been on salt water before and the only navigation they had was a compass and a map. Can you imagine that scene today? The parents would be in jail and the kids in child protection service. Fortunately that mode of travel was fairly common in those days; many families came to Alaska in boats with no more going for them than Buds family. After a few weeks of island hopping they made as far as Petersburg where they settled for the next few years before picking up again to homestead some land in Central, Alaska. During the war joined the elite Alaska Scouts, today he is one of the last surviving members of that group. Jump forward 45 years, he and his wife raised their family and decided to spend their last years on a remote homestead. In 1990 Bud and his wife Ester staked their land out here and built their new home. Today at nearly 87 Bud is still living out here enjoying the life he has always dreamed of. He puts out a huge garden every year, raises a few goats and hauls his own firewood & water. For Bud life is good, every winter when the snow flies he can still travel the countryside with his cross country skis. He is as bullet proof as he was as a teen but without the worries. What doesn’t get done today, well there’s always tomorrow.
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