The Porch

The Porch

Welcome, Friends! Thank you for coming by.

To all of you that are being affected by this destructive storm, our prayer is that you are safe and getting any assistance you need. To those of you looking to help, please visit Samaritan’s Purse. They are asking for volunteers and are ready to accept donations:

“We’ll be rolling out at first light Tuesday morning,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said.

In hopes this will make you smile…here’s a story:

About 15 years ago, Mom and Dad got caught in a blizzard while hunting on snowmachines way up north on the east end of the Denali Highway. They were desperately trying to find shelter and they stumbled upon a cabin that had smoke rising from a chimney and a dim lantern light glowing in the window. They knocked on the door and were greeted by a grizzled old trapper named Al Hambie.

Al took them in for the night and they became friends. Over the years, Mom and Dad have made many trips to Al’s cabin to visit and bring him supplies.

Last year, Mom brought him a can of peanuts, but Al said he didn’t want them. When Mom asked him why, he reached behind him, took a metal coffee cup off the shelf, rattled it, and then dumped eleven teeth onto the table. He said that he had pulled all of them out that winter with a pair of pliers. Dad asked him if it was really painful and Al said, “Not as painful as the toothaches I had beforehand!” He said that he’s going to pull the rest of them out this winter.

By the way, this picture of mom and Al was taken ten years ago… he still had a few teeth back then.

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(Kennecott Mine near McCarthy, AK image courtesy of Birch Leaf Photography)

  • wow that’s sad. So many people here in Alaska don’t get decent dental care… think how many others just take it for granted. What a trip.

    • chuckjr

      That’s true in a lot of cases, Page, but Al wouldn’t want to live anywhere, or anyway else.

  • Everyone needs pray for those in the storm. This storm has already claimed lives. Prayers for all of you caught in the path. Also, that is one crazy story. 😉

    • Laddie_Blah_Blah

      LOL. Somewhere along the line Al Gore managed to do to his brains what Al Hambie did to his teeth! Only Gore would insist that blizzards in W. Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, etc. are proof of global warming.

      Pix of what the storm left behind:

      Franklin Graham was on FOX yesterday, and they are just awaiting permission to start relief efforts in New Jersey. Conditions are so bad there now that Gov. Christie has asked them to wait until the situation improves.

  • RomanBarbarian

    What amazing people are out there, Chuck!! One day you’ll have to explain us how in the world people decide to live in the wilderness, with very hard weather conditions, by themselves and still being so generous and with a beautiful heart. Being born and raised in Rome, where most of the people are selfish, mean, rude just to survive another day in that mess, when I hear stories about people like Al, or just how you guys enjoy the nature in Alaska and here in Texas and everywhere else, I get filled with a sincere sense of admiration and respect. I came to the US to learn what life is about!

    Have another blessed day, Chuck. Our hearts, prayers, thoughts and wallets are out for the people affected by the destructive storm.
    P.S. You Mom is beautiful!!

    • chuckjr

      Hi Roman,

      I’m actually writing about my own experiences of living in the wilderness and I’ll include these in my next book. It’s hard to explain it to people who haven’t been there but there is something very special about roughing it, i.e. living off of the land, being completely self-reliant, and having few of the stresses that city life brings (traffic, rude people, bills, etc).

      There’s also the beauty of being somewhere pristine when the night sky comes alive with the ever-changing auroras, occasional meteor showers, and endless stars… no streetlights or traffic noises to spoil it. I’d step outside of my cabin almost every night, regardless of the temperature and just stare forever at it.

      I was by myself (well, I had my dogs) most of the time in the year and a half I spent gold mining. I felt like a real frontiersman, and going to bed each night with a crackling fire and a Louis L’amour book in my hand probably fueled that feeling.

      My friends and family thought I was crazy for doing it but it was one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve got so many great memories from that time.

      Does that help answer your question?


      • speppers69

        I may have been born and raised in California….but my dad was raised IN many of our nation’s National Parks. My grandpa after Dub-ya Dub-ya Eye Eye got a job with the federal government and was working for the Dept of the Interior and actually lived in many of those brown residences in National Parks like Rocky Mountain, Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and a few others until he eventually moved to California and worked at the Dept of Interior HQ in San Francisco. So my dad’s backyard was very similar in some respects to your bakcyards, Chuck. As a teen he would just pack up a backpack and his snow shoes and rifle and be gone for a week. He tried to bring me into the wilderness as much as a single dad with a little girl could. I could hunt and fish and live off the land by the time I got my first hunting license. I spent more than one summer running a gold dredge or sluice box and pan. I was never big on gutting a deer but my specialty was caping and skinning. So much that my dad’s friends would bring by THEIR deer to my garage for me to skin.
        Even though I pre-ordered your book the first week it was available…months ago…I haven’t read it yet. I’ll know when the right time to read it is and I can’t wait.

        • chuckjr

          Peppers, you sound just like my dad today. It seems like he’s always cleaning everyone else’s game.

          Let’s swap some gold stories sometime,

          • speppers69

            Any time! I’ll tell ya about a time when my dad and I were at a place called Ruck-a
            A-Chucky on the Middle Fork of the American River!!
            That’s kind of the reason why I am waiting to read your book for the right time. For someone down in the lower 48….I think I can relate to a lot of the stories that are in your book. I was thinking of giving you my own review based on similar experiences that most “Palinistas” have never experienced. My dad tried to give me the best of both worlds. And I have a feeling I will be able to understand your book in a different way than most who read it will. 🙂

      • RomanBarbarian

        Thank you, Chuck. Yes, you gave me the perfect picture. A very personal choice that the majority of the people would probably never understand. Those low temperatures are really scary. You really have to know what you are doing. I guess it’s the closest you can get to be with the Creator and yourself. It’s beautiful, indeed! You already know, your next book will be loved by many.

      • BrianusBerkleianus

        Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Chuck!! God bless.

      • Laddie_Blah_Blah

        Terrific story Chuck, but I gotta admit I hate camping!

      • blueniner

        Chuck your story about the wilderness, reminds me of reading Henry David Thoureaus’
        “Waldon Pond” when I was young, Thoureau went back to nature and left the city life and wrote about his experiences in the backwoods, and “Waldon Pond” became a classic book.
        I also want to ditto Roman, I see where Sarah gets her good looks, your Mom is beautiful!

  • What a great story! He would probably think this hurricane we are having here in Pa right now is just a little breeze blowing through! 😉

  • Laddie_Blah_Blah

    Just wanted to share some things about Sandy and noreasters.

    We have been very lucky here in northern Virginia. There was a freak windstorm that came through here last summer that caused power outages for days that was much worse than Sandy. No wind this morning, and just light rain for us.

    The folks on the barrier islands off New Jersey and Long Island were really hit. Last night there was remote FOX coverage of the situation on Long Beach Island, where I used to vacation as a kid, and where I used to take my twins when they were little. They stopped remote coverage shortly before the storm surge hit, and there has not been any since.

    I did not see anything on today’s news shows, yet, about Long Beach Island. When a noreaster hit there in 1962, the Ash Wednesday storm, the ocean cut clean through the island in several places. The storm surge came in the middle of the night, when people were asleep and unaware of what was about to happen, and washed more than 20 people and their homes right into Barnegat Bay.

    A Navy destroyer, the Monsson, was washed up, high and dry, on my favorite beach, in south Beach Haven, right next to a bird sanctuary. It took them 2 years to refloat the Monsson. Eighty percent of the buildings on the island were either damaged or destroyed – that’s 80% on an island that must be 40 miles long and heavily built.

    This storm was much worse. I hope everyone got off, this time, before the surge hit the beaches.

    I saw Christie this morning, talking about making a tour of the damage. He talked a lot about damage around the state, but did not mention the barrier islands. He said he was going to make a helicopter tour today, but only from the air, because the first responders had told him that there was no place for him to land. The string of Jersey’s barrier islands must stretch for 80 or even 100 miles, and there is NO PLACE TO LAND.

    Still have not heard anything about the barrier islands to the south of NY’s Long Island, where Jones Beach is. This type of storm is rare, but inevitable. Civilization is great, but very, very vulnerable to a force of nature like Sandy.

    • chuckjr

      Thanks for the great update and history lesson, Laddie.

      • blueniner

        This wonderful to hear everybody sharing the geography that is this great USA and different conditions and experiences they have witnessed.

  • Katie DiFrancesco

    My hometown, Rochester, NY was definitely in Superstorm Sandy’s path but the damage wasn’t as bad as that of New York City and other coastline locations. A good number of residents lost power, but crews were ready for that after Governor Cuomo and County Executive Maggie Brooks declared a state of emergency. My parents and I weren’t too worried. We’ve had power outages before (not very often), so we were ready to go and our house is on a hill. Schools were closed today so I was able to come home after my appointment with my orthodontist.

    My parents have been in touch with other relatives in Sandy’s path. My grandfather chose to stay in his home despite the safety concerns. His power went out, but we’ve heard from him as of this morning (Thank You for your prayers, Chuck). Haven’t heard from my Aunt but we’re not worried yet.

    In terms of damage in my area, the worst was a tree branch in front of an antique shop across the street from my mom’s business. Other than that, it’s just small sticks in the street.

    Thank You for the fun story, Chuck! Great way to start my day! Sure hope I’ll eventually move to Alaska to test my mettle in the wilderness!

  • Lynda

    Love your post

  • Ceejay

    Never tire to pray for the Heath/Palin families, for your health and safety, for Track’s safe return from Afghanistan.

    As we pause to remember those that have lost their lives, their homes and for some displaced as in Katrina. God Bless them all.

    Thank you ChuckJr for this site!