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Christmas Letter

Attempting to curtail my verbosity, Stephanie says I must summarize this year in 600 words. We began our year in Fort Yukon with two weeks of temperatures continuously 60 below zero. We didn’t know two weeks could last so long. Stephanie was planning her escape before the weather lifted and 30 below became a welcome change!

Suddenly it was spring and time for the annual Spring Carnival, where Stephanie cooked chili and brought home first place honors. As bright days and warmer temperatures returned, the school year drew to a close. Stephanie and I made the difficult decision to leave Fort Yukon. But we didn’t go far; I accepted a principal/teacher position in Circle, Alaska. Circle is in the same school district as Fort Yukon and is still in the Yukon Flats, so we’re in the same neighborhood. Circle is about 90 miles upriver from Fort Yukon, and family ties and travel on the river are common between both communities. After deciding to move to Circle, we bought a 20 foot river boat. I nervously enjoyed spending time learning to read the river, and discovering a number of gravel bars in the process.

In May, Stephanie’s brother Brian came up to Alaska for a brief visit. While I finished my last few days of work, Stephanie, her brother, and Jacob did the touristy bit around Anchorage. I joined them for a day of kayaking and a relaxing stay at a wooded log cabin along the Chena River. Jacob enjoyed showing Uncle Brian around Alaska.

In late June, we all traveled to Texas to visit family and show off Jacob. He enjoyed his first birthday party by the pool, but he almost melted in the heat!

After returning to Fort Yukon, a relaxed and rainy July found us out on the river every morning pulling in Heimo’s drift net along with a day’s catch of wild salmon. The rest of each day was spent cleaning, filleting, hanging, smoking, jarring and freezing. Thanks to our friends for the help. We are looking forward to the salmon running again next summer.

As soon as we were done with salmon, we began the physically and emotionally demanding effort of moving all our belongings to Circle. When the flat bottom, open boat was packed full to mounding over, I drove the 90 unknown miles to Circle, only to unload everything into a storage room, and make the exhausting trip back to Fort Yukon. Those three trips made for some long, long days. Thankfully though, they were successful days as everything was safely moved to Circle, and Brian and boat both made it through intact.

With Fort Yukon and the big move behind us, we went to Fairbanks to await Tobias’s arrival. We stayed in the same UAF apartments as last summer while waiting for Jacob. We lived a few weeks of déjà vu as we kept asking ourselves, “Didn’t we just do this?” And indeed we had. Stephanie’s step-mother, Jan came up to Fairbanks to take care of Jacob while we were in the hospital, and Stephanie’s dad, Julius also came, hoping to catch Toby’s arrival. After 24 hours of natural labor and pushing, Tobias James was born via cesarean. The experience was a blessing; Toby is perfect.

Since school has started, life has been a blur. We’ve settled in to our place in Circle, and Stephanie and I have both begun to find our daily stride. The fall has gone by incredibly fast, and now we are looking forward to visiting with friends and family in Texas over the holidays.

Love to you all.


Posted on Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 10:01PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

My oh my, why the limit when you have all the website bandwidth available. You are right, it cramps your style and details. Please redo it and start writing it over. Tell Steph you're not MAILING this story. Reading the details makes me feel like I am experiencing the events as it happened. Hugs to the boys.
December 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDad

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