Juneau (track meet)

On the way back from Juneau on the fast ferry, as Holly and Luke slept at one of the booths and I read my book (Empire, by Orson Scott Card), Mark was playing with a Haines boy named Cameron. They were playing along for quite a while at the booth, then all of a sudden Cameron ran off and then Mark jumped down to the floor, landed right beside my head and said in a quiet voice, “Daddy, can I go play a video game with Cameron?”

I just had to chuckle, inwardly, about the question and all it entailed. I said, “Mark, do you even know what a video game is?”

He looked at me very seriously, looked around to make sure Cameron wasn’t watching and said in a whisper, “What is it?”

At that point I did have to chuckle out loud, “A video game isn’t a regular game where you run around and play tag or chase, or catch or wrestle, or even pretend stuff in a story. It’s a game where you sit still and look at a screen and operate some controls to move things around or control things on the screen. It’s fun, but you don’t get to run around.”

“Oh.” He said with a somewhat serious expression. “Can I go play the game with Cameron?”

I looked over at Cameron, who didn’t have any obvious computer or game on him, then over at Holly to see she was asleep then said “Yeah, you can go play the game.”

He jumped up and ran off.

After reading a few more pages of the book (which I do recommend with perhaps 3.5 out of 5 stars) I went over to where they’d gone to see how things were progressing. Around a corner in the aft of the ship they were trying to get one of the race track—driving arcade games to work, but all they had for coins was a dollar coin.  Cameron traded me the coin for a dollar bill, and they discussed how they’d take turns. On Mark’s turn, Cam was going to operate the peddles while Mark steered.

A few minutes later, Mark came running back to me and asked if he could have another dollar. I said, “Mark, we can’t afford to keep putting dollars in the machine—it won’t stop taking money and it will cost too much.”

He was a bit downcast, but not too much. Then about ten minutes later, he came back and in a whisper asked if he could have just a quarter. I said, “Later on, if you want we can get some video games for my computer and you can learn to play those if you want. Does that sound good?” He nodded, but looked a little confused. “Did you know that lots of people use their computers mostly for playing games? That’s what John Charles mostly does with his computer does with his computer.  Did you know that?”


“We can get some video games later on, for my computer at home.  Did you get to play the game?”

“Yeah, I got to play, but I drove off the road.”

“Yeah.  It happens.  Later on, we’ll get a game and you can learn to play it at home.”

At that he ran off and went to play with his plastic animals: bears, tigers, and lions, with a few cats and dogs thrown in for good measure—lately he’s been pretending with Blackie (Grandma Plucker) that we’re going to buy a bunch of pets—dogs.

We went to Juneau this weekend and had fun getting away for a while. Holly had to get a prenatal checkup at the Juneau Birth Center and we’re a little surprised that they have almost doubled their rates since we had Luke two years ago. It’s now $10,000 to have a baby and instead of making the birthing classes optional, they are now all included in the price with attendance optional. I guess that they have so many people that go to them without insurance that they needed to raise the rates to the maximum insurance companies will pay to help make ends meet—what can you do?

It’s tempting to just get a hotel room and then apologize when we leave. Opps—sorry about the mess in the bathroom.

At Chapel by the Lake, we went to a retreat lead by Eugene Peterson, author of the Message, a translation of the Bible. He was a very thought-provoking speaker and I’m convinced I need to grow up more and am starting to work on that. Probably the best part of the trip was debriefing and deconstructing his lectures afterwards both in the small groups organized by the church, and then afterwards at Tracy’s house—we had a gob of fun talking about the various points, the delivery methods, and how churches operate, grow, and don’t grow, in our experience.

I shot some pictures of the Haines Track kids in Juneau at the invitational—that is a big meet! It would have been nice to have seen the prelims on Friday, as we didn’t have a whole lot of kids running in the Finals on Saturday—two key races I missed were Christine Hansen’s races in the hurdles; we arrived late for the 100 hurdles and we didn’t stay long enough for the 300m low hurdles.