A reader writes:
About 25 years ago, my great-uncle Bill, age 98, still driving in his small town in northwestern Ohio, caring for his half-blind, half-deaf wife, still living in their two-story house plus basement – about 25 years ago, he went out rather late one cold January night to take out the kitchen trash. His wife of 70-some years had already gone to bed. He made it down the several steps from their back porch to the back sidewalk that led to their garage and slipped on the icy sidewalk. He broke his hip. No one could hear his cries for help (if there were any), as of course windows were closed. He could not get up. He froze to death. He was a really nice man, and his death was devastating for his wife. But I hope he did not suffer any and merely “slipped the bonds of earth.”
Craig Medred, an Alaskan native, pounces on Brian Phillips’s essay narrating his trip above the Iditarod Trail:
Ohmygawd, a whole week and a half in the dangerous, bone-deep cold as he flew from warm checkpoint to warm checkpoint in an airplane.
And the blizzards and baneful travel conditions that are irrelevant because when the weather gets bad, the planes that carry reporters like Phillips don’t fly. And yes, the total isolation when you’re in the air in the airplane between the warm checkpoints which are pretty well wired to the tubes these days.
You can find an Internet connection in every village out there to check your email, update your Facebook page, and do all the things those who worry about their connectivity need to do. Rohn, a lone U.S. Bureau of Land Management cabin in the heart of the Alaska Range, lacks an Internet connection, as do the deserted mining communities of Ophir and Iditarod, but it doesn’t appear Phillips spent much, if any, time at those comparatively remote checkpoints.
Surprise, surprise, surprise.
But then you have to wonder what Phillips did visit, because it certainly wasn’t the modern Iditarod Trail.