Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Party In Absentia For Walt Parker Monday Night

I always thought I had a special relationship with Lydia Selkregg.  We'd both started teaching at UAA the same semester, though she'd been in Anchorage a long time and I'd just arrived.  She treated me like family and we even shared the same birthday.  When I went to her memorial at the Fourth Avenue Theater I listened in as person after person said they had a special relationship with her.  I was a bit chagrined to find out that so many other people had their own special relationship with her.  But I quickly realized what a great reflection  that was on her as a human being.  It was a quality I wanted to strive for even though I'm much more introverted than Lydia was.

I thought of Lydia Monday night at the Hilltop Ski Area chalet as people great and humble gathered to celebrate what would have been Walt Parker's 88th birthday.  Walt shared that quality with Lydia - everyone felt they had (and did have) a special relationship with Walt.  Including the Selkregg family.

There were a number of notables there, including former Democratic Governor Steve Cowper who appointed Walt as head of the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill Commission.  Also there was Republican Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell.  A number of Walt's sled dogs were outside.  They've all found new homes.  Someone said that when Walt died, they all began to howl and Monday evening's festivities ended with everyone howling for Walt.

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