Cordova Chronicles: Peace on Earth, at least in Cordova

The first thing many CT readers look at when the paper comes out is not the front page

Liesl Moorhead, thanks to her dad Scott, discovers a unique way to traverse glacial ice. Dick Shellhorn/The Cordova Times

Another holiday season has passed, and we were blessed with not only a seven-day stretch of incredibly blue-skied Christmas vacation weather, but also a peaceful month of Cordova life.

A reminder of how lucky we are came when the headlines of the Jan. 1 Anchorage Daily News read: “Downtown homicide just after midnight is Anchorage’s first of 2018.” The story went on to read: “A man who suffered several gunshot wounds early Monday morning was pronounced dead at a hospital, the police said.”

It appears Alaska’s biggest city is off to a quick start toward eclipsing the record 35 homicides in 2017. Ironically, just beside this story was a photo of fireworks exploding over downtown Anchorage, with the caption: “Anchorage welcomes 2018 with music, games and fireworks.”

Cordovans also set off a few fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and when their booming noises were heard near Odiak Slough at midnight, it was reassuring to know they were not from gunshots.

It is a well-known fact that the first thing many Cordova Times readers look at when the paper comes out is not the front page, but rather the back; for therein lies the weekly Law & Order incident report from the Cordova Police Department.

Trying to guess “who dun it” when the report states, “An individual …” is a popular weekly pastime. Yet an in-depth look at a recent 28-day stretch of incidents from Nov. 24 to Dec. 21 covered in those weekly reports say much about just how fortunate we are.

First of all, 11 of those days stated, “Nothing to report.” Five of the days dealt with issues from our stretch of bad weather, such as fallen trees or damaged buildings.

Then there was a false fire alarm; a boat sinking in the harbor; an ambulance call; and two impounding of boat trailers.

There were also two reports of individuals acting aggressively; one report of a car spinning “donuts” at the Skater’s Cabin parking lot; and one report of someone breaking into a trailer to steal items.

On the bright side, a pair of incidents were documented that would likely never happen in Alaska’s biggest city: First, Someone dropped off a credit card she had found — I would recommend calling VISA ASAP if that occurs in Anchor town; and second, someone reported a car driving too slowly — something else that would never happen in Anchorage.  Don’t you love trying to obey the speed limit up there while being tail-gated and noticing countless vehicles off the road due to hazardous conditions?

Finally, my favorite incident: “11:06, December 2, Saturday: While on patrol officer found dog sitting on the steps of the TSA Building. Officer took the dog into the pound. Pet sitter later claimed dog.”

Envision, if you will, a happy hound sitting in the back of a warm police vehicle for the drive back to town, and likely receiving some petting, food, and water while the owner was being tracked down?

There’s a saying that “Alaska is anywhere 30 minutes outside of Anchorage.”

I apologize if being too hard on our big city neighbors, but I unabashedly love Cordova. Not only for its tempo and safety, but also for what one can do right out our front door. Our daughter Heidi and her husband Scott brought our grandkids Huck, age 5, and Liesel, age 3, up from Austin, Texas their first Alaska Christmas. It was also their first encounter with ice and snow.

And pictures are worth thousands of words.

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Dick Shellhorn, author, reporter, ref and grandpa, can be reached at shorn@gci.net. Shellhorn was born and raised in Cordova, Alaska, and has lived there his entire life. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 40 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016 and third place in 2017.