Thankful for all that is good in Alaska, notwithstanding dark months, storms, floods, politics, and potholes


Happy Thanksgiving, Must Read Alaska readers from Ketchikan to Kaktovik! I’m so grateful for you and that you care so deeply about Alaska, her economy, cultures, and future. Thank you for returning to this conservative news and commentary site day after day and, for those who comment on stories, thank you for keeping it civil and interesting. Thanks to those who help keep the lights on here!

I have spent most of my career as a political analyst and writer. From my days at the Juneau Empire, then down to the Augusta Chronicle, a short stint in Florida, and back to my home in Alaska, it’s a lot to be thankful for. Must Read Alaska has been the best endeavor of them all, and I’m grateful to all who make it happen.

However, we could all use a breather from politics. Maybe some football and pumpkin pie, and no discussion of who won, lost, or the voting system wrought by Ballot Measure 2.

One of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving is the 1984 Juneau Thanksgiving Day storm, and how we had to move the cooking of the feast to the wood stove, which had a wood-fired oven, in our cabin on the shore of Auke Bay. That cooking adventure for everyone in Juneau was one for the ages, but it didn’t hold a candle to the hardships endured by the settlers who came to the Americas and set up a rustic and fragile community. The first Thanksgiving celebrants in 1621 never had an expectation that the electricity would ever come on, while in Juneau, Alaska Light & Power and road crews were on the job that day. Juneau friends will never forget that day.

Other fun memories of growing up in Juneau include having community potluck Thanksgiving dinners at the Methodist Camp, a tradition that continues today out at the Eagle River United Methodist Camp. If you’re in Juneau and your plans fall through, the lodge will open at 10 am and the Thanksgiving dinner is served at 1:30 pm, out at Mile 28 Glacier Highway.

What are your fond memories of an Alaska Thanksgiving? What Thanksgiving adventures stay with you all these years? Share them with all of us in the comments below, and enjoy your day, however you celebrate it. (Extra credit if outboard motors, skiffs, snow machines or dog sleds are involved.)

(Photo above is a snapshot from this morning on the Nome web cam, one of my favorite web cameras in Alaska.)


  1. Very fond memories! We moved to Ketchikan in 1969. I was 3. By age 6, it seemed every Thanksgiving the storms would come. Rain, high winds 50+mph, windows shaking (1970’s windows!) With that the power would go out when the bird was in the oven! This happened every other year so Mom got used to cooking it the day before if the weather looked hinky.
    We were always surrounded by the family so even if we lost power, the plummer candles would come out, flashlights acs cards. Best times of my life as a kid growing up in Alaska ❤️

  2. Suzanne happy thanksgiving to you and thank you for printing the truth. We all should be thankful we’re not in North Korea.

  3. I’m grateful for Foodland IGA cooking a far better turkey than I ever could.
    Plus AELP for somehow always keeping the lights on, despite avalanches, snow, and 90 mph Takus.

    I’m also thankful the rest of AK doesn’t realize how great life is in SE.

  4. I am thankful for the US Constitution, our confederate, capitalistic Republic form of government. I am thankful for equal footing even if not in Alaska at this time. I’m thankful for my personal studies of the US Constitution that were so surprising allowing me to realize how skimpily curriculum materials are presented to self-satisfied students in Alaska. I’m thankful to God for life, His God-given liberties to us, for justice and mercy though demonized in Alaska. I’m thankful for family and genealogy. I’m thankful the King Jesus Christ and His Kingdom and promises that will set matters straight among many people. I’m thankful for Peter, the disciple who was a deep water fisherman who “swore”. I’m thankful for this nation that welcomes so many including Christians. I’m thankful for the beauty of this nation also thankful for skilled medical expertise allowing for better health for longer lives.

  5. Lots of fun remembering… when we learned to sing “Over the river and through the woods … ” it was easier to think of Togo and Balto than Currier and Ives as a child.

    Seems like Thanksgiving was usually not too cold in southcentral. Pa hadn’t brought out the pine tar, yet. It was tempting to embark the treacherous journey to Grandma Glayde and Uncle John’s which required venturing down the Glenn past Upper and Lower Fire Lake, and the bridge over Eagle River. The lull of the constant clatter of tire chains inside the wheel well of the old Packard at 35 mph gave a sense of confidence that we’d arrive safely to magnificent baked potatoes and apple pie. And, it was February when we had to stay home, all the family huddled around the Junger oil furnace playing card games covered in blankets, the water pan sizzling on top. Even if the snow was fine for skiing.

  6. Suzanne:
    It was the early 70’s and our neighborhood celebrated Thanksgiving with a progressive dinner. About six families were involved, each opening their home to a part of the feast, from snacks, soup, drinks, salad, main meal, and finally desert. We started about 2:00 pm with temperatures in the -40° range. It was Fairbanks, of course. By 7:00pm the temps had reached almost -50°. Nobody’s car would start. So everyone just kept eating. The houses weren’t too far apart, so we bundled up, walked and moved on to the next house. By 10:00 pm the temps had bottomed out at -55°. The frozen cars sat where they were last parked. The family hosting the desert also had a good sized sauna behind their house. Even though that was 50 winters ago, I still remember sweating off the turkey and stuffing in a sauna, watching the northern lights dance around in temperatures only Fairbanks can produce.
    Suzanne, thank you for Must Read. It is an inspiration to us all, knowing well that we can trust you to deliver us a truthful rendition of Alaska, her diverse people, and the politics that go with the territory.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Mostly, I’m grateful to have lived through better times than these and hopeful that I’ll live long enough to see better times return.

  8. Suzanne, The Thanksgiving Day storm of ’84, 92 mph sustained winds. We were told to stay hunkered down, naturally, my old Pal Tom Williams and I took a drive during the malesrtrom. We watched 400 year old Sitka Spruce trees crashing about and a 25′ tide running over Outer Drive. I cooked the Turkey on my woodstove too.
    ’68 was similar but not nearly as bad!
    The good old days.

    • What a storm! Sometimes the greatest memories involve some crazy times, trees falling down, and improvising. Happy Thanksgiving! – sd

    • At Auke Bay, I was in bed, suffering from a hangover that entire day; missed the entire thing. The good old days.

  9. Meanwhile, over here in Norway, in response to my older son Robert’s (b. Juneau 1978) Happy Thanksgiving gloating – his wife and mom there in Wash state are gourmet cooks:

    Hah! Thank you, Sir. ?
    I did find and get myself to a neighborhood restaurant that was serving (allegedly) Thanksgiving dinner in/near downtown (Oslo): Smalhans.
    All the tables proved to be long booked up, but they were making carry-outs – the Thanksgiving dinners ending at 6PM. I had along one of the mini cans of O. S. jellied cranberry sauce that Erin sent me in a care package, but it doesn’t have an opener tab, and I hadn’t brought along one of my GI can openers, så ….

    I made it there at 4:30 and ordered and got the big portion carry-out, and så I “rushed” home – 1 hour by train and bus – and tore into it:
    Turkey breast – no dark meat ? – but good with good gravy,
    dressing which seemed to be most all meat/sausage which is the European take on that and didn’t help the turkey taste,
    browned brussels sprouts!/rosenkål which were as good as your Aunt Stephanie’s (but almondine green beans like your Grandaunt Mary Rider’s I remember vividly),
    some strange sort of diced potato with orange seasoning which wasn’t bad with the cranberry jelly ?,
    and … drum roll … red cabbage? … of course.
    The proprietor said I could order pumpkin pie for dessert, but I said – where’s the gag icon ? ? – no, thanks – and it was the only dessert they offered. I mentioned that apple pie was the usual option … and what (Wheaton beagle) Daisy had so expertly done to mine ? one Thanksgiving … which got a hurried laugh from him. ?
    The price was quite fair in comparison with other restaurants which seem to gouge with Thanksgiving dinners.

    It’s getting cold over here, with powdered-ice-just-waiting-to-kill-me/SNOW, but it’s now getting rained off, like back in Juneau in the early winters – same marine temperate climate.

    Give your Lady Erin and Princess Anna a hug and tell everybody else hello for me, and ENJOY your Thanksgiving. ?

  10. I’m thankful for all the Alaskan friends we made throughout the years in the West and southwest. The experiences we shared out there are priceless. We still tell stories of our experiences to our new friends in Florida. These experiences allowed our family to flourish and thrive and I will forever be thankful and I keep all of you in our prayers.

  11. Thank you for MRAK. A place where Conservative minds allow Liberal persuasion to meet for an interesting communication and connection, without the disbenefit of a Left-wing filtration, as is predominate in the major media.
    A truth detector site, with some injection of pure sanity, rational philisophy, and sprinkled with humour.

  12. Even tho we need a break from Alaska Politics, it would be more accurate to say, we need the TRUTH about what just happened to our BALLOTS ! its not just the RCV, its the whole deceptive system that the LEFTISTS LAWYERS in ALASKa have created. The People still RULE ! cheaters never prosper.

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