I miss the old Prairie Home Companion. "It's been a quiet week in my hometown," is such a great introduction. So loaded with irony, especially as Keillor unfolds the drama that the past seven days brought to at least a few members of his fictional community. I'm sure this week was quiet for a lot of people in Haines, probably most. Summer people are returning to weed whack the dandelions, little children are lined up for ice cream and their moms are ordering dirty chais at Sarah J's to-go trailer downtown. The harbor project rolls along with rumbling dump trucks and scooping dredges, tour ships dock, guides spiel, anglers cast for Dolly's at Chilkoot. Post picnic shrimp and crab shells litter the beach. The Uglys gave away 10,000 dollars in scholarships at graduation time.The summer reading program at the library kicked off with great fanfare and crowds of kiddies (my seven year old granddaughter arrived for an overnight announcing we need to read "twenty books" right now...), the museum grounds are all spiffed up and inside the archives are being preserved and there's a portrait exhibit opening tonight. First Friday events showcase the arts all over town this evening. The pool will re-open Monday with new carpet and other upgrades, there are flower pots hanging from the posts on Main St. And best of all, my son is back from Australia for the summer fishing season.
Then in the alternate universe that is Haines politics, my friend Margaret, the leader of the assembly, quit. Right before we hired Debra Schnabel as the new manager.
I will miss her terribly, but I understand, as she said to me afterward-- it's all been too much and the recall driven vitriol is killing her too- even though she's not a part of it as three of us are. She said she has to put her own oxygen mask on first--
I am a little jealous of her new freedom, to tell you the truth. But that's not an option, especially now. We just have to keep on keeping on. Having former mayor Stephanie Scott on the dais since her appointment is a boon. She reminds me that this is not life and death, as she is living with brain cancer, and choosing to spend her evening hours at assembly meetings helping the community, rather than in her lovely garden. It's the least I can do to stay seated next to her.
In a few minutes I'm walking with my friend Becky, who has just returned from the funeral of her son Song. I wrote his obituary this week, and that too- makes me both so grateful for all we have been through in our thirty year friendship, and this place, that we both love, in different ways, for different reasons. Then Chip and I are heading to the Yukon to ride bikes for the weekend, which I am confident will be much quieter than than the last few days.
One of my catholic friends sent me this quote from Richard Rohr this week: "Your task is to find the good, the true, and the beautiful in everything, even in the most problematic. The bad is never strong enough to counteract the good."
Heather Lende for the CVN
The funeral for Song Nash Monday at St. Luke Catholic Church in Shoreline, WA filled the 600-seat chapel and included a youth choir 40 strong. “Song was all about his faith, and all about instilling and fostering faith in youth and his own kids,” wife Amy Nash, St. Luke’s youth director said.
The local entrepreneur died May 20, at the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle of stomach cancer. He was 41.
He was “really funny,” sister Corrie Stickler said, and growing up played the straight man to his more rowdy brothers in their close-knit family. He was generous with his time and talents, loved to cook for others, and always “looking for the good deal with good intentions; to help somebody,” Corrie said.
Song H. Nash was born in Seoul, Korea on December 14th, 1975. He was abandoned when he was 5 years old and cared for by his older sister Yongee. They spent several years in an orphanage until fisherman Don and nurse and quilter Becky Nash (and their four children), adopted the pair in November 1985. At the time, the Nashes lived in Pelican.
“My first glimpse of Song was this excited little guy jumping down the escalator three steps at a time,” at the Seattle airport, Becky Nash said.
The tiny fishing village was a shock to Song, who had more exposure to pop culture in urban Korea than the Nash kids had. “He could sing a whole Michael Jackson song,” brother Lee Nash said. They moved to Haines a few years later, where Song jumped into school, family fishing adventures, and community activities. He graduated from Haines High in 1994 and after earning a culinary arts degree from Kapi’olani Community College in Honolulu worked as a chef at the Manele Bay Four Seasons Resort, took up golf (it remained a life long passion) and surfing before returning to Alaska as the chef for the Cross Sound Lodge in Elfin Cove. He made Haines home when he took over the management of the Lighthouse Restaurant. He won local golf tournaments, refereed basketball games, and coached youth teams.
He met missionary Amy Junkin when she rented a room in his parent’s house. “He cooked his way into my heart. I can’t cook, so he used that to win me over,” Amy said. They wed Dec. 1, 2007 at St. Luke church in Shoreline, and settled in Haines where Song joined Amy as a Christian youth group leader and lead a boys Bible study group.
Six years ago he became partner in Haines Packing Company and director of marketing. “He was really good at selling things,” manager Harry Rietze said, and creating value-added products like salmon pepperoni and “all sorts of dips and spreads.” Mostly, Rietze said, “He was great guy to be around, a great friend, and a great business partner.” In the off-season, Song was a stay at home dad to Mercy (1) Mason (5) and Christian (7).
Song, his brother Lee, and a friend survived the sinking of the Nash family fishing boat in 1999 that claimed the life of his youngest brother. “We talked about how at the time, if you’d have looked at any one of us and said: ‘I’ll give you a clear path for twenty years, and a beautiful wife and three kids, in exchange for getting out of this, we’d be fighting over it,” Lee said.
Song also traveled to Korea where he reconciled with his relatives. “He wanted them to know they made the best decision for him, allowing him to be adopted and lead the life he had,” Amy said.
Song was preceded in death by brothers Olen and Aaron, and is survived by his wife Amy, children Christian, Mason, and Mercy of Haines and Shoreline; parents Don and Becky Nash of Haines, siblings Yongee Nash of Anchorage and Lee Nash and Corrie Stickler of Haines; grandmother Evelyn Biehl, and the extended Nash and Junkin families.
A local memorial service is tentatively scheduled for June 24th.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Nash Fund at Wells Fargo.