“I don’t want to get up,” I groaned, turning off my alarm with a lightening speed reflex that contradicted how sluggish I was feeling, and rolled over to ignore my responsibilities.
“We gotta get up, we still have stuff to do before the banquet,” Megan answered from across the room, somehow willing herself to get out of her bed to start getting ready.
I still could not adjust to waking up. It didn’t matter where I was or what time zone I was in. My body just wanted to sleep, always. Five more minutes is my mantra.
Finally I caved to the guilt that we did need to start getting ready for the banquet, and slowly pulled myself out from under the covers. Immediate regret. Why was waking up always so hard?
For the second day in a row, we pulled on our rain boots, exited The Reluctant, hopped in the Tahoe, and headed over to Gary and Libby’s for breakfast. Like every other morning, people were in the dining room, Gary and Libby were cooking, and the guests were slowly drifting into the kitchen, the smell of biscuits and gravy pulling them gently out into the group. I made myself a cup of coffee, and caught up with everyone over breakfast.
Saturday morning may have started slow, but the rest of Saturday was a whirlwind. After eating, we gathered all the banquet supplies at the house and packed them up, drove over to the Powder House and began to set up. Today was the first day it wasn’t raining since we had arrived in Alaska, and the colors of the mountains and the water vibrantly lit up everywhere around us. What seemed like tallest mountain in Cordova was perpendicular to The Powder House and I would always stare up at it when we arrived. It seemed to radiate a rich green today. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was probably in the most beautiful place on this planet.
Set up took all day, with a few breaks for nachos, mozzarella sticks, and brownie sundaes. I hadn’t had a single healthy thing since I arrived and the food was starting to take a toll on my energy level and my stomach, but I couldn’t help it. The smoked meats, the fresh fish, and the side dishes and desserts were so tasty that I didn’t want to pass up on something just because I was lacking my essential vitamins and minerals. I was on vacation. I told my body it could deal.
About halfway through set up, I walked outside to grab something when I noticed a car with three dogs in the flat bed of the trunk had pulled up. Immediately distracted, I located the owner of the dogs and the vehicle and asked if I could pet them.
“Oh sure,” she said, with an air of familiarity that implied this question was asked regularly.
“Can I take a picture of them?” I asked, assuming this question was not.
“Of course!” She said, “I actually get asked that all the time.”
Whoops. Guess I was wrong.
The oldest dog stood majestically on a cooler and looked up and over my head toward the sky. He looked so regal I probably spent a solid five minutes taking pictures of him. Megan came outside to see what had happened to me and got distracted by the dogs as well. Finally Greg came out and we had to get back to work with set up.
The banquet went well; Megan and I worked games and sold tickets for raffles. People seemed genuinely engaged and to enjoy the event, and everything seemed to run smoothly. Gary bought us roses for a game called Guns n’ Roses, where buying the flower got you an entry ticket. We both genuinely touched by the gesture. I had said it before in the weekend, but it was strange how much at home everyone on the committee made you feel after such a short amount of time. I felt like I had known everyone my whole life.
Neither of us won any of the games we played, but had a great time being a part of the whole thing, and once it wrapped up and we cleaned up, we were finally hit with how exhausted we were. Sitting in The Powder House, we glanced around, taken aback that the event we had come for was already over. A couple of people wanted to head back to The Reluctant for a few drinks, and although we were exhausted it was where we were staying so we obliged.
We had a few drinks, told a few jokes, and all of us watched Megan try to keep her eyes open. She finally conceded to the exhaustion and made the call that it was time for bed.
We said goodbye to everyone and headed back to our hotel room, getting in our pajamas at record speed. As my head hit the pillow, I reflected on how hard it was to believe that Sunday would be our last full day in Cordova. Even though we were only spending three and a half total days there, it felt like we had both been there for much longer and were supposed to stay there for a while more. I wasn’t quite ready to leave this place, and although I was the most tired that I had been since we had arrived, I didn’t quite want to go to sleep because it would mean waking up to our last day.
I checked my phone. It was 12:45. It was almost five in the morning at home.
Oh well, I thought. It’s already tomorrow technically. And with that realization, I shut my eyes and immediately fell asleep.