SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Respose to "Almost Famous" by Dave Kiffer
By Marshall H. Massengale


November 26, 2008
Wednesday AM

Ketchikan watching via Internet has become for me something of an engaging hobby over the last more than a year and a half as the direct offshoot of having gotten to know, online at least, some truly wonderful people who happen to live there and who own and operate one of the borough's well-known float plane services. Of course, aside from exchanging e-mail regularly with my friends, I enthusiastically count Dave Kiffer's column in SitNews, together with the rest of the online journal's content including the various commercial Website links advertised along its margins, amongst my favorite windows into the K-Town world.

Upon reading the newly elected mayor's recent column on being "almost famous," I was particularly struck by the concluding line of the article in which he abruptly summarizes, "Growing up in Ketchikan is clearly not the same as growing up in Wasilla." Perhaps I may have missed a step in the logic that brought the author to this obvious if oblique conclusion, but okay, I'll deal with it, even if the remark seemed not to fit in exactly with the rest of the story line but rather came across as kind of a quick and easy wrap up through taking a bit of a petulant parting shot at the now amazingly "world famous" Governor Sarah Palin. Anyway, notwithstanding that this last line seemed to "skip across the surface of the water the same way a bowling ball doesn't," I nevertheless found myself falling into and pondering the profound "duh" that constitutes this statement. Putting the precise words to a map of Alaska, I discovered that it's about 685 air miles from Ketchikan to Anchorage of which Wasila is apparently something of a suburb. By comparison, that's roughly about the same distance between Atlanta and New York City, give or take. There is certainly no question but that growing up in Atlanta, Georgia is clearly not the same as growing up in New York City! No sirree! "Get outta heahs, ya bum!" But heck, even close to where I live for that matter, growing up in the greater Atlanta suburb of Sugar Hill is clearly not the same as growing up in Duluth just a few miles away! Atlanta, like many metropolitan areas, consists of a patchwork of many somewhat diverse communities in this respect or another. So I cannot imagine anywhere, even Alaska, where growing up somewhere is necessarily clearly the same as growing up somewhere else unless, perhaps, there is something to be said for growing up . . . nowhere? Of course, the impact of Dave's comment might have been felt very differently instead had he concluded, "growing up in Ketchikan is clearly not the same as growing up on the far side of Gravina."

Oops! Did I hear somebody say "bridge?"

Marshall H. Massengale
Sugar Hill, GA

Received November 25, 2008 - Published November 26, 2008


Related Column:

Almost Famous by Dave Kiffer - Last summer, my son asked me an odd question. - More...
Saturday - November 15, 2008

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Ketchikan, Alaska