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Once upon a time, when I was a very small bird indeed, and lived in Alaska, I had a nice little nuclear1 family2. We had a mom, a dad, and two kids! I was one of the two kids.

Now, Dad is a Real Rugged Alaskan Man3, and, as such, is cheerfully invulnerable6 to certain environmental factors that the rest of us have to take into consideration, i.e., that there is snow on the ground and it is cold outside. He would wander outside to get wood for the stove barefoot7. He would wander down to the freezer8 in zoris.

It came to pass that Dad's Sorels9 wore out. He got a new pair, and made to throw the old ones out, because there was a crack in the heel, and snow was starting to get in. I had a bright idea, and rescued them, and got the scissors. I'm sure that my sister Tay-Tay was involved in this project too, because where one of us was, there was the other. That's what sisters are for, especially in an Alaskan home-built house11 in the winter.

Mama stepped in, and we cut off the leather tops, and cut down an old pair of boot liners to fit the foreshortened boots. Mama secured them in place with hot-glue12 and a bit of decorative trim.

Dad didn't really like the idea at first, we could tell. But he did some backpedaling when he realized that we'd really seriously meant to be helpful, and after that, he did wear the slippers when he was running outside for a bit.13



1) Given that it was Alaska, it was a nuclear winter family more than six months out of the year.
2) As opposed to my electronic family, which started orbiting me later, but who are still attached firmly enough that it would catch things on fire to attempt to pry them away.
3) I don't think he wanted to be a lumberjack, but he could cut down trees, and he does have a chainsaw4.
4) He now has an electric chainsaw, which has some after-market additions that make it simultaneously more effective and less safe5.
5) Which is a potential problem, because I still remember the time he sliced his knee open with his old gasoline chainsaw.
6) For short periods of time only, after which he becomes sane again.
7) And wearing only an undershirt.
8) There was a big freezer on the porch of Mama's pottery shop, a few hundred feet away, up and down a couple of little hills, because the little freezer in the house refrigerator won't hold enough frozen foods to get you through the winter.
9) The thing to wear on your feet if it's warm enough to not wear bunny boots10.
10) Bunny boots. Big, white, clumsy, and stand between you and frostbite of the feet.
11) Which is to say, pretty much one room. People go nuts. They call it "cabin fever".
12) The real hot stuff, not the "cold melt" hot glue that doesn't work for jack.
13) Even though he was still only wearing an undershirt.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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