Land of the Midday Moon

Wait. “Midday moon?

Yep. It remains the land of the midnight sun, but I like this alternative story much better, especially since I experienced it.

A little background:

Seems there’s a little town in Alaska called Ferry, population 32, although that could easily have changed since the number appeared in a Houston Chronicle article a decade ago. The story we heard on the train from Denali National Park to Anchorage covered, or perhaps uncovered, the same stuff.

Greater Metropolitan Ferry straddles the Nenana river a short distance south of Denali National Park. Roughly a generation ago, the Alaska Railroad built a bridge across the Learning the truthriver. The folks in Ferry were delighted to finally avoid the 20-mile detour they’d had to endure to cross the Nenana without getting their feet wet. They drove everything but livestock across that bridge, which didn’t set well with the railroad which focused on other issues, like safety, especially after a locomotive hit a vehicle on the tracks. No one, evidently, was hurt. Embarrassed probably, but not seriously injured.

However, the incident caused the railroad to try and enforce it’s “no crossing” policy. Legend has it the railroad installed spikes in the bridge to discourage drivers. The Ferry

School photo of an early migrant (top right) to Ferry, Alaska.

School photo of an early migrant (top right) to Ferry, Alaska.

folk retaliated by covering the spikes with wooden planks and continued driving across.

The railroad appealed to the state government which threatened to fine anyone who used the bridge. The residents were displeased, of course, but had little recourse. It’s hard enough to fight city hall; state governments are even tougher. So they resorted to using the only thing left for honest, law-abiding, American citizens: their first amendment rights. From then on, the story goes, the town folk of Ferry, Alaska, would line up on the Fourth of July each year and moon the Alaska Railroad’s Midnight Sun Express as it rolled by. In both directions!

But the story goes on. When the railroad brought in the Alaska State Patrol to quell the protest, the residents simply switched their demonstration to the following day, or whenever the troopers weren’t available. Nowadays, anyone riding the Alaska Railroad is mooned carlikely to be mooned almost anywhere. Alaskans, it appears, take their protests seriously.

This was born out when our train was “hit” by a lone mooner as we chugged between Denali and Anchorage. The accompanying photo, though pure fiction, may give you a feel for the experience. Not sure if it’ll help with digestion, but catching a full moon at midday certainly made us all smile.

I can’t wait to write a story about Alaska, its marvelous scenery, and magnificent people.

–Josh

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Land of the Midday Moon

  1. Karen Boyce says:

    Well-told, and illustrated! This tale really did bare repeating!

  2. joshlangston says:

    Many thanks, Miz B. I hoped it might earn a giggle or two.

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