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Get out on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to beat those winter blues

Refuge Notebook

Posted: Friday, January 09, 2004

My dad has a lot of those sayings, you know the ones that make you smile, or grimace or laugh out loud. When I hear someone else speak one of his phrases, it's like I only hear his voice. It doesn't mean anything coming out of their mouths.

One of his Ronisms, as my wife so fondly calls them, is, "I need to get up there and reejoovinate my bawdy!" Another one of a similar nature is, "It's time to head up to God's country!"

To really appreciate these Ronisms, you need a little more information. First, you need to have a mental picture of my dad. He's a big man, not big like me (6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds). No, he's a lot bigger like 6 feet 2 inches and 350 pounds. And it isn't all fat. He's a large-boned, Illinois sandy clay loam, corn-fed kind of big. In Texas, he's a natural Bubba. In Alaska, I'll bet there are some pretty big bruins that would head the other way when he gave them "the Newbould stare."

You scoff, but until you've withered under that steely gaze, you have no idea. The first time my soon-to-be-wife ran into "the stare," well, it was the first time I ever saw her go speechless.

The second thing you need to know about my dad is the size of his heart. He has a great big heart. Not big like a Himalayan Sherpa's made mighty by extreme exertion. But the other kind of big, as in a large capacity for life and to love.

Now that you think I've gone all sentimental on you and you've either swallowed the hook or darted under the cutbank, I'm going to share one other thing about my dad.

You see, he loves the outdoors, in all its forms rugged or pastoral, majestic or cultivated, untrammeled or manicured, sweating or shivering, working or playing it doesn't matter.

To my dad, it's where we all came from and it's where we're all going. It's where we belong: outside. So if you are wondering why you are so tired and rundown and you can't sleep or you can't wake up: Duh!!! It's because you're cooped up like a pig in a hogbarn, eating and sleeping, sleeping and eating.

Come on, let's go. Hop on those skis, slap on those bear paws, pack up that survival kit. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is calling you. The doctor is out. Alaska awaits. It's time to head out to God's country and get reejooovinated!

Doug Newbould is the Fire Manag-ement Officer at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information about the refuge, visit the headquarters in Soldotna, call (907) 262-7021, or visit our Web site at http://kenai.fws.gov



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