By Melinda Munson

It started about three weeks ago. I stepped into the coffee house and there were multiple faces I’d never seen before. I panicked. Was I in danger? Did I need to run? When was the last time I ran? Could I run while holding my chai latte without spilling?

No, No. Five years? And definitely no.

“Shut up, brain,” I told my nervous system. “It’s okay. They’re just seasonals. It’s that time of year.”

This is a fight I have with myself after every long, dreary, dark winter that I don’t travel. And hint, I have five kids still residing at home so I seldom leave.

It’s a shock seeing the same people all winter at the post office, at the hardware store, around a campfire and then … BAM! There’s a fresh mullet, a beard I’ve never been exposed to, X-tra Tuffs that definitely weren’t purchased from Duffs. It’s a sensory overload that takes getting used to. 

(It’s also difficult sharing my beautiful valley with residents who might not cherish it the same way I do. For instance, lately there has been underwear strewn across beloved trails, alcohol bottles dumped around town, or the strangest new incident, someone barking at a dog walker.)

I calmed my mind and pushed further into the coffee shop, thinking I could play it cool. Maybe I was semi-successful because two younger guys approached me.

“Hey,” one said. “Anyone ever told you that you look like Jamie Lee Curtis?”

That would be a compliment, except she’s 20 years older than me. I took my pride and my Jamie Lee Curtis haircut and retreated.

I didn’t interact with another seasonal until Folk Festival. After an electric performance by Lucas and Christian, I introduced myself and my daughter to the young guy sitting by himself in front of us. He said he was from the Midwest, he hadn’t traveled much, and this was his first time in Skagway.

He mentioned walking around trying not to cry.

“Oh,” I inferred. “You’ve been to the grocery store.”

“No,” he said. “The mountains. It’s so beautiful. I’m overwhelmed.”

I liked this seasonal. We talked some more. He actually was worried about food prices.

“Don’t look while you shop,” I advised. “Just close your eyes and grab what you need. But never, ever buy grapes on sale. Because then you’re going to want them when they’re not on sale. And nobody can afford that.”

He looked at me in all seriousness.

“I love it here. But I’m afraid if I keep eating the way I’m eating, I’m going to get scurvy.”

I won’t lie. I went home and researched scurvy. He could be right. 

Seasonals, eat your potatoes, carrots, cabbage and broccoli. And when they’re on sale, tomatoes and bell peppers. Thank you for keeping our economy humming. Have fun and please keep your trash and your underwear in the appropriate containers.