Ice Worms! Some Folks Will Celebrate ANYTHING!

Feb 7th

Friday? Already? WOOHOO FRIDAY!  This week flew by, for which I am very grateful.  It’s been cold, which I love.  They are calling for snow, which I also love, though the timing could have been better since we have plans this weekend.  All in all though, it’s awesome that it is Friday, and I’m sure that everyone else feels the same way.  Well, most everyone.  I’m sure those folks who get stuck working on the weekends aren’t so thrilled. 

Today we have a unique assortment of celebrations, some for everyone, and some for folks in Cordova, Alaska!


Cordova Ice Worm Day –  This one is unique to the folks of Cordova, AK.  So, what do you do when you’re in Cordova in February?  It’s a little fishing village without much to do in the middle of winter.  It’s cold out and by this time of the winter everyone has cabin fever.  They want to get out and see other people and visit!  Well, if these feelings are hitting on the first full weekend of February, they are in luck!  This is the week that the Ice Work is celebrated in a week-long festival!    Cordova is a little fishing town in Prince William Sound.  It has an old-time feel to it, a main street, gravel roads and is one of the most picturesque towns in Alaska, or so the travel sites say.  It is a nature lover’s paradise, with a population of about 2,800 people year round, but that grows to over 5,000 during salmon season.  It is a community of artists, musicians, Coast Guard families, fishermen, native Eyaks, scientists and local business folks.  In the early 1900s the discovery of copper ore brought in the first settlers, and that eventually brought in the railroad.  By 1938 the ore supply had diminished, and the railway closed down.  Fishing is now the main industry of the town.  You can only get to Cordova by plane or ferry, so it is less crowded with tourists that other destinations in Alaska.  There aren’t any chain stores or restaurants, but they do have hiking, river rafting, fishing, camping and “flight” seeing.  Five million shorebirds flock there every year during the migration in the spring.  Black bears and moose wander into town, and the Ice Worm can be found there . . . at least once a year.
The Legend of the Ice Worm started back in 1898.  There was a struggling journalist by the name of E.J. “Stroller” White in Dawson, AK.  He had just gotten a job with the Klondike Nugget.  One of the conditions of his new job was that he had to increase newspaper sales with his news articles.  As he was struggling to find anything interesting to report, a blizzard hit the area and he came up with an idea.  He announced to his editor, with excitement, that he had discovered a new creature . . . the ice worm.  According to “Stroller” these ice worms loved the extreme cold so much, that the blizzard made them crawl out of their holes in a nearby glacier so they could enjoy the frigid temperatures.  There were so many ice worms slithering around that they made a chirping noise as they moved.  This story was such a huge hit that the sales of the Klondike Nugget soared.  “Stroller” kept writing about them, and people started setting out on expeditions to find them.  Bartenders served a drink called “Ice Worm Cocktails”.  The drink was prepared by pulling a long, skinny worm out of a piece of ice and dropping it into customers drinks.  There were skeptics who said that it was really spaghetti frozen into the ice chunks, instead of actual worms.  Honestly, that sounds like a better idea to me!  The Ice Worm “discovery” story reached Washington, D.C. and London.  Scientists were sent on expeditions to confirm the story.  Eventually a writer from the Philadelphia Ledger reprinted the original story, adding his own little comments to the story.  This made even more people come to Cordova, and the sightings of the ice worms increased.  Years passed and as with most things, the excitement faded, and the ice worms retreated back into their homes in the glacier, and they became just a legend to be pictured on postcards.  Turns out though, there really are ice worms!  They are related to earthworms and leeches.  They are small, slim worms, a centimeter or two long, and dark brown, black or white in color and t hey look like miniature earthworms.  They live in glaciers and snow all year, and thrive at 32 degrees F.  Higher temperatures are harmful to them.  They hide deep in the ice and snow during bright, summer days, coming out at dusk to feed.  They eat snow algae, pollen grains, ice and snow.  Their biggest enemies are snow buntings and other birds.  In the winter they dig deep down into the glaciers to eat the nutrients that are trapped in the ice layers that have formed over several years. Ice Worms have small bristles on the outside of their bodies, called setae, and they use them to grip the ice and pull themselves along.  They have been clocked going a speedy 10 feet per hour on the surface of a glacier! (I just got a case of the giggles thinking about someone sitting out in the cold, timing how long it took an ice worm to go 10 feet!)  Time moved forward from the Ice Worm story and “Stroller”, and eventually came January,1961.  Frigid temperatures had caused cabin fever to set in, and a couple of the Cordova locals got together to have a few drinks.  They talked about how they could liven up the town and they decided to celebrate the discovery of the Ice Worm.  They got together with some of their friends, talked it over and ran a story in the local paper.  They raised funds from local businesses for the event, the Cordova Airlines offered one-day $15 round-trip specials to people in Anchorage.  In the lobby of the Windsor Hotel, the first Great Ice Worm was built.  It started out as a dragon-like beast with a horn shaped nose, but later changed to a happy-faced glow work, then back to a dragon.  I don’t think anyone could make up their minds!  If you find yourself in Cordova, AK this time of year, you’ll be happy to know there are all sorts of events like sporting tournaments, BBQ and other cook-offs, dancing, music and . . . well . . . a festival!  Sounds like fun!


Send a Card to a Friend Day – We don’t send enough cards to tell the people we care about that we are thinking about them.  Our lives are busy!  We are shuffling ourselves, our kids, our spouses from one place to another.  We are racing from work to home, to get all of our errands are done and by the time we are done with all of that, the last thing that is typically on our minds is sending a card to anyone, especially if it isn’t their birthday!  Today is the day though – send a card to a friend.  It doesn’t have to be a paper card.  Send an e-card!  It will save postage and still get the point to them across – that you are thinking of them. 

Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day – I’m one of those folks that doesn’t feel like getting to know the neighbors is such a good idea.  In my personal experience it often leads to people always wanting to drop by, or asking to borrow stuff.  I don’t want that.  And quite honestly, I have met the elderly lady next door.  She’s a sweetie, but not someone I go over to see all that often.  (that’s not a nice thing to admit, but I’m being honest.)  The folks on the other side of us, well, I don’t really want to get to know them.  They throw loud parties all the time, they have been rude on more than one occasion, and it just isn’t something that would work out.  The people across the street seem nice, but they keep to themselves as much as we do. I guess that’s what makes this celebration nice.  We live in a world where we don’t necessarily know our neighbors, but this doesn’t preclude us from acknowledging them.  Wave at them – wave all of your fingers like you mean it!  If you put a smile on your face at the same time (no, it won’t crack) you will appear to be friendly!  Trust me, friendly is nice.  Overly friendly invites people to borrow your stuff.  Wave, smile, move on!  hahaha if you happen to be close to your neighbors, that’s awesome.  But if you feel like me . . . well, wave all your fingers at them. It’s a lovely compromise. 

Wear Red Day – Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States. It claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. For more than 10 years, the American Heart Association has sponsored National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.  There is a lot more I can add, but to be honest, this one pretty much explains itself.  Celebrate National Wear Red Day® with Go Red For Women on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 to help fight women’s No. 1 killer—heart disease. You can join the movement nationwide and learn how you can honor women by looking up local events that will allow you to participate, raise funds and raise awareness.  In the meantime, wear red!  It really does mean something.
Winter Olympics –  It’s that time of year again – if you’re an avid sports fan I’m sure you are going to be glued to your TV for the next couple of weeks.  Opening today is today, and it closes on February 23.  This years games are in Sochi, Russia.  Once again the worlds top athletes will be competing to represent their countries.  USA! USA! USA! USA!
     

This Day In History
1964 – The Beatles come to the U.S. for the fist time.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Fettuccine Alfredo Day – In 1914, Roman Chef Alfredo di Lello dressed pasta with butter and cheese for his pregnant wife. Americans later went mad for it, making the sauce creamier and adding seafood or chicken to the mix.  Who knew that such a famous dish could come from giving a pregnant woman what she was craving!?
Alfredo of Rome’s Fettuccine Alfredo

What did I tell you?  All sorts of different things to celebrate today!  I sure wish we could head for Cordova. That sounds like fun!  However you celebrate today, enjoy it!  After all, it’s Friday! God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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