On the Waterfront: Finding inspiration in Walter

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2005

On the WaterfrontBy Elton Engstrom

What an inspiration to get a letter from Walter Soboleff. Here is the letter I recently received from him:

"Another year has past. We are in the new year, 2005. Much has happened in 2004, wanted or not!

"Each one in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood had a moment's unexpected surprise, smiles, discouragement and tears from deep sorrow. Others have gone through more than we: hunger, loss of home, unemployment, loss of part of their body, loss of life. So much is happening.

"I heard of a village where sorrow struck. A man went to the beach at low tide. Looking up he cried out in prayer:

"'Haa Ahn Kha Woo Eeshan oo Haan Haa Eet E Daa Shee.' (Our God in our poorness, help us.)

"There are camps that were answers to the needy with clothing, meals, words of comfort and helping others with a merry Christmas. All members and officers, as you serve and help, become angels of God.

"In the recent program 'Healthy Nations,' many young people and adults took part. New directions were opened, suicide was prevented and many were changed to become better individuals. Let us keep doing good, and we could even double our membership."

This is the end of the main portion of the letter, but in the final sentence, who could not be inspired by Dr. Soboleff's spirit and humanity by reading the following:

"I caught a tough cold this winter. For breakfast, I had cough syrup on my pancakes."

• Elton Engstrom is a lifelong Alaskan, retired fish-buyer, lawyer and legislator (1964-70) who lives in Juneau.

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