Thomas J. Aron
This book is a work of fiction. Places, events, and situations in this story are purely fictional and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Published by Thomas J. Aron at Smashwords
Copyright 2009 Thomas J. Aron
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Credits Cover and Maps in Text – Edgar Cruz, Highlands Ranch, CO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo – Aaron
Cathcart, Estes Park, CO www.cathcartphoto.com
For my sons,
Rich, Ed, and John,
and for all Alaska Sourdoughs,
present, and future.
“The world holds us to be fools, let us hold it to be mad.”
Saint Francis de Sales 1567 – 1622
Patron Saint of
Journalists and Writers
Jack London’s legendary dog, Buck and Sergeant Preston’s trusty lead dog, Yukon King helped inspire me to go to Alaska. Two true gentlemen, Judges Peter Page and Bruce Monroe, understood why I had to leave after a lightning flash of a career in Juneau. Between my coming and going were experiences too unbelievable to report easily. For years I dared not even try. Now I have.
My gratitude for this extends to the nurses and staff of the Longmont United Hospital of Longmont, Colorado. Thirty-three years after Juneau, I spent more than nine months in Longmont United with a difficult leg wound. It was in those hospital beds that I began this long-delayed story.
Three staff members were most notable in their contributions to my effort. They all supported my writing this story, begun with pen on lined notebook paper while I was enduring the treatments.
Michael Weerts, a humane human resource director, continually brought peace and caring to the caregivers on the floor. Those angels of mercy were called to do their professional work under the press of personal difficulties and in the face of the arrogant persona of some of the doctors. Michael’s compassion overflowed the staff and into my life.
Josh Sonka, an unusual maintenance man, first caught my attention when he shared his cultural identity and language with a Polish-speaking hospice patient, who died shortly thereafter. Josh had escaped Communist Poland through the Berlin Wall to become a proud American citizen with an honorable Army service record. He offered encouragement and linguist expertise to my writing. His real life story rivals almost all the novels I have read and probably everything I hope to write.
A third notable was Nancy Cardona, a gifted massage therapist with proud Spanish ancestry. She had left Columbia as a young woman to become an American citizen with a miraculous destiny. Her healing touch helped keep the voracious pain at bay after the traditional morphine injections and numerous pills had failed. It is unlikely that I could have written this without her.
At times I began to doubt that it all happened, the Alaska experience as well as the hospital nightmare. However, I will never let perfect accuracy stand in the way of a good story. Truth in writing sometimes is worn as a loose garment, much like a hospital gown with its opening in the back.