Never give up hope

by Peter Twitchell

An individual texted me a question not too long ago – “Cangacit?” “How are you doing?” Then after I texted back to answer that question, I got a response back, that told me this person was angry and in a state of mind of loneliness and darkness.
Some people just don’t want us to be happy and successful. They would rather see us down at their level of desolation. No one wants to feel alone.
My grandfather Hollis Adams Twitchell was a fur trader back in the 1890s up here in Alaska. He had tried gold mining, didn’t succeed there due to not having the right equipment and a man can only dig so far in a rocky and frozen ground.
His home base was Takotna. He mushed his dog team from St. Michael to the Bristol Bay and Flat, Alaska to Nelson Island and everywhere he traded at he always commissioned a carver to make two identical Eskimo face masks. These he would send to a buyer in New York.
Some 20 years ago dozens of Eskimo masks were found in an abandoned warehouse in New York. One of the masks, called the Wind Mask, was auctioned in New York for several million dollars.
Many of the masks found were determined to be the identical masks and were sold to people in Europe, Germany, and Africa. Long before this discovery in an abandoned, dark, and desolate warehouse the Eskimo masks were probably considered old and useless and had no value to mindless individuals, but to someone there was value.
I imagine an Eskimo dance mask was used once at a dance ceremony and it was burned immediately following the night it was displayed and used. Yet, to a collector of antique Eskimo Tribal Masks, a mask was worth millions of dollars!
When we are down so low in life feeling worthless, lonely, and abandoned, there is someone who cares. Let’s build on that. There is hope our strength will be restored in our weakness.
Even dogs, our daily companions helped my grandfather to stay on his feel and pull through life. My grandfather Hollis Twitchell became a successful reindeer herder in Takotna, Alaska until the end of a long life of hardship.
Moral of the story is: Never give up hope – ever!