Remembering a good friend

by Peter Twitchell

My cousin Joseph Adolph Woods Jr. and I were like brothers. We grew up together in Bethel. We hunted together with our cousins Joseph “Manny” Evon and Henry Kohl.

We were successful in hunting ptarmigan, rabbits, fox, ducks, geese, cranes, swans, teals, moose, beaver, porcupine, muskrats – anything that had wings and four feet. All species of fish, blackfish, pike, whitefish, smelt, all salmon species, trout, grayling, burbot (lush), seals, squirrels, and wolves.

Like all subsistence hunters, we were “expert marksmen”. We made our mom and grandma happy providing their favorite foods.

Muskrats had fur that the sewers in our family depended on to make warm clothing and so all muskrats had to be carefully taken so as not to damage the skins of these animals.

My cousin Junior Woods had retail knowledge so he was often in villages to help them set up their retail stores. Jr. Woods was a craftsman who carved ivory earrings, detailed work. He carved lifelike birds of all species, carved wooden crafts, and dew geese on paper with pencil and india ink on ivory carvings. He crafted with skill and detail.

Jr. Woods was nicknamed “Beeps” in later years. He was a top meat cutter at the Bethel ANICA Store when Joe Marchetti was general manager, and also at the Swanson’s Store.

Recently as 2003, he was in Jack Hopstad’s Kuskokwim Fiddle Band playing rhythm guitar. I had the pleasure to play in the same band.

His greatest joy was being an uncle to kids in his life. My son Dan remembers Jr. Woods as a loving man who made animals with kids putty, played board games, told them stories – a good man who called my children “Little People”.

He died recently at the Bethel Hospital but will live on in our hearts.