The phone rings..... I answer it in my normal way, "Cindee."
I hear a distant voice, "Hello? Hello?"
I say, "Yes?"
He says, "Is this that fancy bioshelter way up in Alaska?"
Immediately I sit up straighter and press the phone to my ear a little tighter. "Yes it is."
"Say," he says, "I just read that article in Alaska Magazine about your house."
"YOU DID?" I burst out. I had no idea that it was published.
"Yeah. You know I first went to Alaska in 1955 with the military. I know exactly where that house is, but back then there was no Eagle River."
I'm thinking, Cool, I'm in Alaska Magazine! I'm not really listening.
He says, "Say, I think I understand everything, but how do you get those worms to eat your junk mail?"
Now I'm smiling. I add sugar---no I'd better not mess with this nice old man. "I just toss it down there and they eat it. I shred it first though."
He says, "Do you wet it?"
"No." I say. "I don't need to wet it, because I'm always throwing left overs down there. But you'd have to dampen your junk mail before you fed it to them."
"Wow," he says, "that must be some special kind of worm that can eat junk mail."
Still smiling, I say, "No, just the regular ol' red wigglers."
"R-e-d---W-i-g-g-l-e-r-s" he says as he writes it down. "Where'd you get your red wigglers?"
"From Uncle Jim's Worm Farm." I say.
"Where's that?" he wants to know.
"Gosh, I think in Tennessee."
"My mother's cousin lives in Tennessee. I suppose they have some good worms there."
"Aren't the dyes and stuff on that junk mail gonna kill those worms?"
"Well, good question," I say. "We have an expert up here--Jeff Lowenfels, he wrote a book called Teaming with Microbes."
"T-E-A-M-I-N-G--W-I-T-H--M-I-C-R-O-B-E-S" I hear him writing it down again.
"Anyway, he says that everyone is using soy-based coloring these days and that we should only worry about printing from China."
I say, "I haven't gotten any mail from China lately, so I'm not too worried." I hear a chuckle. "Where are you from now?" I ask.
Well immediately I think I'm talking to Russia, but quickly dismiss the thought, because he certainly didn't have a russian accent. So I say, "In Florida?"
"Yup!" he says. "We've got a real nice place down here with four bedrooms."
"Yeah, I've always been interested in this green stuff and being green. But now I'm going to have to get me some worms to eat my junk mail. Have you ever been to Saint Petersburg?"
"Oh quite a while back we were there for a training. So I've been there all right." I say.
"If you ever get back this way again, you look us up. You can stay with us as long as you want."
Grinning now, I say, "Thank you. It was such a joy talking to you today."
And we hung up. A connection across the continent to ask me about my worms.
If that just isn't amazing!