Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wally and Micki in Thailand

I will start this post with a little history. Back in 1997, when I moved from Arizona to Alaska, Wally Macpherson and his Thai wife Micki were among the first people who befriended me. They invited me over for dinner often. I must admit that I had never tasted Thai food before that, (delicious), and I knew nothing about Thailand.
Wally first hired Micki, whose real name is Grongsri, to take care of his ailing mother. Eventually they ended up getting married. She is a wonderful cook, like most Thai people as far as I can tell.
While we ate her great cooking at their house, they would tell me all about Thailand. That planted a seed in my head. Before then I never seriously planned on travelling anywhere outside the Americas.
Eventually when Wally retired they moved to Micki's hometown of Nakhon Phanom, in Northeast Thailand. It is on the banks of the Mekong River, across from Laos. 
They immediately began encouraging me to come over to visit them. Which I did, twice, for a month or longer each time.
The photo above is my favorite part of Thailand, Khao Sok. Not quite as hot as most of Thailand.
The photo above is Wally at Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok. This is a third generation copy of a 35mm slide.
While standing next to a lake with Wally and his stepson Pbum, and Gary, Wally pointed to this and said, "what is that?" At first glance I thought it was a huge turtle. Then I realized that it was something poking its head out of a mostly buried drainage pipe. My next thought was, crocadile, but immediately I recognized that it was a large, (2m) Water Monitor. We saw many on that day.
Another third generation photo of Wally near his home in Nakhon Phanom.

Wally and Micki all dressed up for church. 
In recent years they have both been beset by serious health challenges. Micki has battled Malignant Lymphoma for years, while Wally tried to hide his Prostate Cancer.
Wally and Micki came back to Alaska several times to see friends and family. The photo above is Wally in Hatcher Pass on their last visit.
Anyway it was inevitable that they would lose their battles eventually. Last week, Micki finally succumbed to her cancer and Wally followed three days later. Their suffering is mercifully over.
It was a privilege for me to know them.

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