Story last updated at 1:20 p.m. Saturday, August 31, 2002

Homer hospitality appreciated
We have recently read the Joel Gay edition of the Homer News, and while our hearts burst with pride at the obvious love and respect his colleagues have for our son, we were also saddened at the realization that we, too, have left Homer.

Our first trip to Homer was in 1979; Joel, we think, was living in Tom Kizzia's trapper's cabin (or was it a bike repair hut, or was it on the floor at Quiet Sports)? He met us at the Anchorage train station after our trip to Denali and took us to the parking lot, where he pointed to a small, miserable-looking Alaska car and indicated it was our ride to Homer. Just as we started to exchange the well-known, parental, long-suffering, our-son's-a-screw-up look at each other, Joel laughed and pointed to a huge green Cadillac, loaned to him by Gail Phillips, and off we drove to Homer, creature comforts to the hilt. And as the view of Homer atop the last hill into town came into view, we knew that the kid had, in fact, found his place.

Homer has treated us exceedingly well. We have enjoyed outdoor weddings (with canine ring-bearers), indoor dinner parties, salmon and halibut barbecues, fishing trips, berry picking, cross-country skiing, boat rides, Nads softball games, clamming, picnics on the beach, dances, KBBI concerts, theater productions, family reunions, Matthew's graduation and the greatest gift of all from Homer: Mary Beaumont.

Now we'll have an opportunity to get to explore Anchorage, maybe catch the start of the Iditarod, and maybe see the northern lights. But there will never again be an experience that will come even close to the joy of knowing Homer through Joel's life there, and we are profoundly grateful to all of you who have played a part in it.

Ilse and David Gay

Albuquerque, New Mexico