King crab feasts in Nancy's kitchen
Nancy knew all she had to do was dangle the prospect of sitting at her table surrounded by her lively and intelligent friends for a king crab feast, and I would come running. No one held court like Nancy. I’d call before the Iditarod each year and before I could ask if I could stay at her house, she’d tell me my room _ the one with no windows where I once complained I lost touch with space and time because it was so dark _ was waiting for me. Nancy didn’t cater to me. She was far too busy at the Nome Nugget. When I would arrive to cover the race, I would enter the old, wood building and see her head bowed toward her desk, taking care of business. I knew better than to interrupt. When she had a moment, she made sure that I felt welcome, pointed out the coffee and tea and store-bought cinnamon buns, and left me to do my job. The Nome Nugget came first. Eventually, the Nome Nugget would fill with reporters and photographers, and the hum of being on the big story. Nancy never forgot her implied deal with me. She’d say, “Mary, let’s go get the crab,” put on one of her various hats with large, crocheted flowers, and off we would go to Norton Sound Seafood in the Suburban. Once back home, Nancy would get out the big pots to cook the crab. The large, round wooden table in her kitchen would be cleared off and set. I would make a centerpiece out of one of her many, small flowering plants, and supply the bottles of wine. Nancy loved lively conversation. She loved to talk politics or share the latest scuttlebutt. She told good stories about quirky characters that made us laugh. I will miss those times, and told her so a few hours before she died. It was always a privilege to sit at Nancy’s table.