Dogs, Burgers & Love ~ H. Barron


Okay folks, I was up with insomnia last night and wrote this post…

Since Jason’s still on the road, maybe I’ll try and embarrass him a little bit…on his own blog no less (he he). It was the summer of 1993, and I was working as a dish washer at the Back Country Lodge, deep in the heart of Denali Park when I first met Jason. Of course he hadn’t met me yet… I was off duty, hanging out with a girl friend in the lounge, watching a video of the ’93 Iditarod (Jason’s rookie run). I quickly learned that the Barrons were real celebrities in Alaska, and the boys in particular, had somewhat of a mystique surrounding them. All with their devilish good looks, charm in front of the camera, and ability to navigate a dog team as well as their own two feet. I was plum giddy with excitement, and I think my exact words to my girl friend were “I’m gonna get me one of them Barron boys!” (Of course my eyes were set on Jason all along!)

It wasn’t until a year and a half later that we actually met. I was running my first professional sled dog race, the Knik 200, with a team of  Lynda Plettner’s young dogs. I was harnessing up my team on Big Lake, moments before go time, when Jason sauntered up and introduced himself, and wished me luck on the trail. I’m pretty sure I had a smile plastered across my face the entire run up to Skwentna and back. At the finishing banquet, all we could do was exchange a few glances through the thriving Knik bar crowd.

Our real story began two weeks later, during the ’95 Klondike 300, which Lynda had a team in, along with Jason’s father and younger brother. Jason had sold his dog team earlier that winter, and was killing time until his passport arrived…he was headed to Peru, Belize, Jamaica, anywhere but where he was. After we got together, the joke became ‘he made it as far as Palmer, AK’. But I digress. I was sitting with Lynda eating dinner at the pre-race banquet, hoping like heck he was somewhere in the crowd- when he strolled up and joined our table. He ordered a cheese burger, and when it showed up he immediately launched into a ten minute dissertation on the pure magic of the Klondike burger. It was the meatiest, juiciest, most satisfying hamburger to be found in the vast state of Alaska. With every slow and methodical bite, he starred in awe at its magnificent beauty, holding it up as if we should all bow to its greatness. Some quick history here…I had been raised since birth a strict vegetarian (for moralistic reasons) and was still trying my best to hold on to those virtues, although it was proving difficult living in a carnivorous household, in a carnivorous state. Lynda, who was sitting back enjoying every last bit of Jason’s antics, finally lost her restraint and let out a bark of victorious laughter, and then triumphantly informed him “you ain’t gonna impress her that way Jason, she’s a vegetarian!” I’ll never forget the look on his face- in the sixteen+ years since that day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with such a loss for words.

Later, when we were all heading off to take care of various dogs and bunk down for the night, I think I surprised him when I asked if he was going to come back for the late night band. And he did come back- three hours later after driving his mom back home in a white knuckle blizzard. Shortly after his return, we got kicked out of the bar (do to me being under age and all…oops) but we were happy enough to hang out in the lobby all night, getting to know each other, and chatting with various handlers who would come over and sit a spell before gearing themselves up to go drop dogs in the blowing snow.

We both consider the Klondike 300 our real anniversary, even though we didn’t get married for another seven years. Jason says that he knew it was true love when I accompanied him on a dump run early on in our relationship, and I happily volunteered to crawl to the back of his tiny camper and drag out the disintegrated box’s of rotten salmon, and heave them into the pit… I think for me it was after our first real dinner date, where I was trying to light our candle (in an unorthodox fashion) and accidentally set fire to the tablecloth instead- When he asked me out again, I knew it was love!  Or who knows, perhaps it was the burger incident… Love you Babe!

Photo by Raven Kanavle ~ 1997

Thanks again friends, all is well with Jason, he’ll be home this evening. More from him tomorrow… Happy April!!

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19 Responses to “Dogs, Burgers & Love ~ H. Barron”

  1. Marlene Phillips-Daniels Reply April 1, 2011 at 10:34

    Loved this Harmony !! Congratulations what an extraordinary pair you are.

  2. This is the best post, ever! Thanks for sharing. I can just hear Lynda P’s raspy voice spewing out those words and laughter!! You two are such a beautiful couple ~ and family.

    • Harmony Barron Reply April 1, 2011 at 12:42

      Thanks for the enthusiasm Sherry!! So glad you liked it. Yep, gotta love Lynda’s directness! Thank you for the sweet compliment.

  3. This story ranks right up there with Jeff & Donna King’s story of tangled teams in Denali Park ~ love at first collision. We all ‘relish’ a good love story… and happy endings that allow a carnivore to ‘ketchup’ with a vegan.

    • Harmony Barron Reply April 1, 2011 at 12:46

      Good one Donna! Glad you enjoyed ‘my version’ of our little love story, maybe Jason will tell it from his perspective one of these blogs! 🙂

  4. Okay, I confess…my day is not complete until I have read your blog. Whether authored by you or Jason they are the very best. Thank you so much for sharing this love–ly story, Harm. That picture of the two of you is, as they say, priceless. It was 47 degrees here in northern Michigan today but snow is coming back for the next two days. The critters and flowers are getting confused…so am I. (sigh)

    • Harmony Barron Reply April 1, 2011 at 20:34

      Wow, that is quite an honor Margie, I’m speechless…thank you. I’m with you on the whole wanting spring to be here thing, I’m longing for flowers…and to be able to let my kids out to play! It’ll be here soon!!

  5. Tish Cockerham Reply April 1, 2011 at 22:18

    What a lovely story. Love you both lots. By the way, adorable picture!

  6. You are doing an awesome job in his absentia!!! love your blogs these past few days.

  7. J.J. Hernandez Reply April 2, 2011 at 17:35

    Loved this story!!!!:)

  8. Great story Harmony! Larry & I have been together since 1995 also & always consider that anniversary more important than our wedding anniversary too.

    • Harmony Barron Reply April 5, 2011 at 13:22

      Thanks Joann, glad you like the story! Congrats to you and Larry for hitting the 16 year mark. There’s definitely something to be said for remembering those first days together as your ‘first & foremost’ anniversary. Hope spring is treating your family well.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I’m Back! « Jason Barron's Blog - April 2, 2011

    […] Jason Barron's Blog A place where outdoor adventure, long distance mushing, and creative writing collide… HomeAbout RSS ← Dogs, Burgers & Love ~ H. Barron […]

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