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That's a nice Christmas gift. Ketchikan waits anxiously each year about this time, just like the kids do for Christmas morning, to discover what the next cruise ship schedule looks like.

With a drop in oil prices limiting revenue for state capital and operating budgets, Alaskans will have to think frugally for the time being.

A.J. Dennis, 77, of Silver Creek, Washington, died Dec. 18, 2014, after a long illness.
Phillip Dean Nehl, 59, died Dec. 10, 2014, in Ketchikan after a long battle with heart failure.
Nice to meet you

Sometimes, around the time August begins to wind down and we are scanning back-to-school ads, some folks downtown get a feeling about our influx of seasonal visitors perhaps best represented by that old tune Dan Hicks used to sing, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?”

But this week, we were singing something more along the lines of the cheerful “Getting to know you,” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”

The unfortunate breakdown of the Celebrity cruise ship, Millennium, resulted in good fortune, too. No one was hurt, though passengers were inconvenienced. As a result, we got a chance to meet folks we usually only talk to in passing.

The Millennium passengers didn’t get to Juneau or points north as planned, but got to see Ketchikan, and lucky Ketchikan got to know them much better than the usual cruise ship itinerary allows. By Wednesday, some were visiting the Gateway Recreation Center and at at least one ate at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. They even got to experience one of our bonus sunshine days when the forecast called for the opposite.

They’ve been taking tours, visiting with locals, (buying up newspapers for their scrapbooks — stories for the grandkids, don’t you know), seeing the sights. They’ve been remarkably friendly for folks who planned on one thing and got quite another on vacation. They’re lucky, too, because Ketchikan is not only beautiful (as they surely assumed before ever sitting foot on our dock) but as helpful a city as they’ll encounter. We hope they will regard this trip’s detour as serendipitous. We do.

Hats off to Ketchikan, too, for what the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau calls the “gracious hospitality” extended to what we’ve come to think of as the cast and crew.

We are glad the folks from the Millennium are enroute home at last, but grateful for the opportunity to get to know them better. Thanks for stopping by.