tim white & grandpa

Here is an excerpt from Tim White's blog regarding my grandfather:

You could call it snot eye. A mucous discharge, yellow or greenish color, in the eye. It may be a result of dust or dirt in the eye, pollen and allergens; the worst variety is probably “pink eye” a contagious infection that spreads from one individual to another. Dogs, humans and other animals can have the discharge for many reasons. Earl Norris, the famous Siberian Husky musher, was often seen with this in the socket of his glass eye. Perhaps he took it out at night, put it in his pocket, then licked it before replacing it in the morning. That’s what Will Steger did with his contact lenses…
The first time I met Earl Norris was in 1974 at the Iditarod start. He told me “that sled will never make it to Nome.” The next time was January 1978 when I went to the Settlers Bay race near Knik. Earl offered again, “that sled will never make it to Nome.” I sold one of my sleds then to Rick Swenson and he used it all the way to Nome, though he was beaten by Dick Mackey in a photo finish.
He then extrapolates on eye discharge in his dogs and his favorite treatment for the ailment, which was apparently the actual point of the article.  So why did Tim White include a description of my grandfather in the introduction?  I'm not sure, but I had the "pleasure" of listening to Tim White give a lecture on the "history" of sled dogs at a sled dog symposium in Kiruna, Sweden last year. In that aimless and wandering overview of sled dogs, he also made sure to impress upon the audience what a nasty-looking doubter my grandfather was, with pictures of grandpa at Alpirod included in his slideshow. I introduced myself to him after the lecture as Lisbet Norris, Earl Norris' granddaughter, and he at least had the decency to look a bit ashamed of himself. I would like to think so, at least.

Tim White fancies himself a historian, and seems to insist on painting my grandfather in his histories as a hygiene-defient doubter of Tim White's methods and products. That may have been so, but I think I can say most people, even if they did not agree with him, recall my grandfather as a respectable figure who dedicated his life to the sport of dog mushing. I remember very well what my grandpa's glass eye looked like. But it certainly is not the part of him I focus on when I am thinking about my grandpa as a person and accomplished musher. Thankfully, most people who knew or met my grandfather seem to follow this line of thought as well.


  1. I never knew that M.R. White felt that way...... I am gonna take the QCR of my tobagan A.S.A.P!!


  2. P.S. It never works right anyway....

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