For days, Lee Barr Sr. has seen occasional falling snow when he looks out his window in the northwest Alaska village of Kiana. In a couple of weeks, he said, the Kobuk River will be ice.
It's hard for him to imagine what his serviceman son, Marvin, is experiencing in the hot desert of Saudi Arabia."He's doing good so far - he says he's getting used to it," Barr said of the 21-year-old Marine, one of several Alaska Eskimos stationed in Saudi Arabia.
Marvin's first letter home arrived recently. He said he missed his mother's baking and native food. His father laughs at the thought of smoked salmon and -dried caribou meat in Saudi Arabia.
"He said it was kind of warm - and it must have been hot down there if he says warm," his father said in a telephone interview. "When he talks about something he can't make things sound bad. He's always been like that."
Marvin is one of Lee and Viola Barr's eight children and has been a Marine for nearly four years. He has been in Saudi Arabia for about a month.
"It was kind of hard at first, I guess," said his father. "The heat and wondering what they were going to do - whether they were going to have action."
"It's kind of hard for us too, wondering."
The Barrs' neighbors, Lorenze and Nellie Schuerch, have two sons in the Marines, but neither has gone to Saudi Arabia yet.
One of them, 20-year-old Vincent, is home on leave for 20 days from his base at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Vincent Schuerch said he's has been hunting and helping out around home but is ready to go back when needed. He'd like to see Saudi Arabia.