Tuesday, August 20 from 11:30am to 2pm @ St. Peter's by the Sea Episcopal Church. Lunch includes grilled salmon, cole slaw & chips for $10. Cookies will als...
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Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25 @ SFAC Campus - Sitka Wild Alaska Yoga Fest - see www.wildalaskayoga.com for more info.
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Friday, September 13 & Saturday, September 14 at 7pm @ PAC - Sitka Fine Arts Camp will present a Queen Tribute Concert. Featuring Bay-area based performe...
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Monday, September 16 at 7pm @ PAC - SFAC will present A Night of Avant-garde Piano. Join New York City-based pianist, Robert Fleitz, for a fun & educational...
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Tuesday, September 3 at 6pm @ SHS Library will be the next regular School Board Meeting. For more info, please go to https://www.sitkaschools.org/domain/286
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Monday, August 19 from 6:15-7:45pm @ Library - the Sitka Community Land Trust will hold its next regular meeting . The public is encouraged to attend. The SCLT ...
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Tuesday, August 27 from 6-9pm @ Rio's Wine Bar above Ludvig's Bistro.- Mermaid Paint 'n Sip with Sarah Dart!! Sip fine wine, enjoy the inspiring view and fol...
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Saturday, August 17 is National Thrift Store Day - Help celebrate Thrift Stores by visiting the White Elephant and the Salvation Army! The White Elephant Sho...
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Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25 - will be Chelan's last visit for 2019, featuring Peak Peaches and Nectarines. For, fun, see 8/25/19 Soup Kids Page on...
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New Taxi & Tour company in Sitka! Taxi Service available 7am-5pm, and in evening by advance arrangement. I love to take visitors on a tour of this beauti...
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We're very excited to begin our sixth year of Boys Run I toowú klatseen: Strengthen Your Spirit-- an after-school empowerment program for boys. WHEN: Septemb...
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Wednesday, August 28 from 4-6pm @ the Chum Room in Harrigan Centennial Hall; and Thursday, August 29 from 11:30am-12:30pm @ Swan Lake Senior Center. The firs...
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Process and review sales & bed tax returns and generate notices when warranted. Supervised by Senior Accountant but leeway is granted for the exercise of in...
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Saturday, August 24 at 9am @ Fixit Station at Lincoln & Lake - Join us for a 50-mile Group Bike Ride organized by the Sitka Cycling Club. Wanted: helmeted c...
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Thursday, August 22 from 6-9pm @ UAS hangar. Have you ever been on a long bike ride and your back tire flatted? Did you know how to fix the tire? How about thos...
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The Soupster muses about “silver linings”.
Originally published September 9, 2004
Even a reliable car will die if you don’t put gas in it.
As the Soupster drove toward downtown, the dreaded “check engine” light of his car flicked on. A moment later, all the other little icons on his dashboard lit up — the oil light, the battery light, the low fuel light. These symbols are called “Idiot Lights” because if you neglect a problem until they go on, you’ve waited too long. To keep track of the gas, you get not just a light but a whole gauge. So, if you let your car run out of gas, you’re a super idiot.
The Soupster’s sedan rolled to a stop.
Now, if you run out of gas on this country’s great prairies, you could be forgiven. If you happen to miss the “Next Gas 42 Miles” sign on Route 80, you could be forgiven. But it’s pretty hard to forgive running out of gas in Our Town – on land at least.
So, the Soupster did not forgive himself as he pulled over to the side of the road on a Thursday afternoon, right at quitting time.
He had no sooner shut off the car than someone came by. A jogger. With a baby in a skookum three-wheeled, all-terrain stroller.
For a second, the Soupster thought the jogger would be mad at him for parking too close to the pedestrian path, but she immediately offered the use of her cell phone. So, the Soupster called his friend Don and asked him to bring some gas.
The Soupster thanked the jogger, who jogged happily off. Replaced then by a cloud of dust, as a huge pick-up pulled in, practically dislodging chunks of asphalt with its outsized tires. The Soupster’s friend Moe’s son Larry.
“Need help?” he asked, and the Soupster explained that gas was on the way.
As Larry pulled out, Curly and Jo, who the Soupster had been meaning to call, pulled over. And, seeing the others, Adam and his little son Abel pulled over and joined the group.
“Which of you needs help?” Adam asked, and Jo laughed when they were told, “Neither! But thanks!”
Curly and Jo went back to their car, but the Soupster stood by the roadside, signaling that he was okay to the half dozen acquaintances who passed by.
Then, on the other side of the road, the Soupster’s Absolute Worst Enemy stopped and asked if he needed help. When told the Soupster was out of gas, AWE went round to the back of his car and emerged with gas-can-and-triumphant-smile.
The Soupster felt beads of sweat drip down his neck. Do you accept help from your Absolute Worst Enemy? What is the rule?
Mercifully, the arrival of Don’s Jeep kept the Soupster from having to answer that. He called to AWE, “Thanks, but I’m okay now!” with real relief.
Don handed the Soupster a full gas can. “Boy, wanna see everybody you know?” the Soupster said. “Just run out of gas in Our Town, on the side of the road, at quitting time!”
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The Soupster riffs with a jazzy friend.
Guest Written by Rachel Ramsey
The Soupster was perusing his favorite thrift shop’s assortment of kitchenware when he heard his name from across the shop.
“Soupster! I’ve been thinking of you all week!” He recognized the joyful voice of his pal and fellow jazz fan, Liz, who approached him excitedly through the crowd.
“Oh yeah? What kind of trouble are you cookin’ up, dear?”
“Ain’t Misbehavin’, Soupster.” Liz replied. “Have you seen the recently discovered short video clip of Louis Armstrong as a young teenager?” Liz knew the Soupster liked his jazz early and hot. Nothing later than 1929 was his jazz preference.
“I did catch that! A New Orleans newspaper boy flashes his grin, and experts have agreed it is likely Armstrong. 104 year-old video – very cool, indeed.”
“Well I’ve been on a solid Armstrong kick since seeing that clip, buddy, and ever since I feel I’ve got the world on a string!”
Liz’s laugh was as infectious as her joyous and kind, ear-to-ear smile – freely shared with all she encountered. Not unlike Satchmo himself, the Soupster thought. Determined to replace his shabby compost bucket, he continued to eye the goods.
“Frankly, Soupster, I cannot stop referencing Armstrong song titles, and it’s driving my kids a bit batty. But I’m entertained, and honestly, I can’t help lovin’ dat man!” Their combined robust laughter filled the shop, turning only a few tourists’ heads.
“Good for you, Liz,” the Soupster chuckled. “Since his career spanned 50 years, that should keep you going strong for quite a while, though if you’re not careful, Someday you’ll be sorry. Before you know it, your hubby will be bombarding you with all the Zappa lyrics you’re oblivious to.”
Grateful that her fellow jazz lover grokked her silly joy, Liz giggled, “We’ve a fine romance, Soupster and It takes two to tango!”
“Aha! There it is!” The Soupster triumphantly exclaimed while pulling from the top shelf a 3-gallon bucket. “Have any shows on the horizon, Liz?” he asked. Liz was a volunteer at their community radio station.
“Sure do – I’m on tomorrow afternoon. Though I did miss my last slot,” Liz explained, “I caught a bug.”
“Gut Bucket Blues?” joked the Soupster.
Liz laughed, “Not quite. Speaking of buckets,” she pointed to the Soupster’s score, “What gives?”
“Well, it’s too good to be true, but I need this because my old Bucket’s got a hole in it. No lie.”
Liz couldn’t help herself, “What can you say – You’re just a lucky so and so.”
The Soupster paid for his bucket and began to mosey out of the crowded shop. He spotted the clouds above parting in the north, allowing sunbeams to permeate through the thinning overhead.
He turned around and called out, “I’m beginning to see the light, Liz! It’s on the sunny side of the street!”
Liz’s enormous smile returned as she laughingly shot back, “What a wonderful world!”
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The Soupster shares his learning about eagle feathers.
Originally Published July 24, 2003
The first time the Soupster passed his neighbor Gem, she was standing behind her push mower in the middle of her small lawn. The Soupster waved and Gem cocked an eyebrow and shook her head.
The second time the Soupster passed, Gem was standing in exactly the same spot, with exactly the same quizzical look on her face.
“Gem?” asked the Soupster, strolling over. “You okay?”
“Soupster!” said Gem, as if snapping from a trance. “Look here,” she said, pointing down.
The Soupster did as asked and spied first Gem’s boots, then the head of the push mower and finally – obviously the object of Gem’s attention — two bald eagle feathers, one white and one brown, lying in the grass.
“I can’t mow over them, Soupster, they’re so beautiful,” Gem said. “But if I pick them up I’ll be guilty of a federal crime!”
“Calm down, Gem,” said the Soupster.
“But Soupster, nobody is allowed to possess bald eagle feathers!”
“You’re right, Gem,” the Soupster said. “There are laws against possessing any of the parts, including feathers, of bald and golden eagles. Live or dead. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever touch the feathers.”
The Soupster bent over and picked the feathers up. The white one was fine and delicate, with a bit of down at its base, fluffy and ready to fly away on the merest breeze. The brown feather was more substantial, its firm stalk suggesting the heft of a writing quill.
“Native Americans and scientists are allowed to petition for eagle feathers – or other parts,” said the Soupster. “For ceremonial or scientific reasons. There’s a place in Colorado – the National Eagle Repository – and another one called The National Wildlife Repository, that are run by the federal government. They will hold onto any animal parts people are not legally allowed to possess – from skins from bears unlawfully hunted to lizard skins not allowed in the U.S. and seized by Customs.”
“Wow,” said Gem.
“My friend at Fish and Wildlife says there’s a six-month waiting list of thousands of Native Americans who have applied for eagle feathers,” the Soupster continued. “For other parts, the wait can easily be a couple of years. Maybe these feathers could go to someone on the list.”
Gem stepped away from the mower. She took the feathers from the Soupster’s hand and studied them. “It’s amazing to think,” she said, “the something people all over the country might wait months or years for is fluttering onto my lawn.”
“Americans who come upon eagle feathers are asked to mail them to the repository,” the Soupster explained. “My friend says that in Our Town, we should just turn them over to our state Fish and Game folks and they’ll see they get to the right place.”
“Thanks, Soupster. I can go back to mowing now,” Gem said. “Anything I can do for you?”
“Well, Gem,” the Soupster said. “After you finish your lawn, how about you come over and finish mine?”
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The Soupster has a “bird” sighting.
Originally published May 6, 2010
The Soupster awoke to the sound of birds – early birds. He heard a number of cars pull into the neighborhood. The engines stopped and car doors creaked open. Next came excited squawks and warbling calls, as the early birds recognized each other and descended on their destination.
“Lydia’s Moving Sale!” The Soupster’s eyes popped open and he leaped from his bed.
His beloved long-time neighbor was re-locating to Hawaii to be with her son Hank and his family, who had already remodeled their lanai into an apartment. A couple of years earlier, Lydia’s daughter-in-law Jackie had come into an inheritance, so Hank had closed his not-so-successful Our Town nautical pest extermination business (“Swimming Rats Our Specialty”). Having misjudged their opportunities in the 49th State, Hank and Jackie had decided to give the 50th a whirl.
The Soupster quickly donned his clothes – grateful for the new 21st Century rule that men no longer needed to comb their hair – and hurried over to Lydia’s.
His neighbor’s modest home was overrun with early birds. But of course! For Lydia had had the temerity to put an ad in the previous evening’s newspaper: “Aloha Moving Sale! Everything must go! Items free or you set the price. 9am-1pm. No early birds.”
Nothing inflamed an early bird’s lust for cheap but serviceable household items like those last three words. “No early birds?” he thought. “Really, Lydia?” He looked at his watch. It was just past 8:30.
At the front door, Lydia was negotiating with one of the early birds, who held a DVD player and a lamp. The early bird held cash, but Lydia pushed his hand back. “It’s okay to take them for free,” she insisted.
“I’m sure you could use the money,” said the bird, placing a $50 bill in her hand and hurrying out the door.
“It’s been like this,” said Lydia, acknowledging the Soupster. “I tell them they can have the stuff for free. I must look pitiful or something, because they keep forcing me to take money.”
“Why don’t you want to take money?”
“I feel like I should pay them,” said Lydia. “To take this stuff away. You know how much you accumulate in 30 years? I was going to take everything to the White Elephant, but do you know how many trips that would have made? This way the buyers come right to me. Cuts out the middleman.”
Lydia turned her attention to a bird holding a sewing basket, a coffee maker and two tin buckets. More early birds arrived as the Soupster surveyed the scene. Lydia’s household was being demolished peck by peck, as surely as ravens worrying a dead salmon.
But Lydia seemed happy, the Soupster surmised. “Hey Lydia, what are you going to spend all this unexpected money on?” he asked.
“Oh, it all goes to the White E.,” said Lydia. “Do you know how much trouble this is saving me? By cutting out the middleman??”
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The Soupster contributes to French Enlightenment.
Originally published June 26, 2003
Before the strolling Soupster even reached the bend in the road, he heard three things: the treble- triples and quads of bald eagles, the more purposeful caws of ravens and the baritone of his neighbor, Jean-Pierre, spouting loud, angry French.
After retiring from a large bicycle manufacturer in Paris, Jean-Pierre had built a sailboat and headed out to sea. Six years later, with a wife he’d met in Phnom Penh and a son born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Jean-Pierre came ashore in Our Town and declared it “Ze Heaven On Zis Earth!” The son was married himself now and living Outside. The wife had moved back to Cambodia to be with her family. But to Jean-Pierre, Our Town was still “Heaven on Zis Earth.”
Well, maybe not today.
Today, Jean-Pierre was in a furious competition with some ravens to return the contents of his trash can to their rightful place before the black birds pulled the items out again. As to who was winning, it was a toss-up.
In the hemlocks surrounding Jean-Pierre’s trash-strewn driveway, bald eagles watched the action from a dignified distance. Not so the ravens, one of which swooped low enough to knock Jean-Pierre’s cap off. Then the bird glided smoothly to the rim of the can, cackled happily and grabbed a piece of melon peel.
“Yo, Jean-Pierre,” the Soupster called. “You can’t win a battle against those odds. Let me help you.”
The Soupster tipped the scales some in Jean-Pierre’s favor. The ravens may have given the Soupster slack because he truly loved ravens. Or because he was not French. Whatever, they flew back up into the hemlocks and started harassing the eagles.
“What got this stuff all over, Jean-Pierre?” the Soupster asked.
“I zink it was ze bear, mon Zoupster,” said Jean-Pierre. “It may have been ze land otter, but I don’t zink zo. I zink it was ze bear.”
“Did you keep your trash in your garage until pick-up day like you were supposed to?” asked the Soupster.
“Oui! Yes!” said Jean-Pierre. “Always!”
“Did you put any fish or meat in the can that might have smelled strong and attracted the bear?”
“Sacre bleu!” Jean-Pierre said. “My freezer needed repair. I thought for just a little while it would be all right. You are right, Zoupster. It was ze smelly fish zat attracted ze bear!”
“Not such a “heaven on zis Earth” if you have to watch your garbage so closely, eh, Jean-Pierre?” the Soupster teased.
“Au contraire, Zoupster!” Jean-Pierre said. “Zis is nature. In nature, zere is always zometing to capitalize on a mistake zat any creature makes. Nature, she is very efficient, no?”
“Yes,” the Soupster said.
“And, Zoupster,” Jean-Pierre concluded, as the two men hoisted upright the now-filled can. “We are zo lucky to live right with nature. With nature right on our doorstep. In our driveway. C’est magnifique, no?”
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