“Emery!” the Soupster called, glancing up from the outboard he was hunched over.
The cyclist screeched to a halt. “Hey, Soupster! How’s it going?” she asked cheerfully.
“Havin’ trouble with my starter,” the Soupster said, standing up with one hand on the engine and the other supporting his lower back. ”And this drizzle ain’t helping my mood none,” he complained. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?”
“An inspiring, scenic location to write in the rain,” Emery announced.
“Write in the rain?” the Soupster echoed.
“That’s right, I’ve got a new notebook and pen that you can use in the rain,” Emery said.
“Yeah, I know the ones,” the Soupster nodded. “Official types of people use them.”
“And that’s why today I officially declare myself to be a local,” Emery replied.
“Why today?” the Soupster asked. “You’ve clocked up at least 5 years in Our Town, haven’t you?”
“Yeah, but as you know, becoming a local is a process,” she said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. First you’re a tourist, wandering down the main drag, wearing your new fur boots and hat.
Hang around a few more days and you realize you’re gonna need some rain gear. So, you get the cheapest you can find.
Then you start doing the wilderness thing. Before long, you discover you need gear that’s breathable, waterproof and indestructible, so you go back for more — more expensive this time.
You learn that cotton kills and start stocking up on wool and polypropylene. The variety of gloves, mittens and liners seems overwhelming at first, but you focus on your size and get a pair of everything. Wool, fleece, leather, Gor-Tex and neoprene all have a use.
Before you know it, you have your very own Alaska Sporting Goods Emporium. Then, just when you think you have everything you need for life in rainforest Alaska, your Xtra-Tuffs start leaking.”
The Soupster took over. “So you patch them with duct tape, till you realize that even duct tape has its limits. Time for new boots. The old faithfuls are converted to slip-ons, used for taking out the trash, quick trips to the grocery store and camping.”
Emery laughed. “So, just when I thought my emporium was fully stocked, I discovered a line of ‘Outdoor Writing Products for Outdoor Writing People’ that can all be used in the rain.
There are even these pens that’ll write under water, upside down and in temperatures ranging from -30 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. They’ve actually been used on a manned space flight.
So, I’m now the proud owner of a new notebook and pen. My adventure barometer tells me that ice climbing is going to pale in significance compared with things to come,” Emery predicted.
“Let the adventure begin!” said the Soupster. “And congratulations on becoming a local,” he added, extending an oil-stained hand to shake her neoprene glove.
“But before you go, a quick question: do the words ‘cheechako’ or ‘sourdough’ mean anything to you?” he asked, a twinkle in his eye.
– Submitted by Lois Verbaan Denherder
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