Serving Sitka, Angoon, Port Alexander, Tenakee Springs, Kake & Pelican!  •  Phone: 747-7595  •  Fax: 888-897-9397  •  Email: shop@sitkasoup.com

Register RSS Feed  | 

Comments Off on Our Town – September 7, 2017

Our Town – September 7, 2017

| Animals, Dogs, Neighbors, Our Town, Relationships, Small Town Stuff | September 7, 2017

The Soupster recounts how a good prop can save the day.

“Wild beard – check, rough clothes – check,” said the Soupster to himself, as he stared at the large form of Granville Brickface standing at the coffee counter.

“Five shot venti Americano,” boomed Granville in a bass impressive enough to literally blow back the barrista’s hair (well, almost literally). Granville collected his potion and parked his bulk on the far side of the crowded coffee shop.

“Giant voice – check,” the Soupster muttered.

Granville Brickface was not the biggest guy in Our Town, but – with his wild beard, rough clothes and giant voice — he definitely took up the most space. Crowds seemed to part when he showed up. Dogs and birds went silent.

The Soupster remembered one time when a delicately-engraved invitation had arrived in Granville’s mail, with multiple pages and tissue papers in between each page. Granville was distantly related to some pretty lofty Our Town residents of the past and was being invited to the wedding of the daughter of one of the loftiest present-day Our Town residents.

The invite had required serious cogitation on Granville’s part. The guy was big, but not mean. He did not want to scandalize the ceremony with his usual “casual” garb, when the rest of the partygoers went formal. He did not want to do anything to rattle the nuptials. He would buy a suit.

“And get a haircut, for goodness sakes,” Granville heard in his mother’s voice inside his
head. He decided he would do that, too.

But successful social engagements are not based solely on appearance, Granville had remembered. People are required to talk with one another. A problem, he thought, that was more enigmatic than a haircut.

The Soupster had suggested a strategy from his long-ago experience with dating. He told Granvillle to anticipate the questions people would ask of him and, like a politician readying for a debate, prepare polite answers and memorize them. So Granville did.

The morning of the wedding, Granville took his newly-shorn and freshly-laundered self to visit the elderly woman who lived next door, as a test run.  Mrs. Cox was delighted with Granville’s transformation.

“It’s remarkable,” she said. “I’m nearly not afraid of you.”

“Do you think I’m ready?” Granville asked, purposely speaking in a low voice because of all the crystal glassware lining the breakfront shelves.

“Well,” said Mrs. Cox, tapping one finger against her chin.  “Maybe we can improve things a bit more.”

“Princess Lorna Doone!” Mrs. Cox called out and her tiny, fluffy, impossibly cute Pomeranian yapped into the room.

“Take Princess with you, Granville,” said Mrs. Cox. “Everybody loves Lorna!”

Granville did and Princess Lorna Doone earned her salt. All afternoon, Granville had a small crowd of people surrounding him, all wanting to pet and hold the dog. The memorized answers allowed Granville to appear almost charming.

And he got the best compliment of all when some cousin, taking in Granville’s fresh haircut, crisp suit and tiny dog, said, “I didn’t know Granville had a brother!”

61 total views, 4 today

Comments Off on Our Town – November 17, 2016

Our Town – November 17, 2016

| Animals, Our Town | November 30, 2016

The Soupster theorizes about bear behavior.

The Soupster heard an incredible bear story the other day. It seems his friend Eddie was bicycling to work and, unbeknownst to him, was being chased by a brown bear. A very alert driver saw this and pulled into the parking lot to head the bear off. Eddie never knew he was being chased by a bear until he got to work, when someone came in and told him.

This bear had been a recurring problem in the neighborhood for a few weeks, and there was even talk of euthanizing the animal. The Soupster had his own theory as to why this particular bear was so hungry and bold.

The Soupster’s summer walks had always included the bridge over the river inside the park. And this year, like always, he had closely monitored the humpy run, while striking up conversation with tourists in the park.

So the Soupster, with his daily monitoring of visitors and humpies, is here to tell you that it was a normal-to-very-good run this year. To the delight of the tourists – er, visitors – the river was plugged with humpies this summer, and there was plenty of water to get them upstream as far as they wanted to go. In early August, there were lots of humpy carcasses on the riverbanks for the birds and bears, going all the way down the trail down to the mouth of the river, where it empties into the ocean.

For further proof that this year started out as a normal run, the Soupster noticed that the smell test at the post office was normal. In a normal year with a west wind you can smell the rotting humpy carcasses at the post office. With a southwest wind, you can’t. By mid-September, in a year with a good run, you can smell them way past the post office, all the way to the auto parts store.

So what happened? If you recall, later in August, we got a couple days of near torrential rain. The river went up to flood level and – sadly – all the lovely humpy carcasses were flushed out to sea. The late spawners were all that was left. And that was barely enough for the birds, let alone the bears.

The Soupster further theorized that bears are very territorial and that this particular older bear, not finding his accustomed winter’s stash of dead protein by the river, was driven by hunger to committing the “crime” of being too familiar with humans. Thus, Eddie’s bear had a long rap sheet – chasing Eddie to work, charging a man on his porch, knocking over numerous garbage cans, and breaking into two garages and a parked pizza delivery vehicle.

Perhaps mercifully, Eddie’s bear disappeared shortly after his autumn adventures, and did not have to be put down – but had he chosen to stick around, his fate would have been determined by the fact that you cannot have brown bears living in town and becoming familiar with humans. Bears are just too unpredictable.

Humans aren’t?

– Submitted by Ron Rau

 

260 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – October 6, 2016

Our Town – October 6, 2016

| Animals, Dogs, Our Town | October 6, 2016

The Soupster and four colleagues view the astounding

Outside the supermarket, the Soupster occupied the driver’s seat of his car. He waited impatiently for his friend Ted to emerge with the cold drinks the two men had been craving since spending the afternoon cutting and hauling firewood.

He looked at the car’s clock, calculating the time that Ted would take chatting with the checkout person.

In the black SUV parked to the right, a regal-looking dog — maybe some Afghan hound in the blood? – sat in the driver’s seat and peered back at the Soupster. The Afghan looked royally bored.

Up and to the left, a Pug-faced mixed-breed dog also sat in the driver’s seat of his owner’s small hatchback, watching the sliding front door of the market with grim intensity for his human to appear.

In the pickup parked perpendicular, two barking Shih Tzu resembled animated stuffed toys. Their sturdy little legs were propped against the pickup’s window and they barked in perfect unison at landing ravens, passing humans and nothing in particular. The tiny dogs also stared at the supermarket door, waiting for their personal human to emerge.

“Where’s Ted?” thought the Soupster — picturing himself checking his watch and tapping his foot – although he actually slouched in his seat and looked again at the dashboard clock.

The Pug-faced dog had moved to the passenger seat for a better view of the front door. The Afghan regarded that same front door and yawned. The Shih Tzu had switched to a first-one-then-the-other style of yipping, probably to husband their resources for what was turning out to be a longish haul.

They were all trapped, the Soupster thought, regarding his plight and that of his canine peers. All vibrant organisms in tin cans waiting for their rescuers. In the Soupster’s case, he was held by his social bond with Ted. The dogs were even more inextricably bound in their metal prisons, having neither thumbs nor car keys.

Did that make Ted and the dog owners prison-keepers, thought the Soupster?

As people filed in and out of the front door, the Pug-faced dog jumped excitedly back and forth between driver and passenger seats. The Shih Tzu switched back to barking in unison. Even the Afghan joined in with low howling.

“Oh, my,” said the Soupster.

Then a white station wagon pulled into an open parking spot. While the dogs kept up their din, the driver of the white wagon stepped out of his door and opened the rear hatch. Inside was a golden retriever-mix dog. The driver patted the dog on the head, then turned and went into the store – AND LEFT THE REAR HATCH OPEN.

The Afghan was so aghast, it ceased howling. The Shih Tzu, too, were silent, although they still moved their tiny mouths. Only the Pug retained his voice and grunted with scores of questions.

The golden retriever wasn’t tied in. The hatch was open. His owner was gone. Why didn’t he bolt?

The Soupster – and, he imagined, the dogs – pondered the question. Why didn’t the retriever bolt?

But then Ted was in the car with the drinks.

“Long line, sorry,” Ted said, popping his can top, taking a long swallow and registering the Soupster’s far away expression. “See anything interesting?”

309 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – February 25, 2016

Our Town – February 25, 2016

| Animals, Dogs, Our Town, Pets | February 25, 2016

The Soupster encounters a man and beast who won’t talk with their mouth full.

Big and tall, and perpetually chewing a carpenter’s pencil, Hank Waterstone epitomized the 21st Century American fashion of very large men owning small dogs. A generation ago, men like Hank would have been no more likely to be seen with a Chihuahua-terrier mix than they would tote a floral purse.

But here they were, the 12-pound Jupiter straining against his leash and pulling the 240-lb. general contractor along Our Town’s downtown sidewalk.

Jupiter, known to yip-yip-yip quite vigorously on occasion, was silent. He had to be – stuffed in his mouth was a yellow octopus plush toy. Five of its eight tentacles hung from Jupiter’s jaws, while the dog held three of the legs and the head in his teeth.

Coming the other way, the Soupster spotted the yellow toy first and he had a wisecrack ready as he sidled up to big man and little hound.

“Jupiter’s octopus is as bright as those lime green reflective jackets the smart cyclists wear,” the Soupster said. “Is that to increase the little fella’s visibility?”

“It’s to decrease his audibility,” Hank said. He reached down and pulled the octopus out of Jupiter’s mouth. Jupiter immediately launched into his staccato yip-yip-yipping. It shocked the Soupster how loud a sound could come out of such a little dog. Hank replaced the octopus and the yipping stopped.

“An on-off switch,” Hank said tersely and chewed on his carpenter’s pencil.

Gretchen Greely walked up to the two men. “Afternoon, Gents,” she said. “Cute dog.”

Hank mutely chewed on the pencil, so the Soupster interjected, “His name is Jupiter. He has an on-off switch.”

Gretchen made a puzzled face, so the Soupster reached down and grabbed the yellow octopus from Jupiter. Yip-yip-yip, Jupiter protested. The Soupster gave the dog the toy and the yipping stopped.

“Works every time,” said the Soupster.

Jupiter started making little “grrr” noises and a big drop of drool fell to the sidewalk. Hank, chewing vigorously on his pencil, plucked Jupiter up and cradled the dog against one side of his chest.

“How are you, Hank?” Gretchen asked.

Hank said nothing, just chewing his pencil.

Gretchen lurched forward and plucked the pencil from between Hank’s lips.

“Hey,” said Hank, “what are you doing! I was chewing on that!” He followed his words with a litany of unprintables.

Despite Hank’s complaints, Gretchen addressed the Soupter. “I just wanted to see if the on-off switch worked for him, too.” She pointed to the sputtering Hank. “Evidently, it does.”

The Soupster laughed. “Like man, like dog,” he said.

481 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 30, 2015

Our Town – July 30, 2015

| Animals, Guest Written, Lois Verbaan DenHerder, Our Town | July 30, 2015

The Soupster okays an unusual pet.

Submitted by Lois Verbaan Denherder

“Did you know Our Town has bearded drag­ons?” asked the Soupster’s friend Tina.

“It does?” said the Soupster, eyebrows raised.

“Check this out.” Tina showed him her phone. “For Sale on Facebook,” it said.

“Just look at those babies! They are soooo cute! ‘Two Males – one gray and one cream. Born and raised locally and ready for their for­ever homes.’”

“Hmm, won’t be long and these spiky little dinosaurs will be extinct in Our Town,” the Soupster predicted. “After all, they’re both males, right?”

“Soupster! You’re hilarious. If one was a female, it would be his sister. Even you know what’s wrong with that picture”.

The Soupster laughed.

“Says they hatched May 20, 2015. You know what that means, Soupster? You can celebrate their 3-month birthday! Bet you’ve never been to a bearded dragon birthday party.”

“Nope, can’t say I have,” the Soupster admitted.

“And look at this,” Tina continued. “They ‘make great companions, are safe, docile and like to be handled.’

C’mon, Soupster, they sound like the perfect pet.”

“Hmm…” the Soupster mused. “Most dogs I know fit that description. These critters are a bit of an unknown quantity. What’s more, this sounds like a lifelong commitment. Don’t forget, they’re ready for their ‘forever homes.’

“Oh, Soupster, since when were you afraid of commitment?” Tina asked. “Check this out: ‘Bearded dragons are cold-blooded reptiles in the lizard family,’” she read.

“Therein lies the first problem,” the Soupster noted. “Cold-blooded animals are meant to live in warm places and clearly, this is not one of them.”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Tina. “You guys have so much in common! Like you, bearded dragons need a source of heat. ‘Some people use a heat pad; however, beardies like to bask in the sun and a lamp provides a good replica of the sun.’”

“Ok, food” she said. ‘Crickets and dark leafy greens should be two of the main choices. The live food consists of commercially bred crickets, meal worms, wax worms and juvenile Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which you should get at a pet store.’ It is ‘not recommended that you catch the live food for your bearded dragons because outdoor bugs may have been exposed to pesticides.’”

“Well, that’s a relief,” the Soupster chucked. “Have to say I prefer spending my weekends garage sale-ing or fishing. Anyway, been a while since I saw anything on that list around here. How much do you feed them?”

“Good question. Soupster. Finally I detect some interest.” Tina winked. “’As many crickets as they can eat in a 10-minute period.’”

“Interesting. We do have a lot in common. That’s my mealtime philosophy, too.”

“If you need any more convincing, this will do it, Soupster. Bearded dragons ‘have one of the best temperaments of all lizards and can be quite per­sonable and intelligent.’”

“Man, they sound nicer than a lot of humans I know,” the Soupster chuckled. “What did you say that contact number was?” he asked.

602 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 2, 2015

Our Town – July 2, 2015

| Animals, Birds, Our Town | July 1, 2015

The Soupster unravels a garbage mystery.

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 the Soupster’s 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 Eart’!” 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 Eart’.”

Well, maybe not today.

Today, Jean-Pierre was in a furious competition with some ravens to return to their rightful place the contents of his trash can before the black birds pulled the items out again. As to who was winning, the scene still rated 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 so. 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 zat 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 that attracted ze bear!”

“Not such a “heaven on 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 something 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 lucky to live right with nature. With nature right on our doorstep. In our driveway. C’est magnifique, no?”

Originally published June 26, 2003

651 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – November 6, 2014

Our Town – November 6, 2014

| Animals, Dogs, Jokes, Our Town | November 6, 2014

The Soupster hears about charlatans, wrongly accused.

The Soupster stepped out of the rain and into the lobby of Our Town’s airport to pick up an express shipment. He hoped that someday the animal heads and fish lined up along the front beam could be made animatronic, like something out of Disneyland. Visitors would take it as noteworthy, the Soupster surmised, if a 70-lb. king salmon winked at them and said, “Welcome to Our Town!” or “Please come visit Our Town again.”

The gangway swung open and passengers spilled out. The serious travelers flowed right out the front door, having whittled their fashion and toiletry needs down to carry-on size. The rest of the crowd oozed slowly toward the luggage carousel. At the front counter, the Soupster was told he could retrieve his package in a few minutes.

“Hi, Soupster!” said Skye Claire, sideling up next to him. Skye was a professional entertainer who holed up in Our Town periodically to hide from her adoring fans. “How’s my favorite purveyor of miscellaneous items soaked in rainwater?”

“And my best wishes to you, Miss Skye,” the Soupster said with a barely perceptible bow. “What’s new in the entertainment business?”

“I met a talking dog,” said Skye.

“I’m listening,” said the Soupster.

“So, I’m in the office of a talent agent in Seattle who’s trying out new acts for the annual Rainier Review,” she recounted. “I’m standing by the door filling out some contract forms, when the agent lets in the next act for an audition.

“’Spartacus, the Wonder Dog!’ trumpets the owner of a speckled black-and-white, longhaired medium size hound. ‘Spartacus will now answer three questions.’”

“What was the owner like?” asked the Soupster.

“A bit forgettable,” said Skye. “Plus, me and the talent agent are busy staring at the dog.

“’Spartacus,’ says the owner. ‘What do you call the material on the outside of a tree?’

“‘Bark!’ yelps the dog enthusiastically. The talent agent raises his eyebrows.

“’Spartacus,’ says the owner. ‘Name a three-masted wooden cargo ship from the 19th century.’

“’Barque,’ yips Spartacus. The agent crosses his arms and looks stern.

“’Spartacus,’ the owner says a third time. ‘What is the best brand of root beer?’

“’Barq’s’ Spartacus says.

“’That’s enough, you charlatans!’ says the talent agent, who comes out from behind his desk and scoots both man and dog out of the office. I slip out with them. The agent goes back inside and slams his door.

“Spartacus looks up at his owner. ‘Henry Weinhard?’ Spartacus says. I almost fainted.”

 

750 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – October 9, 2014

Our Town – October 9, 2014

| Animals, Crazy Theories, Our Town | October 9, 2014

The Soupster does monkey business.

“Books about monkeys?” the Soupster asked Bobbi Lincoln, who was walking out of Our Town’s relief pitcher library while our starting pitcher library undergoes renovations.

“Indeed,” said Bobbi, an animated wisp who seemed to switch perches effortlessly. “I’ve been thinking a lot about monkeys. Monkey see, monkey do.” She held three books about monkeys.

“Have you ever heard that if you put enough monkeys at enough typewriters, one of them will type the Sitka phone book?” the Soupster quipped.

“I’ve heard they type King Lear,” said Bobbi. “Besides, what’s a typewriter?”

“Ha, ha,” said the Soupster. The Soupster liked Bobbi, which he indicated with a broad smile. Bobbi indicated her mutual affection by quick head movements. She switched perches again.

“We are so lucky to have a back-up library,” said the Soupster.

“I just found out the library moved,” said Bobbi. “I don’t know how it escaped me. I’m spending too much time online, obviously.” She tilted her head.

“The news must have reached the hundredth monkey,” said the Soupster.

“What?” asked Bobbi, standing on one foot.

“So there was supposedly this group of islands, each island with a different group of monkeys living on it with no contact between any of the groups,” explained the Soupster. “And the monkeys had to eat dirty sweet potatoes – don’t ask me why. And then one of the monkeys on one of the islands figured out how to wash the sweet potatoes. The other monkeys on that island imitated the first monkey and washed their potatoes too.”

“According to the theory,” the Soupster continued, “when the hundredth monkey on the first island washed his sweet potatoes, monkeys on the other, unconnected islands started washing theirs, too.”

“Sounds like a fruity theory,” said Bobbi.

“You’re right,” said the Soupster. “The theory is hockey pucky scientifically. But it does have an element of truth. When ideas reach a critical mass, they do seem to take on a life of their own and emerge at the same time from seemingly unconnected groups.”

“Of monkeys?” chirped Bobbi, switching perches.

“Could be monkeys,” said the Soupster.

“I gotta go,” said Bobbi. “Lots of monkeys today,” she called as she flew off.

“That’s why we measure ‘em in barrels!” the Soupster called after her.

 

687 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 25, 2014

Our Town – September 25, 2014

| Animals, Dogs, Our Town | September 25, 2014

The Soupster discovers new uses for seawater.

As he strolled up the uneven causeway to the seaside home of his new friend, Warren Peece, the Soupster thought, “My friends have funny names.”

It was a dark and stormy night. The Soupster trod carefully around the potholes that filled with rain in just a few minutes.

The kind of big-drop rainfall that another of the Soupster’s friends, Rex Havick, thought came down too hard on Our Town to be just falling and had to be the result of somebody throwing it at us.

Warren’s home was a snug-looking place, but on a night like this, perched precariously on some rocks the ocean could shift with a mere shrug, disappearing between sea spray and downpour, Warren’s abode looked awfully alone and the Soupster felt a pang of concern for his friend.

So, after greeting Warren, before even shedding his Tufs, the Soupster got right to the point.

“I would worry about being out here all by myself,” he said.

“Nothing is going to happen to me,” Warren said.

“What if a bad person came out here while you were sleeping?”

“No one’s coming out to bother this old man,” said Warren. “Seawater will protect me.”

The Soupster figured Warren was right – who would trek out to this lonely spot on the ocean? There were more convenient places for mischief.

Warren went into the kitchen to check on the dinner. As his friend bunked around in the other room, the Soupster couldn’t help but salivate. He had heard that Warren was a consummate cook and waiting for tonight’s fare – some kind of family-secret-wine-and-herb-poached halibut – the Soupster felt like a kid who couldn’t wait a second more to start eating.

But as the Soupster looked around the living room, he had to laugh. Warren might be top chef, but he was no housekeeper. Newspapers and books in waist-high piles made impromptu tables for Warren to pile other stuff and he did, and then piled more stuff on top of that.

Warren came back into the living room and handed the Soupster one of his famous homemade brews. The Soupster noted a recent cut on Warren’s forearm.

“Nasty,” said the Soupster, pointing the bottle neck at Warren’s wound.

“Not to worry,” said Warren. “Seawater took care of it. Ready to eat?”

Warren brought plates to the table and the Soupster noticed they were sparkling clean – despite the messiness of everything else. Warren doled out the halibut only slightly faster than the famished Soupster scarfed it down.

Sated finally, the Soupster leaned back in his chair and patted his bloated belly. “Just delicious,” he said. “And I have to compliment you on how clean you got the dishes.”

“As clean as Seawater can make ‘em,” said Warren. The Soupster chuckled at the thought of his thrifty and unconventional friend.

There were still a few slivers of halibut and dollops of sauce on the Soupster’s plate.

“You going to finish that?” Warren asked.

“I couldn’t cram in another bite,” the Soupster said.

“Not to worry,” said Warren and put the Soupster’s plate onto the floor. “Seawater!” Warren called out and for the first time, the Soupster noticed an ancient hound sleeping on a blanket by the stove.

The old dog roused himself and went to work on the plate.

“See?” said Warren. “Not to worry!”

 

600 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 3, 2014

Our Town – July 3, 2014

| Animals, Dogs, Our Town, Pets | July 3, 2014

The Soupster learns that bravery comes in many forms.

Prince Little, the chihuahua, huddled under a salmonberry thicket, hiding out. He was only a few blocks from his home, but little creatures don’t have to go far to have big adventures.

How to explain how he ended up in the salmonberries? First, the front door was left open, then the fence gate. He spotted a stunning poodle-corgi mix and before he made any kind of decision he was already in hot pursuit. He scarcely realized he was running, even as he was getting lost.

Mademoiselle Corgi was fleet and Prince Little could no longer see her. But he did see the two big cars that came very close and one honked angrily. Bicycles swished by, spraying him with drizzle. A jogger. A really big dog who smelled like teeth. Prince Little was an inside guy, and the salmonberry thicket seemed the closest thing to inside that he could find.

Only a few blocks away, Jennifer Boveen, Prince Little’s owner, paced her house with grief and worry. Tomorrow was the big parade and she was marching with the summer school band and had to practice her flute. But how could she? Prince Little was her practice partner, always listening, sitting quietly while she played, his thin tail swishing back and forth like a metronome. Where was Prince Little?

Jennifer couldn’t bring herself to even open her flute case. Her parents offered her all sorts of bribes, but nothing could dispel the dark cloud of Prince Little’s disappearance. She went to bed early, dreading having to march and play her flute, when all she wanted to do was pull her blankets over her head.

Morning – parade day. Jennifer had breakfast with her parents, who treated her gently. They told her they’d be cheering from the sidelines and they were proud of her. They watched their daughter leave, wearing her band uniform and carrying her flute — a brave little soldier.

Jennifer arrived at parade lineup and disappeared among the excited cacophony of band members. Her friends were so wired, Jennifer’s gloominess went unnoticed. The bandleader called for the musicians to take their places. And off they went, Jennifer doing her musical best as they played the song she had practiced for hours in her room, Prince Little wagging his tail at her side.

Two blocks ahead, inside the salmonberry thicket, Prince Little’s ears perked up. For the last hour, the street in front of the bushes had filled with chattering strangers, and the chihuahua had slid further back into the thicket. The crowd started making a lot of noise and Prince Little shivered.

And then a sound coming down the street, the blaring summer band belting out the tune that Jennifer had practiced for hours with Prince Little at her side. As the band got closer still, the dog’s small, keen ears recognized the familiar sound of a particular flute playing a familiar song in a most particular way. He picked up Jennifer’s smell, sealing the deal. Prince Little tore out of the salmonberries, ran past the Soupster and into the middle of the band, and danced around Jennifer’s feet. In celebration, she played her heart out.

The very next day, when they announced that the school summer band took first prize for musical acts, Prince Little’s dancing was awarded a special mention.

756 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – May 8, 2014

Our Town – May 8, 2014

| Animals, Crazy Theories, Dogs, Our Town | May 8, 2014

The Soupster copes with unpleasant memories.

“You hate my dog!” Laura overheard through the library stack. “You revile my pooch.”

Laura the Librarian, with an armful of books, turned the corner, “Soupster?” she said “Is that you?”

“Uh, oh,” the Soupster said. “Was I talking out loud?”

“Something about dogs?” said Laura. “Something about hating dogs?”

The Soupster reddened. “I am a confirmed animal lover,” he said guiltily. “I actually like dogs third best, right after cats and Australians.”

“Then why did you say you hated your dog?” said Laura.

“It’s just an expression I use to control my bad thoughts,” the Soupster answered.

“Stay there,” said Laura, as she tipped the books in her arms onto a nearby empty shelf. She smoothed her blouse and gave her shoulders and head a little shake. “Now,” she said to the Soupster, “Tell me what on Earth you are talking about.”

The Soupster looked around to see if anyone else was listening. “Well,” he said, lowering his voice, “When I say, `You hate my dog,’ it really has nothing to do with dogs, or hatred, or even you, for that matter.”

“You know, when a person has a memory of something that didn’t turn out so well?” the Soupster went on. “And when they figure out what they should have done that would have worked out fifty times better? Or when they remember something somebody once said and only now can they think of the perfect thing they should have said back then?

“I don’t have these problems,” said Laura,

“Consider yourself lucky, then,” said the Soupster. “But my mind sometimes gets locked in kind of negative territory. My saying, `You hate my dog’ breaks me loose.”

“Tell me Soupster,” said Laura. “how did you come up with saying you hate your dog… er… my dog? Oh, you know what I mean.”

“Well,” said the Soupster, “It started a long time ago with the old saying, `Love me, love my dog.’ That morphed into `Hate me, hate my dog.’ Finally, just, `You hate my dog.’”

“Fascinating, your noggin,” said Laura.

“Show me the noggin what ain’t,” said the Soupster.

“Well, your noggin, especially, ain’t ain’t,” Laura said.

“You hate my dog!” said the Soupster.

“Wait just a minute,” said Laura. “Didn’t you just finish telling me that all this had nothing to do with me or dogs or hatred or dog hatred or anything?”

“Ooops,” the Soupster said.

721 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – March 27, 2014

Our Town – March 27, 2014

| Animals, Our Town, Pets, Small Town Stuff | March 27, 2014

The Soupster asks if there is ever anything new.

“Always the same, this town,” the Soupster muttered, reading the newspaper. “Always arguing over the same things. Paving the same roads, painting the same walls. The same people day after day. Can’t anything be surprising?”

With decades of residency under his belt, the Soupster didn’t entertain illusions about Our Town’s complexion being blemish-free. But what great lover is put off by a few zits? While he might moan in private, publicly the Soupster deflected criticism from outsiders like any loyal lover of a place (or person).

But today the Soupster was bored and instead of taking ownership of his boredom, he decided to blame Our Town. “Same, same,” he moaned. “Same, same, same.”

Fresh air sounded good, the Soupster thought. “Shake off my cobwebs.” This being herring season — hence, herring weather — the Soupster dressed in layers in case the present spectacular sunshine turned instantly to pounding hail.

Out the door down the road to the park went the Soupster, looking over the same sites he’d spied for years. He greeted a familiar face. He turned onto a trail he knew as well as the big vein on the back of his left hand.

While the herring spawn along the ocean’s edge was a mere fraction of that 20 or 30 years ago, the air still reeked with a salty, springy maritime smell. “Uncle Milt,” thought the Soupster. It was too early for new shoots, but the ground felt softer – ready to do something very soon.

A man leading a small black-and-white dog on a leather leash turned the corner of the trail. A strange dog – small and prowling like a cat. The closer the Soupster got, the stranger the dog looked – especially the prowling.

The small dog on a leash turned out to be a rather large cat on a leash.

“I trained him as a kitten,” the man said as he went past. “Now he loves it!”

“That,” said the somewhat delighted Soupster, waving, “is new to me. Yup, tomcat-on-a-leash is a new one for me.”

The sound of wheels turned the Soupster’s attention to a woman pushing a high-tech stroller. The stroller contained an extremely hairy baby. The closer the stroller approached, the hairier the child looked.

With relief, the Soupster realized the hairy baby was a dog.

“She hurt her leg playing Frisbee and she really misses her walk,” the woman said to the Soupster’s puzzled expression.

“Thank you,” said the Soupster.

“For what?” she asked.

“I was thinking everything in Our Town was `same, same, same,’” said the Soupster, more to himself. “I stand corrected.”

829 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – October 10, 2013

Our Town – October 10, 2013

| Accidents, Animals, Cats, Nicknames, Our Town, Telemarketing | October 10, 2013

The Soupster hears the gruesome story of a cat’s name.

Originally published October 7, 2004

Tony held his new cat in his lap, stroking its head, a slightly deranged-looking head, but Tony didn’t seem to notice.

“What’s his name?” asked the Soupster.

“This cat?” said Tony. “There’s quite a story connected with this critter.” The cat looked up at its owner with its moist, loving, remaining green eye. The cat was also missing one ear and the whiskers on the same side. One front tooth had been cracked in half. There was something wrong with one foot.

“This cat spent kittenhood living in the home of the most hated man in his neighborhood,” Tony said. “Some kind of free-lance international telemarketer. Anyway, people came in and out of the house all hours of the day and night on telemarketing business and everybody wanted to handle the cute little kitten. Two or three o’clock in the morning was the business day somewhere on the globe and somebody was always asking about the cat.”

“A free-lance telemarketer?” said the Soupster

“Oooh-boy, did they hate him in the neighborhood,” said Tony. “The telemarketer. Wasn’t just this cat that was kept awake. All those telemarketing people stopping by all the time kept the neighbors awake. And the teenage kids in the neighborhood started making a big hero out of this hated telemarketer, and don’t you know the parents didn’t like that very much.”

“So, as the cat got older,” asked the Soupster,. “did it get a name?”

“Right,” Tony continued. “The neighbors finally convinced the telemarketer to telemarket elsewhere. He abandoned the cat. So this poor guy found himself all on his own under a trailer, snuggling up to an electric heater for warmth, when he snuggled a little too close to the main electrical element and started a small fire on his head.” Tony rubbed the stump where the cat’s ear had been.

“Then he moved in with another family, one that already had these three really old other cats. Well, old cats and new cats can be like Classic Coke and New Coke — under the influence of different planets. They ganged up on our friend here – the three cats attacked him in sequence – and each one bit off a toe.”

“Ouch,” said the Soupster.

“That was the point I got him,” Tony said. “I took my new cat to the veterinarian to get his foot treated and the vet said the cat should be fixed, so I let him.”

“How did the tooth get broken?”

“That was just last week,” Tony said. “I guess I shouldn’t have brought such a lifelike stone bird into the house at the same time I got a new cat, but I really didn’t expect him to attack it.”

“So what are you calling this bad boy?” asked the Soupster.

“Lucky,” said Tony. “Just Lucky.”

828 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – August 1, 2013

Our Town – August 1, 2013

| Animals, Birds, Environment, Our Town | August 1, 2013

The Soupster is unaware of criticism of his trash handling.

The second raven spread its wings and caught the air to slow its descent as it landed atop the roof of the covered unloading area of the Solid Waste Transfer Station on Jarvis Street. It picked a spot close — but not close-threatening — to the first raven who had been sitting on the roof for about five minutes already, studying the trash items spread out below.

“Patience, my tail feathers, I’m going to kill something,” quipped Raven Two in greeting, re-telling the old joke about the hungry vulture complaining to his fellow vultures. “How are you, you old grouch?”

Both ravens cawed and cackled, as a third circled overhead and landed on a nearby hemlock branch. Various other ravens, alone or in groups of two and three, occupied other trees and ledges in the vicinity, deep in their own business.

These were healthy Our Town birds, shiny and waterproof with stiff outer feathers and feathers underneath as soft and thick as fur. They were well fed.

A pickup truck pulled into the station and onto the scale outside the drive-up window of the Transfer Center office building. The window slid open and the human inside the truck and human at the window exchanged sounds that were incomprehensible to the ravens.

“A pickup truck,” noted Raven #1. “Fewer than there used to be, with all the SUVs and hatchbacks humans are buying instead.”

“What’s up with that?” said Raven #2.

“But isn’t a bed full of fresh groceries in a pickup parked in an empty lot just about the sweetest thing in Creation?” said Bird One.

“And we should know!” quipped Bird Two who cawed loudly, along with One, for a solid six seconds. This caused the raven in the hemlock to circle around and then land back in the same hemlock.

“Trash, in general, is disappointing these days,” said Raven One. “These humans are composting so much of what we used to find delicious about trash.”

“The bears have ruined it,” said Raven Two. “With bear proofing, we can’t even get the trash cans open half the time, even if the wind has knocked them over for us.”

Both birds watched as the Soupster drove up in his hatchback. He had a rickety wooden chair and a shovel with a broken handle to discard. The Soupster had just been to the grocery store and the “eagle-eyed” ravens could see three grocery bags lined up tantalizingly in the cargo area. The second bag in had green grapes at the top, Raven Two’s favorite. While not as big a fan, Raven One wouldn’t throw a green grape out of its beak.The grapes taunted both birds from behind shatter-proof glass.

The Soupster got out of the hatchback to toss the shovel and chair into the refuse pile, leaving his door ajar. Raven Two almost swooped down to make a grab for the grapes, but calculated the theft would be impossible.

Raven One looked down at the out-of-reach grapes and a trash pile with no food matter in it. It motioned toward the two dozen other ravens in the trees surrounding them. “An unkindness, as far as I’m concerned” it said sarcastically. “An unkindness.”

 

838 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – November 15, 2012

Our Town – November 15, 2012

| Animals, Dogs, Guest Written, Mary Ann Jones, Our Town | November 14, 2012

Our Town resident Chauncey Whelan was riding his bicycle down Lake Street when he happened to glance over and saw a large dog chasing the ducks at the lake. “For Heaven’s sake,” he thought. “I need to go over there and break that up.”

Being a good citizen, Chauncey stopped, got off his bike and started to walk towards the commotion. The dog saw him and suddenly turned its attention away from the ducks, growled and glared at Chauncey with a look that made the young man tremble.

The ducks, in the meantime, had apparently forgotten about the dog and had wandered over to Edith Goodrich who was throwing leftover bread on the ground nearby for them. “Thanks for distracting that dog, Chauncey! You’re doing a great job!” Edith shouted.

“You’re welcome, Mrs. Goodrich,” Chauncey said, trying not to make any sudden movements that might escalate his precarious situation.

A group of people soon appeared and Chauncey breathed a sigh of relief, but they didn’t seem to notice what was happening and walked past him on their way to the wooden pier. They stood there, looking at the lake and talking among themselves for a few minutes, then turned and headed back to the street. “Pardon me,” Chauncey said politely, “Would you mind helping me with this dog?”

One member of the group smiled at him and said, “We have this area reserved for our fundraising event this morning. You’re welcome to come, but we’d appreciate it if you left your dog in your car.”

“But it’s not my……” Chauncey’s words trailed off as the group walked away. “It’s not my dog. It’s…..it’s…George Clooney’s dog.”

Just then, one of the women in the group wheeled around and shrieked, “Are you serious? That’s George Clooney’s dog? Is he in town? Oh, my God!”

The whole group was excited by that time and rushed back to Chauncey, ignoring the dog, whose demeanor had magically improved with the arrival of more humans. “Why, yes”, Chauncey went on. “I heard that Mr. Clooney is in town on his yacht and that he’s been desperately looking for his dog because it ran away this morning.”

“I just love George Clooney,” one of the women sighed. “And he has such an awareness of pressing social issues.” The others in the group nodded in agreement.

“So,” Chauncey said, “You know that he’s also a big supporter of….what is your group called?”

“Society for Bluer Lakes,” one of the other women replied.

“Yes, he’s a big proponent of bluer lakes,” Chauncey explained. “I hear he’s quite a contributor. Maybe he would even agree to be your spokesman!”

“That would be awesome!” they all agreed.

So, off the group went with the dog, giving Chauncey an opportunity to walk back to his bike.

The Soupster had come out of the dentist’s office across the street about the same time this was happening and observed the conversation between Chauncey and the group. “Well, young man,” he said, “looks like they just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.”

– Submitted by Mary Ann Jones

803 total views, 1 today

Page 1 of 21 2
  • Absolute Tree Care

    by on August 14, 2011 - 0 Comments

    27 Years Experience. All Stages of Tree Work. Owned & Operated by Marshall Albertson 907-738-2616 907-747-7342 Sitka, AK 99835

  • Baranof Realty

    by on December 29, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Independently owned and operated Cathy Shaffer, Owner and Broker Tel: 907-747-5636 Toll-Free:  877-747-5635 Fax: 907-747-8128 315 Seward St Sitka, AK 99...

  • Bayview Pub

    by on December 29, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Bayview Pub's downtown location provides breathtaking views of Sitka Sound and offers the best independently brewed beer the NW & Alaska have to offer, ...

  • Channel Club

    by on December 28, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Steaks. Seafood. Large Salad Bar. Desserts. Free Transportation Call for Reservations 5pm-9pm 907-747-7440 907-747-7430 Fax 2906 Halibut Point Road Sit...

  • Davis Realty

    by on December 26, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Local Knowledge, Experience and Dedication! Nancy Davis, Owner/Broker Debbie Daniels, Associate Broker 907-747-1032, 866-747-1032 Toll Free Fax: 907-747-1...

  • First Bank

    by on December 25, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Power of Alaska Banking 907-747-6636, (888) 597-8585 Fax: (907) 747-6635 PO Box 1829 Lake Street 203 Lake Street Sitka, AK 99835 www.FirstBankAK.com

  • Gary’s Outboard

    by on December 24, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Locally owned and operated by Gary Den Herder 30+ years experience 907-747-9399 224-B Smith Street Sitka, AK 99835 www.garysoutboard.com

  • Harry Race & Whites Pharmacy

    by on December 21, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Harry Race Pharmacy, Photo & Soda Shop 907-966-2130 106 Lincoln Street, Sitka, AK 99835 White's Pharmacy 907-966-2150 705 Halibut Point Road (by Lake...

  • Kenny’s Wok & Teriyaki

    by on December 17, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Chinese & Japanese Cuisine Mon-Fri 11:30am-9pm Sat.-Sun. Noon-9pm Delivery Available Noon-9pm, $15 Minimum 907-747-5676 210 Katlian St Sitka, AK 998...

  • Little Tokyo

    by on December 15, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Sushi & Roll. Tempura. Teriyaki. Udon. Mon.-Fri. 11am-9pm, Sat. 12-9pm (Closed Sunday) Free Delivery - $15 Minimum 907-747-5699 907-747-4916 Fax 315 ...

  • Murray Pacific

    by on December 14, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Not Just a Gear Store Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm Sun. 10am-4pm 475 Katlian Street Sitka, AK 99835 907-747- 3171

  • Pizza Express

    by on December 12, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Homemade Pizza & Authentic Mexican Food Dine In, Take Out & Free Delivery Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun Noon - 9pm Free Delivery  Mon-Sat 'til 10pm 907-96...

  • Schmolck Mechanical Contractors

    by on December 9, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Plumbing. Heating. Refrigeration. Sales. Service. Repair. Residential. Commercial. Industrial. 907-747-3142, Fax: 907-747-6897 110 Jarvis Street (Behind t...

  • Sitka Ready Mix & Rental Equipment

    by on December 8, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Equipment Rentals 907-747-8693 907-747-6166 Fax 202 Jarvis Street PO Box 880 Sitka, AK 99835 www.sitkareadymix.com

  • Sitka Realty

    by on December 7, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Serving Sitka...A Family Tradition Candi C. Barger, Broker 907-747-8922, 888-747-8922 Fax: 907-747-8933 228 Harbor Drive Sitka, AK 99835 www.sitkarealty...

  • TMW Custom Auto

    by on December 5, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Auto Sales & Repair 907-747-3144 125 Granite Creek Road Sitka, AK 99835

  • Sitka True Value

    by on December 4, 2010 - 0 Comments

    Behind Every Project is a True Value Mon.-Sat. 8am-6pm, Sun 10-4:30pm 907-747-6292 815 Halibut Point Rd Sitka, AK 99835 http://ww3.truevalue.com/sitkatru...

  • University of Alaska – Sitka Campus

    by on December 3, 2010 - 0 Comments

    "Plug In" to Your Future 907-747-6653 800-478-6653 1332 Seward Avenue Sitka, AK99835 www.uas.alaska.edu/sitka

  • Whole Soup - June 29, 2017

    by on June 29, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

  • Our Town - June 19, 2017

    by on June 29, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Sometimes, the Soupster discovers, the last comes out first.

  • Whole Soup - July 13, 2017

    by on July 13, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

  • Whole Soup - July 27, 2017

    by on July 27, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

  • Whole Soup - August 10, 2017

    by on August 10, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

What is Whole Soup?

Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

Don’t Have Adobe Reader?

Whole Soup Archives

Read the Latest Our Town

Subscribe to our Mailing List

* indicates required

We’re on Facebook!