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Comments Off on Our Town – June 28, 2018

Our Town – June 28, 2018

| Boats, Our Town, Relationships, Relatives, Vacation | June 28, 2018

The Soupster listens to a man who really knows what vacation is.

Originally published July 29, 2004 

It seemed like slow motion to the Soupster, watching Red bearing right down on him, then the larger man knocked the Soupster to the ground.

“Whoa, sorry there,” Red said. “I’m running on all gears like a headless chicken.”

“Summer is the busy time in Our Town,” the Soupster commiserated. “Why else would Alaskans take their vacations in the winter?”

Red nodded. “I work May through September and take the rest of the year off,” he said.

“You pack a whole year into four months,” said the Soupster. “but you pay for it on days like today.”

“Oh, it’s not the work,” Red sighed. “Work I learned to handle a long time ago. Up at 4 to get the boat ready, take guests out all day. I’m cleaning up the boat long after they’ve left. And then I find myself up until 10 answering snail mail and e-mails and doing the books.”

“So why are you so crazy now?” the Soupster asked.


“Locational hazard,” said the Soupster. “You move to a place as nice as Our Town and you discover relatives you never knew you had.”

“You bet,” Red agreed. “I knew we had my sister and her family coming up this month, but she ran into our cousin in Seattle and guess what? They decided on a whim to come up together! That makes nine people in my house. Bless them, they’re very self-directed. Still though, they want to be sure and visit with me every day and I just don’t have time.

“Can you take them out on the charter with you?” the Soupster asked.

“Wouldn’t be fair to my clients,” Red said. “They’re paying top dollar for my full attention. Hunting fish is serious business.”

“So,” said Red, “I’ve got half a day I penciled out to do about a week’s worth of chores. Well,I’m walking to the bank today and what do you know — there’s my great-uncle Don in the middle of a walking tour. My father would never give me peace if I didn’t show Don the town, so there went my day to catch up.”

“Bet you’re looking forward to your vacation in two months,” the Soupster guessed.

“I’m not waiting that long,” said Red. “My sister goes back on the plane tomorrow and the cousin on the ferry the next day. Uncle Don is getting back on his cruise ship this evening. As soon as everybody leaves and I can get back to my regular 18-hour days, I’m gonna consider it vacation!”

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Our Town – July 18, 2013

| Boats, Our Town | July 17, 2013

The Soupster embraces negativity to achieve the Middle Way.

“You don’t want to not buy a boat right now,” Lars told the Soupster, as the two men met up in a light rain on dock finger G to look over some possibilities. “Don’t you think that I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t think it was a good idea?”

Despite the serious handicap of always using “the negative tense,” Lars was a crack salesman and mechanic for boats and boat motors. He knew his stuff and he always told the truth.

If Lars wanted to sharpen his merchant chops further, he probably should have smiled once in a while. But smiles may fade over time. Lars didn’t. And even more importantly to customers whose very lives could hang on a misfiring spark plug or misfitting drain plug, Lars Boats & Motors brought those customers safely home without fail.

“Not a totally terrible track record,” Lars said. “At least not yet.”

Like malaria, the Boat Fever virus lies dormant in many in Our Town, only to flare up when conditions are favorable to it.

So it was with the Soupster, who had responded to his first taste of gloriously grilled Sitka Sound summer king salmon by thinking, “I gotta get a boat.” That taste came at the Soupster’s favorite restaurant. When he saw the price of his meal, the Soupster thought, “I really gotta get a boat!”

Another of Lars’ inborn sales skills was an excellent radar – if anybody was having Boat Fever thoughts, Lars knew just by looking at them. It was a little creepy actually.

“You want to be sure not to get the wrong boat for yourself,” Lars said.

“True,” said the Soupster. “If I was practical I would get a skiff and a trailer, or a good rubber boat.”

“But you don’t want anything too small,” Lars said. “But I don’t have to explain that you’re not the King of the World on some boat that’s way too big.”

“Well, I’m not thinking of grandiose,” said the Soupster, trying out “Lars Speak.”

“Just not something that’s all wrong for me,” he added.

Lars stroked his chin. “You may not like this idea, but let me not hold it back from you.

“Don’t,” said the Soupster.

“It’s never a good idea not to consider the middle,” said Lars. “You don’t want to be the boat pilot so worried about his investment he can’t enjoy himself. But you also don’t want to be someone so worried about not staying dry that you can’t go anywhere.”

“This one here would not be a bad choice,” Lars continued, pointing out a nice compact and solid-looking cruiser tied up nearby.

“The Middle Way,” said the Soupster. “Lars, you’re such a Buddhist.”

“I’m not,” Lars protested.

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Comments Off on Our Town – May 31, 2012

Our Town – May 31, 2012

| Boats, Crazy Theories, Our Town | May 30, 2012

A seagull plunked a white gift on the dock railing near where the Soupster rested his arm – a near miss. “If humans could take a cue from the seabirds and be that casual about our process of elimination…” the Soupster thought out loud.

“Then there would be no “American Idol” or “Survivor,” said Sarah, stepping to the scene.

“Fine day,” the Soupster answered in greeting. “Whatsoever  bringeth  Miss Sarah harborward?”

Sarah laughed. “I was looking at boats to buy. I’ve got the boat bug.”

“Hole in the water where you throw money,” cautioned the Soupster. “And that’s after you throw a big wad to begin with.”

“I know, I know, she said. “I thought I had figured out how to beat that first part through magic, but it just didn’t work out.”

“Magic?” asked the Soupster, definitely interested.

“Well, positive thinking anyway,” Sarah said. “My crazy friend Ward got this book about positive thinking and he went around thinking positively about everything.”

“Oh, I definitely couldn’t do that,” said the Soupster, conscious of the depths of his cynicism.

“Ward appointed himself my fitness coach,” she continued. “My mental fitness coach.”

“It started with me wanting to lose five pounds to win a bet with my buddy, Jill,” Sarah said. “This was last winter and losing even five pounds is hard. Ward told me to imagine myself in a size 12 dress, so I did. I even went down to Lincoln Street and held a few up in the mirror and just ignored the stuff leaking out from the sides.”

“But it worked!,” she said to the Soupster’s questioning glance. “Then I told Ward I was getting behind on my bills and he said to imagine going up to my boss and asking for a raise. So I did that day and night for a month. And my boss just gave it to me, I didn’t even have to ask!”

“What about the boat bug?” asked the Soupster.

Here, Sarah chuckled and shook her head. “I told Ward and he had me studying brochures to envision exactly the boat I wanted. I figured 27 feet would be sweet with a forward berth. Good visibility. I wanted to sit up high in the pilothouse and have a stand- up head,”

“Not together!” joked the Soupster.

“Hah,” said Sarah. “Seriously, I named my boat Sarah Too. I imagined going out after work for quick spins. Picnics on islands, Fresh salmon steaks. Rocking to sleep on a gentle tide.”

“And one day, there was Sarah Too. The exact boat I had been imagining. Parked on a trailer in my neighbor’s driveway.”

“What did Ward say?” asked the Soupster.

“He blamed me,” said Sarah. “He said I was supposed to imagine the Sarah Too in my driveway!”

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What is Our Town?

Our Town is a bi-weekly column that tracks the life of the Soupster and his friends and neighbors.

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

The first Our Town was published December 22, 1999.

Read Our Towns published before February 2009 HERE.

Who is the Soupster?

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

Want to submit a piece for Our Town?

Contact us with your idea or completed piece. Our Town’s must be 450-500 words long, take place in or near Sitka and the Soupster must make an appearance, however brief.

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