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 – May 4, 2017

Our Town – May 4, 2017

| Crazy Theories, Nicknames, Our Town | May 3, 2017

The Soupster hears lies?

“Soupster!” called Joey the Liar from the far side of the street. Joey was so named because everything he said was a lie.

“I’ve been looking all over for you,” said Joey as he sidled his big frame next to the Soupster. “I was worried I would miss you.”

“Hi, Joey,” said the Soupster, who knew Joey was tough to deal with, everything he said being a lie. “What are you doing these days?”

“Same, but different,” said Joey. “Once in a while.”

“Have any plans for the weekend?”

“I thought I’d call my mother for Mother’s Day and all,” said Joey.

“She doesn’t live here?” asked the Soupster.

“Reno,” said Joey. “She’s a stage star in the casinos. She could have gone to Vegas but she wanted my younger brothers and sisters to have a more normal life, which she has found in Reno.”

“Is this true?” asked the Soupster.

“Not entirely,” said Joey. “Before Reno, she lived with me in Chicago, where she was a meat cutter at a huge plant. All her skirts had blood dripping down the front of them. It was a long time before I found out that hamburgers didn’t come out of my mother’s pockets.”

“Joey,” I really don’t have time for this,” said the Soupster.

“All right, she’s quite normal,” Joey said. “She lives in Bothell and works in a bottling plant…”

“Joey! A Bothell bottler?” said an exasperated Soupster.

“Brunette, too,” said Joey. “My mother is the spitting image of Betty Crocker and Donna Reed. She played the piano and there were always fresh flowers, even in winter. My favorite time was waking up Sunday mornings and smelling the bacon frying downstairs. Sticking my head out into the cool room from under the warm blanket. The smell of bacon.”

The Soupster almost believed him. “I almost believe you, Joey,” said the Soupster. Joey, who knew of his reputation, took no offense.

“I wouldn’t want you to do that,” he said.

“So, really,” said the Soupster.”About your mother? You wax so poetic and range so far afield that you sound like a wistful orphan. Are you an orphan?”

“Absolutely not!” said Joey the Liar.

 

149 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – April 6, 2017

Our Town – April 6, 2017

| Crazy Theories, Our Town, Villages | April 5, 2017

The Soupster experiences people who gained expertise during childhood.

As an astounded Soupster gawked, little Antoinette Curtis hoisted up a bag of soil that weighed nearly as much as she did, walked the ten yards from the hardware store with it and then placed the bag in the rear of the Soupster’s hatchback. She then performed the same maneuver two more times with two more bags. She was not breathing heavily.

Antoinette was small, but in that wiry way that sometimes belies great physical strength in men. The Soupster, the recent recipient of a back injury, truly enjoyed watching the unlikely occurring before his eyes.

“You’re stronger than you look, Toni,” the Soupster marveled.

“That’s ‘cause I’m from Port Alexander,” Toni said, as she worked.

“Something in P.A.’s drinking water that makes you strong?” asked the Soupster.

“My father made me strong,” Toni said. “Hauling a lot of fish and crab into the boat over the years made me strong. My brother…”

“Your brother made you strong?”

“Hoisting him back into the boat about once a month did,” Toni said. The Soupster bid Toni Curtis farewell.

At the grocery store, the Soupster stood in the checkout line in front of Gene Burnett, a well-regarded small engine mechanic. The Soupster put six cans of cat food onto the moving belt along with his other items.

“Six cans at 89 cents each,” the Soupster said aloud.

“Five dollars and 34 cents,” Gene said immediately.

“They used to be 83 cents each,” said the Soupster.

“Four ninety-eight,” said Gene lickety-split.

“Where’d you learn to multiply?”

“I’m originally from Kake,” said Gene. “We had a teacher there for a few years who was obsessed with multiplication. Made us memorize the multiplication tables way past 12 times 12. Me and some of my friends got really good at it.”

“You sure did,” said the Soupster, as he bid Eugene adieu.

Outside, the Soupster pondered these talented people who’d come to Our Town from other Southeast settlements and enriched our lives.

The Soupster was jolted from his reverie by two dogs fighting in the bed of a pickup truck. They had gotten their leashes tangled. The dogs howled, snarled and cried as they struggled to get free and blamed each other for their predicament. They sounded ferocious.

Then, a burly man wearing XtraTufs and suspenders fearlessly approached the fighting dogs. He straightened their tangled leashes and got them both wagging their tails.

Watching, the Soupster thought, what Southeastern town had produced such a gifted peacemaker? He approached the man and complimented him.

“There must have been a lot of dogs where you grew up,” said the Soupster. “What Panhandle village do you hail from?”

“Panhandle?” said the man, confused. “I hail from Springfield, Illinois.”

162 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 22, 2016

Our Town – September 22, 2016

| Crazy Theories, Fall, Our Town, Rain, Seasons, Weather | September 21, 2016

The Soupster gets Saturated.

Originally published September 7, 2006

Thick drops of rain beat a brisk rhythm on the aluminum roof over the covered area of Suzie’s porch where the Soupster sat. All summer long, the Soupster had bravely faced the preponderance of precipitation and the rarity of sunny days with humor, understanding and flexibility. But there and then — against the roof over his head — fell the one big raindrop that caused the barrel to overflow, like the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the Soupster finally became Saturated.

In his last lucid moment, the Soupster had been thinking about a short story written more than 50 years before – a very unscientific science fiction story about a group of astronauts who crash land on Venus – the planet. On Venus, as in Our Town this summer, it rains constantly, proposed the story’s author, Ray Bradbury. And, like the Soupster, the four astronauts who survive the crash set out bravely into the constant rain to find a Sun Dome, which is just like it sounds — an Industrial Strength Light Bulb Beach. Without finding the dome, the astronauts would go mad from rain pounding constantly against their skulls.

“Here’s your hot chocolate,” said Suzie, appearing on the porch with two steaming mugs. “No marshmallow in yours.”

The Soupster regarded Suzie with as much recognition as he would one of the astronauts on Venus. Through the pounding between his ears in time with the hammering of the rain against the roof, he could not make out what she was saying.

“It was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping at the eyes, an undertow at the ankles;” Bradbury had written, “it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains. It came by the pound and by the ton.”

The Soupster looked blankly at Suzie and then out into space.

“Oh, for goodness sakes,” muttered Suzie. Born and raised in Our Town, she knew just what to do when someone became Saturated. She set down the two steaming mugs on a wooden table away from the Soupster, so he would not, in his helpless state, burn himself.

Suzie went room-to-room in her house and gathered up an armful of lamps: table models, clip-ons, three-way bulbs, lanterns and reading lights. She brought it all out under the covered area of the porch, along with two extension cords and several power strips.

While she did, the Soupster continued his nightmare of tramping through the jungles of Venus in the blinding downpour. “(The rain) shrank men’s hands into the hands of wrinkled apes,” wrote Bradbury. “It rained a solid, glassy rain and it never stopped.” The rattling and thumping on the roof drowned out Suzie’s grunts as she hooked up the complicated bank of lamps and power strips, all aimed at the Soupster.

“Now!” she shouted above the din and threw a switch that bathed the entire covered area of the porch in warm yellow light.

The Soupster leaped to his feet. “The Sun Dome!” he cried. “I made it!”

“Goodness gracious – there’s no Sun Dome,” said Suzie. “You’re on the porch at my house. You just got Saturated. Now drink your hot chocolate.”

293 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 14, 2016

Our Town – July 14, 2016

| Crazy Theories, Movies, Our Town | July 14, 2016

The Soupster speaks of movie stars among us.

“Kudos to our local movie theater!” a smiling Soupster thought as he emerged from the out-the-road cinema. He stepped out of the dimly lit lobby and squinted at a near-Midnight Sun. It was a beautiful Our Town summer day — at 10 o’clock at night.

The Soupster had just seen the very latest in end-of-the-world-blockbusters. Bringing top movie hits to Our Town at the same time they were being promoted in the South 48 was an accomplishment for which theater management should be thanked, he thought.

Back in the day, only a limited number of expensive film prints were made. The big and heavy reels of actual celluloid film made a slow round of theaters all over the country, starting with the huge population centers and working downward toward smaller towns – say one with 9,000 souls perched on a rock.

Those big and heavy films didn’t make it as far as Our Town until weeks — sometimes months – after all the promotions for that film had ended. It seemed then like the theater got the film right before it was due to be released on DVD (VHS tapes in those days). Now, practically as soon as a new movie is announced, the film is being shown in Our Town.

That’s because movies today are most often distributed over the Internet, just like other information. They can also be shipped in preloaded onto a storage device. Theaters then download the film for exhibition via a digital projector.

“Hey, Soupster!” called Lucy Coral, a well-known local cinephile.  “How did you like ‘DinosaurNado: Apocalypse”?

“A whole lot of drooling and big, sharp teeth,” the Soupster said. “But I liked the film.”

“I think that Liam Helmsworth is hot,” Lucy said, referring to the film’s lead actor. “Wouldn’t mind if he would show up on a cruise ship and I could follow him down Lincoln St.”

“Did you ever notice that Don Freed, the pharmacist, looks like a lot like a 45-year-old Helmsworth?” asked the Soupster.

“Noticed?” said Lucy. “Let’s just say when ever my doctor prescribes medicine for me, I perform my happy dance.”

“Is Don Freed the Liam Helmsworth of Our Town?” the Soupster asked.

“I prefer to think of Liam Helmsworth as the Don Freed of the rest of the world,” Lucy said. “We have the original.”

“So when I say that Grace Greenwald is the Scarlett Johansson of Our Town, I should be saying that Ms. Johannson is the Grace Greenwald of the rest of the world.”

“That’s it,” said Lucy. “You got it.”

“For a long time I have surmised,” the Soupster surmised, “that what we have in Our Town is 9,000 originals that are replicated all over the world. Whereas we have just one of each of the 9,000 types of people. Your Helmsworth-Johansson theory dovetails perfectly.”

“You have quite a lot of theories,” said Lucy.

The Soupster tapped his forehead. “I have a mind like a steel trap,” he said.

“True, Soupster,” said Lucy. “An old and very rusty steel trap — but a steel trap nonetheless.”

 

403 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – December 3, 2015

Our Town – December 3, 2015

| Crazy Theories, Our Town | December 3, 2015

The Soupster hears a theory about the former owners of discarded items.

Rosemarie wouldn’t have ever noticed the famous last name printed on the nametag, if Timmy’s hadn’t barfed all over his sleeping bag during a sleepover. Four kids sleeping on the floor of Timmy’s room. Timmy’s three friends took well to the macaroni and cheese casserole she had served them before the ice cream cake at dinner. Despite the menu being two of Timmy’s favorites, he hadn’t done as well keeping his mac and cheese and cake to himself once things got too rambunctious upstairs. But that’s probably all anyone wants to know about that.

The next morning after the boys had gone home, Rosemarie felt sanguine about Timmy’s accident, thinking that’s just what old sleeping bags obtained at garage sales were meant for – occasional laundering in a lot of soap and hot water. And that’s just the treatment the bag got.

Rosemarie removed a clean and fresh-smelling sleeping bag from her clothes dryer, located in the corner of her kitchen. The tumbling had turned the bag outside out. And then she saw the label bearing the name of one of Our Town’s most famous sons – a politician now, but a pro baseball draft pick in the years before that.

The sleeping bag must have been owned by that august individual as a child. Back when he was Timmy’s age – even though it was hard to believe the now-grown up and oversized famous former owner had ever fit in the smallish bag.

Rosemarie thought of all the things she had discarded, sold at garage sales or donated to the thrift store. Garments and household items that then rotated through how many Our Town families before finally coming to rest. How many spirits intermingling? Did these items retain any of their former owners? Does anything transfer to the new owner?

The phone rang. “Hi, Rosemarie!” It was the Soupster. “Want to go to some garage sales? Find some bargains?”

So, Rosemarie told the Soupster her theory that discarded items may carry with them some of the spirit of their previous owners. She watched a light snowfall through the kitchen window and waited for an answer.

“You know, I’m a fan of crazy theories, but this is a stretch,” the Soupster judged.

They chatted, but Rosemarie was still distracted. “Well, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to leave you alone right now, but I better get out to the sales before all the good stuff is gone.”

“I’ll be fine,” Rosemarie chuckled. “Happy hunting!”

Timmy came in next, bounding into the kitchen and grabbing a banana even before he stopped moving. “No wonder you’re hungry,” Rosemarie said. “You didn’t keep down any of your dinner.”

“Sorry, Mom,” said Timmy.

“S’ok,” said Rosemarie.

Timmy noticed his rejuvenated sleeping bag. “Oh, Mom, you got it so nice and clean.” He rubbed the bag to his face and took a deep appreciative sniff.

“Hey, Mom,” he said, without a pause, “My class is having elections next week and I was thinking of running for class officer.”

“That’s great,” Rosemarie said.

But Timmy was looking at the snowfall outside. “I wish it was spring,” he said. “I can’t wait to play baseball again.”

510 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – November 5, 2015

Our Town – November 5, 2015

| Crazy Theories, Our Town | November 4, 2015

The Soupster learns that three simple letters can protect a man from doom.

Originally published November 6, 2003

“I was saved, Soupster, but by which I do not know,” said Charles, a former college professor who now drank a lot of coffee. He had four tiny espresso cups arranged in front of him, two of them empty.

The Soupster looked around the empty coffee shop. Besides the barrista, washing mugs out of earshot, the men were alone.

“You know Bluto, the pompous blowhard?” Charles said, blowing pretty hard himself. “I owed that man $1,000. You’d have thought it was the Hope Diamond the way he pursued me around Our Town. Showing up at social occasions with that ridiculous `I’m going to bite you’ look on his face.”

“Bluto has bitten people,” the Soupster remarked. “He almost bit me once.”

“I considered that,” said Charles. “Anyhow,” he continued. “Bluto was on my tail in a major fashion and I was doing my best to stay one step ahead of him. Which is not hard, Bluto being Bluto.”

“He’s not stupid,” said the Soupster.

“Nonetheless,” said Charles. “On a proverbial `dark and stormy night’ he finally caught up with me. Right outside the fishing supply store. There I was face-to-face with Bluto’s ugly visage. He held a bag, bulging with orange nylon and I thought he was going to brain me with it.”

Charles chugged the third of his espressos. “Bluto grabs me with his giant paws and squeezes hard,” Charles continued. “`Where is me $1,000, you barrel worm,’ Bluto thunders. `I don’t have it,’ I say weakly. `What’s that in your pocket?’ says Bluto. `That’s me, er, my mail,’ I say.” “So Bluto grabs the mail and rifles through. `Ahoy,’ he cries, holding up my Permanent Fund Dividend check. `This will do,’ Bluto says. “`But, Bluto,’ I muster the courage to ask ‘I owe you a $1,000, but that PFD is worth $1,100,’ I say. And Bluto, he agrees with me. Could have knocked me over with a feather. `An eleven hundred dollar PFD,’ the ogre says and laughs and thrusts his bulging orange bag into my chest.”

“And walks off,” Charles continued. “So I’m left there standing in the pitch-black cold rain, minus one PFD. I stare into the bag. And what is in there? A life vest! I take it out and put it on. It’s a nice life jacket, the kind with the big ring behind your neck and the large reflective patches on the shoulder so the Coast Guard can find you at night and pluck you out of the water.

“And as I’m admiring the jacket a car comes screeching out of the dark. And – this I swear – the car’s headlights pick up the reflective patches and the vehicle veers a second before running me down.”

“I see your dilemna,” said the Soupster. “You were saved by either a Permanent Fund Dividend or a Personal Flotation Device.”

“Yes, Soupster, yes,” Charles cried, lurching for his remaining coffee cup. “Which PFD saved me?”

465 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 24, 2015

Our Town – September 24, 2015

| Crazy Theories, Old Timers, Our Town | September 23, 2015

The Soupster Visits A Mad Scientist.

Old Steve Parks lived in a dilapidated wooden structure facing a road that was a logging trail not long before (as opposed to New Steve Parks who lived in town). Folks wondered what went on, not so much in Old Steve’s house, as in the equally-dilapidated accessory building he called his shop.

The Soupster rolled up on the long gravel driveway, gave his bike’s kickstand a boot and knocked on the door. “Old Steve!” he called.

“Soupster!” called Old Steve from inside the shop. “Come on over!”

Old Steve met the Soupster at the shop door, wearing goggles and leather gloves. “I’m glad you’re here,” Steve said, “I need a hand.”

Steve’s request gave the Soupster a start – but in a good way. Old Steve, old irascible Steve, was brilliant and anyone who talked to him for even a moment knew it. Word was that Steve had a PhD in aeronautical engineering and electronics. Word was he had worked for NASA. Word was he had flamed out, took the proceeds from his patents, and moved out the road in Our Town.

Old Steve knocked his goggles onto his forehead and showed the Soupster deep into the spacious shop, which looked like a combination metal shop and chemistry lab. An eight-foot tall, conically-shaped object covered by a tarp was next to a ladder that reached up to the ceiling.

“It’s a retractable roof,” said Old Steve, pointing to the area above the ladder. “I need your help to open it.”

He posted the Soupster next to a large metal hand crank, then climbed the ladder and starting banging with a hammer.

“Metal is so unyielding,” the Soupster said.

“Not as much as some people,” Old Steve called.

“How so?” the Soupster asked.

“Well,” Steve drew a long breath, “you can bang on metal and you can reroute electricity, but with people sometimes you’re stuck with what you have.”

“You’re on to something, Steve,” said the Soupster. “Scientists used to believe that it was tool-making or something technological that caused the brains of our far-ago ancestors to grow big. Now, a lot of them theorize that it was navigating complicated social relationships in those ancient groups that caused our ancestors’ brains to grow.”

With a last slap of the hammer, Steve forced the mechanism loose. “Now turn the crank,” he called, which opened a four-foot square in the shop roof.

Old Steve clambered excitedly down the ladder and grabbed the tarp. He pulled it off to reveal an eight-foot tall silver cylinder.

“You going to space, Steve?” the Soupster asked.

“Not in this,” said Steve. “This is a model for testing. I’m having a problem modulating the temperature of my liquid oxygen fuel, and the pitch-and-yaw controls are all screwy. Any suggestions?”

The Soupster looked blank.

“But don’t let me waste your time, Soupster,” said Old Steve. “You save your big brain for those social situations. I can handle this.” He lifted a screwdriver and started opening a panel. “After all, it’s just rocket science!”

547 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – August 27, 2015

Our Town – August 27, 2015

| Crazy Theories, Newcomers, Our Town, Relationships, Travel | August 27, 2015

The Soupster hears confessions from a lover of Our Town.

Originally published Oct. 24, 2006

“Because it feels so good when I stop,” Grant — sitting with the Soupster at the sushi bar — tried to say while cramming his mouth with Alaska roll.

“Feels so good when you stop what?” said the Soupster, who had been distracted by the sushi chef’s artful chopping of a huge geoduck clam.

“Well – a long time ago – I used to mean living in Our Town,” said Grant, signaling to the chef to prepare some geoduck for them.

“Really?” asked a skeptical Soupster. “You hated it here that much?”

“When I first moved here the smallness of Our Town got to me,” said Grant. “Having just a few choices for everything – I became bored with that pronto. I came here in the Coast Guard – from Governor’s Island in New York harbor. With all due respect — Lincoln Street ain’t Times Square.”

“Seems like we have everything we need here,” said the Soupster defensively.

Grant ignored him. “And the rain,” the former Coastie said. “The constant rain drove me insane. All the time. The summer I transferred here was like this summer. I came to Our Town in May and waited until early November for more than a single dry day in a row. And actual sunny days? I have a one-armed buddy who could count them for you.”

“Kept my sense of humor, though,” Grant continued. “I remembered the old joke about the man hitting himself in the face. You heard it?”

The Soupster shook his head.

“A man is hitting himself repeatedly in the face,” said Grant. “His friend is horrified. `Why ever would you do that?’ asked the friend. Says the first man, `Because it feels so good when I stop!’

“That’s the way I felt. I loved Our Town, for those first few years.” said Grant. “Cause it felt so good when I went back to civilization. To the United Contiguous Lower 48 states.”

“I never felt that way,” said the Soupster, who had lived in Our Town longer than most professional baseball players had walked the earth. “Those first few years, I wanted to drag everyone I knew up here to live. I got over that, though.”

The sushi arrived. Both men loved the delicate taste of geoduck neck meat – like butter melting in their mouths – and neither spoke while they attacked the plate. Our Town was one of the few places this side of China and Japan where the giant clams made it to the menu.

Grant stopped chewing, spoke first.

“I don’t feel that way anymore,” he said. “Over the years, each time I returned to Our Town from a trip Outside I grew happier and happier to be home. Our Town came to be normal for me, just the right size. Now, there’s only one good reason I ever like to be in the Contiguous United States.”

“You mean…?” asked the Soupster.

Grant nodded. “Because it feels so darned good when I stop!”

567 total views, 0 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.

 

654 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – August 28, 2014

Our Town – August 28, 2014

| Crazy Theories, Our Town | August 28, 2014

The Soupster participates in an annual ritual.

Originally published Aug. 23, 2007

The air was thick in Harrigan Centennial Hall for Our Town’s annual lottery. How could it not be? The choosing of nine people to have the worst luck in town for one calendar year? The lottery had been a local feature for longer than anyone remembered.

These were the thoughts the Soupster thought, shared by his fellow townsfolk, as he sought a seat in the crowded auditorium to wait for the drawing of the unlucky nine.

The Soupster knew his name was in the black box on a stand in the middle of the stage, under a spotlight. As were the names of all the adults in Our Town. Mr. Summers, the moderator, droned on in his official voice the lottery’s rules.

Then the Soupster spied Hutchinson, the new news reporter, holding back in the shadows, his long notebook open and his pen poised.

The Soupster motioned the scribe into the empty seat beside him. “You know you’re not part of the lottery until you’ve been through a winter,” the Soupster whispered to Hutchinson. “So you can relax.”

“What do you all do to the people whose names are picked?” Hutchinson whispered back.

“It’s nothing we do,” answered the Soupster. “The bad luck just happens. They wash their car and it rains. Things get busy at work and a bunch of relatives will descend on them. If there’s a nail in the road, they’ll drive over it. The store will run out of milk five minutes before they arrive.”

Hutchinson looked alarmed, so the Soupster continued. “The unluckies know enough to avoid firearms, fishing hooks and jetskis for the duration, so serious injuries are rare. It’s more the annoyance. They’ll forget to make important phone calls. They’ll put their garbage cans out after the truck has already passed. Their arm will hurt after their flu shot. They buy decaf by mistake. That sort of thing.”

“Shhhhh,” said Mrs. Dunbar, turning around in her seat in the row ahead of the two men. “Mr. Summers is about to start reading names.”

Hutchinson lowered his voice. “You ever picked?” he asked.

“1998,” said the Soupster. “Don’t make me think about that miserable year.”

Mrs. Dunbar turned all the way around this time. “Will you please pipe down!” she whispered emphatically.

“What’s the rush?” asked the Soupster.

On stage, Mr. Summers cleared his throat into the microphone. He reached into the black box and read the first name. “Susan Ripley.”

“Oh, no,” Ripley said as she stood, before mounting the stage steps. “I’m remodeling my kitchen!”

“Stu Sharansky,” Mr. Summers said.

“My boat’s in the shop,” Sharansky moaned as he moved to the stage.

“Dorothy Dunbar,” said Mr. Summers.

Mrs. Dunbar turned around and gave the Soupster one last stern look, before making her way down the aisle.

The Soupster frowned. “See, she was in a big rush for nothing,” he said to Hutchinson. “Her bad luck started already.”

628 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 17, 2014

Our Town – July 17, 2014

| Crazy Theories, Guest Written, Our Town, Tom Jacobsen | July 17, 2014

The Soupster ponders the fate of aquatic plants.

“Nice view from up here,” opined the Soupster.

“Yeah, it’s not too bad,” I replied modestly, high above the lake in the dental clinic break room.

The clear cutting of the lily pads was underway; the Soupster and I were like a couple of kids, watching the big boys at work, operating the big boy machinery.

“You know,” I said, sipping my French dark roast, “I really didn’t mind those lily pads so much. They added a certain `je ne sais quoi’ to the lake. And they always sank to the bottom in time for ice skating.”

“I know what you mean,” agreed the Soupster. “It’s too bad we couldn’t have found some use for them.”

“Yeah, like maybe fish food for the aquarium trade? Fixing potholes?”

“No, let’s think bigger, doc. We’d have to appeal to the overseas market — that’s where the money is.”

“I know, we could plant a story on the internet that lily pads grow hair and increase virility. I can see it now,” I said, giddily warming to the subject. “We’ll start in our garage, like Jobs and Woz, processing the pads into pills, attractively bottled and packaged, of course. Once it really takes off, we’ll build a plant out at Silver Bay employing dozens of Sitkans.”

“Whoa, cool your jets there, Mac!” interjected the Soupster. “How are we going to harvest all those lily pads, assuming we can con anyone into buying this worthless product in the first place?”

“Well, let me think,” I mused, popping a sugar free xylitol candy into my mouth. “OK, first we’ll have to figure the allowable cut, so we won’t deplete our resource. We’ll get the Forest Service to do those calculations for us.”

The Soupster shot me a quizzical look.

“OK, maybe rethink that,” I allowed. “But once we set the harvest numbers, we’ll work out the harvest method.”

“Helicopter?” queried the Soupster, smiling.

“No, too noisy,” I said, ignoring his sarcasm. “I’m thinking more along the lines of an underwater Roomba, programmed to creep through the muck, severing the stalks as it goes. Then, when the product floats to the surface, we can just scoop it up like free money. What could go wrong?”

I could see a concerned look forming on the Soupster’s face as he eased my second cup of coffee out of reach.

“Okaaaay, and how about obtaining ownership of this priceless vegetable?” asked the Soupster.

“Possession is nine tenths, Soup. And once the city finally notices, we’ll be too powerful to stop.”

I could see the Soupster had heard just about enough of this fantasy. He rose to his feet, still admiring the view of the lake.

“That’s a delightful pipe dream, doc, but I’m just looking forward to reclaiming the lake. If what Our Town head honchos say is true, we’ll have a healthier lake, safer residents and a lily pad-free view.”

“You think a little dredging will exterminate them, Soupster? You’re the dreamer. I’m betting on the lily pads.”

Submitted by Tom Jacobsen

660 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.

682 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – March 13, 2014

Our Town – March 13, 2014

| Crazy Theories, Guest Written, Lois Verbaan DenHerder, Our Town | March 13, 2014

The Soupster hears about the powers of the mind.

“Not everyone in Our Town had fun last Saturday,” Ashley told the Soupster sadly. “In fact, you were probably out hiking as I lay glued to a dental chair, plastic retractors stretching my lips to oblivion. Put it this way, childbirth is probably not for me.”

The Soupster laughed, choking slightly on his coffee. “Yep, the myth of the ‘one size fits all’ retractor,” he said. “We aren’t all related to the largemouth bass, that’s for sure.”

“Trapped there and unable to speak, I had time to think,” said Ashley. “Oh, the other things I could have done with that money! The causes I could have supported, the places I could have gone – they all taunted me. But then, I began to panic as saliva welled up in my mouth and I realized my trapped tongue wasn’t going to be much help.”

“Ah, karma..,” the Soupster chuckled. “Maybe you shoulda donated the money to a worthy cause after all, like the Save-the-Soupster’s-Boat Fund.”

Ashley rolled her eyes.

“Anyway, I was still trying to figure out how I was going to swallow or whether it would be a slow death by drowning, when I remembered a documentary I saw about Navy SEALs. Inspired by the SEALs’ amazing mind control, I set out to follow suit. Presently, I was trudging across the desert in full combat gear. A sore mouth was the least of my worries in this OPSEC.

“I was gazing at the late afternoon sun hovering lazily above the dunes when it morphed into a huge pineapple. I blinked and the diamond-patterned light over the dental chair came into focus, but I willed myself back to tropical delights. Soon, the dentist’s spiky gelled hair became palm fronds swaying in the breeze.”

“Starting to feel like I’m in Hawaii,” mused the Soupster.

“Exactly!” said Ashley. “Then, suddenly, I heard a voice. ‘Your wisdom teeth – they totally threw me,’ said the dental assistant.

“A barrage of questions flooded my mind, headed towards my mouth and stopped abruptly at the retractors. What? Why? Aren’t wisdom teeth sightings in a dentist’s office as common as whale sightings in Our Town’s waters? Realizing the futility of my questions, I zoned out again, my mind drifting to alternative uses for the common lip and cheek retractor.”

“What did you come up with?”

“Well, as I lay there, it came to me, Soupster – I had no options – no responsibilities at all but to shut up, listen and croak an occasional, agreeable ‘aah’. That’s right – no questions, no opinions and no lip!

Ladies and gentlemen, rejoice all ye with opinionated friends, argumentative partners and whining kids, for today is the day of the lip retractor!”

“Hmmm, that’s very… creative?” the Soupster ventured. “Well, good luck with the braces!” he said, zipping up his jacket and pulling on his gloves.

“Thanks,” Ashley said, flashing a metallic smile and gulping one last big, tongue-rolling swallow of coffee.”

Submitted by Lois Verbaan Denherder

805 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – May 9, 2013

Our Town – May 9, 2013

| Crazy Theories, Gardening, Guest Written, Mary Ann Jones, Our Town | May 9, 2013

The Soupster discovers sometimes you already have just what you need.

It seemed to Chauncey that almost everyone in Our Town had an opinion about The Giant Greenhouse Project. He thought local officials had provided more than enough information over the last few years to make sure the community was well-informed. After all, this was the largest construction project in the town’s history and, while the greenhouse had its detractors, most folks agreed that it was necessary. So, why were a few still not convinced that it was worth whatever it would take? Chauncey shook his head.

The problem was that there simply wasn’t an adequate supply of coffee in town. Storage levels were constantly running low, even with weekly shipments flown in from the lower 48, and the cost and environmental impact were enormous. Didn’t people understand the difficulties of maintaining a sustainable drink like that on a remote island that was too cold and wet to grow beans?

Chauncey was the first to admit that The Giant Greenhouse was an ambitious undertaking. Decades earlier, the town’s leaders had established a small coffee plantation in the mountains. They had hoped to capitalize on the “mountain-grown” slogan and export beans around the world, but, unfortunately, a large corporation used that marketing strategy first. Try as the town did to make a go of it, the poor coffee trees failed to produce more than a meager crop.

Chauncey recalled the excitement when a volunteer community work group came up with the idea of building a giant greenhouse to protect the coffee trees from inclement weather. The group met tirelessly for a year to design the concept and then put together a presentation that received unanimous support from elected officials. Town engineers sprang into action and hired a consulting firm that submitted a report confirming the feasibility of the project. By that time, the shortage had become more critical and local coffee drinkers were experiencing soaring prices and periodic shortages – or rolling blackouts, as they were called.

Now, three years later, after even more studies, designs and contract awards, construction had finally begun on the greenhouse. The excitement in town was contagious – Chauncey decided to go see for himself how the greenhouse was coming. On his bike ride out there, he spotted the Soupster who was sitting on a bench at Whale Park, drinking from a coffee cup. Chauncey pulled into the parking lot and paused. “I see you’re having your morning coffee.”

“Oh, this isn’t coffee”, the Soupster said. “It’s alder tea. Would you like a cup?”

“Alder tea…I’ve never heard of such a thing,” Chauncey said, as he took the drink from the Soupster and sipped it slowly.

“Good lord!” he shouted. It’s delicious! It tastes just like coffee!”

“I know,” the Soupster said with a broad grin, “and all you have to do to make it is boil seawater and alder tree shavings together. Guess we’re not going to run out of those two ingredients any time soon!”

Submitted by Mary Ann Jones

739 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – March 14, 2013

Our Town – March 14, 2013

| Crazy Theories, Our Town, Shopping | March 14, 2013

The Soupster shouldn’t believe everything he reads.

The truth is, the Soupster was already in a terrible mood when he stopped at the store on his way home. And when he walked from his car to the front door of the grocery store, the Soupster made the mistake of looking up at the big roadside message board. He froze, muttered to himself and jumped to conclusions.

“Don’t,” the sign read and the Soupster, absurdly, took the message personally.

“Don’t what?” he growled. “Just spewing negativity with complete abandon? Typical. That’s the trouble with the world. Everywhere it’s `don’t’! “

The Soupster took hold of the door handle, but then let go of it, took a step back and turned to face the sign. Like a person with one of those cell-phone earpieces, he spoke to the air.

“Look at that,” he said his voice loud enough for passersby to hear and pointing to the empty ladder up to the road sign. “Nobody is even there! They just put `don’t’ in your face and then they walk away – probably on one of their frequent breaks. `Don’t’ what?’ I’d like to know.”

The Soupster stopped spouting long enough to see a woman carrying a grocery bag give him a pitying stare and a wide berth.

Inside the store, he tried to ignore the “0 trans fat” and “Gluten free” signs. The “fortified with Omega-3″ and “Acidophilous added” did not make him feel any more positive. A funk is a funk is a funk.

The Soupster tried to raise his spirits by remembering a pretty little city park he had once come across during travels in the Lower 48. A sign at the entrance had said: “Picnic, fly a kite, rollerblade, sunbathe, jog, dance” and so on. All the things you were supposed to do, instead of the “No dogs!” and “Keep Out!”

And his mood did lighten, buoyed as well by the checker’s friendly interest in what he was buying. But when the Soupster walked out the door, he saw the road sign had changed. “Don’t Go Home,” it now said.

The Soupster got back into his car, stunned. “Don’t Go Home?” He was going home. Until now, he had been perturbed. But on the road back to his house, the Soupster felt angry.

“What kind of sick joke is that store playing on people?” “Is it even possible the sign was meant specifically for me?” “Why shouldn’t I go home?” The Soupster’s mind raced. Two doors from his house, the Soupster pulled over to the side of the road.

“Even if the sign has nothing to do with me, it is irresponsible to make people wonder if something is wrong at their home, “ the Soupster stewed.

“That’s mean,” he decided and turned his car around in the direction of the store. The Soupster wasn’t sure who he was going to talk to or what he was going to say to them, but he was going to say something to somebody to straighten the responsible parties right out!

But as he neared the store, he realized at once that he would do none of that. For the sign had changed again.

Now it read: “Don’t Go Home Until You Try One of Our New Mango Shakes!”

797 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

  • Our Town - June 1, 2017

    by on May 31, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Soupster experiences hot gossip and hotter food.

  • Whole Soup - June 1, 2017

    by on May 31, 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 - June 15, 2017

    by on June 15, 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 15, 2017

    by on June 15, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Soupster gauges his tolerance for surprise.

  • 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.

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.

Our Town Archives

Our Town Categories

Download the Latest Whole Soup

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

* indicates required