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Comments Off on Our Town – June 15, 2017

Our Town – June 15, 2017

| Craftsman, Dreams, Our Town | June 15, 2017

The Soupster gauges his tolerance for surprise.

The ringing phone jerked the Soupster up, still half asleep. He retained a bit of his dream of someone noisily dropping big rocks outside his bedroom window, but rapidly lost the details as he became more awake. Who was calling him so early?

Twice in the past the Soupster – a late riser – had similarly leapt out of a deep sleep to find there was good reason for him to wake.

One bright morning some years back, the Soupster had been fast asleep, his biggest challenge keeping the cool side of the pillow against his cheek. He dreamt that he was back with some beloved friends he had not seen since childhood, although they were all grown up in the dream.

From that dreamy state, he had bolted upright when a chainsaw wailed and then a big branch of the hemlock tree outside his window crashed to the ground. The Soupster staggered to the window, wiping the sleep sand from his eyes. Up in the hemlock was his tree guy, Martin, now working on his second branch.

The Soupster had run into Marty at the grocery store and mentioned a hemlock tree that needed to come down. Marty said he would get to it when he had time. The Soupster had been satisfied, thinking Marty would check in with him before starting.

“Well, I had some time come open today, so I figured I could get right to your tree,” Marty called down from 10 feet in the air. “I know you never told me which tree, but when I got here it was pretty obvious this hemlock had to go.”

The Soupster shook his head in amazement and muttered a little.

The second time, the Soupster had been dreaming that he was fishing from the cockpit of a gas-guzzling sport boat he used to own, but he kept pulling up phone and cable bills instead of fish.

From the living room came the unmistakable screech of long nails being pulled from wood, which yanked him awake. He threw on his robe.

In the living room, Greg, the glass guy, was removing the frame of the big picture window.

Two months previously, the Soupster had talked to Greg about replacing the window and Greg was supposed to call him back. No word. The work was now underway

Greg volunteered an explanation reminiscent of Martin’s. He said a piece of glass he was expecting had missed the barge, freeing up his morning. And while reading a copy of the Sitka Soup over coffee, he had remembered the Soupster’s picture window.

But back to the ringing phone in the present. Calling was the Soupster’s nephew, Stewart.

“Uncle Soupster!” said Stew.

“Stewster!” said the Soupster. “Is everything all right?”

“Sure, Uncle Soupster,” Stew said. “I tried calling my Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day, but there was no answer. You’re the next best thing to a father. Happy Father’s Day, Uncle Soupster!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – March 12, 2015

Our Town – March 12, 2015

| Dreams, Our Town, Seasons, Spring | March 12, 2015

A dreaming Soupster is egg-faced.

“Two hundred and forty-seven eggs, wreck `em,'” the waitress called to the short-order cook in the Soupster’s dream about Spring.

In his dream about Spring, the Soupster sat at a breakfast counter that hadn’t existed in Our Town for years. Two large dark-haired men sat on either side of him. Both men wore Tlingit regalia and eagerly tore into herring eggs, mounded into a large pile on a plate before each.

“Pass the soy sauce?” asked the man on the left and the Soupster, still dreaming, did.

“Eggs for you, Soupster?” asked the waitress, her hand on her hip.

“Uh, two, over easy,”

“Two eggs?” said the waitress, her eyebrows arching with disbelief. “Just two?”

The waitress looked over at the men, who, like her, tried to keep from laughing. “You want seal oil with your two eggs?” she said, collapsing in hysterics.

Next, the Soupster dreamed he walked through a park of totem poles and old-growth trees. The Soupster peered into the forest, where he could see figures moving. They were bunnies and chicks — more specifically, children dressed as bunnies and chicks — a score of them, bent over and peering under salmonberry bushes and behind spruce and hemlock trunks.

“I’ve found one!” a cute blue rabbit called out, pulling out from under a skunk cabbage a small hemlock bough covered with herring eggs died in different colors.

“Me, too,” called another youngster, this one dressed as a duckling, holding aloft a similar prize. Cries of success came from hither and yon.

At that moment, the two men from the restaurant reappeared and grabbed the Soupster by the arms. The Soupster’s body stiffened and the men held him parallel to the ground, as they would a plank of wood. They continued down the forest path, the Soupster strangely calm for someone who was being kidnapped. The men carried the Soupster down to the beach and placed him in a small, open boat. Then they rowed for a time.

Despite the unexpected recent turns of the Soupster’s life – or should he say “dream life” – he felt a calm from believing that all this strangeness was a good sign. A sign of something good. Something like Spring?

The Soupster could hear the men placing the oars back in the boat. They grabbed the Soupster, hoisted him up, tipped him over and plunged his head into the cold water. They held him there. In his dream, the Soupster had no sense of the amount of time he hung upside down in the water. Then someone jostled him. Four arms brought the Soupster up sputtering. His hair was filled with herring eggs, which poured, as well, down over his shoulders.

“Sorry, Soupster,” said the first of the two men from the boat and restaurant. “We thought you were a hemlock bough.”

“A real `egg head'” said the second man. “That’s the Soupster!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – September 26, 2013

Our Town – September 26, 2013

| Dreams, Guest Written, Lois Verbaan DenHerder, Our Town | September 26, 2013

The Soupster hears about a “super weird” night.

“I think there’s a full moon,” Kathryn announced. “Things have been super weird lately.”

“Weird?” the Soupster said, glancing up at dark gray clouds scurrying nervously across the sky. “Got anything to do with fall setting in?”

“Maybe,” Kathryn replied. “Another theory involves my eyesight. Been a while since I could clearly tell deer from bushes, and bears from rocks,” she admitted. “Once, on the ferry, I even thought that a beach covered in driftwood was a village,” she chuckled.

The Soupster laughed. “Makes life interesting, I guess. So, how was last night?” he asked. “Went to that ergonomics lecture, didn’t you?”

“Huh,” Kathryn grunted. “Again, weird. I’m sitting there, listening to the instructor, and he morphs into the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. ‘Anyone know what this muscle is?’ the instructor asks, pointing to a picture of a cadaver. ‘Anyone? Anyone?’ Suddenly a student belts out ‘BACKSTRAP!’ and another adds, “Now, I’m getting hungry.”

“Hilarious,” the Soupster said. “Huntin’ fever. Does weird things to people.”

“Apparently,” Kathryn said, rolling her eyes. “So afterwards, I’m walking home, trying to get cannibalism out of my mind, when our dog decides to poop in the middle of an intersection as we’re crossing the road. The middle? Seriously? Before you could say ‘full moon’ I’d gloved my hand with a doggie bag and scooped up the package. It felt surprisingly warm and I kept massaging it gently to keep releasing its heat.”

“Great idea,” the Soupster smiled. “Never heard Bear Grylls suggest that one,” he said with a wink.

“So I’m focusing on warming my hand, when a shadow jumps out at me,” Kathryn continues. “I turn around, check that I’m not being followed, and then look up to see a one-eyed street pole hunched over the road, peering down at me ominously.  Averting my eyes, I catch sight of a cluster of unkempt, flowerless fireweed – Dr. Seuss characters waving tall, feathery hairdos and mocking me in rhyme.  Beside them, a lonesome dandelion teases me, bobbing its seemingly innocent, fluffy white head. But I know better than to stop, pick it and blow it away. The path curves and a crowd of Indian celery plants ambush me, trying to claw at me with their dry, bony fingers.”

“I quicken my step in the direction of home and soon, I’m approaching the illuminated church billboard with its inspiring message. ‘When you’ve been barbecued, you’ll want to barbecue others,’ I read in horror. Getting closer, the word ‘barbecued’ turns into ‘rescued’ and I breathe a sigh of relief.”

“You had a big night,” the Soupster said. “Go home and have a mug of chamomile tea and try to get some rest,” he suggested.

“Great idea,” Kathryn sighed. “I’m beginning to realize why bears hibernate all winter. Starting to appeal to me, actually,” she said as she turned to leave, veering around a black cat crouching on the road, which turned out to be a pothole.

Submittied by Lois Verbaan Denherder

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 2, 2010

Our Town – December 2, 2010

| Dreams, Foreign Countries, History, Holidays, Our Town, Russia, Thanksgiving | December 2, 2010

Nochoy gorshok!”* the Soupster heard a man’s excited voice on the other side of the stout door saying. “Pazhalusta!”** Then came short, sharp knocks.

The Soupster looked around in a panic. Where was he? He was in a room where there was a short bed and a cabinet made of thick wood. He opened the door of the cabinet and it was empty, save for an old-style chamber pot.

The Soupster thought “What does this man want so badly? What is he saying?” The knocking continued. And somehow the Soupster knew he was in Alexander Baranof’s bedroom and the manager of all of Russian-America needed his chamber pot.

And then the Soupster was taken up in a swirl that reminded him of the part of the Wizard of Oz with Dorothy’s house in the tornado. When he got his bearings he was back in Our Town, only the whole place was overrun with American servicemen. The Soupster could see his sister up the street, surrounded by soldiers and sailors offering to place their coats over a puddle for her and there were more GIs and seamen than puddles.

A newspaper blowing down the street caught against the Soupster’s shin. He glimpsed  the date – September 20, 1942 – before the same wind that propelled the paper swept the Soupster in the same swirl as before and he ended up in the crater of a dormant volcano. Mt. Edgecumbe?

He looked up at the blue sky. A fine spring day. And the Soupster was just starting to think about which side to climb up to get out of the crater, when he was almost hit by one, then another, large vehicle tire.

The air was saturated with the insect drone of a helicopter. Another tire fell from it. The helicopter kicked up dust that became a swirl and again carried the Soupster, this time back to town, with pavement beneath his feet.

The Soupster was surrounded by people. And he and they all had something over their head. Some kind of shroud. The Soupster could see light coming in from the bottom of the shroud. Nearly everybody wore X-tra Tuffs. “Where are we?” he whispered to the women next to him in the dark.

“What do you mean `Where are we?’” she said. “You’re in the Whalefest life-size whale. How did you get here, anyway” she said, to what by that time was only thin air, because the swirl took the Soupster to…

… his friends Corey and Barb’s house for Thanksgiving. The Soupster sat at the dinner table as Barb piled his plate high with slices of halmoncod, the turkey-shaped fish dish made from halibut (white meat), salmon (dark meat) with a bit of black cod on the rump.

She gave him so much halmoncod that he had to beg to take most his portion home. “So I can savor it more when I am not so full,” he begged Barb, who relented as the swirl once again came for the Soupster and brought him back to his own bed.

The Soupster opened his eyes, ending the dream. He was definitely back at home and it was three weeks before Christmas. After finishing the last of the leftover halmoncod at nearly midnight, shoveling it into his mouth in front of a great old movie, of course he got indigestion!

Well, he was awake now. “Might as well use the nochoy gorshok.” He said out loud. “Now what does that mean?” he wondered.

* Russian for “chamber pot.  ** Russian for “please!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – March 25, 2010

Our Town – March 25, 2010

| Alaska Natives, Dreams, Fishing, Seasons, Spring | March 25, 2010

(Originally published March 22, 2007)

“Two hundred and forty-seven eggs, wreck `em,'” the waitress called to the short-order cook in the Soupster’s dream about Spring.

In his dream about Spring, the Soupster sat at a breakfast counter that hadn’t existed in Our Town for years. Two large dark-haired men sat on either side of him. Both men wore Tlingit regalia and eagerly tore into herring eggs, mounded into a large pile on a plate before each.

“Pass the soy sauce?” asked the man on the left and the Soupster, still dreaming, did.

“Eggs for you, Soupster?” asked the waitress, her hand on her hip.

“Uh, two, over easy,”

“Two eggs?” said the waitress, her eyebrows arching with disbelief. “Just two?”

The waitress looked over at the men, who, like her, tried to keep from laughing. “You want seal oil with your two eggs?” she said, collapsing in hysterics.

Next, the Soupster dreamed he walked through a park of totem poles and old-growth trees. The Soupster peered into the forest, where he could see figures moving. They were bunnies and chicks — more specifically, children dressed as bunnies and chicks — a score of them, bent over and peering under salmonberry bushes and behind spruce and hemlock trunks.

“I’ve found one!” a cute blue rabbit called out, pulling out from under a skunk cabbage a small hemlock bough covered with herring eggs died in different colors.

“Me, too,” called another youngster, this one dressed as a duckling, holding aloft a similar prize. Cries of success came from hither and yon.

At that moment, the two men from the restaurant reappeared and grabbed the Soupster by the arms. The Soupster’s body stiffened and the men held him parallel to the ground, as they would a plank of wood. They continued down the forest path, the Soupster strangely calm for someone who was being kidnapped. The men carried the Soupster down to the beach and placed him in a small, open boat. Then they rowed for a time.

Despite the unexpected recent turns of the Soupster’s life – or should he say “dream life” – he felt a calm from believing that all this strangeness was a good sign. A sign of something good. Something like Spring?

The Soupster could hear the men placing the oars back in the boat. They grabbed the Soupster, hoisted him up, tipped him over and plunged his head into the cold water. They held him there. In his dream, the Soupster had no sense of the amount of time he hung upside down in the water. Then someone jostled him. Four arms brought the Soupster up sputtering. His hair was filled with herring eggs, which poured, as well, down over his shoulders.

“Sorry, Soupster,” said the first of the two men from the boat and restaurant. “We thought you were a hemlock bough.”

“A real `egg head'” said the second man. “That’s the Soupster!”

1094 total views, 0 today

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    The Soupster gauges his tolerance for surprise.

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    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.

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