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Comments Off on Our Town – September 20, 2018

Our Town – September 20, 2018

| Bicycles, Elections, Our Town | September 20, 2018

By hook or by crook, the Soupster makes it to the ballot box.

Originally published Sept. 23, 2010

“There it is!” the Soupster cried when he saw the watch he had lost last Christmas, fallen between the washing machine and the dryer. He should have thought of looking between the appliances – from there he had at other times retrieved single socks, misplaced mail and some multi-legged critters with segmented exoskeletons.

The watch was a nerd delight with a big time face and a tiny calculator. He loved it: the Soupster was great at addition, but anything more complex gave him a headache. He glanced at the watch as one of the digital numbers changed. It still worked!

A knock at the door and the Soupster opened it, to find Keith Undermeyer standing outside astride his new hybrid on-road/off-road bicycle, with a meaty plank mounted on the rear bumper as a cargo carrier. He had one bike helmet on his head and another cradled in his arm. The Soupster fastened the watch to his wrist.

“You gonna vote, Soupster?” Keith asked.

“Of course,” the Soupster said.

“Got a bike?”

“Well, I was probably just going to dri….” The Soupster started.

“Well, you are probably going to ride your bike there now,” said Keith, cutting him off and tossing him the helmet. “Go get your cycle.”

The Soupster retrieved his ancient Schwinn 5-speed and met Keith out by the road, already starting off. The Soupster tried to catch up with his nimble friend, but no matter how hard he pedaled, the distance between the two men grew larger.

Something was wrong. Even the Soupster was faster than the top speed he now attained. He stopped and examined his bike. His rear tire was nearly flat! No wonder!

A speck in the distance now, Keith turned around. The speck got bigger. The Soupster looked at his recovered watch to see that it was a few minutes to 8 – WHEN THE POLLS CLOSED!

Keith pulled up.

“I have a flat, you’ll have to take me on your bike,” said the Soupster.

“What’s your hurry?” said Keith, but the Soupster just jumped up onto the meaty cargo plank. “Let’s go!” he said.

Keith shook his head, but dutifully pulled off. With the greater weight he was slower, but still fast. The Soupster mentally egged him on. The polls were going to close! They would miss out on voting!

At the polling station, the Soupster jumped off the back of the bike and was opening the doors even before Keith stopped moving. He stepped inside, breathless.

“Made it!” the Soupster said triumphantly.

“Actually, there’s still an hour,” said the woman checking IDs and taking signatures.

“But the time…” said the Soupster, showing her his watch.

“Your watch is wrong,” said the nice lady. “When’s the last time you checked it?”

 

53 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 8, 2016

Our Town – September 8, 2016

| Elections, Our Town, Politics | September 8, 2016

The Soupster thinks about matriarchs.

Musing on an evening stroll, the Soupster considered several of Our Town’s matriarchs — women who used an alchemy of creativity, smarts and grit to hold their extended families together and nudge or shoulder their brood toward success.

Some of these women looked bent from the weight of their responsibilities. But others seemed to thrive on their influence and importance – exuding, if not youth, a strong vitality.

Our Town’s patriarchs tended to get more attention, the Soupster mused again. Meanwhile, the matriarchs did their work while being paid 80 cents to the dollar. Surely, a more noteworthy achievement?

Strolling by the post office, the Soupster thought of the female postmasters who kept open this vital artery to the Lower 48. He passed by the former site of his former favorite breakfast place, where the griddle person, waitress and owner had all been women.

Then, he remembered the wives and daughters of men who passed away at the helm of the family business. These women had to learn very quickly to be the boss. Women who had no idea they would become bookkeepers or property managers. No idea they would raise rabbits or pilot boats.

Sometimes these women, when still only girls – were the ones in their families to step up to the plate, if their parents became infirm or unreliable. How many schoolgirls hurry home after classes every day to care for their younger siblings? No sports teams or student council for them.

Younger siblings can be a joy, but they are adult responsibilities. And maybe raising children is not an appropriate job for a girl at a time of life when she might need to be a bit selfish. Good training for a future matriarch, however, the Soupster mused yet again.

Then, Mack the Rogue — a local lothario — turned the corner. Mack knew the Soupster and was happy to drop the lothario act when the two men were together. For one thing, Mack stopped using his fingers to twirl the ends of his mustache.

“Soupster! Big Buddy!” Mack practically shouted, going full bore into Monster Truck racing mode. “When is it going to stop raining?”

“Stop?” the Soupster called back. “The rain hasn’t even started yet. It’s practically still summer.”

“Say, Mack,” he continued, a little quieter, “you know any matriarchs? I was just musing about matriarchs.”

“My mother was a matriarch,” Mack said, quieter still. “She had three younger brothers and she kept them all in line.”

“We need both the patriarchs and the matriarchs,” the Soupster said. “We need all the help we can get to hold things together.”

“That’s why Hillary Clinton running for president is definitely a good thing,” Mack the Rogue said. “Like her or hate her, the presidential candidates should get better from this point on, because we doubled the pool of people who are able to run.”

“Right on, Rogue,” said the Soupster. “Right on.”

938 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – October 23, 2014

Our Town – October 23, 2014

| Elections, Our Town | October 23, 2014

The Soupster mulls politics.

“Tighten that line, would you Soupster?” said Sara Paley, leaning out of the cockpit of her 25-foot cruiser, Knot For Naught. She climbed up on the deck, leaped and planted her Xtra Tuffs on the dock. She checked the line aft.

“Nice boat,” said the Soupster, who was in the harbor aimlessly boat-gazing.

“Knot?” Sara said, temporarily confusing him. “Yeah, I love Knot.”

“The name of your boat – I mean a lot of people associate that with Sarah Palin. She said during her 2008 campaign that she hoped all her efforts were `Not for naught.’ And do you spell naught with an `o’ or with an `a’?”

“Either,” said Sara, “or both. Anyway, it steams me up.”

“What steams you up?” asked the Soupster.

“I got Knot in 2000, long before Palin said anything about being naught,” said Sara. “I didn’t get the name from anyone.”

“Well,” said the Soupster. “Your own name, er, Sara Paley, kind of gets people thinking of Sarah Palin.”

“Well, I’m older than her – so even my name is older than her! I’m tired of being accused of stealing her line.”

The Soupster rocked back on his heels and sought to change topics. “How about those Millennials on the Assembly,” he said.

“That some religious group?” Sara asked.

“Millennials,” recited the Soupster from his mental Wikipedia. “People born between 1980 and 2000, roughly. The two new members of our Assembly are Millennials.”

“Should I be alarmed?” asked Sara.

“Maybe,” said the Soupster. “Millennials are supposed to be open-minded, confident and tolerant.

“That sounds like the good news,” she said.

“Well, Millennials are also supposed to be narcissistic, with a wicked sense of entitlement.”

“Sounds like my cat,” said Sara. As if on cue, Fancy Pants, Knot For Naught’s black-and-white splotched resident feline, jumped up on the railing. Sara scratched Fancy’s black-and-white splotched head.

“Millennials are supposed to be pragmatic idealists,” the Soupster continued. “So we may be hearing more talk about things like generating energy from the tides. They’re called `digital natives’ – born to computers – so I wouldn’t be surprised at electronic voting.”

“How do you know all this?” said Sara, eyeing the Soupster up and down. “You look like a Baby Boomer to me.”

“Well, I’m no Millennial,” the Soupster said. “I took an online quiz that said you had Millennial values if you scored at least 73 out of 100 points.”

 

1022 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 20, 2012

Our Town – September 20, 2012

| Elections, Our Town | September 20, 2012

Originally Published October 21, 2004

The Soupster’s rump itched. He squirmed in his seat. Pay attention! he told himself.

On the stage at the packed political meeting the Soupster attended, two familiar Alaskans debated the future of Our Town. Everyone was rapt to what was happening on stage, but the Soupster worried people could see him squirm and that they knew why.

At the right, standing at a podium, was a female brown bear, so tall she could reach up and knock the klieg lights above her head. To the left, behind the other podium, or rather perched on it, was a sleek raven.

“Ferry service!” squawked the raven. “Much better than roads.”

“Easy for you to say,” countered the bear. “You can fly. My constituents need roads.”

The crowd, all human, murmured in assent or dissent.

“Technology for medical care,” the bird called out. “Long distance docs!”

“Your doc should be close enough to look in the eye,” said the bear. “Of course, the last time a human looked me in the eye I ate him.”

The raven appeared momentarily worried.

“Hrrumph” said the bear.

The Soupster’s itch made him squirm again. This time he was sure it was noticeable. He wondered if he could slip out the back door, make it around the corner of the building and have a good scratch.

“You believe in large classrooms,” squawked the raven. “Lots of kids, too many kids.”

“I believe in the sanctity of the den,” said the bear, looking momentarily majestic.

“I believe in taking the chance at opportunity,” said the raven.

“And I believe in staking out your claim and never having to say you’re sorry,” said the bear.

The moderator banged his gavel and put forth the final question.

“If one animal could be said to represent the Alaskan spirit, which animal should that be?” said the moderator.

“I’ve been on license plates,” said the bear. “And on the “Made in Alaska” sign, although that’s my cousin actually. Representing Alaska, should, of course, be me.”

“My visage sells products from coffee to radios to football teams. Everyone knows a poem about me. Is there a poem about a bear that comes as easily to mind?” the raven posed sarcastically.

The bear became angry and clawed chunks out of the sides of its podium. The raven flew around the bear’s head in circles. The moderator banged his gavel repeatedly.

The Soupster used the fracas to cover his escape. By the time everyone had calmed and the debate resumed, the Soupster was slipping out the back door. Politics was the future, the Soupster knew and one had to pay attention to the future. But, he thought, passing out of sight around the corner, sometimes, there was more pressing business at hand.

1196 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 23, 2010

Our Town – September 23, 2010

| Bicycles, Elections, Our Town | September 23, 2010

“There it is!” the Soupster cried when he saw the watch he had lost last Christmas, fallen between the washing machine and the dryer. He should have thought of looking between the appliances – from there he had at other times retrieved single socks, misplaced mail and some multi-legged critters with segmented exoskeletons.

The watch was a nerd delight with a big time face and a tiny calculator. He loved it: the Soupster was great at addition, but anything more complex gave him a headache. He glanced at the watch as one of the digital numbers changed. It still worked!

A knock at the door and the Soupster opened it, to find Keith Undermeyer standing outside astride his new hybrid on-road/off-road bicycle, with a meaty plank mounted on the rear bumper as a cargo carrier. He had one bike helmet on his head and another cradled in his arm. The Soupster fastened the watch to his wrist.

“You gonna vote, Soupster?” Keith asked.

“Of course,” the Soupster said.

“Got a bike?”

“Well, I was probably just going to dri….” The Soupster started.

“Well, you are probably going to ride your bike there now,” said Keith, cutting him off and tossing him the helmet. “Go get your cycle.”

The Soupster retrieved his ancient Schwinn 5-speed and met Keith out by the road, already starting off. The Soupster tried to catch up with his nimble friend, but no matter how hard he pedaled, the distance between the two men grew larger.

Something was wrong. Even the Soupster was faster than the top speed he now attained. He stopped and examined his bike. His rear tire was nearly flat! No wonder!

A speck in the distance now, Keith turned around. The speck got bigger. The Soupster looked at his recovered watch to see that it was a few minutes to 8 – WHEN THE POLLS CLOSED!

Keith pulled up.

“I have a flat, you’ll have to take me on your bike,” said the Soupster.

“What’s your hurry?” said Keith, but the Soupster just jumped up onto the meaty cargo plank. “Let’s go!” he said.

Keith shook his head, but dutifully pulled off. With the greater weight he was slower, but still fast. The Soupster mentally egged him on. The polls were going to close! They would miss out on voting!

At the polling station, the Soupster jumped off the back of the bike and was opening the doors even before Keith stopped moving. He stepped inside, breathless.

“Made it!” the Soupster said triumphantly.

“Actually, there’s still an hour,” said the woman checking IDs and taking signatures.

“But the time…” said the Soupster, showing her his watch.

“Your watch is wrong,” said the nice lady. “When’s the last time you checked it?”

1175 total views, 0 today

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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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