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Comments Off on Our Town – April 20, 2017

Our Town – April 20, 2017

| Fishing, Jokes, Our Town | April 20, 2017

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The locksmith tells the Soupster a fish story.

Did Elijah Langossian really have a glowing aura around his head, wondered the Soupster as he approached him by the lake, or was it just the angle of the setting sun? No, it was him, the Soupster surmised, as he came close enough to see Elijah’s shining visage.

“Soupster!” Elijah said. The sturdy and diminutive locksmith too often carried his troubles on his face. But not today.

“Elijah!” the Soupster countered. “You’re glistening like a king salmon pulled fresh from the water!”

“Funny you should mention fishing,” said Elijah.  “I just had a guy in my shop who’d caught the biggest halibut anybody had ever seen and it was his first time jigging.”

“Oh, what a feeling,” the Soupster sang. “But what does a locksmith have to do with catching fish?”

“That’s what I asked,” Elijah said. “I was just closing up the office and this fella was sitting in the reception room looking like he ate the canary. An older man. Well, older than us.”

Ed. note: Neither Elijah nor the Soupster are spring chickens. Winter turkeys, occasionally.

“So I said, `Hello, Sir. Can I help you with anything?’” Elijah continued.

“`Not really,’ said the guy.

“`Anything to do with locks?’ I asked. `Keys, hasps or spring hinges?’

“The guy shook his head and got this big grin on his face.

“`Well,’ said I, `this is a locksmith’s shop and I’m the locksmith. And I want to go home and eat dinner with the locksmith’s wife. So, if there’s nothing I can help you with…’

“`I went out fishing today,’ the words tumbled from the man. `My grandson-in-law took me.’

“`Well, sir, that’s nice, but…’ I said.

“`I’m a landlubber by preference,’ the man told me. `I encounter fish only when it’s served to me on a plate. But that boy my granddaughter married, he worked on getting me out on his boat like it was his main goal in life. I could only hold out for so long.’

“This story have anything at all to do with locks?” the Soupster asked.

“`The sea was calm,” Elijah recounted that the oldster went on. `My grandson-in-law’s boat was swift. Soon we were at the halibut hole. The others all caught fish, but I was striking out. Then I felt this tug on my arms like I hooked the whole bottom of the ocean or maybe Moby Dick. When I finally landed the fish after an hour or more, my behemoth weighed in at 392 pounds. Three hundred and ninety-two pounds!’

“`That’s fantastic,’ I told him. `But I’m a locksmith. I deal in keys, hasps and spring hinges. Why are you telling me about your 392-pound fish?’

“`I’m telling everybody!’ the old man said.

“And then he was out the door.”

92 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 10, 2015

Our Town – September 10, 2015

| Airplanes, Fishing, Our Town, Tourists, Travel | September 10, 2015

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The Soupster observes unsustainable drought measures.

At the airport for a Goldstreak and a slice of Strawberry-Rhubarb, the Soupster saw Lydia “Wrong Tide” Lerner, weaving her way among the luggage carts stacked high with white cardboard fish boxes.

“Wrong Tide” is an unfortunate nickname in a fishing community and, also unfortunately, what Lerner’s name portended was true – when fish saw Lydia coming, they swam the other way.

Nonetheless, Wrong Tide was an enthusiastic consumer of everything fish-related, was fiercely loyal to the commercial fleet and could mutter under her breath in way that allowed her still to be heard.

But she muttered something now that the Soupster could not hear above the general terminal noise. He called out “Lydia! Wrong Tide! W.T.!”

At last she turned around. “Soupster,” she said. “How long have you been watching me?”

“Just a minute, I just saw you,” said the Soupster, taken aback.

“Oh, don’t listen to me,” Wrong Tide said. “I get all worked up when I see all these big white boxes full of fish. When you don’t catch fish, you get real jealous of them. You don’t want so many fish leaving town with other people.”

“But look at the smiles on all those folks,” said the Soupster. An older woman in a rain jacket blissfully pushed a cart with five boxes of fish, a stack taller than her. “How happy she looks,” said the Soupster after the woman had passed.

“I’m glad for them,” Wrong Tide said, “But those are our fish!” She looked around, then muttered loudly enough for the Soupster to discern, “I better get out of here.”

Wrong Tide left.

Truth was, the Soupster was no stellar fisherman and found himself growing uncomfortable with the long line of people waiting to load their huge boxes of fish. It wasn’t like the Soupster wanted for fish. The expensive species he poached from friends. He kept his freezer full of the cheaper species from the store to fill in any time his poaching failed.

Yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was being taken from him personally.

And then he saw it – how could one ignore it? A small parade – or not so small – passing through the terminal’s automatic door. Three young people in identical forest green polo shirts pushed three luggage carts piled precariously with fish boxes.

The Soupster counted 19!

Bringing up the rear was a white-maned and mustachioed alpha predator, pushing a cart with only one fish box. The man kept a close eye on the three green-clad youths laboring with the rest of his booty.

“Sir,” the Soupster called, feeling ornery.
“You really going to eat all that fish?”

The man slowed in front of the Soupster and pointed to the lone box on his cart. “This much fish, I can eat, yes,” he said.

“What about your other 19 boxes?” asked the Soupster.

“They’re not fish,” said the man. “They’re full of water.” He started rolling his cart again to catch up with his crew. “Hey,” he yelled back. “I’m from California!”

 

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Comments Off on Our Town – June 18, 2015

Our Town – June 18, 2015

| Eddy Rau, Fishing, Guest Written, Marriage, Our Town, Relationships | June 18, 2015

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The Soupster ponders alone time.

Guest Written by Eddy Rau

The Soupster cozied into his first class seat. Using his upgrade from Seattle was a great idea. The reunion of his writing class had been interesting, and now his eyes drooped as he thumbed through the magazine, waiting for take-off. Apologies for the hold-up came from the loudspeaker, as two guys walked in and took the seats behind the Soupster.

“Hmmn…looks like they’re out of a Patagonia catalog,” was his thought as take-off commenced.

“You must have clout somewhere to get a 737 to wait for you!” said a deep voice from behind.

‘Well, this trip is costing me a bundle.  Seems my wife equates ten days fishing in Alaska with ten days in Paris. Say, Jake, how do you get away with it? You’ve been going fishing every year.”

The Soupster’s ears perked up. This sounded like a story – it already had politics and economics with overtones of women’s lib.

There was a pause and finally the deep voice replied. “Leland, you were smart to deal with your fishing right up front. Remember that trip around the world Susan and I took a few years ago?”

“Ha-ha, don’t I just? I still get, ‘How come Jake and Susan can afford it and not us?’”

“Well,” said Jake, “my story started when I had to go up to Prudhoe Bay with that spill settlement. It was thought a little fishing stopover might be in order. Then, Susan got all excited about meeting up with me. Instead of saying it was an all-guy fishing trip, I dropped the subject. So, she thought it was just work.”

Jake mused, “I had so much fun with those guys – fishing and drinking and being out on the water. I kept going every year – Susan thought it was all business. That worked for about five years. Then, one weekend, at a barbecue, that damned Al Krankins started in about the fish.”

“Where’d you get this fish? Tastes like real wild salmon!” Blah, blah. “You have friends in Alaska?”

Jake’s voice got wistful. “Susan gave me ‘the look.’  I felt the old bank account shrinking. But, I like a peaceful life, so three months tripping around the world was a small price to pay.  Now we negotiate in advance. Susan’s on a New York shopping trip with our daughters.”

The Soupster marveled – was this calculated negotiation a feature of all marriages? It sounded exhausting – not for the first time, the Soupster thanked his stars that he had only himself to answer to. He drifted off, thinking of the nice, quiet evening he would soon be enjoying.

Finally, home! The Soupster walked into the terminal. There was his buddy Sheila, come to give him a ride. He gave her a big hug. And then, the shouts started.

“Hey, Uncle Soupster!!”

“Hi, you old dog!,” said Sheila. “Guess what – my family came up for a surprise visit, and the best part is, they get to stay for a whole week! Will you barbecue fish for us all tonight?”

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Comments Off on Our Town – April 21, 2011

Our Town – April 21, 2011

| Fishing, Our Town | April 21, 2011

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The Soupster mistook for a friend the stranger to Our Town he saw occupying a bench above the harbor.

“You look just like him,” the Soupster apologized, when he got closer. “This guy you look like has lived in Our Town forever.”

“I’m Richard Labb,” said the stranger, shaking the Soupster’s hand. “Visiting, er, Your Town, from Canada on a tour of the Inside Passage. Except Your Town is not very Inside anything, is it?”

“Sounds like you just took a boat trip,” guessed the Soupster.

“A fishing charter,” said Labb. “Before today I thought I had pretty good sea legs. But twice on the charter I made a personal contribution – over the side – to Davy Jones.”

“Rough charter?” the Soupster said.

Labb laughed, a touch maniacally. “You don’t know Captain Leonardo?”

“I don’t” said the Soupster.

“He has strange rituals that he insists his customers perform on board,” Labb said.

“Really?”

“After we left the harbor and were heading out — as soon as we got by those big rocks near the airport runway – Captain Leonardo insisted that I and the three other clients on board remove our socks and allow him to lock the socks up in a little box he kept by the helm,” Labb said.

“Any explanation?” asked the Soupster.

“Said it would help us catch fish,” said Labb. “Leonardo also said that when he served sandwiches for lunch.”

“Sandwiches seem pretty normal,” commented the Soupster.

“He made us eat the sandwiches from the outside in, crusts first,” said Labb. “All the way around the outside of the sandwich until we had a little soft disk of the center left. Captain Leonardo watched us closely as we ate and made sure we all did it. `Important to catch the fish!’ Leonardo insisted…”

“A lot of people have odd rituals they use to attract fish, but Captain Leonardo does seem a bit like Captain Crunch,” admitted the Soupster.

“But the worst, the absolute worst, was Captain Leonardo’s constant rhyming and word games,” Labb said. “He did not shut up for one single second. When Captain Leonardo found out I was from Canada, he starting calling me `Labrador Labb.’ When he found out I was a veterinarian, he asked me if I had ever tested the blood of a retriever. When I said I had, he went berserk.

“`Labb from Labrador’s Labrador retriever blood testing laboratory,’ chanted Captain Leonardo. `Labb’s Lab Lab Labs.’ After about half an hour, he started making us all repeat, `Labb’s Lab Lab Labs.’ He had similar sayings for everyone else, too.”

“Well, you’re back on dry land now,” the Soupster said soothingly. “And you never have to take one of Captain Leonardo’s charters ever again.”

“Actually, I’ve booked a trip with him later in the summer to troll for coho,” said Labb.

“Why? Leonardo drove you crazy,” said the Soupster.

“I know,” said Labb. “But you should see all the fish we caught!”

1079 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – November 18, 2010

Our Town – November 18, 2010

| Children, Fishing, Holidays, Nicknames, Our Town, Thanksgiving | November 18, 2010

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Greta, aged two, drooled onto the sitting Soupster’s left calf as she clung to him. Across the tidy living room of his friend’s house, Brandon-the-pre-teen regarded the Soupster with a suspicious boredom.

“Nice of you all to invite me for Thanksgiving,” the Soupster told Brandon, who grunted.

The Soupster could hear clattering from the kitchen and the excited voices of Corey and Barb, the parents of Greta and “Don” as he liked to be called.

“Okay,” yelled Corey, who looked like George Clooney, but sounded like Gilbert Gottfried. “Thanksgiving feed bag in the deen-ing room!”

“When I heard you were planning on spending Thanksgiving alone, I said `This is a Crime Against Soup!’” Corey said, as the Soupster and the children gathered around the well-decorated table, with Greta lifted up into her high chair.

“Didn’t I say that, honey,” Corey yelled out, “That the Soupster spending Thanksgiving alone was a crime against soup?”

“You did indeed,” Barb called back.

Corey filled everyone’s glasses with cider, even Greta’s tippy cup. Then Barb appeared from the kitchen holding a platter. “Here’s the `bird,’” she said.

The Soupster stared at the item on the platter she placed in the middle of the table. It looked vaguely like a turkey, but there was no brown skin and the flesh was wrong.

“It’s fish!” said Barb and Greta called out “Fiss!”

“It’s Halmoncod,” corrected Corey, who pointed with his carving knife. “The white meat is halibut, the dark meat is salmon and the Parson’s nose is black cod.”

“The posterior,” explained Barb.

“But before we eat this Halmoncod, we should all say what we are thankful for,” Barb continued. “I’m thankful that the Soupster could be with us.”

“And I’m thankful that Barb let me do something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Corey. “Go to Freezing Man.”

“Freezing Man?” said the Soupster.

“Like Burning Man, except it’s on the tundra,” said Corey, evoking the weird tribal ritual and art show that occurs annually in the Nevada desert. “Instead of making a giant statue out of wood and then setting fire to it, like they do at Burning Man, we bring discarded car and truck tires from all over Alaska and make a giant bear statue. Then we wait for it to get cold enough to make the tires brittle and we pelt the giant bear with stones and sticks until it shatters.”

“I have to ask,” said the Soupster. “Sounds like it needs to be at least 50 degrees below zero to get the tires that brittle. But at Burning Man, a lot of people are naked.”

“At Freezing Man, too,” said Corey. Then he saw the Soupster’s astonished expression.

“Underneath our parkas, Soupster, underneath our parkas!” he said. “We’re not crazy.”

1015 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 15, 2010

Our Town – July 15, 2010

| Fishing, Tourists | July 15, 2010

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A strong sun shone on the well-named Clement Climes, who was sitting on a folding chair scarfing a Hellfire Halibut Spicy Skewer at Santa’s Seafood Truck downtown.

The Soupster noticed the pepper-induced sweat dripping off Clem’s brow. “I prefer the Sweetly Rubbed Salmon,” the Soupster said to his co-diner, simultaneously ordering the Rub.

“Paradise today,” said the Soupster, as his salmon sizzled on the grill. He gazed at Our Town’s gleaming water and green mountains. “Clem, you grew up here. Remind me of something wrong with this place.”

Clem sucked a couple of ice cubes from his drink and crunched them against the wildfire in his mouth. “When folks leave, they really leave,” he said in a jalapeño-choked voice. “Nobody ever moves a half hour or an hour away – how could they? They’re gone. It’s hard on the adults, but really hard on the kids.”

“Once they leave the Our Town Bubble, they’re gone,” Clem concluded.

The Soupster retrieved his perfectly-prepared salmon. “I feel like I’m leaving a bubble when I fly out of the country from the Lower 48,” he told Clem, after a bite. “I feel like when I’m overseas, I can no longer take it for granted that anything is going to make sense. Come to think of it, I feel that way about the Lower 48 now, too.”

“But you hail from the Lower 48,” said Climes. “How do you feel about being so far from your old stomping grounds?”

“Fine,” said the Soupster, taking another bite. “I do miss people and never, ever expect to see anybody from there anymore.”

That moment an extremely tall tourist walked right up to the Soupster and clamped his gigantic hand on the much shorter man’s shoulder. “Soupster?” he asked.

“Chris Louie?” an amazed Soupster yelled up to him. “`Shrimp’ Louie?”

“We went to the same high school,” the enormous Shrimp explained to Clem.

Clem looked back and forth between the two men. “Soupster,” he said, “I thought you got named Soupster in Our Town because you publish the Soup. You mean they called you Soupster all along? How did you get the name?”

Shrimp chuckled.

“That,” said the Soupster, “is a whole story in itself.”

932 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – March 25, 2010

Our Town – March 25, 2010

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

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(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!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 17, 2009

Our Town – December 17, 2009

| Christmas, Fishing, Holidays, Music, Parody, Rain, Songs, Weather | December 17, 2009

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Let It Rain
(Sung to the Tune of “Let It Snow”)

Oh, the weather is very snotty.
It belongs right in the potty.
We’ve no need to complain.
Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain.

Oh, the Yule is oft pictured frigid,
But we mustn’, get too rigid.
It’s not so much of a pain.
Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain.

When we finally get dried out,
In our sweet little burg by the sea,
There’s no need to fly way Down South.
In Our Town we’re happy to be.

Oh please don’t make me blubber,
While I swath my bod in rubber.
And sing with me this refrain:
“Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain.”

Xtra Tuf Boots
(Sung to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock”)

XtraTuf, XtraTuf, XtraTufboots,
Footwear of choice of Sitka galoots.
Neoprene-coated and shiny and spry,
On them you’ll rely.

If your calf’s thin,
You just step in
And keep that damp at bay.

If your calf’s fat,
Well then, that’s that.
You’ll have to keep ’em dry another way.

Roll ’em down, slice ’em up
‘ccording to taste.
They work as slippers, too.

They are ubiquitous.
Hope they aren’t quittin’ us.
That’s the XtraTuf —
They are really skookum stuff –
That’s the XtraTufboots.

Rudy the Old-Time Troller
(Sung to the tune of  “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer”)

Rudy, the old-time troller,
Hated electronic gear.
He did not trust depictions
Not made by his eye or ear.

All of the other trollers,
Peering at their laptop screens,
They all considered Rudy’s
Predilections full of beans.

Then one night of woeful gale,
“Rude,” the trollers pled,
“We come to you beckoning,
Won’t you use dead reckoning?”

So Rudy led the trollers
Through the worst of Dead Boat Pass,
But when thcy went to thank him,
He said “Kiss my GPS!”

1150 total views, 1 today

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    Absolute Tree Care

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    Whole Soup - April 20, 2017

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

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    Whole Soup - April 6, 2017

    by on April 5, 2017 - 0 Comments

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

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    Our Town - June 1, 2017

    by on May 31, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Soupster experiences hot gossip and hotter food.

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    Our Town - April 6, 2017

    by on April 5, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Soupster experiences people who gained expertise during childhood.

  • 5_4_17cover

    Whole Soup - May 4, 2017

    by on May 3, 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.

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