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Comments Off on Our Town – September 6, 2018

Our Town – September 6, 2018

| Cruise Ships, Foreign Countries, Our Town, Philippines, Tourists, Triplets | September 6, 2018

Stylish gal has the Soupster seeing triple.

Originally published August 12, 2010

As the Soupster walked past the base of the O’Connell Bridge, he heard the low rumble of a cruise ship’s small boat, lightering passengers ashore. The first off the boat – a tall, raven-haired young woman — was so striking the Soupster couldn’t help but notice her. Her attire was as striking as her looks – thin black leggings and pink, shaggy Ugg boots. Although the sun was shining, she also wore a light blue rain jacket emblazoned with the cruise ship’s logo.

The Soupster hurried around Castle Hill and up Lincoln St., already late for a lunch date at the home of his good friend Oscar. Oscar had scored some wonderful ivory king and had recently invested in a spendy gas barbecue. The Soupster, whose B-B-Q efforts always ended in crumbly salmon tasting of starter fluid, savored the thought of dining with an expert grillsman.

The Soupster was supposed to meet Oscar near the Filipino food take-out stand, Adobo Abode. (ed. note: Try the refrain of the song “Winchester Cathedral”)  But as the Soupster neared the Abode, he was struck dumb. Standing by the stand, halfway through eating a plate of pancit and lumpia, stood the same woman he had seen moments ago, just arriving on shore. Same long hair, same pink boots, same cruise ship raincoat.

“Soupster!” It was Oscar, across the street, calling from the window of his truck. “I forgot to get any lemons,” he continued at high volume, including all the people on the street in his conversation.

The Soupster hurried across Lincoln and got into Oscar’s pickup. “See that woman across the streets? The one with the dark hair and the blue raincoat?”

“Well, the tourists are sure getting better-looking,” said Oscar appreciatively. “But what’s with the boots? You think she’s a Sherpa?”

“I think she’s in style,” said the Soupster.

Oscar pulled away from the curb and worked his way down the crowded street, stopping several times to let tourists cross or to finish taking a photo. He turned onto the main road.

As the Soupster pondered how the woman on the boat got to the Adobo Abode faster than he did, Oscar turned into the grocery store parking lot. “Surely she couldn’t have gotten there fast enough for her to order, pick up and finish half of one of the Abode’s heaping plates?” the Soupster thought.

He followed Oscar toward the store, only to be struck dumb again. The same woman – raven tresses, Ugg boots — emerged from the entrance, carrying a full bag of groceries in her arms.

“What the…” said the Soupster, and then — determined to solve this mystery – he approached the young woman.

“Eh, Miss,” he said, “I’ve seen you three times in the last 15 minutes.”

The woman laughed. A cab pulled up next to them. In the back seat sat two identical versions her, one with her hair still tousled from the wind on the boat, the other with a small piece of pancit stuck to her chin. The woman laughed again, this time right at the Soupster. She got in the cab.

Oscar caught up with the Soupster. “Triplets,” he marveled, as the cab pulled away.

 

73 total views, 2 today

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!”

1487 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – October 7, 2010

Our Town – October 7, 2010

| Darkness, Foreign Countries, Germany, Guest Written, Our Town, Rain, Rose Manning, Seasons, Weather | October 7, 2010

“Hi, neighbor Joan. How is life treating you?”

“Soupster, I am fine but it is that time of year again.”

“What time is that?”

“Haven’t you ever noticed; when the rain gets serious and the light begins to fade many of the folks in Our Town start speaking gibberish.”

“What are you talking about? A foreign language, maybe?”

“Well, it might as well be, Soupster. It could be Italian for as much as I can understand. It must be a secret language – ‘Quiltese.’ They throw around terms like slub, bark cloth, feed dogs, round robin swap, ikat, stitch-in-the-ditch, fat quarters, fussy cut and my personal favorite – ‘scherenschnitte’ – that’s German for ‘scissor cuts’ and it’s a kind of fancy paper cutting.”

“Joan, I don’t know what any of it means but I do know some wondrous textiles come out of Our Town. I saw one beauty in white, icy blue and aquamarine sprinkled with bits of cut glass. It was called ‘Glacier’ and almost pushed me to learn the quilting skill myself.”

“Well, Soupster, why not – quilting is not just for women. Many men also enjoy the process. It involves math and engineering along with an artistic eye.”

“I love to hear all the stories of where the fabric comes from – local, of course, and picked up on world travels, from T-shirts won in athletic events, and, of course, there’s always the White E. One number re-created famous paintings of the Virgin Mary from fancy fabrics straight from the dumpster. It’s amazing, Joan, that something so beautiful can be created from discards, plus, it saves them from going in the trash.”

“You know, Soupster, I’m remembering a kind of quilt my great grandma called a ‘crazy quilt.’ It was made with scraps from her sewing. She would sit on the edge of the bed and instead of a bedtime story she would tell me about the quilt pieces. This wool worsted came from great grandpa’s best suit. That fancy, dancy, pink section was from Aunt Lucy’s dress, and we all know how she turned out. The fine white linen piece with embroidered flowers came from a christening gown. There were scraps of plaid flannel, army uniforms, logging pants and a navy blue velvet Sunday-best skirt, too.

Do you have any quilts in your home, Soupster?”

“Well, no, I couldn’t stand the thought that I might get them dirty. They are, after all, works of art. But I am partial to one I saw at last Spring’s Quilt Extravaganza here in Our Town. It had a wildlife theme and a wolf staring out from the center.”

“We sure have some obsessed quilters in Our Town – some even make a quilt every weekend. I think we should take up donations for a new organization. We could call it ‘Quilters Anonymous’ and I bet it would have lots of members especially during these short days and long rainy nights.”

“You’re sure right there, Joan.”

– Submitted by Rose Manning

1514 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – August 12, 2010

Our Town – August 12, 2010

| Cruise Ships, Foreign Countries, Philippines, Tourists, Triplets | August 12, 2010

As the Soupster walked past the base of the O’Connell Bridge, he heard the low rumble of a cruise ship’s small boat, lightering passengers ashore. The first off the boat – a tall, raven-haired young woman — was so striking the Soupster couldn’t help but notice her. Her attire was as striking as her looks – thin black leggings and pink, shaggy Ugg boots. Although the sun was shining, she also wore a light blue rain jacket emblazoned with the cruise ship’s logo.

The Soupster hurried around Castle Hill and up Lincoln St., already late for a lunch date at the home of his good friend Oscar. Oscar had scored some wonderful ivory king and had recently invested in a spendy gas barbecue. The Soupster, whose B-B-Q efforts always ended in crumbly salmon tasting of starter fluid, savored the thought of dining with an expert grillsman.

The Soupster was supposed to meet Oscar near the Filipino food take-out stand, Adobo Abode. (ed. note: Try the refrain of the song “Winchester Cathedral”)  But as the Soupster neared the Abode, he was struck dumb. Standing by the stand, halfway through eating a plate of pancit and lumpia, stood the same woman he had seen moments ago, just arriving on shore. Same long hair, same pink boots, same cruise ship raincoat.

“Soupster!” It was Oscar, across the street, calling from the window of his truck. “I forgot to get any lemons,” he continued at high volume, including all the people on the street in his conversation.

The Soupster hurried across Lincoln and got into Oscar’s pickup. “See that woman across the streets? The one with the dark hair and the blue raincoat?”

“Well, the tourists are sure getting better-looking,” said Oscar appreciatively. “But what’s with the boots? You think she’s a Sherpa?”

“I think she’s in style,” said the Soupster.

Oscar pulled away from the curb and worked his way down the crowded street, stopping several times to let tourists cross or to finish taking a photo. He turned onto the main road.

As the Soupster pondered how the woman on the boat got to the Adobo Abode faster than he did, Oscar turned into the grocery store parking lot. “Surely she couldn’t have gotten there fast enough for her to order, pick up and finish half of one of the Abode’s heaping plates?” the Soupster thought.

He followed Oscar toward the store, only to be struck dumb again. The same woman – raven tresses, Ugg boots — emerged from the entrance, carrying a full bag of groceries in her arms.

“What the…” said the Soupster, and then — determined to solve this mystery – he approached the young woman.

“Eh, Miss,” he said, “I’ve seen you three times in the last 15 minutes.”

The woman laughed. A cab pulled up next to them. In the back seat sat two identical versions her, one with her hair still tousled from the wind on the boat, the other with a small piece of pancit stuck to her chin. The woman laughed again, this time right at the Soupster. She got in the cab.

Oscar caught up with the Soupster. “Triplets,” he marveled, as the cab pulled away.

1257 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – May 20, 2010

Our Town – May 20, 2010

| Finland, Foreign Countries, Marriage, Relationships | May 20, 2010

“We always meet in the middle,” Jan-Erik told the Soupster, as the two waited at the soda fountain for milk shakes. “That’s the secret to my marriage. Me and Dolly, always in the middle.”

“You two do seem happy,” the Soupster conceded.

“Well, don’t say that like it is a foul thing,” laughed Jan-Erik.

A group of eight or so boarding school students studying here from way north of Our Town pressed by the Soupster. He and Jan-Erik and murmured to each other as they pored over the menu and chose shakes and sundaes. Nodding at the small, but growing crowd, the two men shot each other looks that said “I’m glad my order is already in.”

As far as the students hailed from, it was not as far as Jan-Erik Lajunen, who in his 20’s  moved to Our Town all the way from Finland. A handyman at first, he stepped into the historic role of carpenter, then home builder – as other Finns had plied their trade to the Russians long ago. Jan-Erik was intensely interested in the downtown street Finn Alley and would walk its short (and one-way) length seeing if he could pick up any vibrations from the past.

Dolly was born in Our Town – that is, Dalisay Bahaghari was. Everybody called her Dolly, except her parents. Mr. and Mrs Bahaghari, very traditional, had insisted that for the wedding Jan-Erik wear a barong Tagalog, a Filipino dress shirt that was worn untucked. At the nuptials, Jan-Eriks red-blonde hair on his long neck sticking out of the barong’s low collar gave the impression of a nervous rooster.

“How’s the latest project?” the Soupster asked.

“Four new houses out toward the old mill site,”’ said Jan-Erik. “The new California yogurt kingpin wanted a big house out there. I decided building four was as easy as building one in some ways.”

“Like repeating yourself four times,” said the Soupster.

“Not exactly,” said Jan-Erik. “The three others are quite a bit smaller.”

“I decided the name of the road,” he continued. “I chose Dailsay Court, after Dolly. Her name means `Pure’ in Tagalog. Dolly wanted to name the street Bahaghari Court, which means `Rainbow.’ I thought `Pure Rainbow Court’ was too much name. We met in the middle.”

“The secret of your marriage?”

“Yes,” Jan-Erik said. “Her family is from the Philippines and mine’s from Finland. We’ve been meeting in the middle from the moment we met.”

1483 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – April 22, 2010

Our Town – April 22, 2010

| Foreign Countries, Italy, Nicknames | April 22, 2010

De Spring has sprung, the Soupster sang, as he strolled downtown in the sunshine. “De grass is Riz.”

“I wonder where dem boidies is?” he continued to warble. “De little boid is on de wing.Ain’t dat upsoid? De little wing is on de boid!”

The Soupster chuckled to himself, but heard ahead of him in the direction he was walking, an angry voice.

“Don’t-a you worry about what we do-a next!” boomed the voice. “I tell-a you what-a to do!” The unmistakable voice of Napsograf Verlucci stopped the Soupster in his tracks.

Verlucci, who had come to Our Town from Naples as a young man wandering the world and had stayed. Over the years he became the go-to guy to get your house painted. Verlucci, known for his fabulous cooking (potluck lasagna), his strong voice (baritone) and being an expert in the repair of old typewriters (and adding machines). He could also repair shoes. With his vocation, he was truly an Italian Renaissance painter.

“This sunshine is just fantastic,” said a younger man’s voice (tenor). Verlucci’s helper, the Soupster surmised. He turned a corner and saw Verlucci and the helper up on two ladders.

“Don’t you worry about the sun-a-shine,” Verlucci said, as he worked. “A painter, he toil-a while the sun-a-shine. He play-a while the rain a-fall.”

“It’s got to be good to have sunny days to get our work done,” the Soupster heard the helper say as he neared.

“Work-a, she never ends!” shouted Verlucci, obviously not seeing the Soupster standing at the foot of his ladder. “Rain-a or a-shine-a, you got to learn to live!”

“Nappy!” called the Soupster, startling Verlucci. “Why are you giving this young man a hard time?”

“He just-a moved to Our-a Town, Soupster” Verlucci said. “I got to teach-a him the ropes!”

“Hi, Mr. Soupster,” said the helper.

“Nappy is a peculiar fellow with a peculiar way of doing things,” the Soupster told the helper, as Verlucci scowled. “Don’t take everything he says as 100 percent reliable.”

“I don’t-a think I like-a what you say, Soupster,” Verlucci growled, threatening to climb down the ladder.

“Oh, don’t worry about me, Mr. Soupster” said the helper brightly. “He reminds me of my father.”

“Well, actually, there is one more thing…” he said.

“What?” said the Soupster and Verlucci simultaneously.

“Nappy? Soupster?” said the helper. “What’s with you guys and your names?”

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 11, 2010

Our Town – February 11, 2010

| Canada, Foreign Countries, Weather | February 11, 2010

“I like living in Our Town,” said the Knik Canuck — who previously hailed from Vancouver and Anchorage. “I like it plenty – A to Zed.” He and the Soupster had met up on Lincoln Street earlier and strolled together, heading east.

“Zed?” said an incredulous Soupster. “Don’t you mean zee? A to Zee?”

“You say toe-may-toe and I say toe-mah-toe,” said Knik. “Canadians say zed and Americans say zee. Same thing, really. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

“Even a Sitka Rose?” asked the Soupster.

“Especially a Sitka Rose,” said the Canuck,

A warm headwind down Lincoln Street swept by both men.

“While the Eastern and Western U.S. is battered with storms, we never seem to get cold anymore,” said the Soupster. “Even on sunny days.”

“It’s been so eerily warm this winter,” Knik said. “Wonder what kind of summer, we’re going to have?”

“Wet and grey,” said the Soupster, “Based on my years of observation. Cold winter, warm summer. So, warm winter, cool summer. That’s the process.”

“Aha!” said the Knik Canuck. “You said `prah-cess.’ The word is pro-cess. Like, `progolfers know less or “show ponies can make a mess.”

“You Canadians speak in riddles,” the Soupster announced.

“I’m just tired of 3 to 7 degrees, day after boring day,” said the Knik Canuck. “I’d give anything for it to hit Minus 15 – now that would be the ticket for a good crisp winter day!”

The Soupster was dumbfounded until his brain lit up with the word “Celsius.” He mentally translated to Fahrenheit: 37 to 45 degrees, and 5 degrees above.

“Just so it gets to be freezing, at least once more,” said the Soupster. “Thirty two degrees Fahrenheit.”

“You mean zero,” said the Knik Canuck. “Freezing is zero degrees Celsius.”

“Don’t start that again,” begged the Soupster.

1317 total views, 3 today

Comments Off on Our Town – September 10, 2009

Our Town – September 10, 2009

| Canada, Foreign Countries, Nicknames, Our Town, Radio | September 10, 2009

The Soupster snapped his fingers. “The Canuck will know,” he said out loud, although he stood alone in his kitchen late one evening. “The Knik Canuck will know!”

The Soupster stepped over to the phone and dialed his south-of-the-Alaska border buddy. The Knik Canuck had moved to Our Town from Vancouver, B.C. via Anchorage and he and the Soupster built a friendship out of periodic verbal sparring.

“You’ve reached me on my new hands-free cell phone,” Knik said. “I’m in the truckoot the road, eh?”

“It’s a little hard to hear you, K.C.” said the Soupster. “Is someone there with you?”

“I have the radio on,” said the Canuck, “Let me turn it down a bit.”

“You’re driving around at night listening to the radio?” asked the Soupster.

“I’m homesick tonight,” said the Knik Canuck.

“Don’t you know,” he asked the Soupster, “that you can pick up all kinds of Canadian stations in different places in Our Town on the car radio at night? There’s a couple of talk shows. I’ve heard broadcasts in Farsi and Chinese. I’ve heard Radio Netherlands repeated by the CBC. Different stations fade in and oot, but I can nearly always manage a clear bead on the Vancouver 24-hour all-traffic station.”

“How much traffic news can there be at night?” said the Soupster.

“Well, right now, there’s a disabled truck causing delays on the Knight Street Bridge and they have been telling people to expect congestion downtown due to the massive crowds coming oot of the Celine Dion concert at GM Place,” Knik said. “Also, there’s some kind of police safety check going on East Hastings and the Tsawwassen ferry is late.”

“I stand corrected,” said the Soupster, who was, in fact, standing.

“You just calling to chit-chat?” asked Knik.

“A question has been driving me crazy all night,” said the Soupster. “You’ve lived in both the U.S. and Canada.. The U.S. is seen as a Center-Right country, politically. Canada is seen as Center-Left.”

“I agree,” said the Knik Canuck.

“So K.C.,” said the Soupster. “Tell me the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal.”

“That’s a good one,” said the Canuck, continuing after a pause. ‘Well, I’d say that Conservatives favor restrictions on personal behavior, but fewer restrictions on business and commerce. Liberals want to see more restrictions on commerce and fewer restrictions on personal choices and behaviors. “

“Can you relate that to the U.S. health care debate?” the Soupster asked breathlessly.

“I would,” the Knik Canuck said before signing off. “But the Vancouver All-Traffic station is just aboot to air a special on pre-2010 Winter Olympics construction projects along the Vancouver to Whistler Sea-to-Sky Highway and I don’t want to miss oot!

1289 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.

Our Town Archives

Our Town Categories

Download the Latest Whole Soup

Download the Latest Crossword