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Comments Off on Our Town – May 7, 2020

Our Town – May 7, 2020

| Holidays, Mother's Day, Nicknames, Our Town | May 7, 2020

The Soupster learns it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

Originally published May 6, 2004

“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 settled his big frame across from 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.

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Comments Off on Our Town – May 9, 2019

Our Town – May 9, 2019

| Children, Holidays, Our Town, Small Town Stuff | May 9, 2019

The Soupster chats with one busy mom.

Originally published May 1, 2003

Connie’s three children scattered to the ice cream section of the store. Lugging an overflowing supermarket basket in the crook of her arm, she stopped at a display of high-priced garlic-stuffed Aegean olives where there happened to stand a Soupster.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” he said, glancing toward the big freezers. “Your kids look happy.”

“They sure seem to be,” Connie nodded. “Strange, since I had them at work all morning painting the garden fence and all the porch railings.”

“Quite the day for it,” said the Soupster, this time doing the nodding.

And indeed, the Soupster’s pupils were just able to dilate again after a day of squinting at the nearly prehistoric sunshine of the morning. In Our Town, the infrequent Sun seems on rare days to have the quality of the Sun of an earlier Earth, before a protective atmospheric ozone layer had even formed. A sharp, almost painful amount of light, without the softening rain and clouds that usually roll their blanket over all.

“There’s such pressure to do things when the sun does come out,” he told Connie. “I mean you never know how long before you’re going to have the chance again.”

“Today was incredibly busy,” Connie said. “Woke up early. Saw the big yellow orb. Woke the kids. Fed them. Put them to work. Painting, painting, painting.”

“What was the rush?” asked the Soupster.

“Piano recital,” said Connie. “So – painted, painted, painted all morning. Then washed, washed, washed all three kids free of paint. Fed them again. Dressed them for the recital. Drove them to the recital. Soothed their stage fright. Listened attentively. Gave them a little critical, but 90 percent supportive feedback after they played.”

“Now you’re getting stuff to make dinner?”

“The ingredients,” Connie said. “The kids tell me `they’re’ going to cook me an `extra special’ Mother’s Day meal.”

“Which will end up twice as much work for you?” said the Soupster.

“You’re learning,” Connie laughed and punched the Soupster lightly on the bicep. He felt an overwhelming fondness for this hard-working Mom.

“Your kids don’t know your real Mother’s Day present was the piano recital?” said the Soupster as he bid his friend goodbye.

“Are you kidding, Soupster?” Connie said, pushing him away. “My Mother’s Day present was getting the fence painted!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – November 15, 2018

Our Town – November 15, 2018

| food, Holidays, Our Town, Relationships, Relatives, Thanksgiving | November 15, 2018

The Soupster groks that everybody is thankful for something.

Originally published November 18, 2010

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.”

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 15, 2016

Our Town – December 15, 2016

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody | December 15, 2016

ourtown_dec13_2012

1110 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – December 17, 2015

Our Town – December 17, 2015

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody, Songs | December 17, 2015

Our Town Yule Tunes

ourtown_12_17_15

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Comments Off on Our Town – October 8, 2015

Our Town – October 8, 2015

| Birthdays, Holidays, Our Town, Relationships | October 8, 2015

The Soupster learns there’s more than one kind of happiness.

The Soupster saw Linda Zapatos ahead on the downtown sidewalk near the Post Office. Seeing Linda always made the Soupster smile because her name, in Spanish, meant “pretty shoes.”

But it was Linda who wore the more noticeable smile today – a broad grin with a lot of teeth showing.

“Soupster,” called Linda.

“Pretty Shoester,” the Soupster answered.

Linda was a Pretty Shoester. She had delicate, feminine features – big eyes. Cupid’s bow lips. Wavy auburn hair. But her tough skin revealed she had weathered 20 years or more fishing with her husband.

“Why the devilish grin?” asked the Soupster. “Eat a canary?”

“It’s my husband, Eugene,” Linda said.  “He’s the best.” Linda poked the Soupster in the ribs. “Did you know that no matter how tired he is from fishing, my Gene always helps me with the housework.”

“A noble fellow,” agreed the Soupster.

“But that’s not why I’m happy,” said Linda.

“Do tell,” said the Soupster. “Did you make a new friend?”

“No, that’s my husband’s department, too,” said Linda. “I would be a lonely Betty if it wasn’t for that man. You know those kids who are always bringing home a stray puppy or kitten?”

“Uh, huh,” said the Soupster.

“Gene is like that. He can’t talk to somebody for five minutes without cooking up plans to get together. I won’t tell you all the times he’s bought folks home for dinner and I’d find out at the last minute and we’d run out of food. Now, I cook for an army every night and if Gene doesn’t come home with anybody, then we have leftovers for later in the week.”

“I like casseroles,” the Soupster said. “But doesn’t Gene cook? Didn’t he used to be a chef for the cruise ships?”

“And there’s the rub!” said Linda. “That man is an artist with a knife and a frying pan, but he will not cook for me! I beg him to cook for me and he says `Meh.’”

As Linda recounted this to the Soupster, her smile grew wider, Cheshire cat-wide.

“Only one day a year will  my Gene cook for me,” Linda said. “Once in a whole year. Only on my birthday.”

The Soupster couldn’t help notice her smile creeping wider still.

“Linda,” he blurted out, “you’re husband will only cook for you once a year? Then why are you so chipper?”

“Tonight’s the night!” Linda said and skipped off. “Tonight’s the night.”

The Soupster stood stunned as he did the mental math. “Oh, right,” he said, then called out, “Happy birthday!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 18, 2014

Our Town – December 18, 2014

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody | December 18, 2014

Our Town versions of Christmas classics.

OurTownSongs2014

 

1437 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – December 19, 2013

Our Town – December 19, 2013

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody | December 19, 2013

Our Town versions of Christmas classics.

OurTownSongs2013

1607 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – December 13, 2012

Our Town – December 13, 2012

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody | December 13, 2012

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 15, 2011

Our Town – December 15, 2011

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody | December 15, 2011

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 16, 2010

Our Town – December 16, 2010

| Christmas, Holidays, Music, Our Town, Songs | December 16, 2010

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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 – November 18, 2010

Our Town – November 18, 2010

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

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.”

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Comments Off on Our Town – October 21, 2010

Our Town – October 21, 2010

| Birthdays, Holidays, Marriage, Our Town, Relationships, Telemarketing | October 21, 2010

“Lon Struckhausen, that’s the silliest thing I’ve heard this week!” roared the Soupster.

“I know it sounds crazy, but my sweet Laura loves her little Schnitzel like he was her baby,” said Lon, picking up the receiver on his early touch-tone avocado-colored kitchen wall phone, while the Soupster sat at the kitchen table.

The Soupster looked across the table and regarded Schnitzel, the ferret, perched upright on his haunches, looking like an annoyed and furry ornamental pepper grinder.

“Hello, is this the Snuggli company?” Lon said into the phone. “I want one for pets, extra-small.” He have his payment info.

“What?” Lon shot a surprised look at the Soupster. “But my credit card should be fine!”

Lon hung up the phone and brought his laptop computer over to the table. “Let me just log into my credit card account… wait a minute.”

“What’s wrong?” asked the Soupster.

“It won’t recognize my ID,” Lon said. “Laura must have changed it.” He went back to the wall phone and called the credit card company.

After punching in a bunch of numbers to navigate a rash of options, Lon reached a live human being. As the Soupster listened, Lon had to recount his high school team colors (navy and green), his mother’s maiden name (McNulty) and his favorite pet (not Schnitzel).

“My wife’s birthday?” said Lon into the phone. “Why, it’s September 18, 1968.”

“Really?” said Lon, glancing over at the Soupster. “Only 3 percent if husbands can correctly name their wife’s birthday without counting on their fingers? That’s in your experience?”

“And 100 percent of wives immediately know their husband’s birthday, again in your experience?” Lon said. “And you have 20 years working the credit card customer service phone lines?”

“Wow,” said the Soupster to Schnitzel, who ignored him.

“And most of them also know their husband’s social security number by heart?” said Lon.

“I guess that’s admirable,” said the Soupster to no one in particular.

“I think they learn it in Girl Scouts,” Lon said. “There may be a badge.”

“What’s that?” asked Lon into the phone. “When they separate the boys and girls into different gym classes?” Lon laughed and hung up.

“That guy thinks they have the boys playing dodge ball,” said Lon, “while the girls perfect advanced memory skills.”

“Just order Schnitzel’s Snuggli,” said 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

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!”

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Would you like to create an Our Town?

The Sitka Soup would welcome an infusion of “new blood.” You may tell your story in words (450-500 of them), or as a graphic “cartoon” strip. We would even consider a short original photo essay with B&W photos. Your Our Town must be closely connected with the life of Sitkans, and the Soupster must make an appearance, even if it’s a brief one.

If we run your Our Town, we’ll pay you $50. To submit: Email your creation to shop@sitkasoup.com and put “Our Town” in the Subject line. Or call: 747-7595.

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.

Our Town Archives

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