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Our Town – September 24, 2015

| Crazy Theories, Old Timers, Our Town | September 23, 2015

The Soupster Visits A Mad Scientist.

Old Steve Parks lived in a dilapidated wooden structure facing a road that was a logging trail not long before (as opposed to New Steve Parks who lived in town). Folks wondered what went on, not so much in Old Steve’s house, as in the equally-dilapidated accessory building he called his shop.

The Soupster rolled up on the long gravel driveway, gave his bike’s kickstand a boot and knocked on the door. “Old Steve!” he called.

“Soupster!” called Old Steve from inside the shop. “Come on over!”

Old Steve met the Soupster at the shop door, wearing goggles and leather gloves. “I’m glad you’re here,” Steve said, “I need a hand.”

Steve’s request gave the Soupster a start – but in a good way. Old Steve, old irascible Steve, was brilliant and anyone who talked to him for even a moment knew it. Word was that Steve had a PhD in aeronautical engineering and electronics. Word was he had worked for NASA. Word was he had flamed out, took the proceeds from his patents, and moved out the road in Our Town.

Old Steve knocked his goggles onto his forehead and showed the Soupster deep into the spacious shop, which looked like a combination metal shop and chemistry lab. An eight-foot tall, conically-shaped object covered by a tarp was next to a ladder that reached up to the ceiling.

“It’s a retractable roof,” said Old Steve, pointing to the area above the ladder. “I need your help to open it.”

He posted the Soupster next to a large metal hand crank, then climbed the ladder and starting banging with a hammer.

“Metal is so unyielding,” the Soupster said.

“Not as much as some people,” Old Steve called.

“How so?” the Soupster asked.

“Well,” Steve drew a long breath, “you can bang on metal and you can reroute electricity, but with people sometimes you’re stuck with what you have.”

“You’re on to something, Steve,” said the Soupster. “Scientists used to believe that it was tool-making or something technological that caused the brains of our far-ago ancestors to grow big. Now, a lot of them theorize that it was navigating complicated social relationships in those ancient groups that caused our ancestors’ brains to grow.”

With a last slap of the hammer, Steve forced the mechanism loose. “Now turn the crank,” he called, which opened a four-foot square in the shop roof.

Old Steve clambered excitedly down the ladder and grabbed the tarp. He pulled it off to reveal an eight-foot tall silver cylinder.

“You going to space, Steve?” the Soupster asked.

“Not in this,” said Steve. “This is a model for testing. I’m having a problem modulating the temperature of my liquid oxygen fuel, and the pitch-and-yaw controls are all screwy. Any suggestions?”

The Soupster looked blank.

“But don’t let me waste your time, Soupster,” said Old Steve. “You save your big brain for those social situations. I can handle this.” He lifted a screwdriver and started opening a panel. “After all, it’s just rocket science!”

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 10, 2011

Our Town – February 10, 2011

| Airport, Nicknames, Old Timers, Our Town, Travel | February 10, 2011

Whenever the Soupster felt like an old timer, he’d run into someone like Gregor “GG” Gregorovich, whose mother descended from a long-time Our Town family. If there had been a Permanent Fund for the whole of GG’s life instead of just the last half of it, GG would have gotten his check every single year. He was born in his family’s house off Sawmill Creek and had never, ever been out of Our Town for more than 90 days in a row.

At the airport, the Soupster was just thinking “Been in this burg a while,” when he saw the hulking Russian buying a mocha and a smoked salmon bagel from the caffeine kiosk.

The Soupster stepped up to the main counter, where a young woman who used to sell him Girl Scout cookies and 3 holiday wrapping paper now smilingly checked his photo identification and oversaw his purchase of more than $1,000 in airline tickets. The Soupster staggered away, clutching his tickets in his hand.

He felt the tug of time. Driving home with a smashed taillight a week ago he had been pulled over by a police officer so young the Soupster was tempted to call him “Son.” Girl Scouts ran the airport.

The Soupster then felt a tug, really, as GG sidled over and grabbed the Soupster’s arm. The big man had already eaten most of his bagel and held the last bit and his coffee in his other large paw.

“You planning a trip out, Soupster?” asked GG. “You probably like all that stuff in the Real World.”

“Less and less,” admitted the Soupster. “I used to love going to the Lower 48. After spending a couple of years in Our Town, Down South seemed like some kind of Disneyland. Everything was amusing, even traffic jams. Now, not so much.”

“Well I never go anywhere,” GG said proudly. “I just enjoy being in Our Town, especially in January.”

“Why January?”

“January is the only total experience – monthly experience – that I get all year,” GG intoned. “After New Years Day, I’m still aware of passing individual days, like January 5th or 6th. Then a week goes by and then another. And everybody starts saying, `Wow, it’s the 15th already?’

“Then I get up into the January 23rd to 26th range and I realize something very nice is coming to an end. I find myself savoring each day in January as kind of a slow- down, time-out kind of month.”

“And when January’s over?” asked the Soupster.

“February and beyond?” said GG, staring out the picture window as a big jet landed. “After January, the rest of the year is just a blur.”

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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.

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