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Comments Off on Our Town – March 26, 2009

Our Town – March 26, 2009

| Couples, Relationships | March 26, 2009

“Know what I’ve noticed?” asked the Soupster as, across the restaurant table, his friend Gina crammed her face into a Chipotle chicken wrap. “There aren’t any power couples in Our Town.”

“Chowper Rusples?” Gina seemed to say, as a dollop of Chipotle slipped from her lip. The Soupster handed Gina his napkin.

“You know, power couples,” he said. “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.” The Soupster had ordered the goat cheese and halibut-stuffed croissant.

“Rish Brusleandsh?” asked Gina, taking both the napkin and another bite.

“Yeah, like Brangelina,” said the Soupster with a chuckle. Then he turned mock-serious. “Gina, have you had anything to eat this century? You sure seem hungry.”

Gina quaked with silent laughter, attempting not to choke. She finished what was in her mouth and dabbed at the corners of her lips.

“Okay, okay,” she said. “Like Brangelina – no, Our Town doesn’t have any of those. Seems like all the well-known people in town come in one-person units. Not that they don’t have a spouse or partner back home. But only one is well-known. No Brangelinas, I’m afraid. Okay if I take another bite now?”

She did, as the Soupster said, “Well, I don’t think Our Town necessarily needs actual Brangelinas. I’m not arguing for Brangelinas. I’m just putting the idea out there.” He went to work on his halibut.

“No, I think I know what you mean,” said Gina. “I can hardly think of anybody who has a really prominent post, whose wife or girlfriend or boyfriend also has a really prominent post. Maybe it’s a “spread the wealth” thing that keeps any one couple from being, you know, too fancy dancy.” She bent her face back into her wrap.

The Soupster looked up from his halibut. “Or maybe a more like a `pitcher-catcher’ kind of thing. If you have two pitchers, there wouldn’t be a game.”

“Yin yang,” said Gina.

“Humpty Dumpty,” said the Soupster.

“What?” said Gina. “You made me think of Humpty Dumpty,” said the Soupster. “I don’t know why.”

Gina bit into her wrap. The Soupster bit into his croissant. The door of the restaurant swung open and in walked Calvin and Vanessa.

Still trim in their sixties, well-liked and always ready to lend a hand. They both smiled at Gina and the Soupster and sat down across the room. Calvin Bridges headed a successful contracting firm and Vanessa Bridges stayed home most days, creating a super-nest for the Bridges’ ever-growing troop of grand- and great-grand- Bridges. Calvin served on government and trade bodies in numerous capacities – for the state, and occasionally, even the nation, and for Our Town, mostly.

A lot of Vanessa’s public work came through her church. She could speak Portuguese and Farsi and was called to the Superior Court on occasion to translate. Cal was proud of his wife’s CPA, which she earned to help out at tax time. Cal once dumped a load of needed building materials outside the Animal Shelter anonymously (he thought). Vanessa cooked at ANB each year at one of the holidays, then at home for a big multi-generational splurge at the other.

Gina caught the Soupster’s eye and gave him a knowing look. She pointed her chin at the other couple. “Calvershmenda,” she said, leaking Chipotle again.

“Yeah, you’re right,” said the Soupster. “Calvanessa.”

1187 total views, 3 today

Comments Off on Our Town – March 12, 2009

Our Town – March 12, 2009

| Neighbors, Our Town, Relationships, Shipping, Small Town Stuff, Telemarketing | March 12, 2009

The package delivery truck pulled away from Soup House and the Soupster cradled the box he had just received. He tried to sneak his package indoors, but was confronted by his nosy neighbor, who always came outside when a truck stopped anywhere near.

” It’s a Snuggie,” the Soupster admitted to Chesley, who had been sort of ashamed of his first name his whole life until recently. “One of those blankets with the sleeves that they sell on TV.”

“A blanket with the sleeves that they sell on TV,” Chesley repeated, shaking his head. “How far the mighty have fallen!” Chesley felt qualified to judge others, now that he shared the name of the heroic pilot who landed on the Hudson River and saved his passengers and crew.

“It’s for a `Star Wars’ party,” said the Soupster. “I’m going as Yoda. I also ordered a head.”

“You’re not helping your cause any,” said Chesley. “What was it – $25 for the `Snuggle’ and then another $25 to ship it to Our Town?”

“Snuggie!” said the Soupster.

“Whatever,” said Chesley, getting a second wind. “Hey, Soupster, you know what really fries my taters? “

“Propane?” asked the Soupster.

“No, no,” said Chesley. “It’s when you’ve got a vital part for something that you need right away and you can’t get it locally and it only costs two or three dollars for the part, but the shipping is 10 times as much.”

“I once paid $15 to have a $3 cat toy sent Express Mail,” said the Soupster.

“I paid $35 to Gold Streak a two-inch long spring,” said Chesley.

“In any case, it’s a small price to pay for living in Our Town,” said the Soupster. “We’ve got most everything we need in our local shops and the rest we can wait a little while for.”

“Or pay through the nose,” said Chesley.

“I still think we’re getting off cheap,” the Soupster said. “No traffic jams, we have the beautiful mountains, clean air and water, postcard sunsets. Easy living, Chesley. Would you give that up to save on shipping? Because I guarantee you, somebody in the Lower 48 would pay for free shipping for life in order to switch places with you.”

“That you talking, Soupster?” asked Chesley. “Or Yoda?”

1310 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – February 26, 2009

Our Town – February 26, 2009

| Animals, Cats, Dogs, Marriage, Our Town, Relationships, Trucks | February 26, 2009

Originally published July 25, 2002

The dog, a dark brown Labrador retriever, looked as dignified as any dog ever has while sitting in the driver’s seat of a car and the Soupster said so out loud.

“Thanks,” the dog called half-absently, resting its paws on the sheepskin covered steering wheel of the blue and grey pickup truck parked outside a key Our Town place for sandwiches and drinks.

The Soupster ambled over to the truck cab’s open window. “You talk?”

“I’m supposed to listen, right?” said the dog. “I hear that all day from your kind.”

“You drive, too?” the Soupster asked.

“You think the truck would have a better chance of parking by itself than I have of handling a 3/4 ton vehicle,” the dog sneered. “Tell me you don’t think that.”

“You probably hear this a lot,” the still-stunned Soupster sputtered, “but I can’t believe I’m talking to a dog.”

“Go ahead,” said the dog. “Ask me.”

“Ask you what?” said the Soupster.

“If a police officer pulled me over, which license would I give him?” the dog said. “That’s what you were going to ask, right?”

The Soupster’s cheeks turned bright red. “Actually, I was thinking about what kinds of music you listen to when you drive.”

“`Bark, the Herald Angels Sing’ and “Oh, Dem Bones’” said the dog, curling its lips to approximate a smile. “And my favorite movies are `Riding In Cars With Dogs” and “10 Things I Smell About You.”

“Do you…?” started the Soupster, but the dog cut him off.

“Yes, I stick my head out the window when I drive, to answer your question,” the dog said. “And, yes, I – like all dogs – will get mad if you blow on my nose. Why do dogs like one and not the other? I don’t know. We just do.”

The Soupster stared at the dog, absolutely speechless.

“I used to run with a sled team out of Skwentna,” the dog continued. “Then I decided I should get behind the wheel, instead of me being the wheels.”

“Regrets?” the Soupster asked.

“ For a while, I had this recurring dream of scaring a bunch of cats in the crosswalk. Make ‘em scatter good,” said the dog, again approximating a smile. “If I do that now I’ll lose both my licenses! Oh, here’s my wife.” The dog started the engine.

The dog’s wife, a cat, carried a foot-long sandwich in her mouth.

The dog scrunched up his nose. “Oh, no,” he said. “She got tuna again! Tuna and mayonnaise and no veggies. I like veggies. She really doesn’t know the meaning of `to share.’”

“If you hate cats so much, why did you marry one?” said the Soupster as the cat slipped in the truck cab on the other side with the sandwich.

“I’m a patient creature,” said the dog, dropping the truck into reverse and backing away from the Soupster with a comradely, if unseen, swipe of his tail.

1506 total views, 2 today

Comments Off on Our Town – February 12, 2009

Our Town – February 12, 2009

| Animals, Dogs, Our Town, Trucks | February 12, 2009

Great big men holding tiny little dogs seemed more common in Our Town, the Soupster mused as he encountered his friend Arlen with his dog outside the restaurant. Max, the miniature mutt in question, lifted his wee head and bared his tiny teeth as though the Soupster was treading on controversial territory just by looking at him. The dog emitted a growl, barely audible.

“Maximus!” Arlen scolded, “Stop growling at the Soupster like that. We like the Soupster. The Soupster is our friend.” Holding his dog closer, Arlen stopped strolling out to his parked pickup.

Maximus quit barking and pretended to relax in Arlen’s arms, but when the Soupster came within striking range the little dog leaped — a five-pound ball of fury that lit into the Soupster’s cuffs.

“Maximus,” Arlen sighed, a little too languidly for the Soupster’s taste. “Let go of the Soupster’s pants.” The big man reached down and retrieved his dog. The Soupster heard cloth ripping and a cold wind against his left shin.

Arlen walked over to his parked truck and put Maximus inside. “Sorry, Soupster,” Arlen said. “I don’t know what got into Max today. I think I may have over-trained him.”

“Overtrained him!”

“We worked on his tricks all morning,” said Arlen. “Today, I was teaching him to open and close the locks in the truck.”

“Why ever would you do that?” asked the Soupster.

“In case I ever locked myself out of the truck, Soupster,” said Arlen. “And say I locked Maximus in the truck with the keys in the ignition – that would be no problem.”

“That happen a lot?” asked the Soupster.

“Not yet, thank goodness,” said Arlen.

The two men heard the distinctive “clicks” of two pickup truck door locks snapping into place. Maximus stood with his front too legs pushed against the truck window, looking proud.

“Now he went and locked it,” said Arlen. “My keys are in the ignition. You better light out, Soupster. I want Maxie in a good mood so I can get him to open the doors. He’s not as good at unlocking.”

“But before I go,” said the Soupster. “tell me how Maximus got his name.”

“He’s named for Russell Crowe in Gladiator,” said Arlen. “You know, the movie about the Roman general who was supposed to be Emperor but saved the Republic instead and was an enormous hero.”

“Has the dog ever seen Gladiator?” the Soupster asked.

“Me and Maxie watch it together all the time,” said Arlen. “How did you know?”

“I was just thinking that might be the case.” said the Soupster, who made hay even though the sun didn’t shine and escaped. “Good luck with those locks!”

1601 total views, 2 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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