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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.

 

95 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – June 5, 2014

Our Town – June 5, 2014

| Cruise Ships, Our Town, Tourists | June 5, 2014

The Soupster makes a new friend in an usual way.

Originally published June 27, 2002

Gosh!, the Soupster smiled inwardly smiled at the sheer mass of humanity lightering off three cruise ships in the bay and flooding Our downTown.

In a perch below the O’Connell Bridge, the Soupster entertained himself watching the tourists mill around and a bunch of bridge workers doing repairs.

At last, the main disgorging of the great ships was completed. The football crowd of people that had jammed the debarkation area had all left in busses and vans and on foot. Even the bridge workers had disappeared. The scene of intense activity minutes before was now devoid of all humanity.

Save one. A lone man, older and a little stooped. He walked to the edge of the road and peered down. To the Soupster, the man looked exceedingly lost and maybe just a little confused. Fifteen slow minutes crawled by.

The Soupster rose from his perch and ambled down to the tarmac.

“Hello,” said the older man. “Are you Malcolm’s friend who was going to meet me here? Everyone left and I was worried you wouldn’t come.”

The Soupster started to tell the truth, then stopped.

“Malcolm told me not to take a bus tour, to be sure to wait for you and you would give me the extra-special tour. He said not to take a walking tour, either, because we would be walking plenty,” I’m Malcolm’s Uncle Jerontis.”

“I’m Lee,” lied the Soupster, shocked at himself. “And the grand tour is about to begin!”

The small angel on the Soupster’s shoulder had said into his ear, “What if Malcolm’s real friend shows up and is disappointed not to meet his friend’s uncle?” But the small devil on the Soupster’s other shoulder said, “Malcolm’s friend is not coming. Why not have some fun and take the man on a tour?” and, as he did occasionally, the Soupster agreed with the small devil.

So the Soupster and Uncle Jerontis took the grand tour of Our Town together. They went to the Russian Bishop’s House and the Sitka Kwaan Na’Kahidi. The Soupster borrowed a skiff for an at-sea tour of the harbors and stout fishing vessels and sleek pleasure craft. They watched a silver carver work and then a Soap maker. A girl playing a violin gave each man a peanut butter cookie from her sack lunch after Uncle Jerontis placed $5 in her opened case. He and the Soupster sat on Siginaka Way and watched the eagles floating effortlessly over the tidal flats on gusts of warm wind. They shared salmon and halibut nuggets. Jerontis turned out to be a careful shopper and even the Soupster was impressed with the gifts the older man amassed for the friends back home, including Malcolm.

“Lee, I hate to leave, but I must,” said Jerontis, as the Soupster returned him to the bridge for the lighter trip back to his ship. “When you come to Cincinnati, you must come to see me. But I suppose you’ll want to visit Malcolm as soon as you get there.” Jerontis wrote his name, address and phone number on a piece of paper.

“I have a better idea,” said the Soupster, taking the paper and relieved to be ending his ruse without being discovered. I’ll come by your place first. Then, we’ll go see Malcolm together!

959 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on Our Town – July 12, 2012

Our Town – July 12, 2012

| Cruise Ships, Downtown, Our Town, Tourists | July 12, 2012

Carrie told the Soupster he talked too much and her criticism stung. The Soupster knew he could go on and on – maybe a tiny, little bit? — but he didn’t know his friend had been suffering. And for “quite a while,” no less.

“I bet you can’t keep your conversation to a minimum even for one day,” Carrie threw down the gauntlet. “Not even for one whole day.”

“I can,” the Soupster insisted. “And I will!”

Today was the day. The first mission of the new, zip-lipped Soupster was to check the mail at the post office. As the Soupster strolled downtown, he had to duck into a few storefronts to avoid fellow chatterboxes who might stress-test his mettle.

“Soupman!” The call came from Charlie, a hiking buddy who, unfortunately, happened to be in a store the Soupster had judged free of customers. “Tell me what’s new with the Man in the Can?”

“Not much,” said the Soupster, wishing he could have thought of a one-word answer. “Gotta go,” he said slipping out of the store.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire? Two busfuls of visitors hit the sidewalk and poured around the Soupster like a human wave.

Hide in plain sight? The Soupster pulled his cap low on his forehead and attempted to avoid eye contact with the cheery migrants surrounding him.

No use! The Soupster felt his lapels being patted and looked down into the face of an older man wearing a tag that said, “Hi! I’m Horace!”

“Hi, I’m Horace,” he stated the obvious, grasping the Soupster’s hand and shaking it vigorously. “I’m new to these shores.”

“Hi, Horace” said the Soupster.

“Yup, this is some different place,” Horace said. “Where’s all the big box chain stores?

Don’t you have any big box chain stores?”

“Nope,” said the Soupster.

“Our bus driver said he was taking us all over town but we only went five or six miles one way and then seven or eight the other. That can’t be all the road you have.”

“Yup,” said the Soupster, zipping his lips so tight he could taste metal.

“And this rain I keep hearing about,” Horace plunged on. “It’s certainly not raining now.

Is it going to rain soon? Am I going to get wet? I mean, isn’t this town too nice to be built by people who get rained on every day?”

As the Soupster moaned silently, a beam of sunlight illuminated a break in the throng of tourists ahead. “Yup,” said the Soupster, shaking Horace’s hand. “Nope,” he added. And then the Soupster escaped.

1340 total views, 1 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.

1271 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on Our Town – June 17, 2010

Our Town – June 17, 2010

| Children, Computers, Cruise Ships, Our Town, Tourists | June 17, 2010

Originally Published June 13, 2002

The cruise ship throngs were only recently gone when the Soupster stepped in to the art gallery to see if Gwendoline has survived the latest human deluge.

“I’ll be with you in a minute,” said a voice from the back room. Although the voice sounded like Gwen’s, its timber contained notes of urgency and annoyance, things the Soupster knew Gwen to be free of.

Gwen was the slowest to anger person the Soupster had ever encountered. But once truly angry, she was extremely tough to cool down.

The Soupster stuck his head into the gallery’s rear lair, where some of the stock was kept and computers were programmed to keep all the records of shipping, billing and to keep track of the inventory. In front of a computer monitor was where Gwen sat, her head sunk deeply in her hands. “The only thing more stressful than computer problems was checking for floating log deadheads at night, when I had the boat,” she moaned.

“What’s going on?” the Soupster asked innocently, only to be confronted by a red-faced Gwen who leaped up from her seat and grabbed him by the lapels.

“Whosoever creates these computer viruses are an abomination,” Gwen thundered. “If there was something worse than capital punishment…”

“You have a computer virus?”

“The Klooze!” she shouted. “The insidious, terrible, rotten and really, really bad Klooze virus!”

“Goodness,” said the Soupster. He had read about the Klooze How this computer program entered systems as an ordinary e-mail attachment. Klooze then disabled the anti-virus programs on the computer in order to do its evil work in peace. Then and only then, Klooze devoured the computer’s entire hard drive and everything on it. Byte by byte.

“I don’t what to do,” Gwen wailed pitifully.

“Perhaps I can help,” said someone with a high voice. A young boy came into the room, holding an armful of the daily newspapers he had been selling to passers by just before entering the store. In fact, he had entered in the first place to sell papers.

“Klooze sucks,” commiserated the kid. “But I got it out of Dad’s computer and I know how to do it now.” He pointed at the chair in front of the computer. “May I?” he asked.

Gwen nodded mightily and said sputtered several dozen versions of “Yes.”

“This is an awesome gallery,” the kid said, as his fingers flew over the keyboard. A long, long list of program files scrolled across the screen and then suddenly stopped. “See – here’s Klooze,” said the kid. “Bye, bad, bad virus.”

The kid swivelled the chair. “The virus is gone, but you’re going to have to let the diagnostics run for about an hour. Then the computer will tell you if you need to reformat or not. Have you ever re-formatted your hard drive and re-installed the operating system?”

“Yes,” said a still shocked Gwen, looking at the small figure at her desk with wonder and admiration. The Soupster squeezed her arm. “Re-installing everything took forever,” Gwen said to the kid. “But I can do it.”

“Good,” said the kid, rising from the swivel chair. “Tomorrow I have Little League after I sell my papers, but I’ll try to stop by in between and see how you are doing. Want a paper?”

“I’ll take five… uh, seven!” said Gwen. When the kid left, Gwen turned smiling to the Soupster.

“Who was that masked man?” the Soupster asked her.

1508 total views, 1 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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