“Ugh,” said Jeanne, a schoolteacher friend, as she plopped into the passenger seat of the Soupster’s car. “You hear the weather report?” she asked, as the Soupster pulled out and made for the airport.
“I’ve got plenty of time,” Jeanne continued. “Oh, ugh, my keys and my tickets,” she said, rifling through her purse. “No, it’s fine.”
“You know you show a lot of hubris flying on an airplane in Southeast Alaska with the weather this time of year,” said the Soupster. “You really tempt Fate.”
“Oh, pshaw, don’t tell me one of your flying-back-and-forth-between-Anchorage-and-Ketchikan-for-four-days stories,” said Jeanne.
“Actually, I was going to tell you a stuck-in-a-foggy-Juneau-airport-for-a-week story, but I now I won’t,” said the Soupster, mildly wounded.
“Look at the view from this bridge,” marveled Jeanne as she surveyed the harbor below where an outgoing float plane and an incoming longliner expertly slid past one another.
“I think Our Town is the prettiest when you are just about to leave on a trip and when you just return from one,” the Soupster said.
“Ugh, you would say that,” Jeanne said.
“Jeanne?” asked the Soupster. “Tell me again why I agree to do you favors like drive you to the airport?”
Jeanne leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Because you are my dear and kind friend,” she said.
They had reached the terminal and the loading/unloading area. Although Our Town is spared the big airport cops whose job it is to move you along in fluctuating big city airport terminal traffic (worst gig in the world?), the Soupster felt some responsibility to stay on task.
“Want me to walk you inside?” he asked.
“You’re sweet,” said Jeanne, as she pulled open the door to the car. “My bag is light. I’ll just let you go.” She opened the back door of the car and grabbed her suitcase.
Another car pulled up ahead and several young women got out. One of them wore astounding boots. From the shin down they were the familiar neoprene brown of Sitka Sneakers. But from the mid-calf up, the boots were flocked with shearling wool. They looked like the offspring of Xtra Tufs and Uggs.
“XtraUggs,” said the Soupster, pointing.
“You’re right,” said Jeanne. “This bag is heavier than I thought!”