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Comments Off on Our Town – August 10, 2017

Our Town – August 10, 2017

| Lower 48, Our Town, Relationships, Relatives, Seasons, Summer, Temperature | August 10, 2017

The Soupster talks to someone who can’t see the forest, because of one.

 “No, Uncle Bob, I’m not aware,” said the Soupster into the receiver of his landline phone, “just how hot your weather is right now.”

That was an outright lie. In fact, the Soupster knew. He regularly enjoyed playing a weather game called “Too Hot!.” The game involved reading the list of daily temperatures in the newspaper or watching the highs and lows of major U.S. cities scroll by on television and stopping at each one 80 degrees or higher to think aloud “Too Hot!” Starting in the Spring, various cities would pass into the realm of “Too Hot!” until, by August, most of the country qualified. It seemed as though too many cities were getting “Too Hot!” too early in the year and staying simmering too late into the fall. The Soupster knew from his game that Uncle Bob’s area had been hitting triple digits all week – shattering records set in horse-and-buggy days.

“That sounds terrible, Uncle Bob,” the Soupster said to his mother’s brother’s description of clothing turning sweat-soaked in minutes, engines overheating on gridlocked streets, regional power outages making air conditioners and refrigerators useless.

Of all the things the Soupster loved about Our Town and knew he would miss the most, its mild summertime temperatures ranked tops. Our Town and neighboring villages were maybe the last places in the country where the Soupster could live without ever having taken his air conditioner out of the box – it sat in the back of the Soupster’s closet like a survivalist’s cache of water pouches, freeze-dried Stroganoff and space blankets.

“What’s that, Uncle Bob?” the Soupster asked, registering what his relative had just said. “Your car was stolen when?”

During the heat wave and power outage, Bob explained, making it infinitely more difficult for him and his wife to haul ice back to their house to try and save the food in the chest freezer. The lack of transportation made it impossible for the couple to go the lakefront or other cooler escapes. Their usual last resorts – the movie theaters and the International House of Pancakes — were dark because of the blackout. Police found Bob’s car finally – minus hubcaps and, oddly, head rests.

“Why doesn’t it matter anymore, Uncle Bob?” asked the Soupster. “What do you mean `Eminent Domain’?”

Uncle Bob said that he worried about a developer who wanted to build condos right where his neighborhood stood. Meant jobs and higher taxes for the city. In New Jersey, one city had condemned some people’s houses with exactly the same outcome in mind and the U.S. Supreme Court backed the city and the developer. The city always wanted more people. More people just meant longer lines, Bob complained, at the market, the bank – even to vote. Of course, floods and tornadoes threatened, too. Along with the pesticides in the groundwater.

“Uncle Bob, you really have got to consider moving somewhere you find more pleasant.” said the Soupster.

“Never happen, Nephew,” Bob said. “Where else are real estate prices this low?

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Comments Off on Our Town – July 1, 2010

Our Town – July 1, 2010

| Seasons, Temperature, Weather | July 1, 2010

“That sounds brutal,” the Soupster commiserated over the phone with his friend Tilly from Oklahoma.

“Eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit at midnight last night,” said Tilly. “It may hit 105 today.”

“Incredible,” said the Soupster from Our Town. (duh!) “It’s supposed to be 55 here – 50 degrees cooler.”

“Sounds wonderful,” said Tilly. “But I’m sure you pay for it with a long, frigid winter.”

“Nope,” said the Soupster, smugly. “Thirties and forties most of the winter, below 20 degrees hardly ever.”

“I thought Alaska was really cold,” Tilly said.

“Alaska is big,” said the Soupster. “Our Town is far south of the Arctic Circle and warmed by a Japanese current. Mild in the winter and mild in the summer. That is, mildly warm and mildly cool.”

“That’s not what I heard,” said Tilly. “My friend Margaret was in Sitka on a cruise on the Fourth of July and she said it was freezing. `Bless those people in the winter, if that was the summer,’ she said.”

“Might have dropped into the high forties on Independence Day that year,” the Soupster allowed. “But then again, the temperature could have been exactly the same on that year’s New Year’s Day. “

“If the temperature doesn’t change, how do you know what season you’re in?” asked Tilly.

“By the light,” said the Soupster. “The long, long nights of summer – the light goes on shockingly long if the clouds blow off. The inky nights of winter, when the sky and sea and the land are all covered by the same black blanket. And then the twice-yearly journey back and forth between the extremes.”

“I’m sure you miss a hot summer day,” Tilly said.

“Oh, Our Town gets hot enough, for me,” the Soupster answered. “I swear Alaska must be closer to the sun, because when the sun does shine, it feels unusually strong.  If Old Sol is bright and the temperature hits 70, lots of folks here complain that it’s too hot.”

“Seventy Fahrenheit? Too hot? Now, that’s incredible,” said Tilly.

“What I find incredible are the low and high temperatures listed for Our Town on the TV Weather Channel,” said the Soupster. “There’s usually just a few degrees difference between the high temperature and the low. Sometimes, the high and low listed are the same exact temperature. And every once in a long while – usually in the spring or fall — the low for the day will be warmer than the high temperature for that same day.”

“Don’t joke me, Soupster,” said Tilly.

“No, really,” said the Soupster. “I think they just measure the lowest temperature at night and call it the low, then they measure the highest temperature during the day and call it the high. They don’t realize that in this crazy place, sometimes it’s warmer at night!”

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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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