Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A nice quiet little town

After being kenneled up with 100 other people in a city of 3/4 of a mil for four months it feels pretty darn good to have some quiet, serenity and even some of the weirdness that comes with small town Alaska. As always we attended the annual St. Paddy's day parade which for us goes like this.
1. Buy Guiness
2. Park at MP's office
3. Try to share Guiness with MP's co-workers (unsuccessful)
4. Fur hats
5. Stand outside for 11 minutes
6. Go home,  finish Guiness
Oh baby, we're a long ways from Butte Montana. The parade has always been done on the Spur highway and the City being reluctant to shut down the main thorough fare just uses one side and lets confusion reign for 20 minutes or so one day a year. That's MPeasy before we crossed to the parade side. I got a pic of Soldotna's favorite Irishman on the way....mmmmm....through the years me and Mike Sweeny have traded Catholic school stories, we've shared the gym and I'll bet you I've purchased 30 sets of rain gear from his store.....now that's small town living.
We might not have the Pacifico girls here or even Miss Barstow California like I got a pic of at the Carnaval in Maz a few years ago but we come pretty darn close with ' Miss State Farm'. And of course....everything we do in small towns is for and with the kids....
so we're standing in the middle of Birch Street where it meets the Spur Highway and a cop pulls up on Birch to see how the situation is going. Pretty cool, a little girl rushed through the crowd and all of a sudden he isn't a cop anymore, just part of our town.
So as you can see we're standing in the middle of the street and a car pulls up behind me. The driver can clearly see that the road is blocked and I guess a lot of green flying around when he rolls the window down and asks me " whats going on ' ?....I say " not much "....he gets kinda strangely impatient and just pulls out and follows along behind the Sterling Judo Club kids....yikes, in the parade.

When I was a kid the Homesteaders here ran everything. Now we have  a Borrough Mayor (who is also a homesteaders kid ) being term limited out and both candidates were in the parade of course.... and BOTH are homesteaders children. NOW THATS small town Alaska.....yawn ....!!  and they even tell ya how much they paid for their pick up truck.
I  hate to be so hard on the commercial fishermen but this is a great story, I'll keep it short. Back in 1989 when Joe Hazzlewood wrecked the Exxon Valdez uttering that outlandish understatement " we're fetched up hard on the rocks and I think we're leaking a little oil " one of the things that happened is that commercial fisherman all over South Central Alaska could not fish as the oil would contaminate the nets and then of course the fish. A huge  $$$$ settlement was on it's way and one set netter near Chisek Island who lives in Soldotna bought one of the first Hummer's our area has ever seen. He still drives it and even parades it..... I don't know, I 'd rather have clean water, I'd rather it had never happened than own a Hummer. But each to his own I guess.
30 years ago we'd drive down to the DeCanter Inn near Kasilof and watch the Ice Racers on Saturday afternoons. We'd park on the frozen lake and have a few beers with the heater running.  It was a unique Alaska thing and still is, they've kept it going and I'm impressed. The cars really don't get enough traction on the frozen lake to create any real risk I think but so that it comes off more like bumper cars than demolition derby the cars have drill pipe welded  all around. Even the pipe is unique to our area. One of my friends from the 70's Jack Fisler has been instrumental in the races and for that I say.....thanks Jack, what a cool thing, see you this weekend.
You've all been to parades right ? What do they end with ?.....mmmmm....usually the local Fire Dept has a ladder truck and an Ambulance and the police have their newest Patrol Cruiser. Well, in my town it's a snow plow....but hey that's a pretty darn nice 8' Western Plow on 2005 3/4 ton Chevy.  For all it's weirdnesses, it's nice to be home.

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