Friday, September 28, 2012
Where in the heck are my pants? How often have you heard or said that? You could substitute socks, underwear, shirt, jacket or assorted and sundry other items. I was getting ready to take a shower this morning and was looking for a clean pair of jeans to wear. Off to the left of the closet I have some that are in no-man's land. They're visiting the dress slacks and I have orders from my wife that I can't wear them for working in. Amongst the better pants I even have a pair of white jeans. What the heck...? Why? Why do I have a pair of white jeans? I'm sure I must have bought them some time back, but whatever for? You can imagine that five minutes after I've donned them they'll be covered with salsa, grease, dog hair or a combination of all three. I don't like light colored pants anyway.They always show everything. I can't tell you how many times I've turned on a faucet in a public restroom and the stream of water is like all of Niagara Falls is trying to escape out that one small orifice. Of course the end result is that the water flows out of the sink and onto your jeans. I think the maintenance crew probably does that on purpose so they'll have something to laugh about when they gather in the tool room. If you're wearing a pair of light colored pants and that happens, don't be surprised if it makes the evening news. It seems like everyone will know about it. On the shelf I have an old pair of Rustlers jeans. The fabric is soft and comfortable, but I can't wear them any more. There was a hole in the crotch that my mother-in-law tried to sew, but the fabric is so worn and bunched up there, that I may as well have a flashing neon sign that points to the zipper and says LOOK HERE! I don't know why I hang on to them. I guess I keep thinking that I can wear them out fishing or some such thing. Fish don't care what you wear. If I lived down in a warmer climate I might be able to squeeze into a pair of shorts...if I had the courage to. When I was young that wasn't an issue. I had pretty muscular legs and I didn't mind wearing a pair of cutoffs. Now though, I'd probably have to be drunk to wear a pair out in public. When I was growing up in Ohio my folks would sometimes have a barbecue with friends. Dad would don a pair of Bermuda shorts and man the grill. It was both comical and a little embarrassing. His face, neck and arms were the color of mahogany from working in the hot sun. It looked like he slept in a tanning bed; but his legs, oh lordy. His legs resembled two snow white toothpicks with hair, sticking out of a pair of five gallon buckets. You never would have imagined that the top half and the bottom half belonged to the same body. Of course I never had the courage to tell him. He was enjoying himself and that was all that mattered. I finally tracked down a pair of Carhartts in the laundry room. Now if I can only find the come-along I can get the top close enough together to button and zip up.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
At one time we had nine souls living in this small house. Nine. That's no small number even if you had a place as big as Michael Jackson's. Of course this home doesn't even remotely resemble a mansion, so as you can imagine, it got crowded. With nine people, you have nine people's belongings. Some of them were treasures and some was junk, but somehow we made room for it all. What is truly amazing to me is that now that there is only Jan and I here, it still looks like we have nine people living here. There isn't a flat surface anywhere in the house that isn't cluttered with some manner of stuff... magazines, cooking utensils, plants and paperwork to name just some. Part of the reason we have so much stuff is that the kids, being the generous folks they are, periodically send us something they think we'll enjoy. The most recent gifts came from my youngest daughter Autumn. The coffee I love, and Jan really likes the candy. I think she's given up on dieting because she's constantly bombarded by well meaning friends and family members who can't imagine life without chocolate. However, the neck pillows are a mystery to me. I guess you use them, if you have the guts to, whenever you fly. They're probably a mainstay for the folks in first class. I only fly out of the state about once every three years, so in the interim I have to find a place for them. I thought about sticking one around my eyes like that blind guy, Jordy, on Star Trek, the Next Generation. Then if I'm trying to take a nap during the day it would keep the sun out, in the unlikely event the sun was shining. Then I thought, I guess I could sew the ends together and sit on it if my hemorrhoids were to flare up. They feel kind of cushiony. I finally figured I better give them a try for their intended purpose just to see how they would feel.
Stage One. I was happy as a clam at high tide. Or maybe Jan just told me to smile.
Stage Two. Reality was starting to set in. Those blasted tags were irritating.
Stage Three. I felt like the neck pillows were made of sandpaper and were filled with stinging nettles fibers and burrs. To make matters worse, Jan said it looked like a head was sticking out of a tablecloth. Upon closer examination, I couldn't agree more. However, it should be noted;she bought me that shirt, perhaps thinking that at my present rate of expansion I would fill it out completely by the end of the year, but its September, and there's still lots of room to spare. The last picture reminds me of a friend from Game Creek, Matt Ortega. He used to be a driver for one of the apostle's sisters. The way he told it, she was pretty heavy and sounded like she had breathing problems, but whenever they got within sight of a Mc Donald's she would direct him to go there so she could get a cheeseburger. When he was telling the story he made a face similar to the one I displayed there. It always got a laugh. With no other form of entertainment on the farm, making fun of those in the ministry was high on the list of fun things to do. No doubt I'll have much to answer for one day. Back to the neck pillows. I'm reminded of a Laural and Hardy movie. Ollie is in a hospital bed and Stan brings him hard boiled eggs and nuts as a gift. Ollie says "If you wanted to bring me something, why didn't you bring me some candy?" In any event, I don't want to appear to be an ungrateful buffoon. I do appreciate the gifts, but if I had my choice, I'd rather have hoochies.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
It's fall again... no surprise there. Happens every year about this time. Actually here in Alaska it happens sooner than in the lower forty-eight. About mid-August you wake up one day and feel the chill in the air or while you're out walking you notice that some of the leaves on the ground are tinged yellow and brown. You try to ignore it like that first twinge of a toothache. Maybe if you don't pay it too much attention it will go away. "It's not time yet." you declare, but like the first grey hairs that show up one day or the wrinkles that makeup won't cover, change is happening, like it or not. Fall is a time of reflection for me. On the day I took this picture it was an ideal fall day. The sun was warm, there weren't any bugs bothering me, I wasn't thinking about fishing or charter boats or how aggravated I was with the politicians. I was just sitting in one of those comfortable chairs rocking back and forth enjoying the sunshine and reflecting on my life. It isn't often that I think of how blessed I've been. My natural tendency is to complain and once you start down that path there is no end to the things you can find to complain about. Just yesterday I was out fishing at Point Sophia. I'm trolling about forty plus leaders with thirty some years of experience behind me. All my gear is color coordinated so that if the fish find something they like all their buddies will find the same stuff and climb on. I was fishing close by a fellow who is running a hodge podge of gear- no two flashers or hoochies alike, it looks like he has maybe a dozen leaders total and has only been commercial fishing for about two years. Every time I looked over, he was cleaning a fish. I caught one- all day! Perhaps I should change the name of the boat to The Bonehead and troll three lines baited with green olives, Cheetos and Nutrigrain Bars. Who knows, it can't be any worse than what I was doing. Maybe my ego needed a good jolt and God was letting me know that blessings come from him. They're his fish and he gives them to whomever he wants. Anyway, as I was saying, once you start down that path of complaint, you never reach bottom. I actually have relatively little to bitch about. We have a friend who is visiting Hoonah right now. Her and her husband used to pastor our church. She desperately wanted children but couldn't conceive, so they adopted two boys, both from the same family I believe. They moved to Colorado but her husband was unable to find work and ended up working in Iraq where he has been for the past seven years or so. Shortly after he left she was diagnosed with cancer. Her older son got involved in some goth type movement and her younger son was involved in a shooting and is in jail right now. In the years since she's left here she's undergone several more cancers and the unbearable treatments and side effects and at present has an implant to control the pain. She gave the word on Sunday. In a nutshell she said all these things would appear to us to be bad, bad things. (I couldn't agree more) But, we are seeing things from a limited perspective. We have blinders on. We have little spiritual peripheral vision. Good things have come from what we would perceive as bad. Her husband started several churches while in Iraq and has had a positive impact on a number of people. Her son in jail has turned his life around and is leading a praise team in prison. I don't know what the other son is doing, but his chapter is still being written. Today I was reading in the book of Job. I know I've written about this before, but I think it bears repeating.Those who know that book know that Job was a righteous man who was inflicted with all manner of terrible loss- his children, his property and finally his health. To add insult to injury, his wife suggested he curse god and die, and his friends who were supposed to be comforting him ended up accusing him of having secret unconfessed sins as the reason for all the suffering. Finally, after all the accusations and rebuttals, Job hears from God directly... Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid out the earths foundation? Tell me if you understand."
Of course it goes on as God lays out his wisdom and power. In the end Job is blessed more after all the trouble than he was before. That's not to say that all those who suffer will be blessed because of it in this life. I can't see beyond the present so I can't say what tomorrow will bring. Maybe a boatload of fish to salvage the season, maybe an engine failure. In my limited capacity I'll surmise that whatever the situation I find myself in, it will either be good or bad, though, like Job, I really don't have the wisdom to make that call. So, I will leave you with this. As the fall approaches and the days grow shorter, enjoy each day as much as you can. Visit a friend, love on your spouse, call your mom and maybe take some time to sit on your front porch and reflect on your blessings. They're more than can be counted.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
I spent the last two days of August fishing at Homeshore this year. It used to be the place to go from mid-August to September for cohos. Some years back it was fairly common to see fifty to a hundred boats dragging the area. Usually boats that came in from the outside would pass through, maybe spend a few days and then head on home. This year though the fish haven't shown up on the inside. I don't know where they are. When I went over there, I was the only troller along the whole shoreline. It should have been an indication that there weren't any fish around, but for some reason in the back of my mind I'm always thinking that, wouldn't it be great if there were cohos jumping all over and I was catching them as fast as I could pull them in and there was no one else around to get in my way. Of course it would be great if I was six foot two, ruggedly handsome, wealthy and always lived the golden rule too. Anyway, I fished all day for eleven fish and decided to anchor up right there at Homeshore. It's a lousy place to anchor unless the wind is coming from the east or right out of the north. As it was, it was blowing from the northwest, but not too bad. I found a little niche that gives some protection from the wind and set the pick. It didn't take long for the wind to switch to a more westerly direction so it blew right in on me. Go figure. Some guys like that rocking motion- they say it helps them sleep. Not me. Every noisy, loose thing that can roll, rattle, shake, jar, creak or moan will make itself readily apparent when the boat is rocking. I don't sleep all that well anyway, so I like a nice, quiet, secluded anchorage where the boat stays still and I feel secure. As they say, people in hell want ice water too. Since there isn't anything to do after I anchor up, I usually work on a crossword puzzle before I go down below to the rack. I buy the easy ones because I don't want to further damage my self esteem by looking stupid as well as incompetent as a fisherman. After I've got one done or mostly done, I usually go down to bed and read for awhile. When I was ready to settle in for the night I got up to turn off the radio and was startled to see a brilliant white light filling the cabin. Holy Toledo! Had Jesus come and I wasn't ready? Kind of late to repent at the last minute. I was hoping I didn't swear when I saw that light- don't want to add fuel to the fire. I looked out the window and saw the biggest, most brilliant white full moon shining down. It was breathtaking. I heard later that it was a blue moon. the second full moon in a month. In the morning when I got up it was still visible as it was going down over the mountains. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures. The news is coming on so I need to wrap this up. I guess I have to go in and expose myself to countless hours of recounting what each political party has spoken. God forbid that there should be any real news on.