Friday, October 19, 2018

Retirement





Last month my wife, Jan, retired from the job that she's worked at for the past twenty three years. She worked at Hoonah Trading Company for half of our married life. When she first started working there, it was Hoonah Seafoods, one of three stores in town. Since then, L. Kane Store has closed, as well as Harbor Lights, and the only other store in town opened- Colette's Cupboard. She first started working in the hardware department. I can't recall if it was Ace  Hardware then or not. I think it was. Since then they've been involved with several other hardware companies. After a few years down there in hardware, the store's general manager asked her to come up to the office and work. That's where she spent the majority of her time, as a bookkeeper. She was also given the assignment of collecting delinquent accounts, and they couldn't have chosen a better person for the job. She was like a bulldog with a rag doll. I've no idea how much money she recovered for the store, but she knew all the tricks for chasing down the bums who thought they could get away without paying and she pursued them relentlessly. I was glad that I always paid up on time; I don't think she would have made any exceptions for me. Twenty three years is a long time to do anything. She worked her eight hour day, sometimes six days a week, and still came home and cooked, cleaned and took care of the kids. I know it wasn't easy, and it wasn't always fun going to work. Even the best of jobs can be difficult to go to at times. She had a habit of showing up early for work  and staying late, and set a good example for those around her. I believe she worked under four different managers- five if you include the hardware manager. If you needed to cash a check or make a payment or order fuel, Jan was usually who you spoke to. Of course she did much more than that, I'm not even certain of what all things she did do. I remember her coming home and speaking about this or that and it would go over my head, but she was good at what she did, and I'm certain she'll be missed. Right now she's in Wisconsin visiting her mom, and I'm certainly missing her. I don't really know what her plans are when she gets home. It will be nice to have someone to share the chores with again, but two people only make so much mess. I do worry that we'll get on each other's nerves if we are both home all day. That won't be a problem in the summer, but we've got months of winter staring us in the face. It's not like we can hop in the truck and drive somewhere for the day to get out of town. I may have to take up checkers or open a barber shop so us old guys can have a place to sit around and reminisce. We wouldn't dare cut any hair, it would just be a hang out to keep us out of trouble.I'm sure it will work out somehow though. In any event, she's earned a rest, and I sincerely hope she enjoys her retirement.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Replenished







It's that time of year again. The time when farmers harvest their corn or at least I think they do. Where else would the corn stalks come from that show up in the supermarkets before  Halloween? I'm sure that the pumpkin harvest must be going on, as well as other fruits or vegetables or grains. I know that here in Hoonah, I once again took part in ravaging the crab apple tree in front of the Abundant Life church. Last year my daughter Jen and I picked a whole slug of crab apples and made jelly. It turned out wonderful, so I thought I'd try it again this year. I was down to the nubs in my jelly supply, and even though Jen couldn't help, her sister Autumn came down from up north and lent a hand. She really gets in to the whole growing, harvesting, processing thing. She would have made a good farm wife fifty years ago. Last year was our first attempt at harvesting the tree, so I took the lessons I learned and tried a different approach this year. We still used ladders, but this time I brought a garden rake and a leaf rake to really work that tree over, and we had a tarp on the ground to catch the little rollers. It worked out really slick. I don't know why, but when I see Autumn with that rake in hand, looking at the tree, I'm reminded of the Wicked Witch of the West- not that she resembles her in any way, but the rake makes me think of when the witch was addressing Dorothy,  with her broom in hand saying - I'll get you my little pretty! Well, I can tell you, she really got those crab apples. We ended up with four or five grocery bags full, and after we made over two dozen jars of jelly, we still had several gallon bags full of crab apples in the freezer. It was quite the abundant harvest. Of course I can't live on jelly, regardless of how good it tastes, I'm not like Pooh bear and his honey. It had been some months since our last Costco order, and the larder was getting pretty skimpy, so I decided to take a favorable ferry in to Juneau and do some shopping. I also dropped in at the Village barber shop for a haircut, and down to the Friends of the Library to get my winter's supply of reading material.  They have an overwhelming number of books there, all reasonably priced. I walked out of there with twelve hard cover books for $10.50. What fun.  I believe it was Henry Ford who mentioned that if you want to be rich, you must watch how much money you spend. My friend Buffalo Bob's father put it in a true New Englander fashion- It's not what you make, it's what you spend. I'm not sure that either of them would have approved of my recent shopping splurge, I won't mention how much I spent, but it was substantial. The fact is though, I was buying enough to carry us through the winter, so I had cases of canned corn and green beans, pineapple and applesauce, paper towels and toilet paper, laundry soap and dish soap and body wash. We needed juice and cup 'o noodles and baking supplies for the upcoming holidays. We had to have razors and bleach and peanut butter and coffee, to say nothing of two new pairs of jeans and a mattress topper. Oh, and don't forget the Trident Original gum. I bought five cartons, not packs, cartons. It all cost a pretty penny, but when the winter winds blow and we're snug in our home eating some toast and jelly and planning what to have for dinner, it won't take a trip to the local store. We just go around the corner to the pantry. What a blessing!