Well, What Do We Have Here?

Writing first sentences has always been difficult and I’ve spent many Sunday afternoons staring at a blank page with the cursor impatiently blinking at me as I attempt to collect my thoughts. Lucky for me (and you, since you’re reading this) I am not a loss for words because I’m trying to create a thesis statement for a paper about Chaucer, but because I’m not quite sure where to begin my explanation of the past few weeks. Last time I relied on photos, this time I’ll try a combination, despite my computer rejecting every effort I have made to upload photos this morning.

Fall began here in Sitka with 11 straight days of sunshine in the middle of September. Everyone was outside at all times soaking up the final moments of warmth and I even heard complaints of it being too dry from my co-workers. After work one afternoon, Steph and I headed out with Tyler to find his longline without any halibut. But the sunny evening was salvaged when we pulled up on the beach, built a campfire and cooked venison steaks wrapped in foil while watching Mt. Edgecumbe reflect the sunset. Can’t complain about that!

Steph and I also made new friends with one of the local starfish despite Steph’s not so feminine touch!

And a couple of the sunny weekend days were enjoyed on the top of Harbor Mt for a little picnic time! What could be better than riding in the back of a truck to reach this beautiful spot? (Do I sound like a hick yet?)

(A couple of these pictures were taken on my phone and after fighting with Verizon Wireless, they are now on the blog. Ergo, the quality isn’t amazing, but at least they’re on there!)

Don’t pack your suitcases to come visit yet, those days really are gone here and we’ve most definitely transitioned into autumn: gray, wind, rain, big puddles to step in. One of the traditional events here in Sitka that marks the end of fishing and cruise ship season is the “Running of the Boots” which refers to XtraTuff boots aka: Sitka slippers, that everyone (fisherman primarily but it’s infiltrated the whole town) wear year round. This event is complete with costume contest and someone throwing a boot in the air to commence the ridiculousness that ensues as we all run down Lincoln (Main) St. reclaiming the territory from the tourists who never venture off the beaten path of shops and restaurants. There is a free lunch for everyone in town, burgers, hot dogs, and of course, rockfish. YUM. Feeling like we had to make a statement at our first “Running of the Boots” my housemates, our visiting area director, Jamie, and I all dressed up as Jesuit priests. All black outfits, white clerical collars, cross necklaces and of course, drawn on mustaches and goatees.

I think we may have gained a bit of a reputation and though we didn’t officially enter the costume contest, the judges couldn’t let us go without being recognized, so together we managed to win a gift certificate to a local restaurant!

After a crazy Saturday of running around town as men, in the evening we headed to one of our favorite local spots (there are three places worth getting a cup of coffee in town, this is one of them), the Larkspur Cafe. With live music there almost every weekend, it’s an intimate venue and a nice mix of coffee shop/bakery meets restaurant/bar. Being the seven lovely ladies that we are (area director, Jamie, included) we made a bit of an entrance and were announced at the JVs in town. As we sat and enjoyed the local musicians of “Belly Meat” play, in walk two flanneled fisherman about our age. A glance was shared between me and my housemates as we all silently acknowledged that two rather attractive young guys had walked in. But at second glance, I realized I knew them! They were two of the guys that I spent a couple weeks skiing with at Alta in Utah last winter, ha! So I immediately walked up, asked if they were who I thought they were and, before my roommates knew it, I was up front getting hugs and talking with them while my housemates wondered what the heck was going on. It was hilarious and also fun to catch up with those guys who I hadn’t connected with at all since leaving there last December (apparently Alta did have a good season–600 inches, but I’m still not sad that I left for Jubilee!) After closing down the P Bar on Saturday night/early Sunday morning with the Utah boys, the socializing continued as we held a “JV potluck” at our house on Sunday evening and invited basically anyone in town between the ages of 20-35. A three-hour game of Catch Phrase concluded the rather eventful weekend. So we’ve gone from constant outdoor activity to constant socializing!

Throw in 40 hours of work this week and then we come to our next noteworthy event: when Tyler took Elle and me to the shooting range! I don’t believe I’ve shot a gun since going to Camp Orkila in the San Juans and shooting a BB gun at church family camp! And Elle’s comprehensive gun experience consisted of pulling the trigger on a rather large water gun. So, we were beginners to say the least, but according to Tyler, I’m a pretty good shot. It was also a particularly wonderful people-watching place. All I will say is: I’m all for women’s empowerment, but I will NEVER go there without a guy that I 100% trust.

Now, if you’re not impressed with that photo, that’s ok, because I’m not trying to impress anyone, I’m just trying to prove I did it. Being the gun expert that I am, I understand this isn’t the most flashy of riffles, and I must say I’m totally ok with that. This little .22 and I got along just fine.

And finally, this week was concluded last night when we attended and volunteered at our first “Grind,” the monthly local talent show here in Sitka. It was quite a night, sold out, lots of home made desserts entered in the contest, and where else will you find a 10 year-old that gets on stage and performs an incredible cover of “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley? Exactly… not anywhere else I have been recently. My housemates and I hopped on stage for a photo at the end of the night, please note the XtraTuff boots 🙂

This week promises to be a full one with events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Disability Awareness Month, and a New York state folk trio, Red Molly coming to town! Yes, I really am working full time here! And sometime when I have the chance I really will describe more of what that work looks like exactly.  Much love to everyone, thanks for the comments, emails and love! I leave you with a parting shot, my favorite photo I’ve taken in Sitka so far.

Boat, Buoy

2 thoughts on “Well, What Do We Have Here?”

  1. Marcia Murray sent me your website. Almost 50 years ago I spent the summer in Sitka working with the Presbyterian Church and living with Rev. Gavin’s family — the family that the trail is named after. I was able to go back a couple of years ago as one of those cruise tourists and see all the changes. My memories of Sitka are wonderful. I hope your year there will be too.

  2. First of all, thank goodness you weren’t sitting there trying to write a thesis for Chaucer, for both your sake and ours. I’m totally into some dead poets, but I’m waaaay over that one.

    1. Hilarious priest costume.
    2. Funny about the Alta guys!
    3. The women’s movement, great as it was, won’t stop you from getting your ass kicked. I’m with you – stick with a trustworthy guy in sketch situations.
    4. Nice final photo! Take it with your fancy-pants camera?

    I’m so glad you’re having lots of adventures, Purdy! Keep it up.

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