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Chasing deer & superstitions
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Scott Renke and Brian Goulart with 18 silver salmon at Whale Pass. - photo by Photo by JEFF LUND

The great philosopher and former regional manager Michael Scott once said, “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious”

I completely agree. People far too often look for omens and meaning in everything. Stuff just happens; no more, no less. It’s not a sign, it’s a coincidence.

When Scott Renke’s plane out of Seattle was delayed because a plane on the tarmac was struck by lightning, I thought nothing of it. He and Brian Goulart arrived that afternoon without incident.

The next morning the power was out at my place. No big deal. Turned out a bald eagle had electrocuted itself down the block. My buddy Jake who works for the power company here got a nice picture of the national symbol turned cooked carcass atop a power pole before he restored power to this part of town. Sad, but no big deal. No deeper meaning, no foreshadowing, just fried eagle.

It would be impossible to decipher signs or meanings on an island in Alaska where you can buy a mocha, Slush Puppy, SPAM, a t-bone steak and wolf traps all in the same store and normal has a very, very broad definition.

Already this summer I was the guy that took the last $100 out of a generic ATM in the grocery store after two others I checked including the one at Wells Fargo, were already out of cash. That sort of stuff just happens here. If I were to tell that story to someone who lives here, the response would be, “yeah? And...”.

A 12-pound salmon got caught in the prop of the kicker of a Fireweed Lodge charter boat. Very uncommon, never seen or heard of it before, but cool, not shocking and it certainly provided no deeper insight about fishing or the day in general.

If a black cat crossing your path is bad luck, what about four black bears in 15 minutes? I worried not. I just stayed in the car.

What about people putting firecrackers in a friends’ pocket...well, that was a bit much. That was unexpected even for the Klawock River Bridge on the Fourth of July. Who does that?

Anyway, a buck and a doe eating mom’s strawberries even after I tell them to knock it off, no shock there. In fact it’s becoming an annual occurrence. My high school basketball coach Don Busse, who lives a little over a mile out of town off the main “highway”, built a fence around his house a couple weeks ago to keep the deer out of his potatoes, peas, rhubarb and corn. (Alaskan farmers? Yup.)

We even saw his daughter chasing a deer down the hill from the house on a recently repaired ACL. Truth be told, Tonya didn’t know there was a deer as she started her rehab run, the hill is steep and there is a slight turn. The deer got spooked before she even saw it, but it still looked classically Alaskan and not at all surprising.

Coffee is free on Friday at Black Bear convenience store. When you pump gas there, you pump, leave the pump, park, then go inside to pay.

“No one just pumps then drives off?”

“Don’t think so. It is an island, and word gets around. If you get black-balled by the three gas stations, you’re in trouble.”

Not things of nature, nor things of man shocked me here until Sunday after all the warnings, all the talk, even a printed column, one of the guys didn’t eat candied peanut butter during a snagging trip to Neck Lake. You just don’t tempt fate like that. You eat the candied peanut butter.

He didn’t, and he caught only one fish.