Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You Might Live in Pelican if...

this is for all my readers who keep asking to hear more about life in Pelican...

I confess to swiping some of this list from my SouthEast Alaska facebook group, but some are my own addition too...I left a couple that don't specifically apply to me cuz they're so funny, but most of these are either about me or one of my friends here.

You Might Live in Pelican (or SouthEast Alaska) if:

- People hear that you live in Alaska and ask about the polar bears/tundra/constant darkness, and you have to explain that you live in the 'other' part of Alaska...the part with rainforest, grizzly bears, salmon, fishing, cruises, whales, and bald eagles...

- You live in the tiny town of Pelican on the very large island of Chichagof, but your family still refers to "Pelican Island" and thinks it's little

- You know what muskeg is

- Anything short of a torrential downpour and raining sideways is "good weather"

- You cannot stay inside when the sun is out, no matter how briefly

- By the time you get your coat and boots on the sun is gone again, but you stay outside for a few minutes anyway

- You have worn X-tra Tuffs to school or work or on a date

- You own more than one pair of X-tra Tuffs --->

- You think name brands are Grundens, Helle Hansen, X-tra Tuff, and Carhartt

- Your Christmas list includes such items as boat parts, raingear, long underwear, or rifle ammunition

- You know everybody in your town, and I mean EVERYBODY

- You also know their dogs by name (and which dogs will be nice to your dog/toddler)

- You know that boat dogs--male or female--squat to pee, even on land. Raising a leg on a boat = falling over

- The kids in town wear lifevests (aka 'float coats') everywhere, all the time

- You take up knitting because the weekly knitting circle is the only social event in town (unless you like to hang out in smoke-filled bars with drunk fishermen)

- You drag a plastic sled to the post office/store to bring home your mail/packages/groceries.

- You keep a tidetable in the house because your son likes to walk to/from school over the tideflats, and he doesn't always pay attention to whether the tide is in or out before he starts walking

- You have to go into Juneau to go shopping (and it's expensive, so you only go a couple of times a year, or else get everything shipped on the seaplane/ferry)

- Ferry day is worth canceling school (so everyone can go help unload their family's groceries)

- You can't remember the last time you locked your front door, even when you were out of town for a week

- You have thought about inventing a bumper sticker that reads "this car does not brake for cannery workers" (variations include same phrase in other languages or substituting "tourists" for "cannery workers")

- You would put the bumper sticker on your 4-wheeler or golf cart...because you don't actually have a car

- Riding in someone elses golf cart feels really fast (because you're used to walking)

- Two 4-wheelers/golf carts within sight of each other constitutes a traffic jam

- You have been married 35 years and have 5 kids but have never had a drivers license...because there are no cars in town so who needs one

- After living in Pelican for a few months you visit Juneau and borrow your cousin's car, and while tooling down the highway at what seems like a good clip you notice everyone passing you, and so you look at the speedometer to verify that you are going 45mph, and realize that you're doing 32.

- Fishing is not a hobby but a job

- You know what dogs, reds, humpys, coho, pinks, silvers, sockeye, chinook, chum, and kings are and can tell them all apart by sight OR taste

- Everyone you know has a picture like this --->

- When you can tell the difference between wild and farmed salmon in a restaurant, even if the waiters can't

- You have a bumper sticker that looks like this:
Friends DON'T let friends

(and you display it in your window)

- You know who will (and won't) ship a fish box fast enough that the fish is still good when it arrives

- It's not uncommon to come home and find a 'big king salmon' in the sink that your neighbors dropped off because they didn't have room in their freezer.... so you eat it for dinner

- You tell people down south you are a commercial fisherman and they ask if it's like Deadliest Catch

- You are more proud to be an Alaskan than an American and you don't really get offended when people mistake you for being Canadian

- You know that "SouthEast" means SEA (southeast alaska) and that it's actually north and west of "The NorthWest"

- You know that Seattle is down south, which is totally unrelated to The South (where people eat gumbo and say "y'all"). People from down south just don't understand . . .

- You have spent 30+ hours on a ferry on one trip, and you can recognize every one of them from 3 miles away

- You have taken a float plane or a commercial fishing vessel for a school trip

- You've been stuck in Sitka, Gustavus, Hoonah, Angoon, or Juneau because of a wimpy pilot who circled over your hometown until you were too dizzy to know what's going on and then landed you somewhere else
- The lady at the seaplane office leaves her home number on the answering machine for the days when it's foggy/windy/stormy and she won't be getting down to the office

- You have been on a seaplane flight where all 6 people in the cabin applauded the pilot for landing you safely on the water after a pee-your-pants scary ride involving "flying by braille" in the fog or falling 1000 feet in 2 seconds (yay wind!)

- You're not the least bit baffled by city names like Ketchikan, Chichagof, Baranof, and Klukwan, and you know that Gustavus is pronounced "Gus-TAVE-us"

- Puddle jumping is part of your cross country or track teams' regular practices

- You only go to school on Wednesdays during your sports' season because you're traveling the rest of the time

- You look forward to school trips as mini-vacations off the island and shopping opportunities

- You have gone to high school basketball or wrestling regionals even if you weren't competing in anything, simply because otherwise you would have been the only person left in your town.

- Papa Murphy's Take n Bake pizza IS delivery (and it comes on a seaplane, and the entire town orders on the same day to share the freight cost)

- You have taken a skiff to get to school (a skiff is what non-alaskans would refer to as "a motorboat" or something with no cabin and that's too small for commercial fishing)

- You travel down south to visit family and grandma points out a songbird to your toddler...and he looks and looks but doesn't seem to see it, and then you realize that the only birds anyone has ever pointed out to him before were great blue herons and bald eagles


Becky said...

I love the "down south" phrase! And it's true, I really am more proud to be an Alaskan than an American.

Loved this post!

Christa said...

we don't all eat gumbo...but we do all say ya'll.
We also say "crick" instead of creek and yonder really is an exact distance.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous area but I think I require more sunshine and heat. I'd love to visit though.

Trina said...

I'm positive my husband would kill to live there so I'll be keeping it a hush. I had a friend from Alaska (don't remember what part). She was standing on a dock and a tourist asked her what the sea level was! She looked over the dock and said "About 3 feet." I laughed so hard I almost wet myself when I heard that.

Carrie said...

Jenni, I would never want to live in Alaska, it sounds too much like Gillette.

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

What a great list! I need to come for a visit just so I can get a pic of me holding a fish that big! I love to fish and I think the biggest one I've caught was like 3 lbs!!! How sad!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

That's hysterical!

Nemmer said...

Love it, Jenni! Even after all these years I can totally relate to so many of those. I miss Alaska.

BeadedTail said...

I enjoyed this post a lot! I haven't been to Alaska yet but I sure hope to one day!

uniquecommodities said...

WOW That is a lot of info! So no little to no sunshine and bad weather..hmm...

Cozy said...

I knew the name of at least one small town on your list. Ketchican. My father was stationed there with the Coast Guard in the early 50's. My brothers went up on a fishing trip in the late 80's. They took a picture of the main street there that my father had a slide of from his time. The only difference in the shot was the cars. I like places that change slowly.

Mommy Bee said...

Carrie--I think this is a lot like Gillette...except there are no roads out. :p

and yes, we do get a lot of wet weather...we do get a few beautiful days though (this last week has been mostly beautiful, except the one day that we got a foot of snow!!!)

Cheryl said...

At least PART of your family knows you live on Chichagof. Your 6yo brother could say that (and told anyone who would listen)! Of course, he's been there and seen it from the air....

Anonymous said...

Dear Jenni,

You really do a great job connecting people to what life is like for you and your family in Alaska.
Since you obviously care about the water and land you live on, I thought you might be interested in an issue that holds potentially devastating impacts for the Arctic ocean off Alaska’s North coast. The sensitive Beaufort and Chukchi seas are already reeling from the effects of climate change. Polar bears, pacific walrus, seals, bowhead whales, and ocean-going birds like eider ducks and loons struggle to survive in this ecologically diverse but quickly changing habitat.
Despite all this, the Minerals Management Service still wants to lease the area to oil and gas companies. If more of these sensitive waters are opened to drilling, the biological and ecological diversity of the Arctic could be irreparably damaged. Oil and gas development in these waters could also adversely effect the native populations that rely on these waters for traditional hunting, fishing and cultural activities.
Find an excellent editorial by the New York Times on this topic here.
Please consider writing about these threatened seas. You can feel free to use information you find here and, if you feel inclined, ask your readers to Take Action by posting this link.

Christen Duxbury
The Wilderness Society

P.S. You may have also noticed that many of the above photos come from our Facebook page. We’d love to have you join us on this unique forum to share your viewpoints, keep up with our members and news, and have access to any resources of ours you might find useful. Thanks!

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