Sealed with a stench


“Cocktail Hour in the Land of the Midnight Sun,” our most recent book, is now available as a digital book at Amazon. Before writing, I spent weeks pawing through my vast closet of memories to come up with the most fun items stored there. These went into the book, but there were dozens that did not make the cut, often because they were too short. So to help promote “Cocktail,” we are putting up a string of these “little” memories for your enjoyment, in hopes you will be interested enough to buy the book.  — Ed

We were on Homer Spit, a skinny length of land jutting four-and a-half miles into Kachemak Bay from the Alaska town of Homer. It was cold, a stiff wind blowing snow flurries; the sky was gray and so was the ordinarily blue water. A crappy day.

We were touring the state from our home in Fairbanks and had driven about 600 miles to see what Homer was all about. It is reputed to have the best weather in Alaska — but not always the case, we learned.

We were camping on this trip, sleeping in a shell topper on the pickup box. With us was our lovely Chrissy, a heavily-furred Samoyed. Chrissy was running up and down the spit’s shore when she stopped and sniffed something that had washed up on the rocks. Then she vigorously rolled on it. I clambered down there to see what it was and discovered a very dead, very rotten seal. The dog was a cake of seal fat and the stench was paralyzing.

We were sleeping with that dog in a truck-box shell camper! We had to get her clean, but how? We dug around in our toiletries and came up with a bar of Ivory Soap.

I dragged the dog into the freezing ocean and scrubbed her vigorously with the soap, which, in the cold water just added another layer of lard. I ended up scraping off what little I could. We returned to Fairbanks several days later, somewhat inured to the smell. You can get used to anything.

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