Pioneer Potluck: Keeping Bob the Butcher on his feet

  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:57am
  • LifeFood

Rick’s Ranch

North Nikiski, 1986-2017

Bob wears several hats. Bob the Builder. Bob’s Bonfires. Bob the Butcher-man. There is Bob’s Cave. Bob’s Cave-Cat. Bob’s Car. Bob’s Pickup. Bob’s Kids and sometimes there is Bob’s Helper — me!

Actually we help each other most of the time, but this time Bob got hit by a flying piece of firewood that decided to come off the top of the pile of split wood and smacked him on the tip of his right knee. This was a very painful hit, as it was a wedged piece of 4-foot green wood, weighing at least 15 pounds. Might as well been 50 pounds for all the bruising and pain it gave him. So I put on my Nurse-Doctor hat and applied various liniments and heat and then located the knee brace.

This happened on a Sunday night. Bob puts on his Bob the Butcher hat on Monday and goes to work for Felix and Pam at M&M Market. His usual schedule is Monday and Thursdays. For several years while holding down several other jobs he had always “cut the meat” three to four times a week after work. This is his 27th year of “gotta go cut the meat.” Bob’s words. He says it like the baker says “Time to make the doughnuts.”

He worked at Unocal for several years, and also was on call at Rig Tenders Dock as a Longshoreman. When he finished there, depending on the day of the week, he also went to M&M Market and “cut the meat.” His years of experience and the pride he takes in presenting a good looking meats case show every time! On top of all the other hats he wore, he also wore a Unocal hat and a Rig Tenders hat. Before that he wore a “working on the platform hat.”

I have never had to come to his rescue in helping in the meat department. I worked 12 years at M&M Market myself, so we understand how M&M works. We also have had several bosses. Bob was always retained through the transitions and so was I. His boss now is Felix and Pam Martinez, the son-in-law and daughter of Karen and Curt Morris. Curt was the very best boss Bob and I have ever had. I could fill a page of how wonderful this man was and how easy it was to work for him! Felix and Pam are next to the best. They decided to take a well-deserved vacation with their two kids who were on spring vacation. They flew off to Florida about the same time the piece of firewood flew off the wood pile and smacked Bob’s knee.

So Monday morning rolled around and I volunteered to be Bob the Butcher’s helper. Not only could he hardly walk, even using a brace, it was next to impossible for him to drive a car. It was his right knee that got hurt. I was Bob’s taxi driver. I was Bob’s legs at the market. Although he was in a lot of pain he toughed out the usual process of setting up the meat display case, using a cart as a walker. Half way through the usual meat cutting and grinding hamburger, Susan, my daughter, showed up with a four legged cane and a walker. Wow! What a difference that made! Bob and his cane went everywhere. What a blessing! It was agreed beforehand with Felix, that Bob would work every morning for 6 days. I worked with him for 3 days. He was “cripping” around with his cane so well, I was not needed the rest of the days, except to apply the ointments and heat on his swollen knee. Saturday the bruise almost disappeared and he retired the brace and the cane. His only scar from this week’s “incident” is a large dent on the top of his knee. So I think it was the excellent nursing of mine that kept Bob the Butcher on his schedule. He may argue the difference!

I want to thank Chase Longbothum, Cathy and Dad Fenton’s grandson home from vacation, who filled the wood box in the cave. Dan came to my rescue when I left the dome light on in Bob’s car and ran the battery down. It got recharged and I got a lesson on what button to push for lights in Bob’s car. And a big thank you to Susan for driving to the M&M in below-zero weather to deliver the cane and walker.

Bob went back to his usual schedule of Mondays and Thursdays this week. His wish came true, that Felix and Pam would not get stuck in the snow and blizzard that grounded over 7,000 airplanes. He was certain they would not get home and he would have to put on his bob the butcher hat a few more days! Welcome home Felix and Pam!

Thank you everyone for the blessings and prayers for my good friends, Leatha and Jo Anne. It is much appreciated.

The Pioneer Potluck series is written by 50-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her mother, a self -taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day. Grannie Annie can be reached at

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