Unhinged Alaska: A political-free zone for the holidays

The holidays at our cabin by the sea is usually a primo time to kick it back, reinforce family bonds and strengthen ties with friends even if it means I have to share some seriously delicious cuisine whipped up by my bride.

I’m extremely lucky because the only thing she requires of me is that I stay out of the way while she bakes, fries, boils, chops and stirs with one hand whilst wrapping packages with the other.

Do I contribute more than placing a manly digit directly on target when she requests backup for bow tying? You bet.

I am tasked to make sure that the dogs get time to do their outside “delicates” and give each other proper recognition sniffs since they haven’t seen each other for 10 seconds.

This is way tougher that it sounds. Have you ever tried to stage vital doggie bladder expulsion exercises to coincide with the half-time of critical NFL showdowns?

How about four, same day, playoffs with two of them coinciding broadcasts?

Every stud couch referee knows that the furious punching of the remote control to keep up with the scores and highlights during commercial breaks is a grueling challenge. Add neurotic mutts to the equation and a guy could get so spaced that he could start missing the garlic/French onion/nacho cheese dip by hurrying his scoop moves just to accommodate the curs.

It doesn’t help much either when two of the curs are human.  

Last season I made a minor miscalculation and figured Willie and Turk had finally let their opinions cool over their political differences and candidates. So after an intense pre-visit briefing and somber vow to behave I invited them over for some screen time.

To say the least, it didn’t go well.

Jane has a very strict rule when W.W. and Turk are fussing at each other. She doesn’t want them in the same state, much less anywhere near our property line. I can’t blame her because when those two old boys work up a snit, the Hatfield and McCoy feuds seem like a finger pointing pout session between Alvin and the Chipmunks.

The boys didn’t make it to the end of the first quarter.  

This time around we stayed with the our tradition of spending the day together enjoying an old fashioned homemade feast and calling family members from coast to coast to share updates and family gossip.

It was a primo event mainly because Turk and Willie were unexpectedly called out of state for a short job.  

I should have let sleeping idiots lie. Did I? Nope. I figured that since there were some important games during December and we had a superfluity of frozen leftovers, I’d give the guys a call and see how things were going.

Turk was back in Homer and had just finished repairing and winterizing his boat and was ready for some time off.

Willie had also returned to his cabin but was still snorting fire over having to settle for a bowl of Grape Nuts and skim milk on T-day in North Dakota.

When I broached the possibility of warmed up goodies, football, and some adult libations at our ‘stead, both somberly avowed that they would put their political differences in a deep freeze over the Yuletide and looked forward to hanging at our cozy abode.

I gravely recapped the commander-in-chiefette’s attitude toward squabbling and both repeated a blood oath to acquit themselves with decorum.

I advised them that blood wouldn’t be a problem. Stopping its flow might be if they shot their mouths off. They assured me that they’d raise hell only if my dog Howard passed gas when the food was served.

I reminded them that we tracked the last incident to Willie.

They reiterated their pledge of peace.

There was only one more hurdle.

I opened the valve on a box of fine wine and ran the proposition and pledges by my wary spouse.

Her response was to the point.

“Nick, if either one of those two testosterone-soaked cretins start a political, in fact, any kind of argument in this house, I’m going to make sure the only thing they’ll be good for will be singing off key high soprano during welcoming ceremonies at remote tourist atolls. Easter Island would be a good start. Are you feeling me?”

I gave them her answer.

Women are wise. December has been peaceful so far. My buds have decided to watch the games at separate adult emporiums to ensure their baritone.

Of course, if they need me, I’ll be their stand-by designated driver unless it is Christmas Eve then all bets are off.

It’s our anniversary. I’m a baritone. I want to keep it that way.

Besides, after sharing 38 years of the purest love and devotion a man could wish for, where else would I want to be?

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com where he is relishing a political free zone for the holidays.

More in Life

Ward off Halloween’s mystical monsters with these garlic-infused cheesy shells and pepper sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty Halloween

Keep spooky creatures at bay with garlic-infused shells and pepper sauce.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.

Steller Sea Lions can be seen in an enclosure at the Alaska SeaLife Center on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska SeaLife Center to Alaskans: We’re still here for you

You rallied and kept us alive. Today, we’re writing to say thank you.