Unhinged Alaska: A special kind of Christmas tea

Once again Christmas and the advent of a new year are peeking over the horizon and, once again, the lady of the cabin has transformed our little dwelling into the quintessential yuletide abode.

The interior is festooned with homemade decorations while delicious aromas swirl from the kitchen bathing the air with sweet scents one can almost taste.

I contribute nothing to all of the falderal because those are her standing orders lest, in my zeal to decorate, the mini mutt ends up as an exceptionally displeased tree ornament and wrapped packages take on the aspect of being shredder enhanced.

I do have one positive contribution though.

After over 20-some years driving the Haul Road and other exotic Arctic byways that enjoyed trying to morph me into an inverted snow-cone during whiteouts and sneaky avalanches, I’m hell-on-wheels when it comes to getting our presents mailed, delivered or picked up.

That talent alone always pays off with a personal, super-secret, stash of chocolate lava cookies that Santa would delightedly trade Rudolph and a couple auxiliary reindeer for.

This year my bride suggested that, while she was turning our cabin into something that resembles a guesthouse at the North Pole, I could stay out of harm’s way by answering some of the voluminous questions the Unhinged Alaska Gmail account has received over the year.

I responded that there is a reason the column’s title leads with “Unhinged” and that some of the inquires I received germinate from the minds of suspicious sources who would be prime fodder for an episode of The X Files.

She gave me a stare blatantly suggesting that my indisposed attitude could result in the molten lava cookies turning into a fast food burger box stuffed with withered popcorn and sundry victuals retrieved from beneath sofa cushions and the interior of an ancient recliner that has developed its own ecosystem.

A compromise was reached when I handed her a sheaf of slurred communiqués that implied they were the results of trying to type while under the influence of a combination of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine and thunder-weed brownies.

She considered them hysterical but agreed that some of the more incoherent submissions would make excellent fodder to address after the new year takes root. Thus, I was able to slip enthusiastically back into my official status as a “Do no harm” errand drone. Or so I thought.

Turk and Willie normally join us on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and help us celebrate our wedding anniversary but the two were still butting heads after the election like starving Neanderthals bickering over the last mammoth’s hindquarters.

The two love each other like brothers but, like brothers, the dunderheads can get into some verbal brawls and insult donnybrooks that smack of cage fights where expletives are thrown rather than roundhouse kicks.

So, I was tasked as a Noel diplomat to bring the sparring sides together to assure there would be a reasonably silent night when the time came to hang our stockings with care.

It turned out to be a much easier task than I expected because, by the time I called, the grumps had set aside their political squabble to debate about who was the sickest of the two.

Both were running temperatures capable of heating root cellars and blowing through enough tissues to clear cut the Tongass National Forest.

Willie sounded like a mortally cracked duck call while Turk’s attempts at communicating resulted in various snorts and wheezing only a water buffalo could comprehend.

I knew they wouldn’t get near a medical facility until they had to crawl through its door so I asked my nurse-training-enhanced bride for advice.

She recalled a few years back when I picked up a horrendous head cold virus somewhat akin to the virulent ilk that wiped the dinosaurs off the earth and how Turk came to the rescue with his homemade brew that unclogs sinuses, assassinates viruses, sweats out fevers and dissolves dental plaque.

The purée was hard to disremember.

It smelled like a combination of wolverine breath and Tasmanian devil armpits.

The taste wasn’t much better but a single slug turned my throat numb and I no longer had the urge to cough up a kidney or other vital intestinal quadrants.

With additional ministrations, I was back to my lovable self in three days and breath tolerable within less than a month.

Realizing Turk was too sick to cook up some of his primordial broth and that we had a leftover jug locked in a Hazmat container, I was rolled on a mercy run.

As of this writing, the boys are able to get around on all fours with a high probability of standing upright during the weekend and should make it to the festivities next weekend thanks to a magic elixir.

I’ve have no idea what all goes into the tonic but it works.

Come to think of it, maybe it has a little to do with the catalyst Turk was croaking about when I stopped by with the jug.

He croaked, “Tnks, aul l kned nowl jis sumb Bekardee won fifiee won ta jup sart dis &^%$.”

No wonder it went down so well.

Finally, Jane and I would like to wish everyone the best and merriest of Christmases along with a wonderful new year to come.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: Who is this man?

Over and over again, they struggle to rightly name who he is and what he’s up to

A still from “Casting Maya,” a film about Ascension Bay on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is seen in this screenshot. From Pure Films, the short will be one of nine shown at the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Aug. 10 in Kenai, Alaska. (IF4/flyfilmfest.com)
Anglers’ night out

Annual International Fly Fishing Film Festival returns to Kenai

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

File
Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’