Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes they come back

This following historical incident resurfaced during dinner last week when we were matching, “Hey, do you remember when…?” gotchas

I’m sure that most of you have memories that make you smile, scratch your grumpy side, or are just flat weird.

For me, most of my peculiar flashbacks are of pre-adolescent indiscretions that the statute of limitations ran out before my parents realized that the dog really didn’t do it.

My wife has her own mental journal of reflections, one of which concerns an exceedingly rude yearling moose back in the month of February 1998.

This following historical incident resurfaced during dinner last week when we were matching, “Hey, do you remember when…?” gotchas.

I usually go down in flames during these interludes because of my prolonged absences in the high arctic. And, so it went, this time around.

I had just arrived at my job in the high north and was gearing up for a next day sojourn into the Dietrich River Valley, when I decided to call home.

I should have known better.

It seemed like everything waited to go nuts, until I was somewhere else.

Seem familiar? If not, your either lying through your teeth or the farthest away you’ve ever been from the house is to replenish the catalog stash in the outhouse.

Anyway, when I phoned, I found Jane in a bit of a quandary. She said she had been kicked back for the evening and was watching a little tube when a strange thumping started on the east side of the cabin.

At first, she thought it was snow falling off the roof, but the thumping and bumping continued and was making its way along the deck to the front of the cabin. She ventured a peek out the east window and saw nothing but darkness. Same for the front.

Then, she perceived something moving along the west side of the deck and nearing the front door (insert the Twilight Zone theme song).

She flipped on the outside light to see if it was some dipstick miscreant bent on misdeeds and spotted a young bull moose kneeling while scarfing up the shriveled potted flowers spaced along the deck.

Stunned, she decided against a shotgun dissuader and began trying to figure out how she was going to get rid of the interloper.

“No problem,” you say? “Just shoo it away.” you say? Well, that solution blows because most of our deck sets up high enough to give non acclimatized guests nose bleeds.

If she verbally goosed the moose with an abrupt upbraiding, it would probably take a panicked header off the deck. That would have been a bad career move for the juvie Bullwinkle and it would have taken out a large hunk of our labor-intensive railing. Not cool.

While Jane pondered her next move, the moose copped an attitude.

It took a dump the size of Mount Augustine near the barbecue, grunted a couple of times and curled up in front of the door.

She now had a hefty and hairy unsolicited guard moose blocking our entrance.

The hollow haired beast curled up there for hours until it finally decided to get up and patrol the deck, after taking a rude “Niagara” on the welcome mat.

As it drifted away, Jane saw her chance and quietly opened the entryway, stepped out, and, with the cultured civility unique amongst Homeridians, quietly asked. “Would you mind getting the hell off our deck?” The moose stopped, turned, and stared at her for a moment, then turned around, and leisurely ambled down the steps toward my truck. I’m surprised it didn’t ask for the keys.

After that initial encounter, he came back up on the deck several times while she was at work and left enough significant calling cards of nuggets to make a poop swizzle stick manufacturer rich.

He vanished after a week or so of making himself a significant ungulate of interest for the upcoming hunting season.

Why this story from the dusty archives of our age-rusty memories?

Well, because a young bull has shown up lately with the same proclivity for being a nuisance and has been nosing around our deck. Plus, my bride says he has many of the markings of the initial intruder.

Wouldn’t that be cool? A direct descendant of the original demented juvenile delinquent?

Thus, if the critter decides to start leaving hazard waste deposits near our door jam, he will also become immediately eligible as an elite, freezable, culinary asset, proving it’s not always a Stephen King thing when, “Sometimes they come back.”

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t chasing down a knocking, knocking, at his cabin’s door. Poe can be such a jerk.

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