Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: The spring emergence of Willie

He grudgingly skulks out of hibernation only when the sun has decisively conquered the last drifts of winter

There is one thing about spring that I don’t look forward to and it’s the emergence of the Willie’s grump. His isolationist attitude this time of year is customarily laced with so many colorful expletives that they could turn vibrant portraits of spring flowered landscapes into lead etchings.

As stirring flora dons the assorted green garbs of summer and eagles’ fuss with their nests finishing touches, he grudgingly skulks out of hibernation only when the sun has decisively conquered the last drifts of winter.

The old boy then procrastinates until a few days before the Memorial Day weekend to start snarking about what he refers to the coming of the hordes from the north along with invading legions, “from those lower lesser states.”

According to W.W., the northern interlopers are Alaskans dwelling north of the Seward cutoff and the invading legions are inclusive of any visitors from the rest of the world arriving by motor homes, cruise ships, planes, scooters, bicycles, saddle broke Great Danes or ducks walking the Chilkoot Trail.

He thinks that the Lower 48 is an allied country and that Anchorage should be. If it were up to him, he would require sightseers to apply for 72-hour, once-in-a-lifetime, visas and then finish the rest of their gawking via the Discovery Channel. One positive. He is quite amicable toward some metropolitans visiting from Soldotna and Kenai though. Probably because they’re kin and bring beer.

Turk and I have tried to reason with him but how do you get through to someone who thinks Canada is a planet and that the internet is some sort of commercial fishing gear?

We have explained numerous times that tourists mean jobs and a healthy local economy but all we get back is a stare so vacant that it has an echo.

His version of a “local healthy economy” is where his neighbors have so many free-range chickens roving around they don’t miss a few, skillet-eligible, capons when his truck’s on blocks and he can’t bumper hunt for pheasants.

Don’t get me wrong, Willie is not totally injudicious. He is an unquestionable asset to society because of his remarkable amount community service. The fact that it’s court ordered shouldn’t detract from the fact.

On an upbeat note, over the winter, he decided to clean up his image. He finally put together a means of transportation that could make it to town and back with as many functional components as it had when he left.

The rig is unique because it has so many different patches and parts that it is nearly impossible to tell it’s an ancient Ford flatbed. He claims its new features are relatively sound although sports some idiosyncrasies.

The elderly delinquent has installed what looks like a large discarded Jacuzzi shell as a cargo bed along with canvas doors accentuated with stretch webbing for the cab.

He is still trouble shooting the exhaust system that continues to sound like a Harley with a serious intestinal issue. The adjustments are critical so that the beast’s backfires will no longer pose the threat of blowing out the headlights of the cars behind him.

He’s pretty proud of his refurbished transportation, if for no other reason than the mods should allow him to cruise without shedding rust and Macgyvered parts.

Having functional wheels also seems to have changed his attitude about the upcoming turf interlopers headed his way.

He admits that, this summer, he might not mind them “fertin’ around ville” if they don’t stay too long. It could be that, he just might want to show his rig off a bit.

Turk thinks its cool that Willie is up for a little stylin’ around but is somewhat troubled by the empty cases of Gorilla Glue we discovered in his workshop.

Let’s hope that goop is as great as their commercials claim. W’s grump is going to grow horns if his beast ends up back on blocks because of a catastrophic product failure. Especially, if he ends up doing community service again for serious equipment violations as visitors roam free.

The new ChatGPT artificial intelligence creative writing program would have a meltdown if tasked to match his generation of innovative expletives when things go sideways.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t ducking calls from Willie asking him to come along on his first run to town in his latest Frankenrig.

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