In the early 1980s, when money was no problem and anything was possible, I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse by none other than Mafia Mike, thus becoming the custodian of an important historical icon. Had I known at the time what a maintenance nightmare it would become, I’m not sure I would have been willing to accept the responsibility, regardless of the possibilities—or consequences. Read more.
Looking out the living room window of our duplex on Iliamna Drive I couldn’t have missed Ruby on her hands and knees furiously yanking from the flower bed my newly transplanted flowers. We were new to Alaska, having lived our first year on Government Hill and new to the neighborhood, Susitna View Park, just west of Turnagain-By-the-Sea subdivision, where Mel and Ruby lived. Their son, Norman, and I had become friends. The year was 1954. Read more.
Although Fairbanks had the Malemute Saloon, Juneau had the Red Dog Saloon and even little Homer had the Salty Dawg Saloon, Anchorage had no bar with an authentic Alaskan theme. In 1967, some high school friends and I bought the Bird House Bar, a funky Alaskan themed bar on the Seward Highway. Read more.
The most exciting thing I ever did was mountain climbing. A forty-six year old Spenard bar owner that had smoked for fifteen years and never climbed anything but a bar stool was not exactly a prime candidate for challenging some of the world’s most famous peaks. But in 1993, at age fifty, I had managed to summit the highest peak on six of the seven continents. Read more.
We were sitting at anchor in a small cove on the coast of Kalgan Island waiting for the storm to break and listening to the radio. Somehow, Terry had managed to get a hold of one of the Dobenspeck Cannery secret maps. We were independent fishermen, meaning that we were beholding to no cannery, could sell to whomever we pleased, but as a consequence, not entitled to one of those maps. Read more.
Old-timers can remember when the peanuts were free at Chilkoot Charlie’s. Right about that time, some oil companies paid the state of Alaska $900 million for leases on the North Slope and the rush was on. But, as the establishment's notoriety spread and business grew, it also become a world class hangout for mice. Read more.