Just like the 'bearded lady' or the 'circus midget'....or the rouge clown, we have been being looked upon as some questionable race. In our case not circus freaks, but Artesians. Now we had no idea that anybody in or out of their right mind would be thinking such a thing of us. I always thought that Artesians were those people who made Olympia beer?! You remember, the big Artesian craze of the 80's. It has long since been put to rest along with the hype, shirts, bumper stickers and many commercials....although I did know a friend in Arnold who has an old worn bumper sticker on his snow cat which reads, "Artesian Search & Rescue". Obviously a collectors item! But yes, we have lived here for almost 2 months now and mystery, intrigue, and desire to just know, "what does an Artesian look like" has loomed thick in the air here in our neighborhood. That question and the twisted mind of that which wondered such curiosity finally surfaced in a brief and non-introductive encounter yesterday.
We have been blessed to have lived around some pretty interesting people in the past 17 years. It started when I moved into the apartment on Santiago in Stockton. The old guy in the 4-plex unit across the driveway from me. No matter how friendly I was, no matter what 'good day' greeting I sent his way...the guy was a jerk. Never said a word, always just stared at me, or shot dirty looks. I'll never forget the friend of his that pulled up to his place in a Cadillac one day and was slumped over the seat for almost half an hour. We called 911 because we thought he was having a heart attack or something. Turns out he had a physical handicap, and he had to get over the exhaustion of driving before he could muster up the energy to get out of the car and walk to the front door! Then we moved to Arnold. We lived 2 doors down from 'Nick the Greek'. He was a hot headed biker, of Mediteranian blood who was always pissed off at something or someone, chased down snow plow drivers for burming up his driveway in the winter, was constantly arguing with his girlfriend....outside his house, ect. I remember one time sitting on our little upper balcony enjoying the day, when Nick and Katrina came outside their house and sat and argued for what seemed like an hour. The last words that we were able to make out were shouted by Nick as Katrina slammed the door going back inside. Then exactly 4 and a half minutes of silence......followed by the front door slamming again. The next thing we see is Katrina's Jeep Cherokee backing down the driveway to the road...and backing....and backing....and backing right across the road, down the embankment across from their drive, bouncing off of trees as it made its way to the next road down below. Turns out Nick caught her cheating and decided to take her rig out of drive while it sat on their sloping driveway....you get the picture! As it was, Nick was really a pretty nice guy once you got to know him. Just had a reputation as the 'loose cannon of Grenoble Dr.' Come to think of it, the Sheriffs Dept, and the CHP sure did love to visit ol Nick. He always had them over day or night. Then we move up to Dorrington years later. Did you know that when we moved onto Shoshone, we were the only full-time people for a half mile or more either direction? We were! Except for the old retired Postal Worker who lived on the road above us. Al was a nice guy. He always referred to anyone who had anything to do with politics as a 'commie pinkie'. Didn't like to have anything to do with many folks, just wanted to be left alone. The interesting one was the guy and his wife who lived right behind us. Mind you, it was their vacation home, so we only got the opportunity to deal with their crap once a month or so....if we were lucky. He thought he was the mayor of Dorrington....and if anyone knows the size of Dorrington, it doesn't even have a town forum. He used to leave his dog out all night in the summer and the thing would bark for a half hour, every few hours throughout the night and he wouldn't shut the thing up. When Maryann called him on it one day, he tells her as a matter of factly, "he (the dog) keeps the racoon's away". Yeah! Interestingly enough, that all came to a halt when I started aiming the stereo speakers out the back windows cranking out Ozzy Osbourne during his Sunday barb ques out on his deck, enjoying the mountains. Do ya think he figured that out?!?! Then there is the time I am home one morning. It had snowed over a foot or so over the course of 4 days, and I get a call form Al asking me if I could come up to his place for a minute. So I gear up and walk up behind the cabin on my way up to his and find him standing out in the snow, completely befuddled, staring down at the snow, which is smouldering..... I am thinking, what the hell?..... Turns out the ding dong behind us, you remember him....the Ozzy fan, had dumped his hot ashes from his wood stove on his and Als property line several days before. Apparently he didn't realize that the snow acts as an insulator, and when he thought he was doing right by dumping hot coals into the snow.....they actually melted through the snow and down into the soft, dry, rotting duff, where they smoldered for days until this particular morning when now, a large Douglas Fir tree was being slow burned at the base. It took Al and I an hour with a frozen hose and a shovel to completely extinguish the area. Thank god Al was full time, or we would have had a wild fire...in the middle of winter! Don't worry Phil and Leanne, Ken has long since moved to another unsuspecting neighborhood in Dorrington. Last I saw, they were clear cutting the forest right across the road from his new house to start building a new subdivision! I particularly love the story of 'crazy Dave' and 'crazier Dave'. Bob and Joann will have to hopefully comment on the blog one day to tell that story. Something about their neighbor whom was known as 'crazy Dave' up in British Columbia. Until they met their other neighbor who became known as 'crazier Dave'. I have heard the stories. Oh they are hilarious man!
Which brings me back to our confusing title of being Artisians. See, we met the guy down the road, Scott, a couple weeks ago. Really nice guy. He is the one who coaxed Maryann into burgering Bullwinkle. Anyways, he tells us of the guy who lives down the road from him who has been deemed 'crazy Jack'. Oh dear. One of the reasons we moved to Alaska was to just get away from eccentric neighbors. But, here we are, back into our ever so familiar world of ....well...yeah. Maryann and Michelle are out at the end of our drive yesterday shoveling up some of the gravel burm the the borough grader had made when it came down our gravel road to try and smooth it out. They do that several times a year. We needed some of the road base to help fill some pot holes in our drive. Maryann notices these 3 dogs coming down the road towards them, and recognizes them as crazy Jacks' dogs. So she tells Michelle to head off the dogs as she sprints down our drive to put up Cherokee and Kenai, whom would most certainly start a bru-haha with crazy Jacks' dogs, given the chance. In the mean time Jack is yelling down the road for them to come back. As it would, Jacks dogs don't listen to Jack....at all! He ended up having to get into his truck and come down to get them. Meanwhile Michelle is distracting his dogs while Maryann gathers ours to put them in the house. Mind you, other than a few stories, this is our first act of any communication with Jack. He parks the truck and jumps out telling the dogs to go home. They aren't listening a bit. Mean time he looks at Michelle and says something like, "yeah, I heard that Artisians moved into this place.....you don't look like an Artesian".... Michelle is wondering if she should use the shovel, or just drop it and run. After a very brief contact, maybe a minute or less, Maryann is coming back up the drive and Michelle shoots her a glance like..."help me".....as he attempts to round up his dogs while wildly looking around like some confused buffoon, explaining to Michelle that they aren't really his, but that friends keep leaving their dogs with him to look after. He tells Michelle to have a nice night, gets back into his truck and drives back down the road to his place, with his dogs....rather his friends' dogs.... following behind. Now Maryann hears of all of this and is rendered somewhat speechless.....she thinks to herself, what is an Artesian? Being the research hound that she is, she immediately goes back into the house and gets on the computer and Googles the word "Artesian". Of course, all kinds of Olympia beer propaganda pops up. But after sorting through the junk, she finally finds out that the word refers to 'artists'. Artisans! Not Artesians!! We figured out that crazy Jack misunderstood our other neighbor Scott, who had heard from the former owner of our house, that artisans from California were moving in. Somehow the line of communication got all bent out of shape, and he has been in suspense the past month wondering what an Artesian was, and why did some live on his road! Aye, aye! Mind you, Jack does wave to John, Maryann, and myself when we pass on the road. He just couldn't wait to meet an Artesian. Of course, doesn't it figure that the 2nd week we were here, I was getting gas in Nikiski, and watched Jack pull up, go inside to buy BEER, and then leave. Wonder if Olympia is his beer of choice?! So brings new meaning to the expression "the squirrel collects nuts in the woods"! Have a great weekend, and tell us a story Bob and Joanne!