New Media for Alaska's Patriotic Voices
By Bob Pratt
I decided to go out this morning for coffee at the Moose Caboose Café. This place has five stools at the lunch bar, two tables, eight chairs, one grill in the back, and one Bun-O-Matic coffee maker facing the Tuesday mid-morning rush in February----that is to say, me and Hopeless Olson.
“How are you this morning, Bob?” Hopeless asked glumly.
“Fine as frog’s hair,” I assured him, nimbly sliding onto one of the dark red vinyl stools patched with silver duck tape. “Coffee up!” I called to Chef Willie, who was taking a smoke break, standing just outside the open back door of the place.
“Coffee up yourself,” he growled, waving me and my black and red Buffalo plaid coat at the Bun-O-Matic. “You know how to pour yourself a cup of coffee.”
I dodged past Hopeless, and found my favorite mug in the jumbled assortment standing ready on the back counter. It holds about three cups of coffee, is cream colored, with the words, “Norsk Nook” emblazoned across one side, with a swirl of roses all around the words.
“You like that cup,” Hopeless noted.
“Ummm….” I said, pouring most of the fresh pot of coffee into it.
“My Mom is Norwegian,” Hopeless said.
“So what’s your Dad? Swedish?”
“No, he’s Norwegian, too,” Hopeless added as an afterthought.
I settled back on my bar stool, sipped the blazing hot java, and said nothing.
“She’s all upset with the way politics are going,” Hopeless added a full minute later.
I waited another minute and then asked, “What’s she doing about it?”
“Oh, she and some of the other ladies at church formed a new group.”
“Is that so?”
“Yep,” he informed me. “They call it the Norwegian Grandmothers Mutual Aid and Terrorist Society.”
I forced myself to continue staring blankly into space over the top of my steaming mug of coffee and waited for another full minute to pass by.
“Is your Mom a terrorist?” I finally asked.
“No!” Hopeless gasped. “She’s not a terrorist. She’s just saying that.”
“You’re sure of that, are you?” I lifted my left eyebrow and gave him a slanted look out of the corner of my eye.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Hopeless huffed indignantly. “She’s just mad at the government. Here!”
He thrust a photograph at me. It showed a large ball of pink yarn with two knitting needles stuck akimbo and clear through it.
“I wouldn’t be sharing that with just anybody, Hopeless,” I said. “They might report your Mom to the FBI.”
“It is a pretty violent image,” I said. “We can’t have kids seeing something like that.”
He looked at me. He looked at the photograph.
I threw back my head and laughed so hard coffee spewed out my nose and I couldn’t breathe, imagining all the lean, mean guys at the FBI with their Glock 17’s at the ready, busting in on Mrs. Olson and her friends, but the fact is, there are people dumb enough to report it. The FBI is probably dumb enough to follow up on it, too.
“So maybe I shouldn’t be handing these out?” Hopeless asked, and then he dug in one pocket and pulled out a handful of iron-on embroidered patches, showing the same ball of pink yarn skewered with knitting needles emblem, and the words, “Norwegian Grandmothers Mutual Aid and Terrorist Society” in gold letters.
I thought about this for a moment and was suddenly feeling very grim and calm.
“No, Hopeless, you should hand these out,” I said, and I reached for one. “In fact, give me a few and I’ll hand them out, too.”
If you see a tall, broad-shouldered, slightly stooped man with white hair and pale blue eyes , wearing jeans and hiking boots and a red and black Buffalo plaid coat, with an emblem such as I just described on the right shoulder----that’s probably me. Call the FBI.