Only in Ketchikan


September 29, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska - So, I was thumbing through the newspaper the other day and I came across an odd little classified ad.

jpg Dave Kiffer

Dave Kiffer

"Pampered Chef Party At the Potlatch Bar."

Well, I had to look twice.

I'll admit I haven't been inside the venerable Potlatch for a while. One of the first things I realized when I started doing this local (loco?) political thing was that there wasn't that much political capitol to be gained by getting stinking drunk in public, at least not with the majority of the voting public.

Actually, I already knew that. It's been many, many years since I had more than a glass of wine at dinner. It just makes me tired now that I am officially an old fart.

Besides, once upon a time, I spent way too much time in local watering holes. Usually trying to track down one of my adult male relatives. One of the joys of being the "baby" of the family is that you always get sent on the "shame them into coming home" missions.

But as usual I digress.

Once upon a time, the Potlatch was a pretty rough place what with the fishermen walking in off the docks and then having to be "bounced" back out, several hundred dollars later.

And, of course, there were those little "frank discussions" and "differences of opinion" about the finer things in life (the three Bs) that used to regularly spill out onto the wooden planks of Thomas Street.

And, natch, I did witness more than a couple of folks get the ultimate "bums rush" out of the bar in the good old days. Fortunately, they usually knew how to swim.

But - if the Potlatch is having a Pampered Chef Party - then maybe times really have changed around Our Fair Salmon City.

Maybe it's not too late for the Shamrock and its "Chapel By the Sea" to return.

Or maybe it's just one of those "Only in Ketchikan" moments.

We live in an odd place.

Where else is there a five day waiting period before you can purchase a blue tarp?

Where else does the local utility keep a frozen eagle in the freezer so they drop it at the base of a power pole to "explain" any "unexplainable" power outages?

Where else would you see a classified ad (several years ago) in which a single gentleman "desired to meet a single woman with a boat. Please furnish a picture of the boat"?

Where else does the trash hauler promise "satisfaction guaranteed or double your garbage back"?

Where else but in Ketchikan would a (long ago) school superintendent get pulled over for passing a school bus with its red lights on and then tell the newspaper "I always knew that would happen someday"?

Where else could a candidate for local office say "you'd be idiots to vote for me" and get re-elected?

I've got a million of these, but how about you tell me some of your "only in Ketchikan" moments? Write me at If I get enough of these, I'll put together in "Only In Ketchikan" part two, or three.

I'll leave you with one last "Only in Ketchikan" moment.

Remember that power outtage we had few days ago?

I was standing in the check out line at Wingrens/SeaMart/Carrs/Safeway when the power "glitched" out and the whole store went momentarily dark.

There was complete silence for a few seconds.

And then a woman a couple of aisles over spoke out.

She was obviously an old timer, with a good sense of Ketchikan election history.

"Is there a KPU bond on the ballot?"


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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