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MACKINAW MEMORIES: Cows, Cubs, and Service

September 25, 2012
Filed in: Mackinaw Memories

Dear Mr. Filson,

You have asked for my life story. I am a blue checked cruiser. You made me about 1955. I traveled by Alaska Steam to the O. Kraft and Son store in Kodiak, Alaska. I was purchased by Peggy Sutliff. I don’t remember what I cost but even then I wasn’t cheap. As you will see, I am a great value. Peggy moved to Kodiak in 1940 to marry her husband of the next 61 years. Our life together started on the Flying H cattle ranch where Peggy took her kids for the summer. We hauled water, branded calves, and put up hay. I spent weeks on horse back herding cattle .Before studded tires, we had to put on tire chains. It was no fun laying in the wet snow putting chains on her old ’49 Plymouth station wagon. But, I kept her warm. Mr. Sutliff owned a Super Cub so we fished Rainbow trout and Silver salmon every summer. I helped Peggy shoot at least one deer every fall for over 30 years. I spent about a thousand hours in the back seat of that cub. It was noisy as hell. On march 27, 1964, the great Alaska earth quake hit. The town of Kodiak was destroyed by the ensuing Tsunami. Peggy had been a Red Cross volunteer since World War 2. We spent the next month coordinating disaster relief to families that had lost everything. You may not appreciate how miserable the weather is in Kodiak in March. It rains sideways. I was O. K. because you made me out of the best wool in the world. Speaking of the Red Cross, Peggy received the Harriman Award for distinguished volunteer service. I was NOT invited to the reception with Elizabeth Dole in Washington, D. C. When Peggy died, at age 87, I moved in with her daughter in law, Page, a life long Alaskan. Page also flies a cub on floats to hike, hunt, and pick berries; still noisy. My cuffs have been reinforced and buttons re sewn. I’m good for another 50 years.

Sincerely,
Blue Checked Cruiser

P. S. I don’t have hand warmer pockets. In my day it was considered lazy to put hands in pockets.

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