Speaking of Roquefort and Rusty

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008

May I offer a potpourri of reminiscences and interesting events and updates on recent stories?

What do I miss most in Juneau from the past? The answer is Mike's Place in Douglas and the wonderful Roquefort salad dressing.

What about a strange encounter from the Twilight Zone?

A robust little fellow came into my son's shop a month or so ago with his mother and grandmother. Initiating a conversation, I asked how old he was and where he came from.

"I'm a 3rd grader from Orlando, Florida."

"What's your name?"

He gave me a four piece nom de guerre.

I responded, "That's a mighty big name for such a tiny little man."

"They call me by one of my middle names."

"Why not just Jim?"

"I prefer it that way."

"Where does the second middle name Struan come from and what does it mean?"

His grandmother's eyes lighted up. "That's from the Ku Klux Klan."

That shut me up and shortly after I said goodbye. I looked up Struan in the dictionary but couldn't find anything.

A couple of years ago I wrote of Rusty, the three legged wonder dog who long evaded the long arm of the law while busily strolling the streets of Juneau. In that early story I wrote:

"As a pup Rusty was injured in a car accident and lost his entire left hind leg. But he moves well on three. Some of the habitués of South Franklin call him Tripod. He looks like a small fox with a prominent upright ears, but chunkier in the body. He only weighs about 15 pounds. But what a traveler he is. You probably have seen him busily navigating the streets of Juneau from the boat harbor to the heart of downtown and up the hill and along the waterfront."

I got a call from Petersburg a few days ago and this is what I learned about Rusty's latest adventure. At the age of fourteen he was finally caught by the dog catcher and taken out to the pound. Fortunately, for him there was a young boy from Petersburg visiting in Juneau. He was only about 6 years old, and was looking for a pet. He saw Rusty and fell in love.

Now 16 years old, Rusty is spending his retirement in Petersburg, sleeping a lot like old men often do, but still able to circulate actively on his three legs, when he gets off the leash. He moves quickly, never loitering too long in one place but covering the whole scene, just as he did when he sped up Franklin for a turn on fourth to Calhoun to survey the Governor's Mansion before heading for the waterfront.

• Lifelong Alaskan Elton Engstrom is a retired fish buyer, lawyer and legislator (1964-70) who lives in Juneau.

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