Courtesy of Wikipedia: Six degrees of separation is the hypothesis that anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries.

Okay…so you’re probably wondering how I might “possibly” be linked to Country Superstar Sara Evans. Well, I’m not. But thanks for the six degrees of separation, I can claim that I am only ONE link away from her!

My story:
I grew up in a very small town in Alaska called Homer. Homer is on Kachemak Bay and was a central hub for A LOT of the fish processing (salmon, king crab, shrimp, etc) that took place in the state. Every summer, the locals would be bombarded by kids from the lower 48 (our town’s population would swell from 5,000 in the winter to over 10,000 in the summer) and tourists from all over the world. Imagine a 5 mile long peninsula trying to hold almost half of those folks! It was called “tent city” in those days. Here’s the Homer Spit. Here’s where I went to High School (it has nothing to do with my story…it’s just cool).

Anyway…on with the story. My best friend Dina and I had been working here for the last 4 summers and were tired of the charter industry (long hours and not so great pay). So…we decided to join the rest of the “spit rats” (the people who dwelled on the spit for the summer) and go to work at a cannery/processing plant. So we went to one that was just opening up and applied. We spoke with an older gentleman named Frank Schelske and after asking us a few questions, he decided we weren’t felons (which wouldn’t necessarily have prevented our employment…it was simply prescreening, you understand) and so we were hired on the spot (not always a good thing). We were told to come back the next day at 7 am for our first day of work and to have a pair of chest waders, heavy duty gloves, and some really thick, cushiony socks on. Oh…and lunch. They would supply the fish. All in all, we were pretty unimpressed – of course, being single, 19-year olds, we were hoping that there would be lots of good looking California guys there (there were none)…mostly, there were tired bearded had-one-too-many-last-night and haven’t-taken-a-shower-in-a-week kind of guys there applying.

So we showed up the next morning…decked out in our sexy chest waders that made us look like we were trying out for the German Women’s Olympic Fish Processing Team. The first thing we noticed when we walked in the door was that they were having some sort of meeting in the back of the plant (it was only 6:50, people!) and so we walked back there to find out what was going on. This next bit is sort of like a 1920’s comedy bit…imagine if you will: as soon as we got to the back, every one that was back there turned around and filed around us without a word and walked to the other end of the plant. Dina and I just looked at each other. So we started off towards them. When we got to THAT end, they again turned…but I stopped them by saying, “What…do we stink or something?” was followed by a smattering of uncomfortable laughter, but it broke the ice…apparently, they were waiting for the “big bosses” to come out and were telling a dirty joke and didn’t want us to hear….that was when we realized there were about 40 men and 2 girls. Us. And no more. Jeepers Creepers. They were, in their own way, protecting us.

When the “big bosses” finally came out of their meeting in the office, it took everything I had not to have to pick up my jaw off the floor. Out of the office walked three of the most gorgeous men I had ever seen in my life…at least up close. Three sons of the owner….all Oregonians…all going to be there for the summer to run the plant with their dad. Suddenly, things were looking up. Dina and I were singled out by them immediately – the men were told that there would be absolutely NO sexual harrassment…(can you actually expect 40 men NOT to say crude things working on a slime line? I think not).

The boys were the Schelske brothers…all in their early 20’s and all single. Dina and I spent the summer learning more about them and finding every reason in the world to work overtime. :o) We spent a lot of time listening to them sing their music after work (they were the founders of a band called North Santiam) and learning to play the drums and do vocal harmonies. It was probably one of the best summers of my life. I had a secret crush on Craig, although he never showed any interest in me….but he was by far, the nicest and best looking. :o) He’s the one pictured in the center of the band’s website….the other two guys were not in AK and only one of them is a brother. I STILL have my autographed picture of them, because I was SURE they would make it big in country music one day. One of them did…sort of.

To make a long story short…the band moved to Nashville in the early 90’s. Craig met Sara Evans and the rest is history. They have been married for 13 years this Monday Sept. 25th. Funny thing is…I’ve never been sad about it. She’s a beautiful girl and he’s a wonderful guy…maybe next time the voters in Oregon will get some sense and vote him into Congress!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *