Late this afternoon, as I pulled into Metro Cafe, I was surprised to see the coffee shop's trademark Metro
Entries in Scot (5)
Happy birthday, Carmen; I interrupt my Kivgiq work to go bring Margie home; Kalib comes back with us; back to Kivgiq
As Carmen was showing me the cards, Scot walked in. Of Scot, Carmen told me this: "God created us to
Scot smooched Carmen as Branson smiled politely. The cake was decorated with a
I decided to blend two Metro Cafe shoots together today, in part because I was busy working on my India series when I shot the first on April 18, and this blend gives me a good excuse to still run it. The other reason is because both are about Scot Starheim and his six-year old hockey star son Branson, yet Branson is only pictured in one of the shoots - this one.
In the spring, Scot parks the little Metro car and the Metro van he refurbished in Metro Cafe colors with the Metro Cafe logo out in front of the coffee shop to attract passers by. In the fall, he moves them into shelter to protect them from the weather.
This was the day he decided to park the Metros out in front of Metro. Branson joined him out back and then Scot let him hold the wheel as they slowly crossed about half the parking lot.
Scot's mechanical and inventive talents go way beyond refurbishing Metro vans and cars, as well as his beautiful red Corvette that I must one day soon post a picture of. Awhile back, Scot got interested in gold mining. He looked at many different apparatuses miners and engineers had come up with to extract gold from the earth, but even the best of them did not succeed in pulling out all the gold that passed through them.
So he designed and made his own "Super Sluice Box." I stress this is not the real name of the apparatus. Scot has yet to come up with a name for it. But it does what a sluice box does, but in super size and super effective.
Before they reached the spot where the Metro car would spend the sunny months attracting coffee drinkers and such, Branson had to scoot over into the passenger seat. Greg directed Scot as he guided the Metro into its billboard spot.
To meet his own requirements, Scot had to design his Super Sluice Box to accomplish two things: it had to trap every single fleck of gold that passed through it. Most mining operations eject a substantial amount of gold into the tailings.
And it had to be environmentally friendly. Scot has made his career on designing, implementing and running systems to keep Arctic oil operations as clean and environmentally safe as possible and to catch spilled oil, so he had the environmental know how.
Once the Metro car was parked, Branson took over the heavy lifting and rebuilt the short block wall behind it.
I will not attempt to explain how Scot's Super Sluice Box traps every fleck of gold, as I would have to fully understand the process first and I don't. Scot did explain the basic concept, though. Gold is 19 times heavier than water and nine times heavier on the average than other minerals and this is why gold panners and sluice box users alike use water to wash away dirt, gravel, and whatever else might be in the earth while leaving the gold behind.
Yet, gold does escape. Scot has designed a system that employs several small holding tanks and piping apparatus and he tells it will trap every single speck of gold.
Once they had parked the Metro car, it was time to go get the Metro van.
As you can see, a host of folks had come by. Some had helped him put it together. The two guys in black had come to give its safety features a critical look, because federal inspectors are certainly going to, and to offer any suggestions they might think of. A spectator or two drifted in and out as well.
I got everybody's names on a small sheet of paper, but damned if that small sheet of paper didn't somehow disappear. I have looked every place it could possibly be, but it is not in any of them, which is impossible, but true.
I could name some, but then the ones I didn't name might feel left out.
Greg joined Branson and Scot as he drove into the parking lot, headed for the Metro Van's summer billboard parking spot.
You probably wonder how Branson fits into this story. Scot faces a bit of a dilemma - should he rent his Super Sluice Box out to miners who already have proven claims with gold to be mined, start constructing more and make his money that way? Or should he stake his own, unproven claim, take it out and maybe come out with not much?
His good business sense tells him he should market it out.
Yet, if he were to go out and mine his own claim, he would take his boy, Branson with him. Branson would learn how to do it all. Branson could one day be the boss of the whole operation.
Scot was joking, laughing, picturing his son bossing tough looking crews like these rugged hands around. "C'mon, get your lazy... to work! Let's finish this! I've got to get to the second grade!"
After his father parked the Metro van, Branson took over the driver's seat. He didn't go anywhere at all, and yet he drove further and faster than anyone had ever driven a Metro van before.
One Friday night when I was in the middle of the process of putting together my David Alan Harvey Loft workshop series, I took a break to drive to Anchorage where Branson and his Alaska Avalanche hockey team of six-to-nine year olds was about to compete in a six-minute, running-clock, exhibition game on the same ice where the Anchorage Aces would take on the Stockton Thunder.
Branson arrived early with his dad and mom, Scot and Carmen Starheim, owners and operators of Metro Cafe. Here is six-year old Branson with mom Carmen at the gate to the Sullivan Arena. Dad Scot had disappeared to take care of some task that needed taking care of.
Once inside, the family accompanied Branson to the VIP room, where he got to dine on diced beef, pasta, salad and corn chips. Afterward, he needed to pick his teeth.
In the VIP room, Branson engaged a very tall man in some hockey talk. Clearly, the man was impressed. Branson knows his hockey talk.
Branson joins his family in the bleachers to watch the first period of Aces-Thunder competition. Carmen adjusts Branson's hair so that he can be presentable to pose with his grandparents, Tony and Eva Villasenor, originally from a small village in Mexico. They did not move to Anchorage until Carmen was ten. Her early life was spent barefoot on dirt floors. They had no cameras and so Carmen has only one photo from her early childhood in Mexico.
Branson with his grandparents.
Branson with grandparents, mom, aunts, uncles, cousin and friends.
The Avalanche exhibition will be played during the break between the first and second periods. As the Aces skate onto the ice, Branson and his dad point out different players to each other.
The Aces score the first goal. Branson and his dad celebrate.
Soon it is time for Branson to go down to the doors that open onto the ice and to get ready to compete. His dad joins him.
Branson, stick in hand, helmet on head, ready to go do battle on the same ice where the Aces now skate. He and his teammates will compete against each other before the same crowd that the Aces do their own battle on.
I will post Part 2 later today, which will feature not only Branson but his whole team, the Aces, and Boomer -their polar bear mascot.