|The identity of B.B. is unknown|
During the nineteen years the Of Moose and Men column ran in the paper one of the regular characters was named Blizzard Bob (B.B.). For whatever reason, B.B. was the favorite of both the readers and myself. B.B. was a train wreck. Readers often volunteered an oath of secrecy if I would just divulge who B.B. really was. I never revealed his true identity. I couldn’t.
Like most writers, my characters are conglomerations of people I know, or have seen. Truth be told, if one real person did all the dumb stuff attributed to B.B., that person would have taken up residence in a pine box long before the column ran its course. That’s what made B.B. so likeable: we all do goofy things. Readers could easily see themselves, someone they knew, or a situation they had experienced in the things B.B. said and did.
From running his turbo-charged Belchflame Spewmaster snow thrower, to smoking freezer burned salmon in the spring, to hunting/fishing/mining mishaps, B.B. personifies the Alaskan inner child. He’s committed to experiencing life to the fullest while being too clueless to get rattled and always maintaining an irrepressible optimism. What’s not to like?
|B.B. - a man of (mis)adventures!|
More often than I’d like to admit I was “B.B. of the week.” As an example there is the time I got my foot stuck in a suction dredge hose, lost my balance and fell down in the water, flailing wildly about in and effort to stand back up. I nearly drowned because my mining buddy was too busy laughing at me to help out.
Most B.B.’s, if they recognized themselves, got a kick out of seeing the caricature in the paper, but not always. When a good friend used several cases of spray paint to revitalize the outside of his obviously road-weary motor home and it became a B.B. moment, his wife was not happy.
|Success is rarely large for B.B.|
“I have a bone to pick with you, A.E.,” she growled at me during a party, “I don’t appreciate you writing about my husband in your column.”
“Don’t get upset, there’s no harm,” I assured her, “I didn’t use his name.”
“You didn’t have to!” she snapped back. “Everyone on the North Road knows who you were writing about!”
Fortunately, she calmed down after awhile, but would frequently admonish, “I better not see this in the paper,” whenever her husband and I did something together.
|B.B. borrowed this halibut for the picture.|
After finishing up the novel Somewhere West of Roads in December I took a few weeks off to ponder what project to take up next. Since B.B. is so much fun, I’ve decided to work on the third volume in the Of Moose and Men series, using just material with B.B. in it. Pure B.B., no BS. Along the way, I’ll be sharing a few of the pieces in this blog.
Shameless Plug: If you haven’t already met B.B., he (along with the other members of the NoRSMen group) can be found in several pieces in the first two volumes in the Of Moose and Men series, available as e-books. Click on this link to visit Amazon and check them out.