Pioneer Potluck: My family, Estes Park, Bernie and bikinis

Boulder, Colorad0, 1995


Bernie and Ann’s trip to Colorado, continued

On our trip to Estes Park, it was so crowded and full of stores, I did not recognize it. The only thing I did recognize was the taffy store and the little section of the river that is now the middle of town, where we had our picnics in 1945. Dad and Mom amd Grandma and Grandpa and Uncles Les and Marvin always made a long trip to Estes Park each summer. This is a story I will expand on later.

Ginger drove Mom, Bernie and me up to Estes Park. Elaine and her girls were in another car. As we were walking down the street, we ran into our niece Jill, who was working at Highlands Park Church Camp. We had so much fun and Mom, who had the first stages of Alzheimer’s, did too, in her quiet little world. She grinned from ear to ear as she licked on a hand-dipped ice cream cone. We all joined her, licking away! It was so good.

Then Bernie spotted a photography place where they had nice looking beautiful curvy bodies on a background photograph and you stuck your head through the cut-out and they photographed your face on the body. We got to pick out the body we wanted. Bernie picked the skinny curvy body with blonde hair and I picked a curvy brunette. They both had skimpy bikinis on. That would be the only time I would wear a skimpy bikini.

The bathing beauties were surrounded by a couple of hunk-a-men in skimpy bathing trunks. We had our photos taken with the crowd of people peering in the shop window, watching these two grown ladies, Bernie and I, laughing until the tears rolled down checks. “Wait and till King and Bob see us!” (Bernie has that tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks affect on me whenever we go and whatever we are doing!)

Bernie was going to take her photo home to Alaska in her suitcase and show it to King. I had a better plan. When we got back to Boulder from Estes Park and Ginger’s house, brother Jim was there from Grand Junction. I asked him to mail the picture from Grand Junction, when he got back. I wanted to see Bob’s reaction when he got a sexy photo of two lovely gals in bikinis in the mail, with a post mark Grand Junction, Colorado.

When we got back to Alaska, and not without many incidents, I might add, as you see I was traveling with Bernie, the envelope arrived from Grand Junction, marked Mr. Robert Ricks and the words “confidential” written in big red letters on the bottom. As I am the controller of the post office key, I had this situation under control! I eagerly waited for him to open the big envelope, not appearing to be too snoopy or anxious. He pulled the photo half way out, looked at me and I thought the game was over! Instead he said to me, “YOU are not going to believe this!” I innocently asked why? He said, “Now-now I don’t know these gals!”

Then he pulled the photo of Bernie and me in our bikinis out of the envelope. He looked and looked and then he had another look and then looked at me. I thought the jig was up.

He handed the photo to me and said, “Do you know who these gals are?”

I took my time and looked and said, “No, but the guys are sure nice-looking hunk-a- hunks!”

He said, “And the girls?” I said, “I don’t know who they are.” Bob said in total innocence, “I wonder who would send this to me?” as he looked at the postmark. “Oh, from Grand Junction, must’ve been from your brother.” I said, “No, he is in Boulder with Mom and Ginger”— a big white lie! I said, “Are you sure you don’t know them?” And then he said “The blonde (Bernie) isn’t too bad looking but the brunette,” (me) studying the bodies, continued, “not a nice face, but a good body, guess I prefer blondes!”

I almost grabbed the photo and smacked him with it and almost told him who the brunette and who the blonde was, but that would’ve spoiled all the fun even though I was little fumed inside. Serves me right!

I personally think he never recognized either one of us, as he never looked at our faces, just a skimpy bikini clad bodies. This little game went on for months. Every once in a while he would say, “Wonder who sent those photos?” and I’d say, “What are you going to do with it?” “I don’t know,” he would say and put it back in his little drawer of things he keeps for years.

Finally at one of our bonfires with old bonfire gang standing around, Bernie and I could not stand it any longer. We had to tell Bob! So I went and got the photo, passed it around to everybody standing around the bonfire, asking the question, “Do you know these people?”

The remark from the gals at the bonfire was, “Look at the bods on those on the guys!” And the guys would say, “Look at the bikinis on those gals,” and then when it got back to Bob he took another look. I am sure he only looked at the skimpy bikini bodies! Finally I said, “Look at that face.” He said, “OK I still don’t recognize her.”

Bernie and I at the same time said, “It’s me!” He looked at the faces, I am sure, for the first time, then looked at us, started laughing. I’m not sure if he was laughing at us or with us!

When Bernie got home from our trip she showed King and ask him if he knew they were. He knew it was Bernie right away. I still think Bob studied the bodies in the bikinis and didn’t give a second look at our face. Well he can dream; touching is what will hurt hum.

Next week: Bernie and me on our way home — “hot wheelies” at the Anchorage airport.

The Pioneer Potluck series is written by 50-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipesfrom family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes andfood came from her mother, a self-taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring asmile to your day. Grannie Annie can be reached at


From Kelly and Kristina

I have had the pleasure of knowing two sweet gals Kelly and Kristina for years. On one occasion they repeated this recipe to me because they said it was so good. It was and it is! Thank you so much girls!

In a foil lined 9 x 13 pan, place:

2 cups cubed chicken (or turkey)

4 cups chopped broccoli

OR 2- 10 oz pkg of frozen broccoli thawed and well drained

1 onion sliced and diced

1 can mushroom pieces

In a small mixing bowl mix:

2 cans of cream of mushroom, cream of celery or in a pinch cream of chicken-undiluted

1 cup mayonnaise or sour cream

1 Tblsp lemon juice

1/2 tea curry powder

1/2 tea dry mustard

Mix and pour over chicken and broccoli

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Take out and sprinkle with shredded cheese and sprinkle top with salt and pepper. Place bake in oven for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with sourdough bread. Enjoy!


I just made these again and remembered, again, how tender and moist they are.

In a bowl:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl:

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk or milk with 1 tblsp vinegar mixed in and let set for 5 minutes

With a wooden spoon, mix well, until the brown sugar is liquid. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and stir to mix well.

Fold in:

1 1/2 cups small diced rhubarb and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Spoon into 24 small well oiled muffin tins. Can use paper liners.

Sprinkle with:

1 tbsp melted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place in 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Test to see if middle is done. Enjoy every morsel!

NOTE: Take out of muffin tins as soon as you can handle them while they are warm. Tip muffin on side so bottoms will not get soggy. Let cool completely. If they have not been eaten, by the goblins in your house, freeze two by two in baggies. They thaw in 10 seconds in Microwave. They get soggy, (because of the rhubarb), if set out at room temp.


This is on page 64 of my cookbook “Grannie Annies Cookin’ Fish From Cold Alaskan Waters”

2 cups of cooked salmon or halibut OR 1 pint of canned salmon or halibut-in chunks

In a large pot cook:

1 pkg of spaghetti noodles or thin fettuccine noodles until al-dente. Drain and keep warm.

In a cast iron skillet sauté in a small mount of olive oil:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tsp minced garlic

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

Sauté until tender crisp.

Add to skillet:

1 can mushroom - undiluted

2 tbps sour cream

1/2 can milk

Heat slowly but DO NOT BOIL.


1 the salmon or halibut

Fold in the fish pieces into the sauce and then pour onto the noodles in a serving bowl. Toss.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

Serve with warm garlic and butter sourdough bread.

Cucumbers and tomatoes marinated in Italian oil dressing goes well with this.


5th annual Swank Street Market celebrates boutique, antique and more in Soldotna this weekend

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