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Starting Over – Again

Jon Stram's picture

Thorne Bay, Alaska.  Home, finally, once more.  Or as much as that is possible, in this world.  In the words of that favorite old gospel song of mine, this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me, from Heaven’s open door, And I can’t, feel at home, in this world, anymore.

This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me, from Heaven’s open door, And I can’t, feel at home, in this world, anymore.

In a sense, in the history of ScopeShield, Thorne Bay, Alaska, is where it all started. Back in 1994, I started a small business called ‘Cast-A-Ways Alaskan Adventures’.  Basically, I rented out a few pickups, Cabover campers, and motorhomes to hunters and fishermen wanting to explore the wonders of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.

At the time, timber harvesting was still booming on the island, and it was very difficult finding any place on the island to rent, to run a small business out of.  I was able to find a small piece of property which I was able to rent from the city of Thorne Bay, and place a 10 x 40 trailer on the property (the old, dilapidated Post Office building).

I was in my front office, when a knock came on the door, and one of my rental customers, a spring bear hunter, came walking in.  His first words were, ‘I just had a chance at the biggest black bear I’ve seen in my life!’ My retort was, ‘Well, let’s go out and measure him!’ to which he replied, "I didn’t get him. I raised up my rifle to shoot, and my lenses were so wet, I couldn’t see.  So, I went to wipe them off, and . . . ." "You never saw him again," I said as I finished off his sentence, as he stood there shaking his head.

In the thick, wet, rainforest that is Prince of Wales Island, you’re generally only going to get one quick, fleeting opportunity at a short range Black Bear.  If you couldn’t get your sights up on your quarry and squeeze the trigger as soon as you had a clear shot on a vital zone, you were most likely not going to fill your tag. It was at that moment, encountering my humbled client, that started the wheels of thought rolling, resulting in what is now known as ScopeShield. Thorne Bay, Alaska, has always held a special place in my heart, and will always be recognized by me as the birthplace of ScopeShield.

I closed that small Alaskan Outfitting business in 2000, after 5 struggling years of trying make a go of it, and reluctantly left what had become my favorite place in this world, after extracting from my wife the promise that, if possible, we’d someday return. This month, on April 5, 2016, that ‘Someday’ finally arrived!  My beloved wife of 39 years, Juanita, and I, have returned to Thorne Bay. Join me, as I write about our ‘ordinary’ life in POW.

Prince of Wales Island.

Alaska.