There’s a little bit of heaven that I love to eat
On the bottom of a fish called the belly meat
It’s so greezy, so darn sweet
Just like some ladies that I used to meet
Come on baby love that belly meat
—Gary Gouker and Lee Asnin, “Belly Meat”
A SUNNY MAY DAY perched on the edge of a deep, narrow fjord surrounded by steep, snow-capped mountains, eagles soaring overhead and seven different bands playing everything from country western to funk punk. Is this heaven, or is this just Pelican, Alaska, during the Boardwalk Boogie?…
Pelican is a tiny seaside village in southeast Alaska, founded in 1938 by Finnish fisherman Kalle Rattikainen who didn’t want to haul his salmon all the way to Hoonah or Juneau to get paid. Most of the year the population of Pelican holds at 115. There are bearpaw prints on the public dumpster, easy chairs in the bars, and it’s the only Alaska town I’ve been in in my life that doesn’t have an airstrip—if you fly in, you fly in on floats.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.