While interviewing Moon for the book, I asked him the following question.
“Is it true you were the grand marshal of the Soldotna Progress Parade?”
I'd heard for years that Moon had actually led the parade. Here's how the legend began.
My third cousin, retired Alaskan State Trooper, Webb O’Bryant recalls, “I called Denny Denbrock, a police officer in Soldotna on a business matter. While I had him on the phone, I inquired about how Moon was getting along down there in Soldotna.
He told me, “Well he must be doing pretty good, he was the grand marshal of the Soldotna parade last week.”
I said, “No joke?”
“No, Moon was leading the parade in his old pickup with his windows rolled down waving at the crowd.”
The real story, as always, begins with fishing.
Moon said, “I was down there on the Kenai and on my first cast, I hooked and landed a beautiful king in the 70-lb. range."
Someone came down there and said, “Moon your havin’ a flat”, but I wut'n gonna worry about that right then.”
A couple of casts later I hooked another ’un and it was much bigger.”
Remember at this point, Moon’s goal is to catch the world record king from the banks of the Kenai.
“I fought it hard for ten minutes and then it broke my line. That first fish must have nicked my line or somethin’. That don’t ever happin’ to me too much, but I thank that fish was just that big. I thank it was in the 90 lb. category." I didn’t have that same lure with me so I could offer that exact presentation, so I ran back up there to the camp. I could hear that air a goin’ out of that left front tire. The other problem was my spare didn’t have no air in it either.”
The circumstances presented a real-life dilemma for Moon. He could get the lure he needed and hurry back to the river to catch the world record king or deal with the flat. MPE kicked into gear, as he carefully analyzed his available options. (MPE stands for Moon's Philosophy of Economics, I explained its meaning in a former blog). If he didn’t do something quickly before the tire completely deflated it would mean a lot more work later. The MPE handbook says, “Time spent working equals time away from fishing.”
“Them big kings was hot, but I realized if I didn’t do somethin’ quickly about that flat it was gonna’ cost me a lot more time later. I decided that I might be able to get up there to that town and get that tire fixed pretty quick and then get back to the river before that hot streak ended. So, I got in that truck and drove as fast as I could on that low tire up there to Soldotna.”
Moon’s philosophy of time and the need for speed change in harmony with fish activity. He thinks differently than most men. It’s always about the next cast, the next fish. He crossed the Kenai River bridge into Soldotna and noticed a roadblock ahead.
When I saw that roadblock, I said to myself, “I’ll be damned, ever time them really big kings are a bitin’, somethin’ like this happins’. Luckily, I was the first one in that line.”
I pulled up there and asked that deputy, “What’s a goin’ on?”
He looked at me kinda’ funny and said, “Don’t you know, they are about to start the parade any minute?”
I told that deputy, “I’m a havin’ a flat!”
He said, “Oh”, and came over there closer to my truck.
I told him, “Listen.”
You could still hear that air a comin’ out of that tire. He looked at it and listened and he could hear it too.”
I told him, “I’m gonna be stranded right here if you don’t let me through.”
In Alaska there are different sensibilities about what’s important that sometimes take precedence over parades and things like that.
That deputy told them other officers a standin’ around, “Move the barricade and let this man through.”
I rolled through that barricade and that parade pulled out there on the main drag right behind me. That’s the way I got in front of that parade. There wut'n nothin’ to do but go slow because there was people a crowdin’ that whole street. So, I just rolled downed my windows and started to wavin’ at everybody. I thank they thought I was gonna throw them some candy or somethin’. Ever body thought I was a leadin’ that parade. When I got up there a little way, that crowd thinned out a bit and I darted off into one of them fillin’ stations.”
That parade and ever thang a goin’ on kept me from gettin’ back down there to that river as fast as I wanted to. I don’t thank I ever saw them big kings as hot as they was that afternoon. I wished I’d a never even thought about gettin’ that flat fixed.”