Springtime in Alaska
The first signs of spring are when the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano. It’s springtime when the buzzards return to Hinkley, Ohio and in Nome it’s when the Green Slime runs down Steadman Street. Nomeites know it’s true. We’ve seen it since the end of World War II.
So what’s the green slime have to do with spring? There is about 50 gallons of dye marker in a barrel in an old Quonset hut behind the Alaska Cab Garage building. It looks like antifreeze but it is not, and it is non-toxic. When springtime melt water runs over into the Quonset, into the barrel and over the curb, the slime runs downhill toward the Norton Sound. The green slime is really a dye marker and shark repellant that was on every Lend-Lease plane that went to Russia. If the plane had to ditch into the ocean the dye marked the location so the pilot could be found. It also acted as a shark repellant.
So why does Nome have the honor of such a remarkable harbinger of spring? Well, because we are Nome and nothing is run-of-the-mill or ordinary in this town. Besides, the green slime does its job. Have we ever seen a shark on Front Street? —N.L.M.—