Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


According to Gavin Roy, who coined the term for me in Gloucester House, it defines being American because Americans always say “wow” and always eat hamburgers.

The irony is that I wasn’t American at the time; I was Irish.

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A bear! A BEAR!!!

My brother and I had gone down to Ship Creek to fish for salmon. Well, Roger went to fish – I more went to watch. Oh, sure, I brought my rod along ever hopeful that some of his skill would rub off on me, but I usually had more fun watching the master charm the fish onto the line than I did in trying. By the time the king salmon came along, Roger had already caught four modest silvers which I had on a stringer tied to an old stump overhanging a calm pool in the river.

“Son of a bitch!” Roger yelled, “took my Coho fly!” He grabbed my rod, also rigged with a Coho, ran off downstream and started casting across some shallows. That’s when I saw The Beast.

Almost all red from tail to snout and with fangs as big as my fingers, The Beast snarled its way past me not more than maybe five feet away as I ran to catch up to my big brother who nearly knocked me down giving chase. “Come on, Paul, get in there, head him off.”

I hesitated, wondering if The Beast would come out of the water and rip my feet off, but Roger’s yelling snapped me out of the thought. I threw a rock ahead of The Beast who reversed direction and headed back downstream. Roger cast his line and pulled hard just at the right moment. The Coho snagged right about the dorsal fin. The Beast lurched, opened his maw as if to laugh and easily broke the line before quickly disappearing into a deep pool in a bend of the river.

“Come on,” Roger yelled. “I’m not giving up that easily.” He raced to the bend. With both hands he lifted a boulder. “This should chase him out,” he said. I wasn’t so sure as the boulder made a thunderous splash and sent a geyser of water high into the air. “Help me!”

I picked up a smaller boulder and tossed it as best I could.

“Do you see it?”

No, I didn’t.

Roger heaved another boulder into the river, then another and another until he could lift no more. “I can’t believe it, man. Those were our only Cohos.” He walked back to where we’d left the rods, sat down and lit a cigarette. After a few drags he flicked the butt away, thumbed through the tackle box and pulled out a yellow spoon with black dots and no hook. He tied the spoon to the end of his line and started casting.

“What are you doing?” I asked.


I shrugged and went to check the four silvers on the stringer. Just as I put them back in the water, the bushes behind me started rustling and then waving like crazy. I froze in terror, barely able to squeeze out the word, “Bear!” with my squeaky voice prepubescent voice. “Bear!” I tried again, just as the bushes parted and out popped the bear. I forced my lungs full of air and let out a scream.

The bewildered bear, wearing a green nylon Fish and Game jacket, gray slacks with a black stripe, and a furry hat, yelled “Freeze!”

Informal anecdote – I make no apology for spelling/grammar/punctuation errors.

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Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZlP0eOJu_M

Will update that video and put up another in the near future.

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Rules and Regulations

“Number one – no smoking in the toilet. Number two – no smoking pot on the plane.”

Northwest flight attendant laying down the rules and regulations to my brother somewhere between Tokyo and Anchorage, 1980.

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Dad’s sense of humor

“Aramco may have banned Christmas decorations, but they said nothing about New Year’s.” John T. W. Nixon, Dhahran, December 1979 as he hung “New Year’s” lights in the window near the New Year’s tree.

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“We’ll hit them for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, that’s what.” Tom Parry, Pierrepont School, in response to what if the bouncers from the topless pub come looking for me for their money.

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My Dear Mrs. Nixon

“My dear Mrs. Nixon. It is not my responsibility to teach these boys what they should, by now, have already mastered.” English teacher to my mom, Portora Royal, N. Ireland.

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