Here are some entries from cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws....
Cailin, My favorite story is one I have relived with your father many times. I have many memories of Paul and Mike from our short visits together. The one I always remember is our sunfish journey in the Ocean City bay with Paul at the helm and my brother Jay. The wind was brisk and the sailing good but I was terrified in those days being so close to the water in that little boat. Stuffed into one of those old style life preservers, holding onto the splash guard as the boat heeled over, feeling like we were going to capsize, Paul screeching LEAN...LEAN! as loud as he could, and we all know how loud he can holler. I begged him to stop and to return the boat to level....another gust of wind..LEAN LEAN,.... white knuckles on the little cousin up front...LEEEEEEEEEAN! He was deriving some sick pleasure from all this of course but Paul was being Paul. I’m just glad he is my cousin and not my brother, who knows what condition I would be in now if he had more opportunities like that.
What kind of story is this? A story of love and appreciation for my cousin Paul and the intensity with which he approaches life.
Remember to always LEAN when facing a stiff wind. Love -- Chip
- Paddling out at Delancey Place when there were no waves, looking for something to do...of course, your dad and Michael, always could figure out something...we all tied fishing line to our ankles, with a Hopkins lure attached, and “trolled” for napper blues...don’t remember if we caught any, but that was probably better...I can only imagine what would have happened to our ankles if we got a lively bluefish on the line!
- Staying over at my Uncle Jack’s house in Moorestown...running around the neighborhood at night, jumping into neighbor’s pool (McChesney’s??), fishing down at the park... I had a ball hanging out with Paul and Michael, since there were 10 kids, and no one could keep too close an eye on us!!
- I worked on the Starfish one spring in Sea Isle, living with Paul in their house...Paul was in college, I was doing a high school senior project, working for free. My Uncle Jack got it set up with Charlie Shaffer. I learned a lot that spring! “Fast Eddie” was the mate...he had moved out of his house at 16, and he was always going through the customers’ lunches to see what was good to eat. He got caugh with some fried chicken one time, and I thoght the woman who brought it was going to gut him and use him for bait.
- I remember hanging on the porch at 904 with Paul and my buddies, watching this cute blonde walk back and forth to the beach in her little blue bikini...I think she liked Paul, but she had to put up with a few cat-calls from us hiding on the porch. We were probably 13-15 yr old...
- My kids loved visiting your house...We remember shooting blow darts in the kitchen, all the bows and custom surfboards in the man-cave, pigs, dogs...so cool!!
- The boys and I entered a fishing contest behind Strathmere one year, at Paul and Michael’s urging, and rented a little boat, got eaten alive by bugs, and I think all we caught was a big skate. Paul and Michael probably caught 20 flounder...they had some secret smelly oil they put on their bait, but never told us about it...thanks a lot!!
We wish you, your Mom and Dad all the best, and look forward to seeing you again soon!! Happy Birthday! Love --Jay Bailey
I met Paul for the first time at Nellie’s house in Maryland. I drove over from my home in St. Michaels for a get together when the Nelis’s were visiting from Ireland. I pulled up and saw this pickup truck with “Kill em and eat em” sticker. My first thought “Holy Shit - I hope that doesn’t belong here!! I am a huge animal activist but primarily involved in trying to stop the useless killing of dogs and cats in shelters. I walked into the kitchen and saw those huge blue eyes and met “kill em and eat em” face to face. After talking with him for some time, I came to the conclusion we had more in common than I could have ever imagined. He is one of the most “real” people I know. He has respect for these animals and consumes what he kills - I sure can’t argue with that! I may not eat venison but I sure eat fish and somebody has to catch it. I have a lot of respect for Paul and I don’t say that about many people. I generally prefer my canine friends. I wish him a Happy 55th surrounded by all those he loves so much.
Without a doubt, no one has ever made me laugh harder than you. I have “fuzzy” memories of Christmas times in Sweetwater and the highlight of my night was when it was your turn to open presents... I’m pretty sure I pee’d myself a few times. You were better than any comedy club I’d ever been to! And I would come home and tell my friends to watch out for my brother-in-law cuz he’s gonna be on stage someday. But really the funniest time was when we were all headed down to Nellie’s in Md. for Christmas and you spotted Mike in the rest stop on 95 (Chesapeake House??) and SHOUTED in the crowd “someone call 911, that man’s been stung by a bee”.(poor guy had put on a few lbs. since you saw him last!) All these people were looking around like they should really be doing something to help, and we were just laughin so hard we couldn’t speak!! It was perfection. So thanks for that!! and HAPPY B-DAY old man... Love You, --Den :)))
My fondest memories of Paul Callahan unfortunately come at the expense of my family and myself. Now I hate to buy into stereotypes, but rumor has it he Irish can tip the cup and spin a yarn like no other. I have in fact witnessed this behavior over and over again whenever “sweet faced Paul” sits across from my mother. He can relay the most far-fetched tale without breaking character. I sit there and listen in amazement as the story goes from good (and reality based) to great to truly grand. If I hear Paul make the transition from Mrs. Karis to Ellie then I know I’m in for a real doosie. I can’t say there is actual lying going on, just some rather extreme exaggeration and hyperbole. I can still see Paul’s eyes twinkling as he’s says swears (at least once a year) to my mother that his story is the “god’s honest truth”. If I tell my mother she might have been had, she simply dismisses me because Paul is such a sweet guy he would never lie to an old lady. Sure he wouldn’t :)
My second short story involves me, I am about as polar opposite from the Callahan’s in terms of lifestyle as you can get. This does not stop Paul from making me kill my own food on a regular basis. He is determined to make me embrace the Callahan “we kill ‘em, we eat ‘em” philosophy. I have jumped and screamed when forced to cut a live lobster in half (it did not help that he shook the pan to make their separate body parts move in my general direction). I have begrudgingly stuffed chukers into burlap bags and spun them in circles at his behest. I have suffered humiliation at his hands as I tried to pull clams out of the mud with my toes. I can’t remember his exact words, but after he dressed me in an orange vest and told me to carry the rifle with the muzzle pointing up, he muttered something about my looking like a “smacked ass” and walking like I had a “stick up my ass”. Regardless, I always laugh, I have a good time and I end up eating like a queen. The man has given me experiences that I will not soon forget and for that and many other things, I love him!
NIECES & NEPHEWS:
I have many, many wonderful memories of my uncle Paul but I think the three that stick out the most are;
- spending days at the beach with him and hunting for crabs in the jetty. He would pick up little sand crabs and pretend to eat them ( he was more than convincing). I was only about 10 at the time and horrified by the sight. Being the prissy little girl I am, he would laugh and laugh at my squeamish face and found sheer joy in tormenting me :)
-The other memory that comes to mind is the time he arrived just in time for our “crab feast” these were actually mud crabs that we had caught that day. Nellie and mom thought it was a great idea to steam them up and eat em for dinner. We had everything set to go, butter, vinegar, old bay etc. Just waiting for the crabs to finish cooking. Uncle Paul walks through the door from some job he had just finished, checked the steamer to see our feast, and once again died laughing. I think his exact words were - unless you want to be in the hospital or shitting for the rest of the vacation, I would not eat these. The only thing these are good for are bait! Saved again by the fisherman himself. God love em!!
-lastly just being out on the boat with him. One of the most exciting parts of my new jersey vacation was being able to spend time on the boat with him and learning how to fish, even though I was a natural ;)
Matt always talks about the time he was with Paul and his rod got a hit, it was a big fish and I mean a BIG fish. Paul watched Matt reel it in, net in hand. Telling him to be careful...very careful. don’t lean the rod on the boat, keep reeling him in nice and slow! Follow him around the boat..thats it, that’s it! A 4 FOOT FLOUNDER CAME TO THE TOP GLIDING ACROSS THE WATER TOWARDS THE BOAT. MATT LIFTED HIS REEL ONE LAST TIME FOR PAUL TO NET THE MONSTER ONLY TO HAVE THE LINE BREAK AT THE LAST SECOND, THE TWO OF THEM JUST STARING DOWN AT THE BIGGEST FLOUNDER EVER SEEN. Matt was in shock but Paul couldn’t speak, not to Matt or anyone else because he knew that fish was the biggest flounder alive and he’d never see that fish again. --Matt Callahan
I’m going to start out by saying that you are the craziest person I have ever known, literally the craziest. Some of my earliest memories are of you pretending to swallow sand crabs on the beach and telling me I would get eaten by a shark if I stepped foot in the ocean. Every time I would turn around you would either scare the shit out of me and crack up or make me laugh so hard that my stomach would hurt. Either way you always made me smile. We always had fun with you and still do to this day. I remember you helping me catch my first fish and teaching me how to surf. You even saved us from eating mud crabs and kept us fed with all of the flounder we caught with your giant minos. Big bait means big fish right? The best memories I have from my childhood have a lot to do with you and so do the crazy times I have had in recent years. I’m clearly the best at fishing, you can refer to the trophy pictures for proof and I’m now an expert clammer despite the fact that I can only find the gigantic clams. I know that whenever I am with you I can expect to try new things and there will never be a dull moment. You have made my summers unforgettable and you have affected my life in so many ways. You are truly one of the best people on the planet and you love with your whole heart, not just part of it. When I walk into your home I feel the love that you have for your family, it is an amazing feeling and is a beautiful thing to see. You give me hope. If I ever feel defeated, I think of you, not just because of your courage, but because of your ability to take the bad as it comes but celebrate the good in the fullest way possible. You have always been like this. For my entire life I have watched you live your life the exact way you wanted to and if I do half the things you have done I will be happy. I hope that you know how much you mean to me. You have taught me so much and I have experienced amazing things because of you. You are a great man and I love you Uncle Paul. With all my love- Maggie Callahan