Our good friend Iggy keeps an amazing blog, After Hours With Iggy. He is a chef and avid fisherman, as well as a man who loves his cocktails - and he is always posting great stories and recipes. Yesterday he wrote a blog about my Dad, and he really hits the nail on the head.....
This has been a year of loss for me, and many in South Jersey. This past weekend, one of the more large than life characters I have had the pleasure of knowing has passed. His name was Paul Callahan and he was known and loved by many. There are so many stories running around in my head, and so many things to say, but for once, Paul has got me, I just cannot put into words what his passing means to me. If ever there was somebody I thought was going to outlive us all, if there was someone I would have voted for that was going to enjoy their retirement more than anyone, it was this guy. He hunted and fished for a hobby, and grew up on commercial fishing boats, so he knew a thing or two about those two subjects. His most famous saying was “Kill em and eat em” . Let me tell you, to a chef, those words were music to my ears when he and his wife Doreen would throw parties at their house. He did everything South Jersey style (hunt fish, surf,ect) but with more flair and working knowledge than anyone else, and don’t try to tell him different. Not enough birds to shoot on a hunting trip. No problem, I’ll raise them and then let them loose into the wild and then go hunt them. No waves today because of the way they are breaking out on the tip of the Jetty? No problem, I’ll just row my kayak out there and take advantage of the Striped Bass feeding out there. Want fresh pig for the parties, I know how to raise, kill, butcher and cook them better than those services that come and bury them in your yard.
This is an attitude that I can get behind. Why rely on others when you can so it yourself, and do it better. One of the reasons I became a minister. When old Paul there found that out (his daughter, 15 at the time, told him she wanted me to marry her. She meant do the ceremony, but let me tell you, I had a lot of fun with that one at Paul’s expense for awhile) he took to calling me the Anti Christ. Little did he know that his wife would enlist me to renew their vows two years ago.
I can still remember the day I went over Doreen’s and Paul’s house and was told that a tumor was found in his head. He had whacked himself with a surfboard and some wax had gotten lodged into the wound and gotten infected. When they x-rayed his head to find out what was up, they found that ugly fucker in there as well. No one I knew other than the Callahan’s even entertained the thought that it could have been serious. And at the time, it was not, it was benign, but they wanted to keep an eye on it. Well long story short, eventually it wasn’t benign. Doreen said it best, he wasn’t dying form it, he was living with it, and live with it he did. He did everything to the fullest until he couldn’t, and that is the way Paul Callahan rolls, and we should all take a big lesson from that.
So what do I say to remember him by? That his parties were awesome, they were. That he could surf like a champ? Anyone who says that South Jersey doesn’t get any waves never saw Paul charge Hurricane surf in Cape May. That he was a great hunter? Look on his facebook page to see all the deer. I will always remember the day we were in a surf contest and he was waxing “STAND HERE” on the nose of his board. With three fishing sharpies gone this year (Bill Nickerson, Doc Adams, and now Paul) the fish population should skyrocket in Jersey, let me tell you.
So what to do to toast the man the myth the legend? A drink called the old salt? Well, unfortunately Capt. Paul left us far before he could get old, so not that one. I am going to have to say the HERO COCKTAIL. Why? Well because anyone who did anything dangerous first on our beach was called the “hero” and Paul go that title a lot.
1/3 oz coconut rum
1/3 oz peach schnapps
1/3 oz triple sec
1 splash of grenadine
1 cup of pineapple juice