Blog, Spirit

Catfish, this ones’ for you.

Amber Shehan March 24, 2010

Catfish & Catfish Jr.
Catfish & Catfish Jr.

Catfish & Catfish Jr.

Paul Russell Canon, aka Catfish, was a really awesome guy. I should know – he is my daddy.  And I’m pretty awesome too! You just can’t dispute logic like that.

I mean, just look at us: you can’t just win the Buffalo Bill lookalike contest two years in a row without being awesome. TWO YEARS! I suppose it helps if you have a daughter in a bonnet.  Aren’t I cute? I still have that bonnet!

Also, try to carry a rifle into downtown Portsmouth any other day of the week and see what you get!

So, Catfish was cool.  He was also moody, hilarious, extremely simple, yet frustratingly complex at all the wrong times, and honestly one of the most godawful stubbornest old Aries goats that I’ve known. To know him was to be affected by him –  Catfish was one of those people who wave their arm and you feel the ripple of the motion through time and space.

He could stop windshields with his bare chest, and did it multiple times, flung from cars drunkenly weaving down dirt roads.  I don’t know how many hangovers he conquered, or how many half-siblings I have running around the American south, not to mention Mexico.



A conversation was generally punctuated with “Hey! Look at that sunset!” or “Did you see that tree?” – so much so that for years in my teenage rebellious ire, I refused to see trees and sunsets or cranes flying overhead. He still loved me, and said that my black lipstick made me look like I’d been kissing someone’s poopy ass.

Seven years ago, about seven hours earlier, on this very day, my Daddy dropped his body and left to experience a Great New Adventure. Seven years ago, about four, on this very day, I was digging through his empty bedroom still thick with his presence to find his folder of poetry.

Poetry is the biggest gift that Catfish gave to me. Feeding me Ferlinghetti, beat poetry at nine years old, playing word games with me, critiquing my work. Introducing me to Whitman, who I love, and Frost, who I tolerate…teasing me about liking Emily Dickinson and loving it when I started twisting words like wire.

His wishes were that I share his poetry with the world. Most of it was either scrawled in his left-handed cursive that he painstakingly worked to keep legible and attractive, or henpicked on his old typewriter with the “r” key that stuck when used.

Happy Spring, Daddy. Happy Spring, all of you! Go, and look at the trees and breathe in the air that surrounds you. Embrace the world and it’s magnificence in the minutiae.

For So Many

branches bustling
               rustling resplendent
now lie
in a february wind.
limbs rub
        numb songs
and groan now
just to mend.
pale winter
          run your course
and end
     let all
the children sing,
this is the day
           the lord
hath made
Eternal Spring!
paul canon, 91
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Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. welchva on March 24, 2010 at 6:11 am


  2. Walk in the Woods on March 24, 2010 at 10:32 am


    that’s all i got. 🙂

  3. threadsofmagique on March 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    A beautiful poem and a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  4. inamongtheheather on March 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    That’s lovely 🙂 He was a very talented man. Thank you for sharing that beautiful poem with us. <3

  5. Janiss on March 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your father with us. What a larger-than-life character, and so wise!

  6. Amber on March 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks for reading and commenting, y’all! It feels good to get his words out there like I told him I would. 🙂

    Happy Spring! Go outside and enjoy some of it!

  7. Connie Shehan on March 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Amber, I loved this poem and your story as well! I will read more as I get time on the computer.
    Hugs and kisses!

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