Sunday, January 27, 2019

Kenai Profiles: George French

Since I started this blog, I've periodically profiled people who've made a lasting impression on me. This post is devoted to my friend, George French.

I first met George in 2005. It was an introduction I'll never forget. It went something like this:

George: "I'm from LA."
Keith: "You have a southern accent...LA?"
George: "Yes. LA. Well, lower Alabama."
Keith: "Lower Alabama?"
George: "Well, Florida. Chipley Florida to be exact."

Thus began my relationship with George French.
The year of the "raise your right hand" stickers
There are too many stories/observations to tell about George, so I'll boil it down to just a few. Afterall, this is a blog and not a biography....

There are a few rules that need to be followed in my boat; most are mandated by the Coast Guard, but there's only one rule I've adopted that came from a client. If you guess it came from George, you would be correct. Fisherman tend to tell stories, and if you tell enough of them you start to repeat yourself. The Rule of George is this: if the story being told is a repeat, you raise your right hand. If the majority of the people in the boat raise their hand, you have to stop telling the story. The Rule of George is politely effective, and mildly amusing for other boats on the river who see hands being raised all day long.
I always laugh a little when people tell me their trip to Alaska is a trip of lifetime. It usually isn't. Since his first "trip of a lifetime" in 2005, George has been back to Alaska in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and twice in 2018 (one trip he accompanied me on the AlCan Hwy, the other to fish). Each time he has brought colleagues, friends, or family to share the Alaska experience.
In 2008, George came to Alaska with his son-in-law, his son-in-law's father, and his grandson Riley, who is in the photo above with George. The fishing was good and memorable, but what cemented my relationship with George is he happened to be in my boat when I received the news that my father had passed away. His kindness and understanding have not been forgotten. I'm sure these same qualities served him well as coach, teacher, counselor, and principal in Chipley.
I had to include this photo from 2016 for two reasons. One, that's a big fish, and 2) Riley has grown a lot since his previous visit in 2008. 

When you live in a northern climate, it's always good to know people from the south. I think George feels sorry for us because the last few winters he's sent us freshly picked lemons (and bay leaves) from his backyard in LA.  Not sure if he's just rubbing it in (probably), but we sure do appreciate the gift. One of these days we'll have to come pick our own...

I'll end this post by saying this, George is much more than a client of ours. He's a good friend. He always finds time to give us a call to talk about the weather, fishing, or how Phil Mickelson is doing in a tournament. If you stay on schedule, Jane and I look forward to seeing you on your next "trip of a lifetime" in 2020. See you then.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service

1 comment:

George French said...

Thanks Keith for all the kind words. I’m honored to have been chosen by Kenai’s # 1 guide to be featured in one of your profiles. Yes, my trip of a lifetime has been relived several times and I’m sure it ain’t over yet! My family and friends who have accompanied me over years have all been impressed and pleased with the hospitality and service provided by BeaverCreek Cabins and Guide Service. I feel fortunate to have met you and Jane in 2005 and happy to have been able to develop a friendship that I have truly enjoyed for the past 13 years! See you in 2020!