After the age of about 10, I  finally acknowledged bathing, asking mom for some clothes which weren’t my brothers’ and cutting my hair was a good idea.  It was not just my coming of age, but a roaring boomtown year for the Gannon family.  Our father, Rodney Edward Gannon, was witnessing not only the evolution of Ben, but additionally, the evolution of his wallet.  Finally recognizing he possessed money in it which could be used for more items than just 20 gallons of milk per week and two dollar steaks cooked on Hillbilly High while being burnt to a crisp by my wonderful mother, Margaret, dad bought something enhancing our memories forever.  He and mom, along with my brother in law, Denny, and his wife, my sister Mary, purchased a motorhome, or more appropriately referred to as, with a family of 13 children, “a traveling circus”.

I’ll be honest, not once did all 13 of us gather into this bucket.  Many of my older siblings were married with children and living all over the planet.  However, we did manage to pack in a fair portion of in-laws, nephews, nieces, bitches, A Holes, and ne’er-do-wells.  The last word in the previous sentence was commonly used to describe our family.  At the age of ten, I thought it may be a term of affection, not knowing what the actual definition was.  I could, however, use it in a sentence after hearing it several times, “Oh those Gannons, besides the father and mother, are a bunch of ne’er-do-wells”.  After opening a dictionary for the first time, I discovered the word wasn’t quite so affectionate.  The true definition is as follows: “an idle, worthless person; a person who is ineffectual, unsuccessful, or completely lacking in merit; good for nothing”.  Fortunately, that is not what this story is about, and within this story, I shall prove to you why we really weren’t, and I’d like to confidently say, aren’t ne’er-do-wells.

Traveling to the great rural city of Canada…..oops…Britt just informed me it’s a nation…. we camped for several glorious days one summer.  By we, I should clarify the people, depending on my skewed memory, present on this journey.  I feel as though I should immortalize these people as though we were on the Space Shuttle.  Considering our large family, it was a small gathering of loving siblings: Dad, Mom, Denny, Mary, Maggie, Greg, Tom, Monica, and the most important of us all, my nephew, Thee legendary Chris Hilsabeck.

While setting up camp at a place which may or may not have been called “Sheep Crick”, we realized that although most of us, provided there was a snow storm or hurricane, could possibly survive sleeping in the motorhome.  However, equally recognizing each persons’ personality, we thought it may be prudent to set up some tents for the few willing to sleep on canvas or dirt. Much like the Donner Party, I believe my father understood that if we collectively slept in the motorhome, even with ample supplies, we would still probably eat each other purely out of spite.

The process of setting up camp, tents or a sleeping bag on dirt requires a few important details and strategies:  impatience, the innate ability to argue, and complete disregard for infants and toddlers who may or may not be in the motorhome.

I can’t really confirm or deny which family member discovered this, but someone found my two year old nephew, Chris, stuck in the steering wheel of the motorhome.  While outside debating who would be forced to sleep with dad in a tent (the man snored louder than beagles bark and farted louder than a whale can sing) Chris, even at the age of two, brilliantly, thought the idea of crawling through a steering wheel might possibly be fun, and perhaps draw the attention of these people; aunts, uncles, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas who were clearly far less mature than him.

When we found him hovering like superman over the dashboard, it was like an Irish Potato Famine Fire Drill in that vehicle.  We simply could not rescue him.  I didn’t really give a crap about his steering wheel incarceration, in fact, I was getting a pretty good kick out of  this situation along with his other aunts and uncles on board.  My thoughts of his father, Denny, driving his two year old son stuck in a steering wheel five hours to Spokane, Washington was just way too funny.  For about a half hour, I was rooting for him to remain in that wheel, just entertaining the notion (in my feeble mind) of this actually occurring.  Now, that would have made a good story.

Sadly, someone found a bucket of the ancient Chinese secret for releasing a child from a steering wheel: Crisco.  Upon applying the lubricant, he was indeed freed from this circular prison, and although mentally scarred for life, he lives happily in Spokane with his beautiful wife, Missy, and their two children who requested to remain anonymous and are not allowed in motorhomes.

Crisco should have created a new and improved advertising campaign for their product reading:  Great for providing excess calories in your fried chicken, AND, your children will never be stuck in a steering wheel again.

I have very few morals, but if there is one to this ridiculously true (I think) story, I’d say Gannons are actually good for something, even if it’s just getting a person out of a steering wheel.


Benjamin J. Gannon

Gone Fishin’

Gone Fishin’

Fishing gone wild

The Older Boys Fishing I will refrain from saying these pictures are worth a thousand words,  just a few billion. Initially, I wanted to provide a hocus focus, requiring the viewer to recognize the differences in these two pictures.  I will provide you a hint on one of the secretive details;  our father was in one of them.  It’s hard to spot.  He must have been the photographer for the black and white picture, and why the hell do these guys look so impressive standing at attention in the picture below?  My brothers Greg, Tom and I are in the picture with our father, taken a mere twenty years after the photo of my brothers Mike, Steve and Glenn.   The other brother, Aaron, is living in a place called Driggs, Idaho….we think.  Clearly by the time his thirteenth child (me) was born, our father no longer tried to institute a hygiene code on fishing trips.

Always being embarrassed and picked on with regard to my hair, I now wish to pick on my older brothers, Tom and Greg.  Commonly referred to as “Toe Head”, I was agitated and obviously ignoring a mirror on a daily basis. Notice their smiles which seemed to come out of a garbage can.  Notice the pants which came directly from a patch shop.   Tom, an extremely talented man, wasn’t talented enough to tuck in both sides of his shirt.  Greg, additionally talented, was only capable of zipping up his trousers three quarters of the way. I blame this on my mother.  Zipping up pants is something which can only be taught by a mother, or maybe Greg just became bored and tired after peeing in the woods.  My hair speaks, in fact screams for itself. Finally, notice who has the most fish.

We were fishing at Scookum Lake at the time with our next door neighbors, the Jeffries. They were very nice people.  Dad didn’t have a truck, so Bill Jeffries graciously agreed to cram three sons and one friend into the back of his pickup truck with a canopy.

As you can see, we captured many fish and hadn’t showered before or after the picture.  My older brothers, captured below, caught many fish as well, yet seemed fairly well groomed.  I believe Tom, Greg and I were wearing the same Gannon-me-down pants as my older brothers, Mike, Steve and Glenn were wearing from nineteen fifty something.

This story begins and ends with pictures, yet there is one ignoramus signature story with which I must conclude.  On our journey back home, I was considerably concerned with making it back home to see my mother.  Therefore, when I sensed we were within a mile of our house, I tapped on the glass of the truck beckoning Bill to pull over.  Keep in mind, we were literally next door neighbors.  When he reluctantly, and kindly responded to my request, probably thinking I had to take a pee, I asked him a simple question:  “Can you drop me off at my mom’s place?”  Bill just laughed and said, “Sure.” My brothers still make fun of me to this day.