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July 28, 2008

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Three Peter Barrett Stories

One of the people I miss most is Field & Stream's former Executive Editor, Peter Barrett. He was the real deal: a master fly fisherman, expert shot, gun nut, hunter of wide experience, and fine writer. He was a true New England yankee, a man who loved his pipe, and a fellow of few words.

During World War II, Peter was a transport pilot attached to the Eighth Army Air Force in England. One evening, he was standing on the porch of the Bachelor Officers' Quarters, raving drunk, peeing over the railing for all he was worth. A brigadier general walked up behind him and bellowed,


Peter did a proper about-face, still peeing, and said, as he hosed down the general, "Going to the bathroom, sir."

He escaped court martial only because the Air Corps was desperate for pilots at the time.


When Peter was Executive Editor, I was Managing Editor and, being in my thirties, thought of myself as the full flower of manhood. But Peter called me "kid."

One day I said, "Peter, I ain't no kid."

So he said, "Kid, read this," and pointed to a framed letter hanging above his typewriter. It was his first "buy" letter from Field & Stream, and it was dated eight months before I was born. That was the end of the "kid" problem.


Back in the early '80s, network television used to run ads for ginsu knives, Popeil's Pocket Fisherman, Boxcar Willie record albums, and stuff like that. These things ran at 3 in the morning, and the rates were dirt cheap, so whatever genius was in charge of Field & Stream's circulation decided we would film some promotional ads to get people to subscribe.

Peter Barrett was tapped for the part of Uncle Ned, who was showing his "grandson" how to flyfish, and to play the part of the grandson, the ad agency picked some bratty kid actor who hated water, fishing, and Peter, although not in that order.

Peter had brought along a couple of very fine bamboo fly rods, and the kid actor was not treating his with the proper respect. Finally, he simply threw the rod in the stream and stood there glaring at Peter. Peter took in the situation, lit his pipe, took a few puffs, and in his most genial tones said:

"If you do that again, you little ****, I'll drown you."

The kid, sensing that he was in the presence of death, screamed, ran ashore, and that was the end of the commercial.


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What a great read....thx for Monday morning humor

Blue Ox

Wish I coulda seen that...


I needed that this morning... The kid probably grew up to be one of the current crop of overpaid Hollywood whiners...

Tom Sorenson

Now that sounds like a man I would have been honored to have met and known!


Sounds like things Jeff Cooper would have said.


Today the kid's parents probably would have sued him, he would have been fired from F&S and all the "news" outlets would have had panel discussions on his "abuse" of the child.

My, my how times have changed.....


Del in KS

Dave, If you have anymore of these stories stop holdin' out on us. More of the same please.



You don’t screw around with combat pilots. They’ll just up and kill ya.

The first pilot I was crewed with was an old Thud jockey and a terminal major. He’d been shot down twice, had four Silver Stars, ten Bronze Stars, lost track of the air medals and AF Commendations. …and was getting divorced.

Squadron CO told me I had to help “control” this guy.


Met an older gentleman at one period that trained horses.
Our conversation lead to the fact that he was retired military and had served in Germany near the end of WW II. He also showed me a hand gun that a SS officer surrendered to him after VE Day!
He had the ability to give an unabashed idiot a look and a short quip that would stop a charging rhino! I don't know how many times I have just about crashed and burned when he would listen to some dweeb's inane statement and with a look and a word, leaving them stammering and red-faced! Heaven help the one poor idiot that decided she would buck him. Without one curse word, he put her succinctly in her place. Me, LingMAO as she stalked away red-faced!


You've got to be kidding me?

Why do seniors seem to think their age gives them the right to disrect someone? Dave, if you felt oblidged to tell him you "aint no kid", your difference in age doesn't make it okay for him to call you kid anyway! Suppose you called him an old disrespectfull bastard and he didn't like it? Would simply pulling out your birth certificate to prove your younger age make it acceptable because your not an old disrespectfull bastard and he is? I think not! You wonder why the youth today appear to be disrespectfull? It's because old people dissrespect the youth all the time and feel it's okay only because they were sent a "buy" letter before the dissrespected was born.

What makes a man noble when a punk kid gets on his nerves and you fix it with a threat? Wow! Big damn deal! Who hasn't done that?

Read the paper today about some hammered newly turned 21 year old getting caught for peeing behind a dumpster and the mindset is that kids now-a-days have no respect. Wrong is wrong and disrespect is disrespect! Pee on a general while hammered and we see nothing wrong with that? I hope that general kicked him in the nads and punished him in other ways to make him really regret it!

I turn 41 in September in case you think I'm just a young punk.


...Kidding me,


If you have a sense of Decorum you’ll know what DP is writing/ranting.

You’ll also have a sense why our more sophisticated and worldly blogger mouths lack patience at moments to our less……well, you get the picture.

RJ Arena

To"you've got to be kidding me?"
What is your problem? If you don't like what Dave writes, fine, but then have the guts to sign your name to it. These were three fond memories of a dear friend, a mentor. I think he used quite a bit of restraint by lighting his pipe and warning the"kid" of the consequences. You may be 41, but you forget that respect is something that comes with the Grey hair,slowly over time. I don't find the term "kid" disrespectful,just obvious. for the circumstance.


To RJ. I have to side with the annonymous fellow. Where does respect tie into old age and gray hair? I'm 22, but I guarantee I have seen some things that would make a grown man feel like a child. 22 and two pumps to Iraq. Does my age make me more of a man than one of my civilian counterparts. I don't think so. Gentleman, you shouldn't walk around like your $hi% doesn't stink. There are plenty of young men and women that could teach you all a lot. And just for the record. I don't care who you are, if one of my marines pissed on a Brig. Gen., the General probably wouldn't do much to you, not matter how bad we needed you. He would leave that to the captains and the sergeants major. So, again, kudos to the annonymous man above.


There are a LOT of bright young men -- but very few wise young men. Wisdom comes with age and experience. There is nothing noble about a young man, no matter how "experienced", missing this truth!

Respect ties into old age and grey hair here: Leviticus 19:32 "'Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.'"

I am all for young men distinguishing themselves with valor, intelligence and all forms of gentlemanliness but every successful culture has maintained a respect for the "grey haired" of their society. Respect for those older is a "humanity norm" on par with the laws of gravity. And, if you are wise enough, you'll respond to it like a law of nature. You'll learn to roll with it, appreciate the dynamic of it and find your place in it. Eventually, you too will be called "Sir", simply because you've walked long and hard on the earth.


Young or old...get a sense of humor. Taking one's self so seriously can lead to terminal ego damage. Not to mention no dates, no friends and a dog who likely won't play with you. sheesh!


By the way, great thread Dave!


... kidding me.

Yo Twit, next time you approach this forum heel your canoe hard over to port and paddle to Hell.


that is the kind of stuff most american children need. someone to show them who is boss. no b.s., just plain in your face, point blank athority. no violence, no screaming, and no kidding. and the kid knew it, right now. great job!


Thank you for the story.

Being a curmudgeonly old a-hole myself I have a great deal of respect for Lt. Barrett. Sounds like he and I did things our way regardless of the outcome... obviously his outcomes were far superior to mine but the mindset is the same. We could have been best friends or worst enemies, but then again sometimes you can be both. Thanks for the story Dave, too bad there aren't more like him today. The world would be a far better place.

Kidding me, you may be 41 but your post reveals more about you than you may wish to expose... punk.


Over 40 years ago, just out of college and working my first job as a chemist in industry, I said, "Hi, Kid!" to one of the production workers (a woman, probabably a little older than I). I started to ask her a question about a problem we were having with the product when she said, "Just how old do you think I am? I want you to know I am not a 'Kid'". I got the point, and tried to address anyone in the factory by their first name from then on. I also learned early on that no one knew more about the nuances of production than the hourly workers who were directly involved with the products and processes on a daily basis. I tried very hard to earn their trust, because it became obvious to me that their practical, hands-on knowledge, if they would share it with me, would be invaluable when it came to solving problems or improving the processes.


I'm with Scott on this one...lighten up Kidding & Jeff.

Dave, wonderful stories, thanks for sharing! Keep 'em coming!

Dr. Ralph

Senility is sinking in. My wife calls it Part-timers but I am rapidly declining to
alzheimers. Last post was mine


Dr. Ralph

I have CRS. Can't Remember Stuff*!!!
(*)ref. fecal matter

On Saturday morning's, I'll be one of the old men standing around the entry at Wally World with the wife's list pinned to the bib of my overalls!



The reason we're standing around the entry waiting is because they only have 2 electric carts!!

P.S. - See, told ya! CRS!

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