Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Son the Writer

Small Dogma Publishing has selected Shaun’s book, Decisions, as their showcase book of the month. You can order his book at

A great Christmas gift for less than $14.

One reviewer of the book said: In Decisions, Shaun Priest gives the reader a look at the life of one illegal gambler in a way that brings home the reality of the world of bookies and their customers. Priest’s main character, Jack Fitzgerald, is a hotshot ex-jock and salesman for CM Solutions, a Boston-area company that specializes in selling software systems to hospitals. “Fitzy” is married, with a young son, plays basketball in an adult amateur league, and seems to have it all. But he has got a secret: he’s a compulsive gambler….At its heart, Decisions is a page-turner. It’s not a cerebral or contemplative tome, but it will keep you reading. This book would make a great movie.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meeting a New Hampshire Good Samaritan

When you need help, a Good Samaritan appears.

My wife, Cathy, and I went to the Contoocook River to locate the kayak put-in and take-out for my Sunday triathlon, the Contoocook Carry (2 mile run, 5-mile kayak, and 14-mile bike). To scout together, we decided to use our Kevlar twenty-five pound twelve foot Lincoln canoe.

We came to a dead end road, and could not see the river, nor the put-in - yet the web site directions showed we were in the right spot. We spotted our Good Samaritan walking near a farmhouse, and yelled if he knew where Sunday’s paddle race put-in was. He said, we could park there and he pointed to a path toward the river. “Thank you.”

We paddled to the Contoocook Dam - three miles - and then turned around and paddled back upstream - the current was no problem and with both paddling hard, we returned to the put-in in one hour.

Hence our real memory of this trek started.

Cathy had a large hole in the middle of her cane seat. The first hour paddle was comfortable, rump wise, but as time progressed she had to continually reposition herself in the canoe to get the blood flowing.

We returned to the put-in, carried the canoe to the car and prepared to lift the canoe on to the carrack. It was then our Good Samaritan re-appeared.

The young man, looking to be in his mid-twenties and with dreadlock hair, who had kindly given us directions to park and get to the water, waved to us, and we yelled back our thanks for a great paddle. Mike, carrying his 1 ½ year blonde daughter, walked over and we introduced ourselves. He admired our canoe, and then pointed to the torn cane seat. We certainly had noticed the seat, and it had given us “pain”.

Mike commented, “I have a brand new caned seat in the barn, and you can have it.” I responded, “Certainly, thank you.” “Let’s measure the seat to see if it is the same, and if yes, I will cut and install it,” he said. He walked over to the barn, and returned with an identical seat!

Within ten minutes, he had the seat installed.

Who knew, here we were in a far-region of middle New Hampshire - near an old farm - and who should appear but Mike, our Good Samaritan, with an identical caned seat and the knowledge and tools to install it.

People helping people in New Hampshire. Thank you Mike for a personal experience of kindness we could never have foreseen. Now I never have to say, “I wish I had accepted the kindness of a total stranger”