In the Easy Chair with ... Kenn McGowan

In the Easy Chair with ... Kenn McGowan

The Westerly Sun

AGE: 56.

OCCUPATION: Naturalist and wilderness guide in Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska.

RESIDENCE: Gustavus, Alaska.

BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: Westerly. I’m a graduate of the Westerly High School class of 1978.

RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Packing for my return trip to Alaska.

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME: Out in open spaces. I like to walk in the wilderness.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: That I haven’t been thrown in jail.

I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Doing the Kessel run in 11 parsecs.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: I don’t really have one but I’m headed to Uganda soon to see the lions sleep in trees and then I’m off to Central Africa.

ALWAYS IN MY POCKET: The ashes of our dog, Luke. My wife and I found him in Montana while we were hitchhiking to a friend’s wedding. He was in a cage with a note on it. He was part border collie and part springer spaniel and he stayed with us for 15 years.


PERSON WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME THE MOST: Jimmy Pucci ... Mr. James Pucci III. He taught me that you can make mischief without being a jerk.

FAVORITE AUTHOR: Steinbeck. John Steinbeck without a doubt.

I AM READING: “The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution,” by Richard Dawkins.

I AM LISTENING TO: The birds in the trees ... music in the maples.

FAVORITE MOVIE: “Jeremiah Johnson.”

FAVORITE TV SHOW: Don’t own one. Don’t want one.

FAVORITE PET: Luke ... by far.



TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE: A good storyteller. A lot can be forgiven if you’re a good storyteller.

PET PEEVE: When people get on an escalator and stop.

FAVORITE QUOTATION: “Regret of the past and fear of the future are the twin thieves that rob you of the present.” — It was on the outhouse wall at the Salty Dog in Homer, Alaska.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The fact that I still have close friends here after 50 years and that we still get together and we still enjoy one another’s company.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Wild, open space.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I was the Westerly Sun Paperboy of The Year in 1973.

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” — “Animal House.”

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: “You can’t move forward if you spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror. The rearview mirror is small and the windshield is big for a reason.”

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Send all the politicians to hard labor and put homeless people in their places.

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Buy a lifetime supply of cherry-flavored Pez and a Chewbacca dispenser.

I DRIVE A: Bicycle.

I WISH I DROVE A: Millennium Falcon.

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: A little mold.

IF I COULD HOST A DINNER PARTY WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM THE PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE, I WOULD INVITE: John Muir, Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Robert Frost and Mark Twain. I think they’d be a cool group to sit and have drinks with.

— Interview conducted and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro


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