Suddenly the Cider Didn't Taste So Good
Adventures of a Game Warden in Maine
Written by John Ford, Sr.
Suddenly the Cider Didn't Taste So Good is available as an e-book in all major
e-book formats including:
· Amazon Kindle
· Barnes & Noble Nook
· For iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch
ABOUT THE BOOK
Retired Maine Game Warden John Ford has seen it all. He's been shot at by desperate prison escapees, been outwitted by wily trappers, and rescued scores of animals. As a tenacious and successful warden, he was always willing to spend the time needed to nab violators of the state's fish and game laws. At the same time, though, he wasn't a cold, heartless, go-by-the-book enforcer; he usually had a good quip ready when he slipped the handcuffs on a violator, and he wasn't above accepting a lesson learned as sufficient penalty for breaking the law.
Ford is also a very gifted storyteller and he writes of his adventures in Suddenly, the Cider Didn't Taste So Good, a collection of true tales, both humorous and serious, from the trenches of law enforcement, and also includes heartwarming accounts of his rescue of hurt or abandoned animals.
"An entertaining book that will leave readers chuckling, speechless or both... The secret to Ford's success is simple: He knows of what he writes. And he kept good notes in a diary during his career as a warden, realizing that someday, someone might want to hear his stories. That's all great news for readers, who will gobble up his collection of stories."
John Holyoke, Bangor Daily News
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"John Ford's stories from his long career as a Maine game warden are offered with humility and good humor, and demonstrate an abiding affection for the land, creatures, and quirky characters of Maine. Ford is an appealing character, a great storyteller, and he's FUNNY."
Kate Braestrup, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Here if You Need Me
"From the serious tracking a murderer to the sublime raising a baby owl retired Maine Game Warden John Ford shares thirty-five of his best stories that will entertain all indoor and outdoor adventurers."
George Smith, outdoor writer and former executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Ford Sr., a native Mainer, comes from a long line of Maine Game Wardens. He was sworn into the service shortly after finishing up a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force. He spent all of his twenty-year warden career in Waldo County in central Maine. Upon his retirement in 1990, he was elected as county sheriff and re-elected in 1994. He has written a local newspaper column and is a regular contributor to the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He also is a painter, known for his wildlife artwork. He lives with his wife in Brooks, Maine. This is his first book.
AUTHOR Q and A
We asked author John Ford to answer some questions about his career and his writing.
Q: What is the most memorable experience of your career as a warden?
A: It's hard to pick out any one incident. I guess probably the most dramatic and life-changing experience for me was recovering the drowning victim from Bowler Pond, in the town of Palermo, only to end up in the hospital afterwards diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. ("One man's tragedy saved another man's lifemine.") The irony of that situation was an event that changed my life forever. In most cases I felt as if I somewhat had control of those events that I found myself in, but suddenly I found myself facing a life-threatening incident whereby my own destiny and future was in the hands of medical professionals and my own Christian faith. In other words, I had no control of the future or what the outcome might be, other than placing my trust in their hands. The final outcome was realizing that this life that most of us are so accustomed to can change in a heartbeat. Those things we take for granted suddenly are placed into a different light. The end results being that in this situation I was determined to enjoy each day as it came, knowing that tomorrow I may not be here.
Q: How many people do you estimate you've arrested/given warrants to over the years?
A: Interestingly, one of my deputy wardens, David Rzewnicki, a student at Unity College, did his internship on a study of the summonses and arrests I had accrued over the years, along with a minor history of my being a game warden during that era. According to his records, which I believe are quite accurate his study covered the period from 1970-1987 it averaged out to 89.5 summonses and arrests a year, with most of them occurring during the hunting season from August to the end of November. His figures for that time showed a total of 1,554 cases. From 1987 to April 1990, when I finally retired, that average maintained about the same. All total, I would estimate the number at 2,000, give or take a few. In the later years, as new laws were passed and environmental laws became the wardens' responsibility, we found a completely different form of enforcement issues to deal with. The days of enforcing strictly hunting and fishing cases were becoming a thing of the past.
Q: What is your favorite story in the book?
A: I think my favorite story was the hunting camp incident that brought about the title of this book, "Suddenly, the Cider Didn't Taste So Good." For me those were the best days, when even those who occasionally strayed across the line managed to show appreciation and a sense of friendship and respect with their local game warden. They knew the rules of the game, and they also realized if they were to violate those rules they'd be treated no differently than anyone else in the same position. There was no hostility or form of retaliation with these folks. They were what I consider good old hell-raising sportsmen, coming into the area for a good time and willing to share it with their local game warden. We always laughed and joked with each other, which early in my career I felt was the way life as a warden really should be. It was a case of true sportsmanship all the way around, and it was one of the perks that made my job so enjoyable. We still have maintained that friendship to this very day, although some of them have passed away. Nothing but great memories and a whole hell of a lot of laughs and good times.
Q: If you could relive one experience from your book, which one would it be? Would the outcome be different?
A: The one incident I'd loved to have relived in this book was my encounter with a man I called Jimbo. ("An albino fisher? C'mon, Jimbo") That first encounter with this man was when I was rookie warden, having been on the force for a few days at best. I caught him dead-to-rights violating the law, and I stupidly bought into his sorry alibi, hook, line and sinker. I was quite na•ve at that young point in my new career and little did I realize the fact that those of us in law enforcement often encounter folks who don't always tell the truth. Jimbo was a habitual offender in this aspect. I should have issued him the summons that he deserved and spared myself the humility of being ridiculed by those who Jimbo told his story to.
(There are many more memories I've recorded that were not included in this book, incidents in which I probably would have acted differently. Possibly a chance for a follow-up book if this one goes halfway decent.)
Q: Do you still take in abandoned or hurt animals?
A: I have occasionally taken in a wild critter or two since retiring, but unlike the days of being a warden, I seldom get those types of calls anymore. It entailed a lot of hard work and required a tremendous amount of patience. Honestly speaking, I doubt the department would issue the necessary permits to possess such critters now that I've been off the force for so long.
Q: Do you hunt?
A: After having been a warden for 20 years I no longer have the desire to hunt that I once had. During my tenure as a game warden I never had the opportunity to hunt with any regularity. Most of my time was spent hunting the hunters! I do not miss hunting in the least, and I really have no desire to go at the present time. If anything, I'd do so with a camera.
Q: What advice would you give to a warden just starting out today?
A: I'd pass along the same wise advice that was given to me by my stepfather, Vernon Walker, "to treat people as I'd want to be treated myself." To be firm, but fair, always choosing on the side of error, ruling in their favor if the case warranted doing so. Also, I'd advise them to keep a diary of those times when they are out on patrol, recording the daily memories of present times and situations they encounter. These are things we never recall years down the road unless they are recorded in a way to refresh the memory. Every game warden has his own stories, some of them much better than mine, but they need to be documented in order to share with the sporting public, a public who has a genuine interest in these events happening in their own backyards. I have found the public thoroughly likes to hear of such things.
Q: What is your favorite season in Maine and why?
A: I always enjoyed the early fall and especially the hunting season, simply because this was the time of year when, although we wardens worked day and night, there was always something exciting going on. I still get the urge some 20-plus years later to relive those nights being out underneath the heavens, watching and waiting for some form of mischief to come along to occupy my time.
Q: What kind of books do you like to read?
A: I enjoy books of humor, and about life out in the country, along with wildlife stories. I also am quite interested in the political world and I find myself reading book pertaining to today's politics.