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The Loon Call
Produced by Brent Runyon
w/ help from Jay Allison & Christina Egloff

Grandpa Jim
Grandpa Jim

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  • Learn the Loon Call
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  • My grandfather is a kind of mythic figure in my family. That's him holding the canoe on his head. That picture was taken when he was seventy.

    My parent's house is filled with the wooden statues Grandpa Jim used to do, carved from logs and driftwood he'd find on his hikes up in Michigan. Almost all of them are human figures, beautiful, graceful forms. There are dancers, walkers, waders, star gazers. They're a constant reminder of the kind of man he was, and the kind of man my Dad and I would both like to be.

    When my Dad was growing up in Michigan, Grandpa Jim would call him for dinner using a loon call. A sound he made by clasping his hands together like two big C's and blowing between his thumbs.

    Father, Son, and the Loon Call
    Brent's father Don trying to teach Brent how to do the Loon Call.
    My Dad used the same call to bring my brother and me home from playing kickball in the culdesac where we grew up in the Finger Lakes region of Central, New York.

    I'm twenty-four now and I've been trying to make the loon call my whole life. Somehow I've never been able to do it, and what's worse, I'm the only man in my family who can't do it. But I've decided now that I'm really going to try and learn.

    Brent Runyon is a radio producer with Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His work has been heard on This American Life and Living on Earth. He is from Ithaca, New York.

    A Loon
    A Loon.
    Loon Links

    Voices of the Loon

    Loon Multimedia Page

    Playing a loon call on a Native American flute
    Kansas City Native American Flute Circle

    The Call of the Loon: A Squamish Quest for Spirit Power
    by David Christie

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