December 30, 2017


Carroll and Greg McKnight

Carroll and Greg McKnight

By: Greg McKnight
Anaheim, California USA
Email gregmcknight92804@msn.com

My thoughts of pigeon heaven is when are souls reach the promised land, we see our past life of friends, family, teachers, clergy and meeting for the first time the generations before us of family and Historical figures that made up our living life. My dreams of meeting my gr-grandfather the first pigeon fancier in my family that I’ve heard of, his name Pasquale Murone and I only have a picture of him and hope he introduces himself to me with a pigeon in his hand. It would be lovely for him to tell me Gregory you have so many here that know you, with that I know my life on earth is rewarded.  My grandfather Edward McKnight who passed in the mid 1950’s and a farmer and feed store owner in Kansas, I knew only for a short period in my young life, but visited his store while visiting in 1986 and noted the year 1909 on the building, this is where many of my family migrated starting in the year 1811 from Ireland. “Just think of meeting all of the clan.”

The historic pigeon fanciers that I read about from the History of our sport will be there like Charles Wegge a real pioneer, just think of sitting with him and discussing the early part of our racing pigeons, and all the others like Gurnay, Hanssenne, Stassart, Bricoux, Bekaert, Sion, Grooter, Bastin, Janssen, and of course Noah with that special pair.

So many from the past swapping their ideas what worked and theories from their era of life, just amazing conversations they would be. I wonder if you could get drunk in Heaven with all the talk and cheers flowing.  Hahaha

In thinking back what about all the fanciers gone from my life, like Will Waterhouse and George Derby of Bekaert fame, I flew partners with both and the winning times we had with racing and breeding the family that continues to this day winning. Nick Robertis recently past also a partner in the late sixties winning 17 races in a row and All American Big division with at the time state of the art conditioning and health products bringing the birds to the top of the race sheet. Many would bring their birds to him for advice and methods needed to rise on the race report, my time with him was important and the knowledge gained was appreciated and I would like to reminisce about those times with him again. Just recently I met his gr-son and he will be active in our sport for the first time, his name is Buddy and also a barber, his gr-gr father was also a barber four generations.  I asked him why didn’t get into the sport, while grandpa was still alive and it just wasn’t meant to be, so glad he’s taking up our sport where Nick left off, and he would be overjoyed. My old friend Jack DeWolf a constant champion from the Fernando Valley club was a real thinker and knew everyone and his personality was always upbeat with storytelling and joke telling of the best. Just hanging around him you learn some secrets to success and I would love to see him again. His neighbor the great Dan Lepre was a master at selecting and would keep it close to his chest and in heaven I would really pressure him to tell the truth.  Hahaha

Teachers from my past and believe me, I was a terrible student, knowing I had a test in the morning I would leave the house in the morning and would open up the book on the subject for the first time while walking to school and memorize certain pages, just to pass, didn’t care what grade I got, just to pass. Just didn’t want to be held back another year.

One Teacher I always remember was a History teacher and looked old to me, probably around 60 at the time Mr. Cunningham and I can always remember him saying he was in a B-52 Bomber squadron group and on the tail was letters designating what squadron he was with and his was the letter “J” he was a big guy and I did well in his class for whatever reason and I truly would like to see him in heaven.  I would like to apologize to one of my teachers also back in the day, like I say I was a trouble young man and this teacher was a large fellow who played in the movie “Jim Thorpe All American” starring Burt Lancaster, he was one of the football line men in the movie, well I didn’t know that at the time and challenged him to a fight and to my surprised he accepted and I didn’t show up. “The stupid things we do when young and dumb” My friend Dick Earthman a long time Bekaert breeder just past this last year was a school teacher as many in our sport were, his memory on the birds background was astonishing as in one of my last conversations with him just before going into the hospital said he was cleaning out a dresser drawer and ran across an old band and said to me “do you know what band it was” and I said #947 he said yeah and we both laughed, old #947 was bred by Waterhouse, the year 1959 a direct son of the old foundation cock #1045 and given to Earthman later in his breeding career, but still breeding, sired at an old age a good one #1917 and we just kept the conversation going with that, truly I miss Dick, but his son recently was here in December after winning a nice prize at a OLR in Arizona and we discussed Dad and Nick’s gr-son.

My Drill Sergeant in Boot Camp when I was still cocky at that age, I said to him “that doesn’t make sense sergeant and he said I’m not here to make sense” this is when I began my learning curve of manhood. “I do not care too see this teacher in Heaven” Hahaha

Every year at this time I get melancholy and think about the all my family and friends who’ve past with emotions across the board and remember our circle of life while here on earth and God will call on us some day and with that all that are lucky will meet many of our sports past legends and family members from generations gone and the stories we will partake in will be joyous for eternity.  God Bless you all.

Happy Holidays


Greg McKnight





2 Responses to PIGEON HEAVEN

  1. Mike Clements on December 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Now you got me started… Claude Hoskisson, Gunnar Guttormsen, Jeff Horn, Ed Tatum, Hank Vernazza, Matthew Bourguignon (way too soon). Just lost my dad… Great men, great experiences, great memories. All of them irreplaceable.

  2. Dennis Weinreich on December 31, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Fantastic article Greg..Keep up the good work.
    Dennis.E. Weinreich~Hawkbait Lofts~Chico,California~

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