The Singin’ Salmon Man

(5 customer reviews)

Who’s the man behind the brand? Cornet Bay owner Arnie Deckwa has led an amazing life. From rodeo bull riding to hanging out with stars of the Grand Ole Opry, Arnie’s master storytelling skills make The Singin’ Salmon Man an enjoyable read.

This book tells the story of a true American original. Arnie Deckwa is “the first and only cowboy ever to ride into the history of Nashville’s country music on smoked salmon.” Born to a fishing family on Whidbey Island in Washington State, he was a commercial fisherman, a rodeo contestant, a deputy sheriff, a building contractor, and a land developer, among other things. But it was his moving to Nashville to pursue his musical dreams that brought together his twin passions – good music and good food. He arrived with a handful of contacts and a $1,500 cashier’s check no one would cash.

Before long, though, Arnie was a backstage regular at the Grand Ole Opry, hanging around with Roy Acuff, Little Jimmy Dickens, Charlie Walker, and the Four Guys. He began bringing smoked salmon from back home, and soon the salmon and dips he made from it were an even bigger hit than his music. At the urging of his Opry friends, he began taking both into grocery stores.

Ten years later, he moved back home as the head of a booming business based on the best-smoked salmon and crab dips that ever tempted a palate. He had a growing line of products in the nation’s largest grocery chain, a world of friends and supporters, and many great stories to tell.

They’re all here, along with a few recipes and a lot of wisdom from a man who lives life to the fullest every time he gets out of bed in the morning.

Meet the Singin’ Salmon Man, Arnie Deckwa.



5 reviews for The Singin’ Salmon Man

  1. cornetbay_6xb1ji

    Book Review by Robert Rhodes

    In a word, The Singin’ Salmon Man is a fun read. It is also instructive and inspirational.

    Arnie Deckwa’s memoir is not a comprehensive, chronological account of his life. Instead, he has chosen to tell a series of stories. It reminds me of sitting around with a beer or cola shooting the breeze. “Did I ever tell you about when I taught myself to bow hunt and wound up bagging a near-record wild goat?” “Here’s how I created my smoked salmon dip?”

    Arnie is a gifted storyteller. His writing evokes the moment. He got into chariot racing and was in a barrel cut in half, mounted on wheels, being towed by two horses that had not been trained for the task. “On the backstretch, I was leaning backward at a pretty good angle, my feet against the front of the barrel. I had my entire weight pulling on those reins, and the horses weren’t even slowing down. I pulled myself upright again, and as I went past Knight and Uncle Ralph, I yelled, ‘They won’t stop!’ and I heard them yell ‘Go get ‘em, Ben.’ referring, of course, to Ben Hur”

    It is an “only in America story,” the kind many of us grew up hearing and believing. Arnie has lived it, from a childhood in a small fishing village in northwest Washington to the main stage of the Grand Ole Opry. It is a story of leaving a place he loved and people he loved to pursue his dream, only to be surprised by a totally different dream that brought him home.

    It is a story of self-reliance, but also of the importance of family and friends. His parents taught him to work hard and be responsible. They also showed him the power of families, loving and supporting one another. And, they shared with him their faith in Jesus Christ. The faith Arnie received from them is woven through his story.

    I was struck by the number of times a friend or acquaintance provided just the right practical help or word of encouragement when Arnie most needed it. I suspect Arnie would say the Good Lord was looking out for him. True enough, but in my experience, people are most eager to help those who have earned their trust and respect. His friends are central characters in Arnie’s stories. And, he has an amazing number of friends. In fact, it seems that just meeting Arnie makes you his friend. One of the book’s delights is the chance encounters with people who quickly become Arnie’s friends.

    What happens when hard work and determination are married to curiosity, creativity, and an open heart? Arnie Deckwa’s life story is an answer. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. I highly recommend it.

    Robert Rhodes
    Episcopal Priest

  2. cornetbay_6xb1ji

    Review by Ron Elmer

    The book, besides having a nice professional finish on the covers and inside, two things stand out. First I commend you for your recall of all those thousands of details from so many years back. I took that for granted the first time I looked at the book, but on the second time it just flat amazes me. I could not begin to recall anything like that.

    Which brings me to the second point. I think that part of the reason is your story is so unique. For the last two decades or more, people just have not been really getting out and living a real life. Everything outside of eating sleeping and working is simulated either in print or in the last 10 years electronically. That’s what’s compelling about the stories and the overall book is the reader gets to ride along with somebody that would never be satisfied with somebody else’s reality. Why would he? His is way more fun. Keep the faith, Arn, this is going to go well because you are a positive person and positive energy always creates good positive results.

    My only regret in all of this is that I cannot be right there with you on this adventure.

    Best regards,

  3. cornetbay_6xb1ji

    Review by Wayne Lewis

    Arnie’s first book is a shining light on what it was like living on Whidbey Island before traffic over the Deception Pass Bridge was a steady stream. I call it Arnie’s first book because he has many more terrific stories, which call for a Book 2.

    If you’re looking for a book that honestly sets the example on how to stay on track thru ups and downs and get to your goal, Arnie’s book is it. ”

    — Wayne Lewis

  4. cornetbay_6xb1ji

    Review by Jimmy Gray

    I’ve read the book now word to word. Well done!!!! Arnie, You’ve done it!!! Me, Rick and Gerald all give you a “high five”. I know there were times you were frustrated and ready to quit…. but, thankfully, you didn’t. I appreciate Joanne, Rob and the others who worked on the illustrations, book design and cover. All I can say is that the book is everything I had hoped for.

    Again…. Well Done!!!!

    — Jimmy Gray

  5. cornetbay_6xb1ji

    Review by Glenda McClurken

    Hey Arnie and Joanne good to hear from you. Got your book today, can’t put it down. Thanks for sending it. Brought back so many fond memories. You did good Partner. Keep up the good work. God bless you both and thanks for letting me be a part of your lives.

    — Glenda McClurken

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