Back about a hundred years ago when I was in grade school, I used to look forward to Show and Tell. It was a time when a budding adventurer-type person (like myself) could inform everyone in the class about feats of strength, nifty vacations, grand places, scary sights and just stuff that happened to…ME!
The glory of the tale would be multiplied in the telling!
It never worked out the way I planned though and the reason was that there was always some kid, who had stories so glorious and fantastic, that mine were not even worth the telling. My classmates and I would squirm, as the “yarner” would work their magic carpet ride of a tall tale in front of us with no apparent shame.
If I caught a frog and brought it home over past weekend, the young lady in front of the class just enjoyed her first Hawaiian Luau, replete with exotic dishes so fantastic, I couldn’t even pronounce them.
If I helped my buddy build a tree house out of old lumber, the creepy kid hogging Show and Tell made a trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon and then hiked up the Rim (barefoot) to rescue an old lady!
I’m telling you, some of these kids either ended up pursuing a life of crime as world-class liars and misfits, or real pirate captains, plundering the open seas. Maybe they found a job in the White House (the one before George W. Bush! Maybe with GWB, I can’t really say).
As the years went by, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few of these kids-become-adults, and their stories are just as bizarre and preposterous, as the ones I encountered years ago, except that now, they tell them with such sincerity, it is difficult to keep a straight face.
Here at work, a fellow slammed the phone down in the break room and announced, “That woman just cost me ANOTHER million dollars” before he stormed out the door. This is the same guy whose son was taking private guitar lessons from Jimi Hendrix in East Texas 20 years after Jimi died. He also invented the MasterCard concept and mistakenly revealed it to the wrong person, thus being beat to the punch and “not making a buck off the idea”. Another time Hank Williams Jr. almost took an East Texas whooping from my friend, for a wrong look, while he was performing and of course, my friend and Hank knew of each other.
I would sit in absolute awe, as this storyteller would stab his index finger onto the desktop to drive home his tale and settle its questionable veracity. My only hope for these kind of folks is, they do it for entertainment, because it sure has provided a lot for the rest of us!
Recently, I banged out a couple of whoppers; just to see if I could do storytelling true justice. One of them is a story I heard long ago and the other is my own.
“The day I was borned, I had a full set of teeth and I mean full (46) and weighed in right at 4 pounds, soakin’ wet. I know this cause my Maw told me I was wet when I was borned, because of the watermelon. Folks told my Maw that if it wernt for all the teeth, they would of mistaken me for a opossum, especially with the hair and all, which was matted like an old rug. Funny thing is, by my first birfday I wored a size 16 shoe and since cow-critters was expensive, my Paw made me a pair of boots from a renegade pack of rattle-sanks. I luved them there boots, but had to git rid of em, cause two of the r-sanks were still alive…even after 10 years! Its true, I swear all the time.”
“I had a frightening experience down on Matagorda Bay one time last year. I was fishin’ on the bottom and my line got all hung-up like. Not being a wasteful fella, I suddenly dove off the dock, hardly making a wake, to attempt to free my bait, which was my lucky bait and I done caught 16 fish on. Imagine my consternation when I followed my line down to a sunken car and there, lying on the backseat, was the biggest blue and yellar catfish I have ever seed. Almost desperate for air, as I had been down a full 6 minutes, I figgered to just tow that whiskered critter back to the surface with me, when to my surprise; the big fish rolled up the window and snapped the line! True story, I swear on my neighbor’s eyes!”
What do you think? Do I have promise?
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