In my last post (which may very well go private very soon… I think I told too much), I touched breifly on a story my father told me this morning, about my ear problems.
Growing up, I knew my grandfather told wonderful stories. He told me how I was part cowboy and part black foot indian and I could tell, because just look at the bottom of my mother’s feet. I did, and they were black! (I was very young, very gullible, and she went barefoot most of the time). We got back from Kentucky that summer, and in the fall in my second grade class, they asked all of us if we had any American Indian heritage. I proudly raised my hand. “I’m half black-foot indian!” I declared.
My mother started getting baffling mail from the tribe. Then a phone call, where they talked about her not honoring her heritage (her father sailed from Scotland, her mother’s family the same)… Until she talked to the school office, she had no idea why these people were harassing her.
It makes for an amusing story now. It’s in the chronicles of family history now.
My father’s stories, however, were a little more sly. He told me how he swam across a frozen river once, and how he had to walk uphill to school– both ways. Listening to my father requires paying attention, because he also told stories, real stories, of growing up. The difference is in the wittiness. The true stories are still gripping, but they don’t really require you to puzzle out what he’s saying. And yes, I was way too old when I figured out the sly part.
One of the witticisms that I caught as a teenage was the CGU2L. He talked about them as if they were a bomber that he flew in during WWII. Say it out loud… CGU2L. If you don’t get it yet, don’t worry. It took me a while too. C… G…U…2….L. It’s a weird spelling of the word Sea Gull. I used to giggle as a teen when he’d say it at the beach and my friends would be confounded but unwilling to admit to it.
As much as I remember my mother reading stories to me growing up, I remember my father telling stories. I’m able to honor both of them. I am my mother’s little book worm, and I have a knack for telling stories.
I love hearing my father’s stories. Stories of his early life, World War II stories, stories of being married and broke with my mom. I also love the fables he tells… Like the ship trapped in my ear, doomed to cause me pain everytime I move my head.
And yes. I’ve decided that I’m going to be stealing some of his stories in part or in all. If I ever get them published, I’ll make sure that his name is on the book as well.