Did you know we once had a guy named Bill who lived at our house and broke lamps and jumped up on the roof and then couldn't get down?
Of course, I've told you about my best friend Joann who colored on the walls and did other naughty stuff.
Imagination wasn't in short supply at our house when I was growing up!
My sister, Paula, a professor, (and professional storyteller!) loved to embellish the truth when we were kids. I don't know if she liked to LIE or she just wanted to make stuff more exciting, but it was well known with our family and neighbors to check out any story she told.
Paula, at the height of her amazing storytelling!
My dad had a heavy foot. And then in the 1970s, during the first 'green' movement, the speed limit went from 75 mph to 55 mph. It was a very hard transition for him to make and he had the speeding tickets to prove it. It seems to be a routine memory to be stopped on the side of the road while Daddy visited with the nice policeman, but perhaps my memory is embellishing! I'm sure we all stood up in the seat (no seat belts, don'cha know!) to watch the officer write the ticket! Family vacations were always fun with Mom's bottom in the front window as she turned around and swatted at fighting kids in the back seat and Dad driving faster and faster to get home, only to end up seeing the flashing lights in the rear view mirror, knowing they were flashing for him! If the arguing was really bad, we worried sometimes that the lights were really flashing for us!
Wait, surely I jest. You know when something happens once as a kid, it is permanently etched in your mind sometimes as a recurring event. Perhaps I got the exaggeration gene too?
So back to my dad's jail time.
Our next-door neighbor (about a mile down the road from us) drove our school bus. We were the first ones on in the morning and the last ones off at night. So the Jones kids had ample opportunity to have one on one time with Junne.
Me getting on our yellow school bus! You expected something bigger?
Don't be surprised, I only had nine kids in my class!
She knew us well anyway because we often walked down to her house and helped milk the cows or just to hang out. My mom could see us walk all the way there (no trees in the Panhandle, you see) and after all, it was 1975 and aside from the occasional rattle snake, what was going to happen?
Junne called my mom up one evening and asked, "How is Wayne today?"
"Fine," my puzzled mother replied.
"Is he out of the hospital? Or did he have to stay?"
"Wayne's not in the hospital."
"Oh, is he still in jail?" Junne knew the answer but she wanted to pull my mom's chain I'm sure!
"What? He's not in jail! He's right here." I'll bet Mom was more than a little irritated that this terrible rumor was going around the community! "Where did you hear that?"
We were on a party line. I can just imagine the other neighbers picking up their phone to make a call and hearing this juicy tidbit! Hope they listened to the end!
"Oh, Paula told me on the bus that Wayne had been shot and arrested at Log Cabin Corner this weekend."
So Mom explained that Dad had just received (another) speeding ticket and no one was shot or arrested or hospitalized and really, nothing happened! And then she went to kill my sister. Not really!
And all was well.....until the next time my sister divulged family information!
Mom laughs at this story now but I wonder if she laughed at the time? I wonder if she thought Paula had a future in story telling or that she was burdened with a perpetual liar? Haven't you wanted to simultaneously strangle your children and laugh uproariously at the same time?
Who knew that this talent of embellishment would provide my sister with a career of sorts? She's been a featured storyteller in Palo Duro Canyon at the "Texas" show. When their family goes camping she develops a campfire following to hear her tell stories. And this past spring, she was a teller at a storytelling festival in Dallas.
Oh dear. I see I'm filling up lots of space. Someday I will have no idea what to write, so Bill's story will have to wait until another time!