I’ve always loved telling stories. My favorite is the one where I sent the wrong letter to the right missionary. We were married the next summer. I attended LDS Business College where I earned an Associate’s in Computer Technology and Brigham Young University where I should have majored in English. I live in a small town nestled in the heart of the Appalachians. When I’m not busy writing, I can be found baking cookies, going to the movies, helping with the homework or catching fireflies with my handsome husband and four adorable children.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The Shucking of the Teeth
My dad loved to tell stories. Growing up as a sharecropper's son, sleeping in a house where you could see the stars through the ceiling, bed bugs and homemade biscuits at every meal, and boot camp, dating my mom, Dos getting a steel rod in his skull. There were dozens and the older he got the more he told the stories. Like every time we came to see him, and then every couple of hours, and then minutes. When we were told he wasn't going to make it, one of the first things I longed for was to listen to his stories. So the next time I went to the farm, I immediately ran inside, knelt down next to his big blue La-Z-boy and hung on his every word.
And now he's gone.
But I will never forget.
Right after he passed, I had the idea to blog some of them. A lot of things got in the way, including a book release, and now I find myself a month out with nothing written. Big changes are headed our way, so I don't know how scheduled this will be, but my intention is to write a story or two every week for your enjoyment and to help me honor and remember my dad.
When Mom asked my Uncle Alvin to speak at the funeral, she specifically wanted him to talk about some of my dad's childhood stories. I told him he had to include this one. It is hands down my favorite, because of it's horror, unbelievability and hilarity.
Dad was the fourth of eight kids. One day he and his siblings were out playing in the yard when Dad got the bright idea to pull a joke on his little sister, Shirley. He couldn't have been over ten, which would make her no older than five. Anyway, they were standing on a trailer hitched to the back of a tractor and he told her they'd been playing a game to see who could jump off and come the closest to catching the clothes-line in their teeth. I'm not really sure my dad had thought it all through. Actually, I'm positive he hadn't. Because Shirley squared back her shoulders and went for it. Not only did she come close, she caught that line dead on. And shucked out all the teeth in the top front of her mouth.
I can only imagine her pain and his remorse. And I'd bet my future on the fact that he came out of that with one burnt up bottom.
Don't worry about Shirley though. She's very forgiving. And when I saw her last month at the funeral I marveled at how beautiful she has always been and still is even at the age of eighty. She chagrined and pointed out all her wrinkles, but I told her hogwash. She's gorgeous. Really, you guys, she is. I hope I look that good when I'm her age.
Now for my moment of mush. I love my Aunt Shirley and I know my dad loves her too. Many times, even though it had been years since they'd lived in the same house, Dad would flub and call me Shirley. He loved chatting with her on the phone. It's no wonder he felt about her the way he did. The minute she found out he was failing fast, she and her husband hopped on a plane from Atlanta, jumped in a rental car and got here as fast as they could. Did I mention they're in their eighties?
Aunt Shirley, I just want to tell you that in spite of the teeth incident, you're beautiful on the outside. But none of that matches your beauty inside.
Dad loves you and I love you too.
Here's to always remembering The Shucking of the Teeth.