From time to time I find myself in the company of kids of all ages; toddlers to teenagers, to young adults, and a few old folks like myself. It is a mildly hectic, yet rewarding time. I am able to remember similar gatherings as a member of most of the other age groups. I remember Easter egg hunts, Christmas gifts, bonfires, good food, and all manner of desserts. I remember being a teenager getting bored, and feeling out-of-place.
As a wide-eyed youngster, my most memorable activity was listening to the stories and tall tales told by the old folks. Many of these were repeated year after year oftentimes improved with new tidbits to enhance their intrigue.
Like the story of how grandpa’s cousin Jolene died. Jolene, a 14-year-old girl, would wake up every morning soaking wet. To solve the mystery, the female family members stayed up one night to watch her. In the middle of the night she arose, walked to the creek and jumped in. Knowing she couldn’t swim the family members screamed and yelled waking her – then they watched helplessly as she drowned. Since that day all the family’s children have been taught to swim at an early age.
There was a story about the time an old Indian warned Uncle Albert not to kill a snake they had encountered on the trail. “If you do,” he said, “every snake you meet during your whole life will try to bite you.” Unfortunately, Uncle Albert had already killed a snake sometime in the past; the snake chased and bit him; he almost died.
Then there was the time Grandma saw a Joint Snake down by the spring, she hit it with her cane and it shattered into several pieces; however, within a few short minutes the pieces wiggled around until they were able to reconnect and the snake slithered off.
And there was the Hoop Snake that formed a circle head to tail and rolled like a wheel at high-speed across the field… and the Coach Whip that… well you get the idea.
Gatherings like these are a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. –CP