The first time I saw the movie “Big Fish”, I thought to myself, hey that’s me. I. tell. stories.
I have been telling stories my entire life and while most of them are true, if I want to be honest, I have to admit that some of them might be a little embellished (but definitely not exaggerated, I would never exaggerate in a million years.) My kids have heard all of my stories many times over.
There’s the one when I was young and the boy who lived down the street threw a fire-cracker at my feet trying to scare me. I stood my ground and told him that if that firecracker hurt me then my dad was going to sue his dad (his dad was a Congressman.) After the firecracker sputtered out (it was just a tiny one, even I could see that) he realized what could have been and he apologized.
What I didn’t tell him was that if my dad had found out I was playing anywhere near firecrackers and matches, he would have not sued anyone, but instead, he would have whooped my butt. This, I knew for a fact. But I figured no one else needed to know that. No matter, that boy from down the street never bothered me again.
And then there was the time I climbed up a large tree in our neighborhood. What I hadn’t realized was that it is easier to climb up than it is to climb down. Our local fire department was surprised to discover that what they thought was a call about a kitten in a tree, was really a call of help for a kid in a tree.
I don’t remember, but I might have gotten whooped for that one. I tended to get whooped a lot when I was a child.
My stories didn’t stop in childhood. I’ve told my kids many stories about college and life as a young adult finding my way in the world.
Like this one – I used to run track for the University of Connecticut as a distance runner. One day I went for a long run and when I was coming back, I saw a large field near my dorm. I could save time, I thought, and be in a shower that much sooner if I cut across the field.
So I did.
What I didn’t realize was that there was a semi-dozing bull in one corner of the field. He saw me and I saw him – far too late. We both started running as fast as we could. It was close, but I jumped the gate on the other side of the field before he reached me. I’ve always regretted that I never got an official time on that run.
I’m pretty sure my dad would have had something to say about that race.
When my kids were little, they would constantly ask me to tell them my stories – over and over. But when they started getting older, I began to see a little bit of eye-rolling when I would begin a tale.
“Sure Mom,” I’d hear. They started to think that maybe some of these things didn’t happen. Where’s the proof? Where’s the selfie from the field or the YouTube of the event?
Last week, I stopped by the University of Connecticut on my way down to visit my mom. Much has changed on the campus since I was a student there, some places are barely recognizable. I found my old dorm, parked my car in the lot, and walked down the road to the pastured land where the agricultural school kept their livestock.
The field, my field, was still there, relatively undisturbed. I took this photo as proof that my story was real – it happened. See kids? I’m pretty sure that if you look close enough, you can see the memory of a young woman sprinting across the grass one afternoon, in the race of her life, against a bull she hadn’t seen.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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