Lesson 1080 – The stories I tell

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.

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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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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Lesson 1080 – The stories I tell

  1. Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie)

    Loved this, Wendy. So many great stories. And I love “Big Fish,” too. I’m long overdue for a re-watch on that one.

    I love how certain stories seem to dig their roots down into our personal history. Oddly, it’s usually not the stories about big trips or holidays or even life milestones. Usually, it’s the quirky, unexpected moments that kind of take us by surprise.

    We have lots of these in our family, some more true than others. I love the way they tell the story of us using odd bits and pieces that can be cobbled together to create a sort of impressionistic image of our lives.

    Kind of cool, really.🙂

    • Wendy Thomas

      Jamie,

      From one story teller to another – this is how our kids will remember us – people composed of stories. It’s a nice legacy.

      Wendy

      On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 5:37 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:

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  2. Wow! That must have been scary. When I was thirteen, our neighbors had a cow and a bull. One day when I got home from school I walked into the breezeway that lead to the house and there was the bull staring right at me through the sliding glass doors to the back deck. He was big and I can assure you that even though he didn’t look like he was in the mood for a good run, I would not have enjoyed trying to beat his time.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Cindy,

      Didn’t have too much time to be afraid, I was kind of busy running.🙂

      It’s only because I beat the bull that it’s become a much-told story, if the bull had beat me, I’m not sure I’d be letting many people know.

      Wendy

      On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 6:11 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:

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  3. Elaine McManness

    Wendy,

    The things I love most about your “stories” are that they are so real and believable. They are stories about the simple, ordinary things in life that we often ignore or miss in the hurried-up hustle and bustle of today’s world. They often take me back to the yesterdays of raising my six children and often call up memories of even earlier times when I was growing up in the country in East Texas with my five siblings, in the days of chicken yards, gathering eggs, running from the rooster, or sometimes encountering a long chicken snake in the hen house, one of which didn’t like the fact that I got to the eggs in the nests before him and slithered down out of the rafters as I was stepping out of the little house. He dropped down over my shoulder and into the egg basket. Needless to say, in my surprise and horror, the basket, eggs, snake and I went in all different directions. Before I could regain my senses to run, my dad came running into the chicken yard with his gun, thinking I had encounters a different kind of egg stealing critter that often raided the hen house. When he saw the snake and the fact that it was harmless to humans, except a 9 year little girl, guess who got a spanking for over-reacting and breaking all the eggs. I love your stories because they help me find my way back “home” through my own memories and stories of my own, but also the stories my mom and dad used to tell of their childhood. Keep telling us the stories, Wendy, and God bless you.

    Regards,

    Elaine McManness

    • Wendy Thomas

      Elaine,

      What a beautiful comment. Thank you. It means a lot to me that you find a connection in my writing. It’s the hope of all writers to connect. And no worries, I’m sure there will be many more stories.

      By the way, if a snake had dropped into my basket, I would have dropped it as well!

      Wendy

      On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 8:50 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:

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  4. Pingback: Worthy of attention | Live to Write - Write to Live

  5. Pingback: Weekend Edition: More than a Story, Pressure, Superheroes Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips | Live to Write - Write to Live

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