If you’ve read any of my posts so far in my thousand-mile journey as a blogger, you have probably already noticed that when I write, I am definitely a story-teller. I can’t go a day without telling somebody a story. I usually tell lies when I write because I tell fiction stories. The names of the characters are never the real names. Sometimes the events are not the real events. That’s what fiction writers do. We tell lies. It can’t be helped. But in the midst of those lies, the truth usually comes out. The characters and events are shadows of what is real. But the feelings, the understandings, the moments of revelation… those are essential truth… the truth that fuels the very mind of God.
One important revelation happened to me yesterday, a black day that added to a long list of very black days that buffet me with heartache and worry as I struggle to raise children in a system designed to defeat me. We were in a local restaurant after a long day of school withdrawals and doctor’s visits, Henry, the Princess, and I. I won’t call the restaurant by name because that would give Taco Bueno free advertising that.they didn’t pay for… um, okay… that was a mistake. But I’ll probably remember to edit that out later… probably. Anyway, we were sitting at a booth in Taco Good-o waiting for our bean burritos, chips, and dip, and the Princess, whom you sorta see in the paffooney today, began telling me about Atlantis Alpha. It seems Alpha team is having trouble keeping all their members alive. The leader has a brother and a sister. She believes they have both been killed, but it turns out that the brother is actually alive… Well, you get the idea. The Princess is writing a script for an animated cartoon she means to produce in the future with her friends in Anime Club at school. It all sounds very tense and exciting. And it means that just like me, she is a story-teller, bent on relating something important through science fiction and fantasy.
I am just guessing here, but I believe the story-teller gene came from my Grandpa. He was my mother’s father and he was a farmer who could tell a funny story with the best of them. He used to tell us stories all the time about the infamous Dolly O’Malley and her husband, Shorty the dwarf. It was my understanding that these were real people. There were houses in the southeast corner of our little Iowa farm-town, the infamous Ghost House was one of them, that were collectively known as Dolly-ville because she had purchased all four at some point, probably with the idea of profiting off real estate, and had let them all collectively rot into ruin. But, as with most of my Grandpa’s stories, their sheer veracity was always in question. Not only did I get my penchant for changing names (and I have used no real names in this story… forget about the Taco Bueno thing), but I got my knack for embellishing to make it funnier from him too. The story I remember laughing about the hardest was the time that Dolly and Shorty had gotten into an argument about politics. Apparently Shorty was using a string of bad words against some stupid thing that President Truman had done, when Dolly, not known for using color-free language herself, got tired of his invective and physically threw him off the porch. Of course, the second or third time I heard that story, Shorty landed in the middle of the hog pen in the front yard, and being a small man, nearly drowned in pig poo. What can I say? I was maybe seven. Pig poo was funny. (I know I used a real name in this paragraph, but honestly, you don’t know it wasn’t really President Eisenhower.)
So let me tack on a hopelessly disconnected conclusion to give you the moral of the story. Story-telling, like the appreciation of pig-poo humor, runs in the genes. And I shouldn’t worry so much about those times when things go wrong for my children. They are story-tellers too, and can probably lie their way out of any dungeon of doom.