Thursday, April 17, 2014

The God's Honest Truth: A Grandfather's Tale

Recently, someone commented on one of my blog tour stops and asked me to share a few of my grandfather's stories. For those who may not know, my grandfather is one of the major reasons I write. He's a brilliant storyteller, someone who commands attention when he speaks--not because he's loud or overly imposing, but because he's gifted. But transferring his stories to print is a tricky endeavor. Much of his storytelling magic comes from his delivery. His dialect and accent are distinctly Maine. The tell-tale mid-sentence pauses and punctuated exhaled breaths, the accented vowels and dropped "R"s all mask his delivery as unassuming, until he gets to the punchline. To be honest, sometimes I can't tell which stories are real and which ones are made up, but that's part of his storytelling charm. As his last words fall, you don't care if it's real or not. You're in it with him, and that's all that matters.

My grandfather; my hero
He called me tonight, after I sent my mom an email requesting his permission to use some of his stories on my blog.

"Hello, kid," he greets me, as he usually does. "How's my favorite granddaughter?"

"When did I move up the ranks?" I ask.

He laughs. All five of us get that greeting, I think, unless he really feels like teasing us. Then we're last.

But he gets to his point quickly, also as he usually does.

"Well, I can't think of any stories right now, but you can use 'em. Can you not use the names?"

"I can change them."

"Good, good. Well, see, there's one. Did I ever tell you about..."

(They always start like this)

" of our ancestors? Tommy Collin was his name. He came across from Ireland direct. His family wanted him to marry an Irish girl, so they sent back to the old country for one. She came, a lovely girl, and they got married. One day soon after, he took her into town."

He pauses, then says. "Well, this is a true story, you know. He goes into town with her on the trolley, then returns home. Only he forgot he was married and left her right there in town."

"Wait, he left her behind?"

"Ayuh, without any money. She eventually got home, but until the day of her death, she never forgave him. She walked ten feet behind him for the rest of their lives. She refused to walk beside him. You'd think since he forgot her, that wouldn't be the smart thing, but that's what she did. She could always see him that way, you see. And that's the God's honest truth."

Somehow, I believe it is.  

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