Nov 17th 2017 07:25 am Storied Past III

My father and my Uncle Jim Frank were great story tellers whenever they got together. By “great,” I mean “prolific and enthusiastic.” First cousins, they had grown up together “in the country.” Uncle Jim Frank actually would have been my second cousin something-or-other. He told of being a young man and driving an elderly relative into the county seat of Lafayette, which had only recently installed its first traffic light. I’m sorry I can’t remember his name, but the old man was sitting in Jim Frank’s rumble seat. That’s how long ago this was. The light was red, and Jim Frank stopped and waited for it to turn green. Down the road apiece, he looked back and was astonished to discover the old man was no longer there. He quickly doubled back and found the old man at the intersection. Jim Frank asked why he’d gotten out, and the man replied, “You stopped and sat there, so I thought something was wrong with the car!” I’m not holding that up as one of my uncle/cousin’s best, but to illustrate a point. It seems to me, most stories aren’t extended narratives, as the name “story” might imply. They’re more like jokes, with a set-up and a punchline, and the best raconteurs are masters of brevity and comedic timing . I guess I would see it that way.

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53 Responses to “Storied Past III”

  1. emb on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:29 am #

    Elephants, pied crows [not 4 & 20]:


  2. Debbie from Alabama on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:53 am #

    One my Mother has always told….her Mother as s girl took a sweet potato out of the coals of the fireplace, broke it open and said, “Oh, Brother, come smell how good this is”. When he sniffed it she clapped it back together on his nose. My grandmother was born in 1896 and her brother in 2895. And here a i in 3017 relating the story to all of you. (PS my mother is 96 years old and I am leaving to take her to her beauty shop appointment). Blessings to all of you!

  3. Debbie from Alabama on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:54 am #

    1895 for Brother!

  4. Debbie from Alabama on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:57 am #

    2017 for me. Careless with my cell phone typing this morning!!

  5. Lynn from Memphis on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:04 am #

    Wish my brother had never thrown his onions in the fish tank!

  6. Bob on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:24 am #

    I think he’d be your first cousin, once removed.

  7. Mark Jackson on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:40 am #

    First cousin, once removed is correct. Uncle Jim Frank’s kid would be Jimmy’s second cousin.

  8. sandcastler™ on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:51 am #

    For a time, when in college, a second cousin and I accidentally dated. We were raised several hundred miles apart and had different last names. Think it shocked our mothers more than it did us.

  9. emb on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:51 am #

    Those pied crows, quite common in E. Afr., were out of there in seconds. As to ’4 and 20′, I may have noted this before, those ‘blackbirds’ are obviously not crows, being much smaller, but are also not New World blackbirds [family Icteridae] but OW blackbirds [fam. Turdidae, thrushes, Turdus merula, closely related to American robins, Turdus migratorius]. My first intro. to them was scads on the lawn by the casino in Wiesbaden, W. Ger., 1952. All black, but otherwise reminiscent of our robins. Now you know more than the others at the cocktail party. Peace,

  10. Jackie Monies on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Jimmy your family must be like mine, they married their kin. Come to think of it, some of that wagon train dropped off in Alabama and stopped. It would not surprise me if we were related.

    Sand, I eliminated all residents of an entire parish for dating on policy they were relatives, along with a list of last names.

    Ended up dating one from different paridh, different name, cousin. Yeech!

    My stepdad was my cousin more than once. My mama married her second cousin after my dad was killed. Her dad and his were cousins so they had same grandfather, right?

  11. Steve From Royal Oak, MI on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:39 am #

    For all of those hurting….

  12. JACKQULINE MONIES on 17 Nov 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you Steve. I listened and enjoyed and kept listening.

  13. Laura from AR on 17 Nov 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    I haven’t commented in a while, but I thought I’d accept cxp’s challenge. I rescued a possum from a crab trap. My husband and I would set crab traps out and get blue crab. We would try to remember to remove any bait,but one night we left a tiny bit in one of the traps. The next morning I found a possum in the trap. I carefully opened the door and left it. Hours later the possum was gone.

  14. JACKQULINE MONIES on 17 Nov 2017 at 3:12 pm #

    Good story Laura.

  15. Old Bear on 17 Nov 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    I have not related that I am NOT married to my cousin.
    But I do believe in 6 degrees of separation – closer in state.
    emb & I are only 1 degree (twice) though we are 5 hours apart.

  16. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 17 Nov 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    That’s interesting, Laura. Where does one find both possums & crabs? For some reason, I don’t associate possums with the seashore, nor do I associate crabs with the US inland areas, though there do exist land crabs in some parts of the world.

    For those who have saved lives, a tip of the hat. I don’t know if I ever had that privilege, but there was one time in grad school when the neighbor’s wife [in married student housing] overdosed on something. Neighbor got me to rush her to the hospital; I never went through so many red lights & stop signs again! However, I did pause and take a quick look each time. The woman lived, but she may have lived even without my driving. She had been very homesick.

    The couple were Pakistani, and they gave my wife & me hand-made festive “shoes” after they traced our feet and sent the tracings back home. They were beautiful, especially the embroidered decorations and the pointed tips. Unfortunately, they were also cut too small, so we used them only a few times on festive occasions – and only for short periods of time.

  17. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 17 Nov 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    Anyone know who won the Jeopardy championship today? I was not able to watch.

  18. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 17 Nov 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    “slow down” rather than “pause” , above

  19. Sideburns on 17 Nov 2017 at 5:06 pm #

    Something I learned from a DiscWorld book, Laura: you can keep live crabs in a bucket without a lid because if any of them try to climb out, the rest will pull it down. If you don’t believe me, look up either crab bucket or crab mentality (the same article) on Pikiwedia.

  20. Ruth Anne in Winter Park on 17 Nov 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    The Jeopardy champion was the guy who ended up with no money yesterday. Final Jeopardy was a good one. Category was state capitols; the answer included a date (1803, I think) and some other info but basically it was that the last 4 letters of the state were the beginning of the name of the city.

  21. emb on 17 Nov 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    Love “Pikiwedia”. What follows is from today’s MPR News, a bunch of fake news items that sucked some in over the last wk.

    Patheos’s invention of Andrew Canard is the kind of thing we elitists pull; some Villagers have, I believe, objected to such. I don’t, for 2 reasons. 1: I’m guilty of it [& wish I'd thought of Canard], and 2: so is any Villager who does it with knowledge outside of my ken [e.g., popular 'music' of the last few decades]. May even retain something from such posts, just as some may return my info re blackbirds.


  22. JACKQULINE MONIES on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    Last time I had canard it was confite. Ghost enjoyed his too. We had a lovely merlot to accompany the course.

  23. emb on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    c x-p: Didelphis virginiana, our common opossum [JJ's monitor corrected the "pp" I typed], ranges to the shore on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts, as far N as New England [& probably Nova Scotia] and southern BC [they were introduced to the W Coast somewhere, and spread rapidly], according to the map on p. 18 of “The mammals of Minnesota”, 1982, U.MN. Press. When we first came here, in ’58, it had been recorded only in the S tier* of MN counties. By the time that bk came out, opossums had reached the 49th parallel, and are doubtless well established now across S Canada. This, of course, has nothing to do with any politically contentious subject. Opossums care less about ocean breezes than about potential food [= almost anything], but their fur is not thick, and many of the northernmost specimens have lost hairless tail tips and tender ears to frostbite.

    *Villagers from the SE and from the East Coast up to Down East, may be unfamiliar with “tiers” of counties. That’s because counties in the Colonies and older states “just grew,” often with peculiar histories. When the USGS mapped out the lands W of the Appalachians, they divided most of it up into 6 mi. x 6 mi. Townships, each of 36 “Sections”, and later settlers and legislatures drew co. lines along those borders. See maps in the above mentioned bk, pp. 14 and 15. Peace,

  24. Ruth Anne in Winter Park on 17 Nov 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    Jackie: Your absence on FB has been noted and caused concern. I told them they could find you here but don’t know if they will.

  25. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:16 pm #

    Thanks, RA & eMb.

  26. Mark from TTown on 17 Nov 2017 at 8:52 pm #

    RA I saw one of those posts and posted the link to the site here with an invitation to come over.

  27. Mark from TTown on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:09 pm #

    These ought to get somebody laughing:

    It starts with women’s names, just keep scrolling down for the men.

  28. emb on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:10 pm #

    Whoops: “lectured in both general ed & majors frosh COURSES all 36 yrs, …” Peace,

  29. Laura from AR on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    I was charging my tablet so I hadn’t seen your question xcp. We were living in Louisiana. We were in Slidell. There are both possums and blue crab there. The crab do very well in the intercoastal waters.

  30. Jackie Monies on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    Thanks Mark and Ruth Anne. My primary phone died and will not revive. Ghost hated AT&T more than I. Neither of us wants to deal with them.

    I tried getting back into Facebook from My backup phone and this tsblrt, it wouldn’t let me in and I ended up with a second account I didn’t want. Now Facebook thinks I am not me.

    Hasten to add I have a brand new unused Apple computer and a cheaper laptop unused and new. Plus fancy tablet. I have the tech but not the skills.

    Ghost and I are going to bite the shell and go to AT&T tomorrow after we get oil changed. A bullet isn’t large enough for biting.

    It looks like everything is tied to that primary phone somehow?

  31. Jackie Monies on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    I can tell you that crabs and possums and raccoons do extremely well in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

    Raccoons would have hauled out crsbs, opened trap and eaten crabs before throwing it back with empty beer cans inside. Smart little buggers.

  32. Laura from AR on 17 Nov 2017 at 9:48 pm #

    Jackie, you had me laughing about the raccoons. Very familiar with how smart they are.

  33. emb on 17 Nov 2017 at 10:03 pm #

    Green monkeys [= black-faced vervets].


  34. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 17 Nov 2017 at 10:49 pm #

    Yep, even I have seen educational TV programs featuring a female raccoon teaching the kits how to catch crabs safely up in down east coastal regions. They used the tidal pools as the hunting area. No doubt that ‘possums have more teeth, but I’d guess raccoons have more than a few IQ points’ advantage on the former.

  35. Ghost on 17 Nov 2017 at 10:59 pm #

    True story: Many years ago, the business I was managing at the time was frequently visited by an elderly man with repetitive and nonsensical complaints. After the first couple of visits, I realized the gentleman had some mental issues, and I directed staff to always let me handle him when he came in. Which I did, two or three times a week, for over a year. After all these years, I still remember his name…E. C. Peak (not his real name). I was never able to satisfy his supposed concerns, but I was able to keep from further antagonizing him.

    One day, one of my staff members told me she had seen an obituary in the local paper for Mr. Peak. As always, I was sad that someone I knew had passed, but I couldn’t help but think, “Well, at least that’s one name I’ll never have to see or hear again.”

    A few weeks later, I was on a county road headed to my employers’ house, a journey I made almost every day. As I rounded a curve and approached a short bridge over a creek, I saw the new sign which had been placed on the bridge’s banister…E C PEAK MEMORIAL BRIDGE.

  36. Morphy on 17 Nov 2017 at 11:00 pm #

    Jackie, seconding Laura’s laughter. You supplied a vivid picture of beer guzzling varmints. My internal script added a raccoon sized belch while flinging the crabpot back with its newly emptied cargo. Followed by a chitterring noise while scampering away that sounds a lot like laughter. Thanks for the giggle.

  37. Morphy on 17 Nov 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    Ghost, I wonder if your worthy man had also made frequent complaints to the Dept. of Transportation’s engineering staff concerning the state of local bridges. They had feelings like yours and found a way to commemorate. He went from a twenty minute wrangle on alternate days to a twenty second memory daily. Just doing his part to fill the rich tapestry of life.

  38. Old Bear on 17 Nov 2017 at 11:36 pm #

    I hope you had at least some salt along.
    A cheese sauce would not gone amiss.

  39. emb on 18 Nov 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    c x-p: “No doubt that ‘possums have more teeth, but I’d guess raccoons have more than a few IQ points’ advantage on the former.” 1. They do have more teeth than most mammals, as do many marsupials, (# uppers/# lowers): 5/4 incisors, 1/1 canines, 3/3 premolars, 4/4 molars. All of the teeth behind the canines are much alike, which, again, is true of many marsupials. Raccoon [adult]: 3/3, 1/1, 4/4, 3/3. Both are omnivores. Those data are found in many regional mammal books, incl. the 1982 book ref. to earlier. Here is the high-tech experiment that H.H.T. Jackson reported in his excellent Mammals of Wisconsin [1961], U. WI Press. Jackson measured the cranial capacity of adults skulls of a raccoon and an opossum using reasonably uniform objects, dried navy beans. Opossum: 26, raccoon 139. Quantity is not quality, but I’d guess coons are smarter.

    Once cornered a S Michigan adult opossum in the base of a hollow tree. Very snappish, but, if I stayed still a minute or two, it forgot I was there and relaxed. Decided we’d have it for supper. Grabbed it by the tail and carried it home [maybe 1/2 mile] to Elaine [eternally grateful for what wife put up with]. Sore biceps, as I had to hold it out away from its flailing paws. But, when a paw grabbed another paw, it quieted down for a while, having got hold of something. Culinary note, mentioned ages ago: opossums taste better than coons.

  40. Mark in TTown on 18 Nov 2017 at 6:22 pm #

    Hooray, the gates are open. Let the games begin!

  41. emb on 18 Nov 2017 at 6:22 pm #

    Sorry: “… earlier. 2. Here is the high-tech … .” Peace,

  42. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 18 Nov 2017 at 7:10 pm #


    Thursday morning, you wrote the following: “Rick, Ghost and I agree and we long for the old days. Ghost missed everyone terribly.
    “We have both thought of dropping out too but we hang on because we love Jimmy and the strip. We hope Jimmy taking an active role will bring back the orphans and cause new ones to join us.
    I sometimes fear we have contributed to the demise but Ghost thinks we have not, that we kept the door ajar.
    “Can we change again and try?

    I don’t know the answer to that. Sometimes, when things change, they die.

    I have always read Jimmy’s comments. Lately, though, I have either only skimmed the posts of the readers or skipped them altogether.

    Instead, I have been spending more time reading the posts for the daily strip.

    Some posters here have referred to that forum as “The Dark Side.” With only one or two exceptions over the past several months, I have the posters to be polite, creative, and frequently humorous.

  43. Ghost on 18 Nov 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    Morphy, there is a more prosaic explanation of how that bridge was yclept E C PEAK MEMORIAL BRIDGE. In my county, as in I suppose most, the county supervisors clepe roads and bridges for their buddies…when they are not busy naming county buildings for themselves.

  44. Morphy on 18 Nov 2017 at 7:52 pm #

    Three cheers for a repaired ‘Database error’.

    Ghost, how aptly apropos. Yes friends with mahogany paneling and large desks do things for each other. That truth continues even when the name auld boys club is no longer accurate. I just riffed on a theme with the starting point that you were probably not his only audience.

    Rick, I’ve noticed the change as well. After GoComics settled on a visual format, they seemed to become more responsive to the flagged comments reports. After a bit more time, the remaining voices seem more interested in the art at the top of the page. Of course the Arlo&Janis page does not attract the same opinions as some others, which is nice.

  45. Steve From Royal Oak, Mi on 18 Nov 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    I saw this on a Facebook page called Faraway Places.

    We have in the gallery 24 Arlo and Janis comic strip originals, framed and matted under conservation glass, which I’ve been anticipating. Already we’ve sold one and you can claim yours, too, though we’re asking that you leave it at Faraway Places for the exhibition on Saturday, Dec. 2, 1 to 3 p.m. Cartoonist Jimmy Johnson will be in the house, and we’d like to have plenty of his work hanging. You can buy and leave with your Arlo and Janis t-shirts any time, however!

  46. Mark in TTown on 18 Nov 2017 at 8:57 pm #

  47. Larry on 18 Nov 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    I sure hope I was gentle with my elders when the started a well-known story. (I tried to be.)

    Two reasons.

    I am old and they are gone and hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of something none of them would have known, but they are dead and gone.

    I am old now and aware of how much I know about stuff nobody gives a sheet about and I know how much it hurts me when somebody shuts me up (the worst is when somebody interrupts with “Hold that thought” and never goes back to the subject.

  48. JACKQULINE MONIES on 18 Nov 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    Thank you Mark but nothing shows up on link? I am interested in the pieces and how to contact the gallery.

    Jimmy it says you are going to be there. How can we buy?

  49. Charlotte in NH on 18 Nov 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    Gee, the story about Faraway Places came right up when I clicked on the link. All the way to up here in New Hampshire! (Ha ha, I know it doesn’t work like that.) It was very interesting. You would enjoy it, Jackie.
    To Larry, I sympathize; altho most everyone seems interested in my stories. I remain cheerful, but I have outlived nearly all my friends and relatives. When I am alone I often talk to them, in my imagination, and it is pleasant to do so.

  50. JACKQULINE MONIES on 18 Nov 2017 at 11:12 pm #

    Southern people often talk to our relatives no longer with us. We don’t always go visit their graves in order to do so.

    The question is are they answering us?

    Ghost got it to open for me and yes, it sounds wonderful. I want to go but it is a seven hour drive each way. Ghost thinks it is too far and we have something else here.

    But I want to meet Jimmy and Reta too. It is on my list. And I will perhaps.

  51. Mark in TTown on 18 Nov 2017 at 11:45 pm #

  52. Mark in TTown on 18 Nov 2017 at 11:46 pm #

    And Jackie, Auburn beat Louisiana-Monroe today 42-14.

  53. Mark in TTown on 19 Nov 2017 at 1:24 am #