February 25, 2014
Through the years of many nightly phone conversations with my mother I’ve heard some wild and crazy stories. She may not remember where she laid her keys last but she never forgets her stories of growing up.
My favorite is about the alligator named Clyde. After she moved back to the farm with her father she took a job as a bartender at the Holiday Inn. She’s always had the gift of gab – isn’t that a true Southern trait – storytelling! As she worked the bar telling stories she saved this one for whomever was the most bothersome.
My favorite story begins…”did I ever tell you about Clyde the alligator?” I vaguely remembered, but she began telling me the whole story. “When I worked at the Holiday Inn I told the men this story, especially the ones who tried to ask me out. I told them that I had a pet alligator named Clyde who lived in the pond on the farm – and how Clyde loved when men came to visit. There were many who really believed this tall tale! Whenever someone tried to ask me out and wanted to come to the farm, I’d say, “sure come on down, we’ll walk out to the pond and I’ll show you Clyde – then when you put your arms around me you’ll hear a big thump, and I’ll walk away saying, “another man gone!” That story of what Clyde did to my dates who dared come to the farm was my favorite; how I came up with that story I have no idea. Often in conversation as I served drinks the guys would ask, “how’s Clyde doing?” And if someone new walked in, they loved to egg me on into telling the tale – to see who would bite.”
My mother had quite the story telling in her from a young girl as she went to school and convinced her teachers of this one. She told them that she was really adopted and how her father found her as a baby in a capsule in the woods on the back forty. If she told this tale today, the teachers would have the DCYS at their door. She really insisted that she was from another world – quite the imagination she had in dreaming up these stories.
Besides the story telling, she was quite inventive in amusing herself all alone on the farm. One of her activities involved creating a ring of circled bricks to hold her fighting ants – red against black. If your from the South, you know what red ants are. She’d place a bench across the area and lay overhead to watch them battle each other.
These stories are from a journal I write called Conversations with Mama.They are from my many scribbles on paper as we chat nightly. Reading back through her musings and family history stories never ceases to entertain me – they are treasures that might have been forgotten if I hadn’t took the time to write them down.