My daughter, Catherine, loves to tell her friends stories about how criminally insane her father is. Apparently it makes for good dinner conversation. Some are actually true. Here are three of them:
Enter the Dragon
When I was about 10 or 11, my friend and I loved the story of Robin Hood. So we bought long bows and target arrows and went about becoming proficient at archery.
One day we were watching a kung fu movie in which the protagonist caught an arrow shot right at him. If you know me, you know what comes next.
We went outside with our bows and got about 30 paces apart. My friend said, “Shoot at me first and I’ll try to catch it.” “Try” was the operative word. I shot a very weak shot and he missed and it stuck in his thigh. We started laughing so hard while he walked around with the arrow sticking out of his leg. Anyway, I pulled the arrow out and we wrapped his leg up and he was good to go.
Most normal kids would have cut their losses and stopped at this point. Not us. I said, “Now it’s my turn.” So he shot the same weak shot at me to catch and what-do-you-know? I caught it. Sort of. I did indeed have it in my hand but it had gone through the webbing part between my thumb and index finger. Once again we pulled it out and wrapped it up.
I thought there were no hard feelings for me shooting my friend in the leg, but I was wrong. I was in the johnny house doing what you do in a johnny house when I heard a THWANG and thump. I looked up to see an arrow 6 inches from my face. My friend had almost shot it clean through the outhouse door. We quit shooting at each other after that.
Aunt Molly’s Ashes
My beloved Aunt Molly was into ceramics at one point and gave us a small urn for a wedding gift. We placed it lovingly on our mantle piece where it stayed for years.
Catherine and her brother, Jack, asked where it came from and I told them, but then I guess I added that Aunt Molly’s ashes were in there.
Fast forward a couple of years later when they were about 8 or 9 years old. They were horsing around in the den and knocked the urn off the mantle. In an effort to catch it, it bounced off their hands and into the fireplace. The fireplace that still had ashes in it. They were mortified because they thought that Aunt Molly’s ashes were in the fireplace. I let them squirm for about a hot minute and told them. I don’t think they ever forgave me.
Will’s Dark Secret of 30 Years
My mom used to make these gorgeous coconut cakes for Christmas every year. Somehow I had gotten it my head that I didn’t like coconut. You know how when you are a kid and you get a notion you don’t like a certain food?
Shortly after Lynn and I were married, she surprised me with….you guessed it…a coconut cake. Now this is why I’m not right in the head. Rather then tell her I just didn’t like coconut, I told her I was allergic to it. I know it was stupid and more of a lateral move then anything else.
Thirty years later, I’m hoovering a sleeve of Girl Scout Cookies call “Samoas” when Catherine and Lynn walk in on me. Catherine screams, “Dad..they have coconut in them and you’re allergic.” She looks like she’s getting ready to slap them out of my hands like they were weapons-grade plutonium. I sheepishly admitted then and there that I was not indeed allergic to coconut. Lynn looks at me with a grin, laughs and says, “What else have you been lying about?”
I promise I’ve matured over the years…..or have I?