Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Things Are Not Always as They Seem

Sunday dinner

My father was a storyteller, as I once wrote.

He had one particular story that he told whenever he sat at the table with someone other than my mother.  Mom had heard the story so many times.  She usually went to the bathroom when he started:

Now, I wanta tell you that the moral of this story is ‘Things are not always as they seem’.
Well, I tell you.  We been havin’ revival for a few days.  Good preacher, good one.  We had ‘im out for dinner once, and decided to invite ‘im back.  Good preacher—what was his name, Irma?  Irma? 

Well, anyway.  I called Irma and told her and Mary to get the table set ‘cause I was bringin’ the preacher home for dinner.  She said we’d better get home, dinner’s almost done.

So we got there as quick as we could.  The table was set, and oh! was it a sight!  Irma and Mary, well they’d gotten out some cloth napkins, the good ones from my grandma.  Don’t use them much, Irma says she’s not going to iron those old things anymore.  But, there those nice soft cloth napkins were, folded with the forks and such on top.
Irma and Mary used paper towels, and I thought that showed true humility.  It was generous of them to give the cloth napkins to us.  So, we set down to eat. 

Well, I tell you.  Irma had outdone herself.  

Oh, the fried chicken was crispy, and the milk gravy was just right!   

The preacher and me, why, we wiped our hands and faces with those soft cloth napkins.  Take a bite, and then wipe off the chicken grease off our faces.  It was a luxury, I tell you.

Irma brought out the pie and coffee.  We spread the napkins across our chests, and dug into that pie.  Those napkins were fit for kings, which we felt like we were.

After I took the preacher home and came back, I thanked Irma and Mary for their generous spirit and the cloth napkins. 
Mary looked at me, and she said, “Why, Dad.  After we shook the mouse turds out of those two napkins you used, Mom and I decided we made do with paper towels.”

So that goes to show you:  Things are not what they always seem.

The storyteller, Dad with my oldest daughter Erin and his dog Cindy


  1. LOL blah! I'd have had to wash my mouth out with soap even thinking mouse turds went near them upon using the napkin.

  2. Wonderfully related, and magical!

  3. Dear Susan, . . . what a wonderful story. You truly caught the flavor of someone telling a yarn. I thought that maybe Irma and Mary had used dishtowels for the napkins and maybe that was what your grandpa meant by things not being what they seem. The "mouse turds" was so unexpected and delightful!


  4. Perfect. Good think I didn't have coffee when I read it our I would have painted the computer screen.

  5. Yecch! I hope that was a joke. It was well presented either way. My father used to tell some wacky tales and I never tired of hearing him tell them.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  6. Perhaps Irma and Mary met eyes across the napkin drawer and stopped at two because...
    There's even more to a story of deliberately using mouse soiled napkins by a couple of otherwise upright women.

  7. Love it! Next time I'm feeling big-headed I'll remember that one! That's what the stories are for...good Dads are always teaching.

  8. so funny!! I enjoyed your story.
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  9. Love it. Big smiles here. Thank you.

  10. Nice story - lovely sense of voice. I like any tale that begins with "Well, I tell ya." Reminds me of my grandfather.

  11. harhar har. good family story! glad you wrote it down.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby

  12. Some have wondered if this is a true story. Yes, this really happened. I was already gone from the farm, but have heard this retelling many many times.

    Mice were a real problem in our 1860s farmhouse. The outside cats handled the mice outside, but inside we had traps set all over the place. It was pretty common to hear "SNAP!" in the middle of the night.

  13. HI Susan! Loved this tale, and how you captured your dad's voice. He sounds so much like my grandpa, and the stories he told of the farm.

    My dad has some good ones too! You reminded me of a few of them, and I'm thinking it would be fun to share a couple of them one of these days!

    It's the true stories that are the best!

    1. The true stories are the best--you can't make up that crazy stuff that happens!

      I hope you post some of those stories!

  14. Hey Susan,
    After reading your posting and noting the follow up comments, I'm thinking this was a very mice story.
    Y'all have a good weekend :)

  15. These are the kinds of stories that will be passed down from generation to generation... and you've captured the essence of it... correct style, tone, mood, voice... classic!

    Check out my A to Z Reflections post. I've given you a shout out!

  16. Great story! I can almost hear it being told because it was worded so well. You have an awesome way with words and your dad is a great story teller.


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