MY FATHER TOLD
I love telling stories about my childhood, and sometimes I think of stories my Dad told about his childhood, and stories he told to his children and his grandchildren.
His family moved from Terrebonne Parish to Vermilion Parish when he was about five years old - the fifth child in the family that grew to number twelve in all. They lived along the Bayou Vermilion and his father was a tenant farmer. He loved the outdoors and he especially enjoyed fishing in the bayou and was really proud when he caught a fish that his mother could use to feed the family. He must have been about seven the day he was fishing with his bamboo pole from the bank of the bayou right behind his house. All of a sudden, he had a strike, and it was a big, really big fish! He meant to call out to his mother, "Mama, je attraper un choupique," but in his excitement, it came out "Mama, je attraper un cal au fond!" (Mama, I caught a sink to the bottom!)
Dad's youngest sister was named Marie Elvina, and when I interviewed her when she was 93, I asked her to write a little story telling about how things were when she was a child. This is what she wrote:
"At about the age of five, I remember being taught at home by a teacher. Not much school at this time. I'd sit in my little red rocking chair next to the teacher and she'd help me with my numbers and A, B, C's. Didn't have many school books.Cissi was Grandpa Alex's favorite and says she remembers her grandpa's story about a mermaid. It went this way: he had a scar on his hand and she asked him how he had got hurt. He told her that he was fishing at White Lake once, and he had hooked a mermaid, but she had bit him and got away.
And this one I think he told to his children, his grandchildren and who knows how many other children! A preacher was walking through the woods one day and heard a sound behind him. He looked around and saw a big bear chasing him. He began to run, praying as he ran, "Lord, Lord, help Moses!" He looked around again and the bear was gaining on him. He ran faster, praying, "Lord, Lord, help Moses!" The bear was even closer the next time he looked around. He began to run even faster, praying as he ran, "Lord, Lord, help Moses, but if you can't help Moses, please don't help that bear!"
I remember his story about the famous baseball player (Ty Cobb) who was with a fishing party that Dad took out to the Gulf. All of the fishermen had pretty good catches, except Mr. Cobb. Well, his dignity was bruised, so he said, "Aw, I didn't want to catch any damn fish, anyhow. I want Mr. Theriot to show me how to catch oysters. C'mon, Mr. Tee, how do you fish for oysters?" Dad told him, "We'll have to do that next time you come out, because I didn't bring oysterfishing equipment with me this time. The oyster is a very delicate creature, and to fish for oysters you need a very fine, silk line. Anything bigger than that will scare the oysters off, and you'll never catch one." And, you know what? Mr. Cobb bought that silly story!
Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA
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