I like to think I come from a long line of storytellers, and my grandfather on my mother’s side (whom I call Papa) helps me confirm this. When I was younger, he and I would make up stories together; we were the famous detectives, solving all sorts of crazy mysteries that my child-mind concocted. They didn’t make much sense, but what do you expect from a little kid? And I had fun regardless.
I also enjoy hearing stories about his own youth, and I thought today I’d share one of my favorites: the story of how my grandfather scared the living daylights out of his little brother, my great-uncle. I’ll try to relate it as best I can, but it really is his story, and I know I can’t do it enough justice; it’s best to hear it from the man himself.
One night, when Jack and I were kids, we had gone down to the movie theater to catch a show. The picture we saw was “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” and I’ll tell you, it was pretty scary.
- Terror incarnate on the silver screen in 1943
The theater wasn’t very far from the house where we lived, so when we got out and started back, I started running to get ahead. Jack couldn’t keep up, he kept yelling “Chuck! Chuck! Slow down!” But I kept on going, and got way ahead of him.
Now, our house had an arbor that you walked under to get into the front yard, and when I got there I climbed up on top of the arbor and laid low, so you couldn’t see me from the street, and waited for Jack to get there. Sure enough he comes running up to the house, and he’s real nervous, and right when he starts to walk under the arbor…I jump down in front of him and yell “Rarr!”
And poor Jack, he practically fainted!
My mother and dad were not happy with me about that, but I thought it was hilarious.
The funny thing is, I asked if he would tell the story again, but with my great-uncle present. It was great hearing both of their perspectives. And though they laugh about it now, uncle Jack says he’s never forgiven my Papa for scaring him.