Dale Tells Lies
Dale, one of my uncles, had cultivated his crop of profanity until he could not spout a complete sentence before a curse word would sprout out somewhere. He also loved telling tall tales and outright lies. The bigger the lie and the more cuss words he would use, the better he thought that the story was.
He used to tell the story f a fruitful day of finding and picking morel mushrooms. He had filled a large basket and was carrying it back to the car. The basket was hanging on his arm, but the closer to the car, the lighter his basket felt. He turned to see a deer following him and eating those morels out of his basket. (Please excuse me for deleting the expletives to shorten the stories.)
Another story he would tell was about his dogs. The C.I.A. was interested in them because he had taught them to read. The C.I.A. wanted them to be spies, to send them behind enemy lines and gather information. Who would suspect a dog? They lost interest when he told them he hadn’t worked out the problem of the dogs telling him what they had read.
Deer were involved in another tale he would share with us. He was in the woods and heard this loud crashing and thrashing. He hid behind a tree to see what was making so much noise. The noise kept coming closer until he saw two does using their heads and necks to push aside the heavy underbrush. Behind them walked a huge buck with a tremendous set of antlers on his head. They were going before him so his rack would not get hung up in the bushes.
One story that he told was true. I saw it with my own eyes. He was a great fisherman. He caught what he caught game warden or no. The way he got his fish home was in his old Willys truck. The passenger door couldn’t be opened from the outside and the bottom of the door had rusted completely out. When he had caught his limit, he would take them back to the truck and pop off the handle that would the window up and down. (The window didn’t wind down anymore.) He would slip the catch of fish inside of the door and go back to fishing. When he was tired of fishing he went home.
At home he would open the door from the inside of his truck and the fish would fall out onto the ground. He would gather them, cut them and get them ready to fry. My mom took a picture of his one night’s catch. It covered the top of drop leafed, enamel topped kitchen table with both sides up. Only about an eight by ten inch corner was covered with fish, lying side to side and head to tail.
Dale had built a bench and when he saw someone, he would ask them if they could figure what kind of wood it was made of. Everyone would guess wrongly and he would chuckle, but not tell them what it was. I made my guess, and I was wrong. I didn’t ask what it was kind of wood it was. It must have upset him because he blurted out, “It’s made of sycamore wood.” We talked some more and I left.
As I was leaving, my cousin came. We stood outside and talked a bit. I said to him, “I know Dale. He’s going to ask you about that stool. Make a few wild guesses, then say, ‘sycamore.’”
I met my cousin a few days later and he told me what had happened. Dale asked him about the bench, my cousin guessed, “Red oak?”
Dale shook his head. I said, “Butternut?” and Dale said, “No.”
I picked up the bench rubbed it, smelled it and then tasted it. I pretended to think for a few seconds and said, “It’s sycamore.”
Dale’s face fell and he looked disappointed that someone had guessed his secret.