Saturday, 12 March 2016

Tales and more tales

A long time ago I posted the following on this blog about a story which I had come across whilst mousing around the cybers:

An old radio ham was lying in his death bed upstairs. His favourite food was chocolate chip cookies and as he lay there, gasping for each breath, he was sure he could smell freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. He crawled out of bed and slowly limped down the stairs. Sure enough, across the kitchen, there was a huge platter of chocolate chip cookies on the table. He finally made it to the table and he reached a shaking hand towards the cookies. Suddenly, his soon-to-be widow slapped his hand and snapped, "Leave those alone - they're for the funeral!"

What I found particularly interesting was that this looked very much like variation of a story which my Grandma used to tell - except that Grandma told the tale about her great uncle Manasseh. When the old man was lying on his death bed he heard one of the young men of the family who had just come into the house. Seeing a very appetising ham hanging in the pantry he said to the soon-to-be widow, "Let's have a piece of that ham."

"Leave that alone," the old lady replied. "I'm saving it for the funeral."

On hearing this, Uncle Manasseh came slowly and carefully down the stairs, pointed to the ham and said, "Get that down. I'll have that for my tea."

I had always assumed this was a true story since Grandma told it as if she had been there at the time. So I'd be very interested to find out whether anyone knows of any other variations.

That's what I posted at the time but since then, on reflection, I've become pretty sure that it was my Dad who told the story – as if recounting one of his mother's old tales. (Though Grandma did have a similar story of one of the young men of the family getting the better of the redoubtable Aunt Tanner, guardian of the kitchen.) And now I am beginning to wonder where my Dad found all the yarns he spun because I recently heard another which rang bells. It was in the final episode of the first series of Fargo. The law had caught up at last with Lester Nygaard and Molly Solveson, the police officer, told him this tale of puzzling relevance:

A man who had just got onto a subway train noticed, as the train was about to pull away from the platform, that he had dropped one of his gloves of the platform. So he quickly opened the window and threw the other glove out as well.
It caught my attention at once because it was a story I knew – it was one of my Dad's old stories and he told it of a friend of his - “Wincle Billy” - the son of a pig farmer from the village of Wincle in Derbyshire. One day Billy got onto a bus in Manchester and then realised he had dropped one of his gloves near the bus stop. So he opened the window and threw the other glove out as well. I had always assumed this was a true tale but, having watched that episode of Fargo, I begin to wonder.
And that's why I posted the tale a few days ago of squaddies trying to get away with an unofficial weekend at home. It was yet another of my Dad's old tales – and he was the young NCO who, for once, had an official pass for a weekend's leave. He was in REME at the time and was on a technicians' course in Bury. He spent all his weekends at home in Manchester but only once in a while actually had leave to do so. I often wonder if someone else somewhere ever heard a similar story from their Dad or Grandad.


Patsy said...

It's odd how things get passed on. I once wrote something into a short story and later discovered it actually happened to my grandfather. Presumably I had heard the story, but when I wrote it, I was sure I'd made it up.

Robert Crompton said...

Thanks for dropping by, Patsy. A good story will always find a way of getting itself re-told!

escort1 Cimcuf said...
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