Everyone has their favorite "fish tale," and some of us have family members that are capable of some rather good ones. Keri and I have family members that are great storytellers—capable of blending the stretches of possible so well that we sink in and accept. I sometimes compare the tales heard to those in the movie Big Fish (a fun watch), and while Keri thinks this trait skipped her, I have been pretty impressed with the "Sonic is closed on Tuesdays", "McDonald's is out of ice cream", and other straight-faced tales that have been told in the car.
I can still remember the day I was swimming with my Dad at the pool; I must've been 5 at the time, considering where we were. I asked him about the scar on his abdomen (gall bladder removal, in actuality) and was surprised by the wide-eyed look he gave me as he paused, leaned in, and then told me that what he was about to share could never be repeated. He knelt down and brought me in close, and in almost a whisper began sharing the story surrounding a trip to the beach with this family when he was very young.
He explained that everyone else had decided to go along the shore collecting seashells while he had opted to stay back. As he laid on his towel waiting for them to return, a small rowboat came into sight and moored on the beach. He stayed put, frozen in fear, as an oddly dressed man with a parrot on his shoulder disembarked and ran towards him. The man approached my Dad and told him to close his eyes; still frozen in fear, he did as he was told, then felt a pinch down at his stomach. He quickly opened his eyes to find the strange man holding a bloody sword and looked down to see a scar on his belly. The man told my Dad he would return one day to retrieve the treasure map he had placed with him “for safe keeping” and that he would reward him for the help. And off he ran, back to his rowboat, never to be seen again—yet. You can ask my Dad (aka Poppy White Hair) about this and he may or may not recall, considering this is a tall tale about a tale that was told... got it?
As this month’s Item of Value, I’m keepin’ it weird (in true Austin fashion) by sharing a “fortune-telling fish” so you can regale your friends with your own “tall tale” (if you think you can do better than my Dad's, I’d love to hear it!). If you did not receive one of these in the mail, let me know and I'll be glad to send you one! Whether you are a true native of Austin (which are as rare as a magic fish… or a map-implanting pirate), or one of the many transplants (like me) choosing our great city for a better life, I am passionate about helping you and your family find your own little corner in which to thrive while you create your own family stories and history.
It’s a good life!
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