Tuesday, April 6, 2021




Some of my favorite childhood memories are the times when we would all sit around the fireplace on cold winter’s nights and listen to papa tell stories. It was the times before TV, radio, or telephone, and it was the only form of entertainment we had. Papa was not a very, good provider but he was a good entertainer. He loved to play the fiddle and make people laugh. The neighbors said that papa was a natural-born comedian. 

One of the favorite stories that I remember very well was about a nine year boy who was given the daytime job of looking after his grandmother. The boy’s father and mother had daytime jobs and he was left with the responsibility of caring for his elderly grandmother. The boy knew that his father was strict and if anything bad happened to his grandmother he would get a licking with his father’s leather belt. 

It so happened, one day when the boy was wheeling his grandmother out to the back porch, where she liked to sit and dip snuff, that his feet got all tangled up and he stumbled and fell. In the mist of his falling he accidentally pushed his grandmother and the wheelchair off the back porch. 

In the back yard was a mean billy goat. When his grandmother hit the ground the billy goat made a lunge for her. Suddenly, something happened that the boy later said looked like a miracle. In slow motion his grandma rose to the occasion. She sprang straight up in the air, clicked her heels together three times, and just gilded back up on the porch. The boy could not believe what he had seen, but he was scared to death of what his papa would do to him when his grandmother told him what had happened.  He quickly got the wheelchair back up on the porch, got it dusted off and got grandma settled down. 

Soon his father returned home from work. Lucky for the boy his grandmother was asleep. The way the boy was acting made his father suspicion that something had happened but he didn’t know what. Every time the father would start asking questions the boy would start singing. He would sing one of the songs his father played on the fiddle, Turkey in the Straw; She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain; Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes. His father was pleased that his son could sing so well and that the boy remembered his favorite songs, but the father was confused.   

The boy’s luck continued because his grandmother slept all night in the wheel chair and by morning Alzheimer’s had kicked in and she had forgotten all about the billy goat incidence. The boy was happy that he had escaped the leather belt whipping.  Later on some of the older siblings named the story, “Grandma and the Billy Goat.”



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