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Stories My Dad Told, The Coon Hunt

My father was a plumber and an electrical repairman as well as a general do-it-yourself repairman. He taught me many valuable lessons.

Dad and his only son, my brother Scotty

Dad and his only son, my brother Scotty

My Father

My father passed at the age of 60 from a brain tumor. It was a very sad time for the whole family but especially for my mother. He was the love of her life and she hasn’t looked at another man in all these 27 years since then. I know she has been very lonely and these days she talks about wanting to go be with him more and more. I know that day will come soon enough but I don’t look forward to it the way she does.

I remember him as he was in my childhood: strong, capable, world-wise. We were raised in California but Dad was born in Indiana and never lost that soft, easy way of talking with a slight accent. He would make us laugh just by his little quips and sayings that made no sense. I especially miss hearing him answer the phone with that deep-voiced long introduction of “Yeeeeellow.” I still smile thinking of his voice and his inflection.

“Being a dad is my most important job because it not only affects my children but their children and many generations to come.”

— Mark Dominik

Mom and Dad with my baby girl.

Mom and Dad with my baby girl.

Visits From Indiana

Occasionally, his brother, Uncle Butch, would come to visit and my siblings and I would gather around just to hear Uncle Butch talk. It was like hearing Dad’s voice again. He has that same inflection, that same soft, slow way of talking, and some of the same little quips, “ya recon?” I’m sure we were a sight gathered around him, hanging on his every word. The last visit, I remember Uncle Butch looking at us in a curious sort of way, as if to say, “I ain’t THAT intrestin’ am I?” But he was interesting to us in that we could all hear Dad talking.

Butch has cancer and the doctors have given him about 6 months to say goodbye. My heart breaks thinking that will be our last connection to Dad severed permanently. He is the last of Dad’s siblings living. Dad’s sister Aldean just passed this past year of the Covid 19. What we have left are his stories and his photos.

Dad was the middle child of 6 and so he had a little brother who was a pest to him. He often told us stories about how he interacted with his littIe brother Butch. He didn’t have too many stories about the sisters but the stories with his brothers would make us laugh. I have tried to record some of these stories as best as I can remember them, just the way he told them.


My drawing from The Coon Hunt

My drawing from The Coon Hunt

Hunting for Coon

When we was grown’ up back on the farm, I usta go ‘coon hunting’ ever’ chance I got. Most often it was at night. Wayell, ol’ Butch was always a beggin’ me ta take ‘em with me an’ he was jus’ a little varment. So I finally give in an’ tuck ‘em with me once.

In them days, after harvest, the corn stalks was tied inta bundles and stood in shocks like teepees in the fields. Now, ya go ‘coon hunting’ at night an’ it gets perry cold. Wayell, he commence ta whining’ about bein’ cold and tarred so I found me a shock of corn and burrowed a bit out an’ stuck ‘em in there. He fell tasleep ’till I got done huntin’ when I collected ‘em and carried ‘em home. Yessir.


Dad relaxing on one of his hunting trips

Dad relaxing on one of his hunting trips

“It is much easier to become a father than to be one.”.

— Kent Nerburn

That Lilting Accent

That way he drew out words still sings in my memory. Words like ‘well’ became ‘way ell’ and ‘hello’ became ‘yeeellow’. Then other words were clipped and shortened. It has become a musical accent in my memory. When I was just 16 on a visit to dad’s family in southern Indiana, dad’s little sister and I got into an argument over who had an accent. I was enjoying hearing them all talk. Apparently, they enjoyed hearing us talk as well. Aunt Carolyn, only 7 years older than I, said, “Y’all have the funniest California accent.” To which I had to reply, “No, you have the accent.” And thus it was on. It seems every region has a slight accent and so neither of us was wrong.

Dad told us that when he was a boy they went “skinny dippin’ in the crick.” At that time in my childhood, I needed a translator. I found that skinny dippin’ was swimming without any clothes on and the crick was a creek that flowed outback beyond their house into the woods. I still can’t imagine my dad as a child skinny dippin’ in the crick but it is amusing to try.


Cat Fights

He told us that cats were wild there before they had animal control and so they would sometimes shoot stray cats or play tricks on them. This is a story I hated to think about because I love cats. He said if you tie a rope around a cat’s tail and throw it over a clothesline and tie the other end to another cat’s tail the two cats will fight because they think each other is pulling their tails. So he was enjoying catfights. Boys.

One of the earliest photos I have of Dad on a hunting trip, 1959.

One of the earliest photos I have of Dad on a hunting trip, 1959.

“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams, and aspirations he sets not only for himself but for his family.”.

— Reed Markham

Final Thoughts

Do you have interesting stories your father told? Have you written them down? It is time to write them for posterity even if it is only for your grandchildren to read. Someday they will be grateful for your effort.

I’d love to read your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 23, 2021:

Abby Slutsky,

It's so kind of you to send me an email even when you can't find my article on the feed. That says to me that my article was worth the read and your trying to find it to tell me so. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 21, 2021:

Devika Primić,

I do treasure them. I'm glad we pestered him to tell us stories or we wouldn't have any. I miss him. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 20, 2021:

These stories are so amazing from your dad and you must treasure such memories.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 17, 2021:

From Abby Slutsky,

Loved your dad story. My dad passed about 5 years ago. I actually created a memory book with many stories about him to pass down to family members. It is nice to be able to look back on fond memories. I am sorry your dad died so young.

Thanks Abby,

It is sad when men pass so young. I miss him a lot. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 15, 2021:

Mary Norton,

He actually was very private and we had to beg him to tell us a story but once we got him going it was a memorable treasure and always funny. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 15, 2021:

I love learning more about the differences of the different states in the U.S. You are lucky you have a father who loves to tell stories.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 14, 2021:

Nithya Venkat,

I'm so happy you liked them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 14, 2021:

DW Davis,

Wow, that sounds dangerous. I'm glad my dad never mentioned snakes. I would have been terrified. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 13, 2021:

It was wonderful reading about memories of your dad, it brought back fun-filled memories of my dad, thank you for sharing.

DW Davis from Eastern NC on February 12, 2021:

I enjoyed reading about your memories of your dad and 'The Coon Hunt.'

My father loved to tell stories about how he and his brother used to hunt water moccasins and collect their fangs. They weren't just being cruel. The moccasins were a constant danger to the kids who used the millpond as a swimming hole. He never mentioned what they wore to go swimming.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

Carb Diva,

I had hoped people could actually read the story with his voice. Those accents are hard to write but it was part of the story and needed to stay in. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

DDE,

I'm glad you enjoyed my stories of my father. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

Jodah,

Do it quickly while you still have them in your mind. Memories are fleeting and often fade away before we want them too. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

surovi99,

Yes, do republish and write more if you have more stories. I regret that I have no photos of my father as a boy. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

rebelogilbert,

It's hard to believe he has been gone so long. I really miss him. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

Peggy W,

Yes, and hopefully pass those down to the next generation. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 12, 2021:

annart,

I'm so happy these stories resonate even across the pond. We should write down the stories before they are gone. I got a story about an ancestor of mine that some priest wrote down in the 1500s in Scotland. I will forever be grateful for that awesome author. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on February 12, 2021:

What lovely memories. I can almost hear your Dad's voice in your writing. Conveying an accent isn't easy, and you did it remarkably well. Wonderful that you are writing down these stories.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 12, 2021:

Denise this is a great write about such stories. Enjoyed reading special times with your dad

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on February 11, 2021:

A wonderful article, Denise. My dad told a lot of stories, but my mother many more. Unfortunately, I have never written them down. Thank you for the tip.

Rosina S Khan on February 11, 2021:

Denise, your Dad was special in that he shared his stories with you, which were rather amusing. I also liked Uncle Butch capturing your attention and his tales, which reminded of your Dad.

My Dad was special too but most of his stories are told by our Mom. I have written an article about him some time ago. Maybe I will republish it.

Thanks for sharing!

Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on February 11, 2021:

Nice photos, black and white illustration, and heart warming recollections of your father, Denise.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 11, 2021:

We grew up in Wisconsin, so had that midwestern accent when we moved to Texas. Thanks for sharing the stories about your dad and uncle. You will carry that love and those memories in your heart as long as you live.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 11, 2021:

I love hearing stories like those, Denise. It's part of a family's history, isn't it? I also love accents. They define a region and a philosophy. You portray the accents well and that's not easy. There are loads in Britain and every one is wonderful.

My father and grandfather told all sorts of family stories so I understand how important they are. One was about my father trying to teach Granddad (his father) to drive - oh boy!!

Great read, Denise!

Ann

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 11, 2021:

Pamela99,

Yes, do share some. I'd really enjoy hearing about your stories to see how similar they might be with my father's stories. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 11, 2021:

Eurofile,

Yes, with every year that goes by and I have passed the age he died, I feel like I'm living on borrowed time that he didn't get. He was way too young. When we girls were just nippers, he used to say "you won't always have me with you, ya know" and we pooh-poohed him. Now those words echo in my mind. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 11, 2021:

billybuc,

It is a lovely accent, isn't it? I have very little of it in my vocabulary, although I do say "ya recon" from time to time. It seems to be fading away. I'd love to hear his voice again. I'm glad you enjoyed the memories. They were inspired by you, ya know. I have more coming. Thanks for commenting and inspiring!

Blessings,

Denise

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 11, 2021:

The stories about your father and your uncle were sure enjoyable to read. It sounds like he wa a great father and so much fun. It is a shame he died at such a young age. Thank you for sharing these stories, Denise.

I grew up in OH, and I love the midwest. I am going to have to think about some stories my parents told.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 11, 2021:

This is a lovely way to remember your Dad. It's so sad that he died at such a young age. You keep his memory alive in these stories.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2021:

Your dad was quite a character when he was younger. Those Midwest stories struck a chord of familiarity for me; my parents came from Iowa and Illinois, same accent, same way of speaking, and I miss it something fierce. How I would love to hear them talk once more. :)

Thanks for the memories. Blessings always!

bill

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