Mama’s Whimsical Story about Clyde
Through the years of many nightly phone conversations with my mother I’ve heard some wild and crazy stories. She may not remember where she laid her keys last, but she never forgets her stories of growing up.I can only wish I had her stories…
My favorite is about the alligator named Clyde. After she moved back to the farm to care for her father she took a job as a bartender at Holiday Inn. She’s always had the gift of gab – isn’t that a true Southern trait – storytelling! As she worked the bar telling stories, she saved this one for whomever was the most bothersome!
Her favorite story began with…”did I ever tell you about Clyde the alligator?” I vaguely remembered it, but once again she began telling me the story. “When I worked at the Holiday Inn I often told the men this story, especially the ones who pestered me. I told them that I had a pet alligator named Clyde, who lived in the pond on the farm – and how Clyde loved when men came to visit. Believe me – there were many who really believed this tall tale! Whenever someone tried to ask me out and wanted to come to the farm, I’d say, “sure come on down, we’ll walk out to the pond under the moonlight and I’ll show you Clyde – then when you put your arms around me I’ll hear a big slurp as I walk away saying, “another man gone!” That’s the story of how Clyde I took care of unwanted dates: who; how I came up with this story… I have no idea. Often in conversation as I served drinks through-out the night, the guys would yell out, “how’s Clyde doing?” And if someone new walked in, they loved to egg me on into telling the tale – to see who would bite.”
My mother has quite the story-telling in her blood from a young girl, and even went to school and convinced her teachers of this tall tale… She told of how she was really adopted and that her father had found her as a baby in a capsule, in the woods, on the back side of the farm. If she told this tale today, the teachers would have the DCYS at their door! She really insisted that she was from another world – quite the imagination she had in dreaming up these stories.
Besides the story telling, she was quite inventive in amusing herself all alone on the farm as a young girl. One of her activities involved creating a square of bricks to hold her fighting ants – red against black. If you’re from the South, you know what red ants are, and if you don’t – never stand for a long time in the grass, especially if theres a red mound of dirt. She would place a bench across their area and lay overhead to watch them battle each other, sometimes offering them dead critters to fight other as they battled for the parts. What an imagination she had!
These stories are from a journal I write called Conversations with Mama. They are from my many scribbles on paper as we chat nightly. Reading back through her musings and family history stories never ceases to entertain me – they are treasures that might have been forgotten if I hadn’t took the time to write them down.
Want more – follow this link to Conversations with Mama and more
© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco