Some of you are great yarn spinners.
Unfortunately, I am not.
I always get the timing, the sequence and the punch line discombobulated. People take pity on me, pat me on the head and tell me I’ll do better next time.
I never do.
My vote for the best raconteur ever is the late Davey Prohl of Castlewood.
His forte was telling sports stories because sports were a large part of his life.
I first met Dave when in the late 1960s I covered a district basketball game in Arlington for the Watertown Public Opinion. He was Arlington’s talented point guard.
He later participated in sports in college and eventually became a popular high school and college referee when he wasn’t selling insurance. He died of cancer in 2001.
Davy liked to tell the story about an area football game that had to be played on the town’s patchy old practice field because the middle of the regular field was flooded. That practice field didn’t have end-zone uprights.
The visiting team was disappointed because they had a heck of an extra point kicker. But the visiting team’s coach agreed to play the game on the practice field.
With the visiting team behind by one point after scoring a touchdown with about a second left in the game, the visiting coach wanted the game moved to the town’s regular field where the goal posts at one end were useable so he could have his prize kicker try for the extra point and thereby tie the game.
So the game was stopped. Everyone packed up and scurried to the regular field. Players boarded buses to ride the few blocks. Fans folded blankets and lawn chairs, packed everything into cars and drove over. Moving hot dogs and candy bars from the concession stand to the other field took some time. Getting the lights on and the game clock warmed up was slow going.
It was all a regular inconvenience for everyone, but the field goal the visiting coach wanted to kick was critical. The home team coach had plenty of time to set up a defense to prevent that from happening.
When all was ready the visiting team lined up for the field goal. The ball was snapped with no time left on the clock. The home team performed the field-goal stopping play to perfection.
But the field goal was a fake. The quarterback ran it in for two points and the visitors won.
Dave’s version was much better, and then there was his infectious laugh.
One of my newfound favorite anecdotalist is Mrs. Virginia Harms, who calls Armour home, but is a resident of Leisure Living Center in nearby Corsica.
Virginia, who is in her late 80s, sent me her favorite story:
“Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
“She made the mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup truck parked in front of the town’s only bar for hours and hours one afternoon.
“She emphatically told George and several others that anyone seeing his truck there would know what he was doing.
“George was a man of few words. He just stared at her for a moment, turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend or deny his truck was parked at the bar.
“Later that evening George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, got out and walked home, and left it parked there overnight.”
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