We're thrilled to welcome guest poster Christopher Clark, author of the hilarious The Jolly Porter, among other pursuits and talents. He is father to five intelligent and stunningly beautiful children, and one very hot wife.
My son Hugh asked me to tell him a story at bedtime a few nights ago. I think I’m a pretty good storyteller, but I realized that all my stories are geared toward adults. Not that they are super dirty or anything (except the best ones) but you have to think driving mishaps are funny, or awkward co-workers are hilarious, or maybe you like a good ghost story! Hugh probably wouldn’t. So I really panicked a bit, because dads should have good stories for their kids.
When I was a kid my dad used to tell me deer hunting stories at bedtime. It wasn’t a nightly ritual or anything, just a special treat every now and then. To hear my dad tell it, he spent 65% of his youth deer hunting, and half of that time was spent running from bobcats and finding caves full of money. I don’t know if he ever shot any deer. The stories were rarely about hunting itself; they were generally about what happened on the hunt, and they were often tragic and occasionally revolved around murder. These stories were very exciting to hear!
One of my favorite stories was about a hobo. He was a very mysterious hobo who liked to murder young deer hunters. One time my dad and his four brothers were sleeping in a tent. My dad kept hearing a scratching noise! What was it? Oh, probably the wind. Think again! It was the knife of a hobo! He was quietly slicing through the tent. Then my dad saw his hand reach in to quietly murder someone. My dad yelled and the hobo ran away.
Another time my dad and his four brothers were sleeping in a tent. It was a very cold and snowy night. Everyone was very warm in their sleeping bags. Little did they know there was a giant blizzard brewing! When they woke in the morning the snow had fallen with such depth and density that the tent was completely covered. How would they get out? Who would be the first to die? I don’t actually remember how that one ended. But it was like one of those “Drama in Real Life” stories you get in Reader’s Digest.
Another story also involved a blizzard. My dad and his four brothers were hiking up a trail with their horses when a blizzard hit. It was a real doozy. It got to the point where they couldn’t see anything, so they got off their horses and held on to their tails. The horses led them to shelter. Animals are helpful in these stories. I remember another one about a hawk that kept warning my dad not to drink out of a river. Turns out there was a dead rattlesnake in the water. The river was poisoned! My dad would have died for sure. I remember a few stories about sheep. There was a shepherd named Johnny who loved his sheep very much, but sometimes if they were disobedient he ate one of them. This is how I learned about obedience.
I tried to tell Hugh some of my deer hunting stories. I’ve actually been many times, though I’ve never really shot anything. I came to realize that I have never had anything exciting happen to me while deer hunting. These are the stories I tried to tell Hugh:
- One time I was deer hunting and my cousin and I had a big bag of candy. We ate all the candy, but were saving a giant snickers bar to share around the campfire. When the time came, the big snickers bar had vanished! We never found it (hobo?)
- One time my ipod died halfway up the trail to the campground. Even though I had totally charged it! It was a quiet and lonely feeling. I had to listen to the wind in the pines. At one point I thought I heard a bear chasing me!
- One time I was with my dad when he shot a deer. It was exciting at first, but then we had to clean it. You slice open the deer and pull out all of the entrails. Man, it stunk so bad!
- One time we were camping when a big snow storm hit! It was pretty miserable so we packed up, hiked down the mountain, and went to Wendy’s.
I decided that I would not be able to continue this legacy of deer hunt tales. I have some funny stories from college, and a few good anecdotes from my time working at Blockbuster Video, but that’s about it. So I just made up some stories about a shark who can swim in pools and who only eats people who have red swim trunks. Coincidentally, Hugh has red swim trunks! So he was all at attention.
On this father’s day, I would like to salute my father, who actually told exciting and interesting stories.