You’ve heard the debate- do you tell your kid Santa is real or not? It’s a lie. So do you lie to your kid or tell them the truth.
My Dad used to tell me whoppers and he was usually backed up by his cousin and nobody went out of their way to write books about it or discuss how it would effect my life as an adult and how I could be scarred for life.
On the other hand they were great stories and even after I learned the truth I’d spread those stories so fast and so far I’d put Super Viruses to shame.
THE VOLCANO BIRDS
My Mom’s family lives in Hawaii and when I was little we lived there too.
My Dad was from Seattle and he used to love to do the tourist stuff while we were there and he took tons of slides.
One place he really loved to go to was to see volcanos.
My Dad would pack us all up in the car ( which took some doing because I HATED to be separated from my Grandmother) And he’d grab his camera.
The only thing I hated more then leaving my Grandmother’s side was having my picture taken.
I’d run around screaming like little tiny banshee until someone could catch me and stuff me into the car- and in those days nobody used seat belts but my family used them on me because I couldn’t get them off once I was buckled in.
So there are a bazillion pictures of me looking ticked off in front of some beautiful scenery because my Dad was going to have our family outing, he was going to take a million pictures and a sullen three year old wasn’t going to stand in his way.
So on one outing we are at this volcano and I start in:
” What happens if you fall in? What does lava taste like? What’s lava made from? Is the volcano going to blow up with us on it? WHEN is it going to blow up? And the one that sealed the deal as me as the family brat:
How come it doesn’t blow up NOW because I really wish it would SO WE COULD GO HOME.”
My Dad looked like he was ready to chuck me in when these little birds flew over us and I shut up and watched them flying around.
I was enchanted.
And then I asked why they were grey and my Dad looked at me and said, ” Those are volcano birds and they’re grey because they live in the volcano.”
” They live in the lava?”
” Yes.” he said snapping a picture of me looking happy.
He carried that picture in his wallet for the rest of his life.
And I ran around and told people about the Little Volcano Birds Who Live In Lava for years. I told my sons about them at one point too.
THE LADY IN THE WHEEL CHAIR
One Spring we went to Mount Baker with my Dad’s cousin.
I was around 10 or 11 and I was in a good mood on this outing because my Dad’s cousin brought his Saint Bernard Nicky with us.
Nicky was a champion show dog so I was able to walk him around and hey, a day trip with a great dog. What’s there not to like about that?
Well, we get up to Mount Baker and we’re walking around and my Dad is taking pictures from one of those scenic lookouts and I start with THE QUESTIONS because, that was me.
We are all standing there soaking in nature and I look down and say, ‘ I wonder if the railing ever broke and if people have fallen down there and died.”
My Dad’s camera quits clicking, my Mom wanders off and lights up a cigarette and my brother and sister jump back from the railing and start crying that they don’t want to die too.
Cool as a cucumber my Dad seems to ignore me and said to his cousin. ” So that’s where that woman in the wheel chair died.”
” I remember that.” his cousin says.
” Yeah. It was bad. The brake on her wheelchair broke and she just rolled down the path and went over the edge and into the wet cement on that road way down there.”
” Is she still down there?” I asked hopefully.
I told that story at school- one week before my class took a field trip to Mount Baker.
My teacher said it wasn’t true and that I needed to fess up because some of my classmates were scared to go now.
I said no.
And then my teacher said he was going to call my parents.
Fine I said. Because my Dad was going to say it was true. He told me about the Lady In The Wheelchair.
By the time I spread that story around I knew it wasn’t true.
I just wanted to see what would happen when the Teacher called.