I’ve just spent a wonderful week with my mother. At least, she assured me she had been here for a full week. It seems like it was less that 48 hours. How does time shift so quickly when I get to have my favorite people under one roof? I’m sure Einstein would have a theory that I don’t understand. The point is, I thoroughly enjoyed having her around. While she was here, she explained that a few of my blog posts may be a bit… exaggerated totally told from the wrong point of view wrong. So at least one of my stories, I’m told is an amalgam of how I remember it jumbled up with a bunch of other family tales. Oh well…

We told stories all week. Some were about her dog, Puddles. Some were the same stories we all tell about Tye trying to keep his memory alive for the kids. We talked about Dad and Ned. It’s funny how different people with different perspectives remember things differently. As Mom poked holes in some of my favorite stories and talked about Tye telling some of his own whoppers, I reminded her that storytelling was perhaps genetic for us. Just wait… I’m getting to the story.

My mammaw, AKA Marcelle Fuller, beloved mother of my father was one of the world’s best story tellers. I think her key ingredient is that she passionately believed her stories to be true… down to the tiniest exaggeration. She told stories of Elvis writing to her with my grandfather passed. She actually did somehow know Hank Williams Jr. because her family was from Paris, TN. She told story after story of things the way she truly believed they happened. Unfortunately I don’t know how much truth fell in the middle. 

I thought before I try to go soak up some sun, I’d share one of my favorite Mammaw stories of a true war hero. Y’all, I’m not making fun. My Dad was a hero. He earned a bronze star among several other things while he was a sniper in Vietnam. He told only one story that I know of. This was not it… 

When I was little Mammaw would talk about Dad going off to war. It was hard on her. Her youngest son was a sniper in Vietnam. There was very little she could do for him. I should also mention that my Mammaw couldn’t read. She memorized the address and carefully wrote out the address on care packages that she would send him. I do know this is a fact because I recently read through all the letters he received while he was In country. She told us how she carefully chose what she would send, including suckers (lollipops for all you yankees) in every package. Those suckers would prove to be very useful to my Dad. 

You see, according to my mammaw one day Dad found himself in a dangerous village where you wouldn’t really be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys. His unit was small. There was an American truck loaded down with ammunition and Dad and his friends happened to notice a young boy peeking inside. They walked up to him noticing how nervous he looked wanting to calm him. As they got closer, my Dad noticed the grenade in the young boy’s hand, his thumb in the pin. According mammaw the boy couldn’t have been older than 10 or 11. Everything stopped. Of course it was my Dad who took control of the situation engaging the young man while his friends pushed other people to safety. Wouldn’t you know it? He happened to reach into his pocket and pull out a couple of those colorful suckers. He managed to motion to the boy and trade those suckers for a live grenade, saving his unit and an entire village in the process. 

Y’all, isn’t that the best story? I’m sure over the years I’ve added my own bit of exaggeration drama flair. The only thing I know to be true is that my father was a sniper in Vietnam and I’m sure at some point he received a care package from his mother. He was also likely at some point in a village. Bless her heart. She cultivated a love for storytelling that will run through generations. Arleigh is an excellent writer and Hanan is falling in right behind her. I wonder what stories my grandchildren will laugh and say that I told…probably about their grandfather… I better start working on some of them.