Kris and Jimmy Stories
The Ghost Kicker
The infamous ghost story On family outings, especially camp outs or night cookouts it became customary at some point to tell a ghost story. I had known a few legitimate ghost stories, but quickly used them up and began to make up stories. Eventually a standard formula developed and the story became more ritual and predictable, finally developing family tradition status. Stories varied in content, but the formula placed the supposedly true story at a place in the very location where we were at the moment. It contained brain eating, guts, skinning alive, smashing bones and such mayhem, and it always contained someone who lived in the area being horribly wronged. That person appeared each year to replay the mayhem on the same evening and that just happened to be this very evening.
One of the stories became so traditional that its ending was adopted by all of us almost as a greeting. In the story the ghost sneaks up behind someone, and just before mayhem sets in, kicks his victim in the rear. When it first started, this part of the story would find me standing beside one of the listeners and I would kick them from behind with a swift leg motion, which, I would quickly vow on my Boy Scout's honor, was not me. Before long most of the listeners began to forego the story, skip to the end, and attempt to be the kicker instead of the kickee.
Organizing Jimmy's and Kris' toys
Our three-level home had a large family room on the lower level complete with fireplace, wet bar and a huge storage box, which had become packed to the top with toys, many of which were broken and rarely used.
Finally, one day, realizing that most of the stuff in the box was junk, which served only to clutter up the house when kids insisted on emptying everything in the box in search of something magic, I decided to toss out most of the toys, many of which were broken anyway. I had a large trash can that was quickly becoming filled with broken and useless toys that I knew were just taking up space. Kris began to observe this activity with great concern and she wanted to know what I was doing. I told her, "I am organizing these toys so you can play with them better."
She stepped back and continued to watch with concern until finally she stepped forward again and pleaded with me. "Daddy, please don't 'organize' my dolls."
Singing in the Rain
Kris and Jimmy and I spent many pleasurable hours walking the woods, canoeing, caving, and camping around Tullahoma. Now I realize that I was too much a friend and not enough parent to them.
One day Kris (about four years old) and I lay on the hood of my car, looking up at the sky and enjoying the autumn weather when it started to rain. Kris said, "Daddy, it's raining. We are going to get wet."
My response was, "Yeah, we are if we stay here. How about we stay here and enjoy the rain?"
She thought that was the coolest thing she had ever heard, and we both lay there looking up into the rain until we got soaking wet. Later on she told me how me how much fun it was. She then told me, "I love mommy more than you, but you are much funner."
I called him Jimbo and eventually he began calling me Daddybo. Jimmy and I wrestled and played a lot rougher as he grew. We also had various missile games where we would launch missiles at each other. Each would try and convince the other that a launched missile was merely a weather satellite and should be disregarded, until, of course the missile after being disregarded was quickly and covertly converted into a nuclear bomb that completely destroyed its target.
Along with wrestling, we often sang the various theme songs to action cartoons such as Batman and Superman. Sometimes the wrestling got a little too rough and Jimbo would become angry and attack seriously and fiercely. To my great amusement, even though the play had become serious, it was still accompanied by the Batman theme song, as though that aided the attack.