Grab your waders, it’s getting deep in here y’all.
When my family gets together, we do a lot of storytelling. I remember sitting at my grandmother’s knee when I was teeny, tiny and getting lost in her stories.
Most of the stories are true, some are embellished, and some are just plain unbelievable. There are a lot of names for it: visiting, swappin’ lies, shootin’ the bull, shootin’ the breeze, smacking the gums, talkin’ smack.
The older generation in my family tells stories and then argues about the little details, such as if the flood happened in ‘42 or ’48. One will tell the story and another will say, “This is how I remember it.” Either way, the stories are interesting and ever-changing.
When the storytelling begins, there’s always a point where someone mentions the waders. In my family, the stories normally have one of two results: pee inducing laughter or hair raising chills.
In the days before radio and television, people were entertained by music, books, games, and conversation. Before the written word, stories were word of mouth and sometimes told through song. Either way, humans have been swappin’ lies since the beginning of time.
Now, I have fun telling my own stories and occasionally, retelling one of the family stories with my own little embellishments- fiction based on reality because you can’t make some of this stuff up. The following story is based on a true one but the names have been changed to protect the guilty…I mean, innocent.
An almost full moon hung low in the South Georgia sky one hot, summer night. Emma was having another restless night. One of many in which her mind flitted between sleep and wakefulness. She tossed and turned but nothing eased the ache in her chest.
She sat up in bed with a start and rubbed her eyes in an attempt to clear the fog from her mind. Her sister was sitting next to her on the bed. The moon beams coming from the open, screened window cast an eerie glow around the room.
“Bethie?” Emma called out. “Is that you?”
“Yeah, it’s me Emma.”
Thoughts whirled around Emma’s still cloudy mind as she tried to remember the last time she had seen her sister. It had been a while…too long.
“What are you doing here, Bethie?”
“I came to see you Emma.”
“But it’s the middle of the night B. What in the world?”
Beth gently placed a hand on her sister’s hand and said, “I want you to know that I’m okay.”
Emma covered her sister’s hand with her free hand. “Bethie, you are so cold.”
“I know Emma. I’m dead.”
Emma blinked her eyes and Bethie was gone. As she called out for her sister, she began to weep. Then, more awake and alert, the harsh reality of loss flooded Emma’s soul as she remembered why it had been so long since she had seen her sister.
The last time she saw Beth, she said her last farewell as her sister went to her final resting place. After the funeral, months ago, Emma pleaded to the heavens for a sign that she was alright. The heavens finally heard her cries and Emma smiled through her tears knowing that her beloved sister had come from the great beyond to let her know that she was okay.