My father told stories. Wonderful, magical stories. But the more formal kind, the once upon a time kind, with beginnings, middles and ends.
My father’s morality tales were more the ‘hit you on the head with a mallet’ kind.
My mother told stories too. But hers were more memories. Snippets of her life. Those were the ones I liked best. (Not to take anything away from my father.)
My mother’s stories always had such warmth about them. And somehow were more pertinent to my life.
She told them in a way that was subtle yet you got the point and how it related to you.
Not all of my mother’s stories were outright morality tales. But they somehow snuck in a life lesson anyway.
One story was about the time her mother told her never to ride on a running board.
(For those of you too young to know about running boards: they were the ledge on the side of the car that you used to step up into the seat. Think gangster movie….It was apparently a cool thing for the teens of her day to ride on them instead of in the car.)
One day her mother sent her on an errand.
On the way home some friends offered her a ride home. Since it was less than a block away she just jumped up on the running board, looped her arm through the window and they took off.
As they turned the corner she saw her mother outside talking to a neighbor.
She was so afraid her mother would see her riding on the running board she jumped off before the car pulled up to the house.
But she lost her footing and went face down on the pavement and skidded right up to where her mother was standing. Shredding her brand new dress and most of the skin on her arms and legs in the process.
My Grandmother just reached down picked her up and very calmly said, "That’s why you don’t ride on running boards.”
(I always contended that it was Grandma’s fault. If she hadn’t scared my mother so much about being caught she wouldn’t have jumped off!)