Strange letters from my father

I never do paid posts but I’m doing this one for two reasons.  1) Because I was already going to write about this.  Stick with it and you’ll see why in a second, and 2) because the 8th Annual Jame Garfield Miracle is going on and I needed more money to help kids in need and this was a super easy way to do it.  So if you’re reading this, you are helping needy children.  EVERYONE WINS.

So, StoryWorth advertised on my blog this year and I loved it so much I paid full price to buy one for my dad.  Here’s how it works:  StoryWorth emails your family member weekly story prompts in the form of questions.  They reply to the emails and you get to read their amazing family stories that you never knew existed.  Then at the end of the year StoryWorth binds the years worth of stories into a keepsake book.  My dad has been doing it for about six months and the emails I get with his answers are so insane and lovely that I often have to call and ask, “Is that true?”  Stories about my grandparents and great grandparents that I may never have known are now being shared with family.  It is awesome and I highly recommend it because it’s a gift for you and for them.  It’s normally $79 but right now (until 1/31/18) it’s only $59 through this link. 

The stories my father shares are really too good to keep to myself so I’m sharing a few snippets of my favorites here.  You may think they’re strange and terrible but I love and treasure them.  I suppose that’s how family stories work though.  (BTW, Nelda is my mom.  She types the answers as my dad dictates.)

Have you pulled any great pranks?

I was prying something loose one day, and I broke off half the blade of my skinning knife. Stupid! Now the six-inch blade was only three inches long. It was now perfect for prying things loose, but it was also perfect for a practical joke.

We have an electric knife sharpener at the taxidermy shop, and I don’t allow anyone to use it except me. If you’re not paying 100% attention to what you are doing, the high-speed sharpening wheel can throw the blade back at you. Bad news.

I went to my own working area where I hide from the other workers and went to work on my joke. I super glued the tip of my broken knife blade to the inside of my inner right arm. Next I built up the wound area with 2-part epoxy. It’s a product we use in the taxidermy shop like modeling clay to make artificial skin on a mount. I smoothed out the epoxy, texturized it to make it look like my own skin and modeled it to look like that knife is really embedded deep in my arm. I used an airbrush to paint the epoxy area to match my skin. Next I feathered in some white, purple,and red paint to make a realistic cut. Finally I mixed up some blood- red and black paint. I added a little glycerin to give the fake blood a wet glossy look. I poured the blood where it needed to be, and splashed the rest on an old rag that I used to cover the gag.

I staggered into the shop and sat down, not saying a word.

Don was the first to notice the blood. “Holy Crap! What did you do?” Helen came out the office, and I removed the blood-soaked rag to show my work of art. Everyone gathered around me to either gawk or help. Helen hollered out, “Don’t put it out. He’s on blood thinners! He”ll bleed to death!”

No sooner did she say that, Jonathon grabbed the knife and pulled it out. I quickly covered the wound with the bloody rag. I figured the joke was over till Jonathon looked at the knife and screamed, “It broke off in his arm!”

I didn’t get any compliments for my realistic art work. I cleaned up my mess and came back in the shop. I sat down next to Jonathon and asked him if it looked real. He said. “Yeah, I thought it was real……..What are blood thinners?”

What have you changed your mind about over the years?

I use to think that dogs are a man’s best friend, but I’ve changed my mind. Dogs will always forgive you quickly if you ask them to, but they don’t do laundry, they don’t cook, they don’t scratch your back, and they don’t clean house. They are pretty good at doing dishes, as long as you smear left-over gravy over the whole plate.

I use to think that a loving wife would see the humor in that previous paragraph. Dogs will still always forgive you quickly if you ask them to.

I use to think this was funny.


If you could choose any talents to have, what would they be?

I asked Nelda what this question meant. Any talent? She suggested singing, or playing an instrument , or maybe x-ray vision. X-Ray vision might be cool only if it is selective. Some old fat guy crossing your path of vision could ruin your day. A cute young chick could also ruin my marriage. I’ll stick with my near- sighted astigmatism with floaters.

I already sing beautifully. I have that talent even though no one else thinks so. My ears are so good that in my head the notes sound pitch perfect. Self corrective hearing is what I call it.

I might like the talent to finish everyone’s sentences before they could say it. Unfortunately I hang around a lot of people that don’t make a lot of sense. I’m not going to take credit for a bunch of nonsense.

I would like the talent to communicate with animals. I would like to understand their thoughts. Someday I will.

What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

One of my fondest memories is going perch fishing with my mom. When I was about five years old, I got the fishing bug. I couldn’t get enough fishing. My dad had a farm out at Eola, about twenty miles from home. The whole family would pack up before daylight, and drive out to the farm to work. My dad would usually be on his John Deere tractor. My mom would be either building electric fence or picking rocks out of the field. My sisters would be together hoeing weeds. I, being the baby, stuck with my mom. We would work till noon, and then drive to our neighbor’s pasture to have a picnic lunch. A small dirt tank with green water surrounded by large mesquite trees was one of my favorite places to spread out our homemade quilts, and rest in the shade. We would eat bread, summer sausage, longhorn cheese, and drink Cragmont orange soda water. After lunch, I would get out my cane pole. I always saved some of my lunch to use for bait. Those perch would bite on anything, but bread was my favorite cuz it stayed on my hook the best,

My dad would usually sleep and rest while my mom would watch me fish. She was actually watching a five year old kid making sure I wasn’t gonna fall in the water. The fish would bite as fast as you put the hook in the water. They weren’t very big, but I kept anything that had eyes. I even kept a little turtle. When I caught a water snake, my fishing was over.

Have you ever won anything?

The last year that the famous Sam Lewis put on the World Champion Armadillo Races, I won. Actually, my armadillo won. All I did was get behind Army and stomp and holler and chase him across the finish line. I guess I came in second. I released the armadillo back in the woods, but I kept the silver ring. My daughter Jennifer has the ring (I think).

I probably wouldn’t have given her the ring if it was gold.

What inventions have had the biggest impact on your day-to-day life?

The cube is probably the greatest invention of my lifetime. Before the cube, there was really not much stability in my life. Spheres were the rage when I was growing up. How can one build anything on a sphere? No matter how you slice it, you end up with just a lot of wheels.There was hope for wheels in those days, although someone took the idea too far. The whole world revolved around wheels and anything that could be made with them.  Donuts were one of my favorites. It was like a wheel inside of a wheel. Clever. But look at a really fat donut from the side. It’s a cube. Give the cube the credit due. You eat a donut from the side, don’t you?

Cubes were the true building blocks of the future. The Egyptians knew this. They even made huge cubes all over their back yard. Then they sliced the cubes diagonally, tipped them over so they would rest on their most stable side, and “BAM”! They had yard art that would last for decades. People would ride by, see the yard art, and ask the age-old question, “Do you think that’s a cube cut in half on its axis, or is that cube half buried in the sand. If someone ever invents the wheel, we could build a big bulldozer and find out.”

Ice cubes. How would you like living in this planet without ice cubes. Sure, there’s people up north that don’t appreciate ice like we do, but what if they want to sit down for a while. Up north, chairs don’t grow on trees, but a big cube of ice would make a wonderful chair. You could probably build a house out of ice if you had enough of it laying around. An air-conditioned house. With an ice box.

I really don’t dislike spheres. After all, a sphere is just a well-rounded cube that likes to travel.

I changed my mind. My favorite invention that has changed my life is a 19 volt battery-operated screwdriver with an extra lithium battery. Made by Craftsman.



How has the country changed during your lifetime?

The country hasn’t changed at all. The cities are all screwed up. I lived in the country when I was a kid, and I live in the same country now. The trees I remember as a kid seemed to be a lot smaller back then. The country roads I use to walk down seem to be a lot shorter when I drive them.

Water skiing, tubing and fishing wasn’t good at all on our local lakes, but I got pretty good at skipping rocks. The trick was to find flat rocks about three inches across. If you could find rocks that were flat on the top and bottom, you were in business. With a little practice, you could get thirty or more skips out of one perfect rock. You could get even more skips if the lakebed wasn’t sandy. When you found that perfect rock, you didn’t squander it. You walked out in the lakebed and retrieved it. Once when I was retrieving one of my dad’s washers (sometimes I used artificials),I found a rowboat. It was a Sears/Roebuck 10 foot aluminum just like the ones in the catalogs. This boat was mine.There wasn’t a drop of water in my new boat, and I started dreaming about all the adventures I would have on Lake Nastywater. (We use to called it Lake Nasworthy, till the water level went down and old tires messed up our rock skipping). I named my boat S.S Minnow. Gilligan’s Island was my favorite after school tv show. I liked Gilligan the best, but Ginger and Mary Ann got a lot better over the years. My Dad enjoyed that show too. I knew he was really gonna get excited when I showed him The Minnow. We walked out on the lake and gazed down on our boat.

“Oh My Gosh! Look! ” Daddy saw my boat. He was excited. He peeled off his sweat stained farmers hat, smiled, sighed, and said something that I couldn”t believe. “There’s my old boat.”

“What! Your boat?”

“Sonny, I lost “The African Queen ” about forty years ago.” I was noodling for yeller cats down here when this was the Middle Concho. You know what noodling is……Catching them with your hands. It wasn’t against the law back in them days. Now, they would throw you in the pokie. I found this big rock right here and knew this was where the big one lived. Right under this rock. Your Uncle Sam, my older brother, was a better swimmer than me ,and he had more experience at catching big fish. Sam jumped in the water, took a deep breath, and went underwater. He came back up about 30 seconds later ,and told me the good news. “There’s a big hole under that rock, and there’s a catfish down in there. His head is as big as a five gallon bucket. As soon as I catch my breath, I’m going for him. My brother, Sam went under. He was down there a long time. He was down too long. I jumped in the water, and found the hole that Sam had entered. I reached in, and found Sam’s legs kicking up a storm. I grabbed his legs and started pulling him out of the hole. It was a struggle,but I pulled him out. We surfaced, and Sam was as white as a sheet. We looked around and couldn’t find “The African Queen”.

We sat up on the rock, Sam caught his breath finally, and told me what happened.”That monster fish was deep in the hole. I was rubbing his belly with both hands. My arms were extended, reaching for his gills. He kept swimming further in the hole. I didn’t realize that the hole was getting tighter, and I was running out of breath. My arms were out in front of me, and I couldn’t push my way out. I was stuck underwater. I was ready to give up when I felt you pulling me out. You saved my life!

We reached down to release our boat from the encrusted mud, and it proved to be a lot lighter than expected. There was no floor in the boat. It had rotted out years ago, but it still held some shared memories for my dad and me.

Uncle Sam and Daddy are both gone now. Maybe they’re floating down the Middle Concho in an old rowboat with a floor in it. Maybe they’re fishing for big yeller cats. They’re not noodling though because Sam promised God that he wouldn’t fish that way anymore.

Do you have any particularly vivid memories of your grandparents?

All of my grandparents were Czech. They didn’t speak English but they were successful farmers. They figured out early in life that to be wealthy, you had to have good discipline. They saved their hard-earned money that they made sharecropping. Then they bought land. They made do with growing their own fruits and vegetables. They raised chickens for eggs and meat. They had cows that they milked daily and butchered their own beef and hogs.They made their own clothes, churned butter, canned produce from the garden, made cheese , flour, cornmeal, and bread.  The only thing easy on the farm was falling to sleep at night.

Butchering hogs in those days was a big deal. There was too much work for one family to do all the work in one day. There would also be too much meat and sausage to cure, smoke, and package. The meat from a three hundred pound hog would go bad before one family could eat it.

When the first cold day would come around, all of the aunts, uncles, and third-generation heathens would meet at my grandparents house with all their butcher knives, tow sacks, hog scrapers, seasonings. We were having a butcher day. There was going to be a lot of work and a lot of fun for everyone except two fat hogs.

The women would build a big hot fire under a wash kettle full of water. The men would get the hogs up out of the mud, and wash them off. The hogs didn’t know what was going on with all this special treatment, but I bet they thought they were family and they were being invited for dinner. Smart pigs.

My uncles would build a sled,and then would position our dinner guest close to it. A shot would ring out and an unhappy but short squeal would alert the second dinner guest that now might be the time to cancel his reservation. The relaxing swine napping on the sled would be given a ride to the kettle area. Tow sacks (burlap bags) were pulled out of the boiling water and spread over a portion of the sleeping porker. The scalding loosens the hair on the pig and a dull butcher knife is used to scrape the hair (root and all) off of the pig.

The whole process is repeated on a new area of the pig until the whole hog is as balded as the top of my head. That pig is also pretty and pink like the top of my head.

Now it’s time to gut the clean “organ donor”. The liver, kidneys, and heart are saved. The small intestines are also saved. It was my job to clean out the green juice out of these long tubes. I liked attaching a garden hose to one end and let the water pressure do the work. My job was taken away from me because of the mess I made all over the porch. I think years later Whamo made a fortune with a toy called a Water Wiggle. I guess I was just ahead of my time on inventions, but my marketing skills had not yet been perfected. Sometimes, poop happens.

The rolls of fat from the hog is collected for later use. The ashes from the fire were shoveled into a tilted wooden trough. Water was poured over the ashes and drained into another container. This was lye. The fat is put in the kettle and rendered down to lard. Some of the lard was saved to cook with. It was poor man’s shortening. Then the belly meat and flanks were cut up (with the skin still attached), and the small pieces were fried in the lard. This was cracklins. You eat them hot with molasses and homemade bread. You now have a lot of lard in the kettle. Dump the lye in with some kind of perfume and boil the devil out of it. Let the whole mess cool down and you got soap. Cut the soap into bars with a butcher knife and let it get cold. It will last forever. I think it has such a long shelf-like cuz no-one wants to use it. It stinks, and it takes your hide off with the dirt. It will cure a young boy from cussin .

Cut up the pork chops,cure the bacon, cure the hams and hocks, and start turning the grinder. It’s “SAUSAGE TIME”.

Those casings that were rescued from me are refilled with seasoned ground pork and tied into links. Hang ’em in the smoke house.

It’s now pretty late, and everybody’s tired. We sample the sausage and clean up the huge mess. I clean the front porch.

I give Babuska (Grandmother) a hug goodbye. I smell like the front porch, but she returns the hug anyway. That was sixty years ago, but I can still smell the aroma of fresh baked poppy seed kolaches from her homemade apron.

I still smell like her front porch.

My dad with his sisters and his mother. Wall, Texas.

145 thoughts on “Strange letters from my father

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Grew up in San Angelo. I remember them draining Lake Nasworthy, I was 11 at the time. I went out and collected a couple of dozen soda bottles to turn in for the deposit.

    Drove through Wall a bunch of times

  2. Those stories are fantastic! I think the inventions one is my favorite, but they’re all wonderful. What a great idea!

  3. In church one day they handed out prompts like this–one a day for a year. I gave it to my dad and he followed through. He died two years ago and the answers to those prompts are a treasure to me now.

  4. I bought this for my mom for Mother’s Day and it has seriously been the greatest thing I’ve ever done. I will keep buying them forever and ever!

  5. Your Dad is from San Angelo?

    (Wall. But he and his parents moved to San Angelo when he was a teenager. Then he moved back to Wall after the war ended, and he and my mom are still there. ~ Jenny)

  6. This is amazing. I wish it had been around when my parents were still alive. Your dad tells great stories.

  7. WOW! These stories were fabulous. I can see where you get your sense of humor from. Wish I had thought of this. Too late now.

  8. That idea is beyond lovely, and so I’m swooning over here. Stories are my drug of choice and so I’m already jonesing for this. Who cares if it was a paid post, you’re providing value at every turn with it. Thanks so much!

  9. Next thing you know, your dad’s going to be on FaceOff with his hella awesome SFX makeup skills, using only taxidermy materials. I’d watch it in a heartbeat.

    For real though, this whole thing is amazing.

  10. Now we know where you get your wit and storytelling ability both. Absolved of any guilt over posting this, Jenny Lawson, because many readers will use it now and preserve stories. I wish we had had it when my parents were still living.

  11. I can tell where you get your storytellin’ style. Wonderful to read! Thanks for sharing!

  12. I’m beginning to think your father has ghostwritten your books.

    (Honestly, he probably could. With less cursing. ~ Jenny)

  13. I got this for my mom and dad this year for their birthdays because you recommended it. It has been a wonderful gift to me and to them, to know that their thoughts will be left for the grands and greatgrands to read. So much more important than just a picture album!

  14. Just in case – it looks like the promo goes through 12/31/17, based on the header image on their website through your link. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    “Only $59 through December 31st ($20 off)”

    (Good catch! My last email from them says it’s good until January 31st but I’m checking with them just in case. ~ Jenny)

  15. I want to have lunch with your Dad. Wait maybe not lunch, because I am afraid soda would be spewing from my nose. So maybe just drinks so if I am peeing in my pants from laughter no one else will know.

  16. I just want to sit around the dinner table with your dad. What a hoot! I so wish that StoryWorth had been around when my parents (and my grandfather — the comedian in the family) were still alive. Looking forward to more excerpts! 🙂

  17. These remind me of stories my Dad and Grandfather would tell us about growing up in west Texas. I’m now thinking about getting my parents to share their stories!

  18. My dad died four months ago today. I wish I had known about this before. Great stories from your dad.

  19. I liked the one about dogs. And the one about cubes.

    And I think I’d like to sit down and have a beer with your dad, the philosopher. Yeah. I’d like that a lot.

  20. What a wonderful idea… man I wish I’d hate this before my parents both passed away. And, by the way, your Dad is hilarious!

  21. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing these stories! Wish my dad were still alive to ask these questions.

  22. I can see where you learned to tell a good, funny story Jenny! Your dad sounds like a pretty awesome guy! I would love to read more! If the rest is half as good as what you just shared he might just be able to get a book deal!! Ive read all your books and I’m always looking for more good reads! Thank you for sharing this!

  23. Thanks for posting this. My mother loves to write and I was looking for something meaningful to get her for Christmas, especially because my father died recently. She has everything she needs, and I was at a loss. This might just be the perfect thing.

  24. My husband’s grandma wrote all about her family history when she was in her late 90’s and made sure every grandchild got a copy of “Hilda’s Story” so we could read about her and her sister Mabel and how they lived in the early 1920’s, and also about her family prior to that. It was so interesting to hear about family members from the 1800’s, and the adventures that Hilda and Mabel would have when they were young girls and then, young women. I think every family needs a treasury like that….yet, I’ve done nothing like this for my own kids. What a great way to get started…I think I need to buy this book! Thanks Jenny!!

  25. My father passed away on Saturday morning. For years I had been telling myself I needed to do something like this and never got around to it. I urge everyone to get those stories while they can.

  26. Brilliant! :o) I have been writing a family book about my parents and grandparents and the stories are fascinating. The project has been one of the best experiences of my life. Your father is wonderful and it’s no wonder where you got your talents. :o)

  27. I love that this is a) one long string of dad-jokes, and b) a super-clarifying where you get your storytelling from.

  28. The hog butchering story reminded me of stories I’d hear from my grandparents. I still have my grandmother’s wash pot. It’s a huge cast iron pot with a handle that was used on an open fire for doing laundry and scalding the hogs they would butcher. When I was little, Dad kept it on our back patio and it was a baby tortoise nursery. We kept desert tortoises as pets in the backyard and when Dad would find a baby, he’d put it in the pot (which was filled with dirt) to keep them safe so he wouldn’t run over them with the lawn mower. These kinds of stories are priceless and I’m going to start writing them down for my own kids.

  29. OMG I love this. There need to be more stories from your dad…maybe publish the book (with his permission of course) because he is hilarious.

  30. @Suzy, #43 – I am so very sorry for your loss. Hold tight to the memories you have and the ones you love.

  31. My siblings and I got this for my dad for Father’s Day this year. He hasn’t written a single story yet. I just texted my mom and reminded her to nag him about it…He’s got some good stories, and he’s retired, so no excuses!

  32. These are so great. The cube/sphere one had me actually laughing out loud, and the hog butchering one is lovely.

  33. Oh my god, these are great! And I very much admire your father’s dedication to a prank.

  34. So I bought the book for my dad before I read your whole post… Now I’m just hoping to get one response that’s half as entertaining as one from your dad!

  35. Your dad won at the Armadillo Races. That’s something to brag about!

    I LOVE this StoryWorth idea. It’s exactly my kind of wonderful thing. I hoard memories like a miser with gold.

  36. Your dad sounds awesome ! It sounds like the apple doesnt fall far from the tree, humor wise, does it ?
    We lived right next to my grandparents growing up and shared all the chores in a huge garden. Me, being the shortest growing up, had the nastiest job of picking the tobacco worms off the plants and chucking them in a can of kerosene. Yuck ! We also had hogs and, ugh, what a mess ! Have you ever had headcheese ? Or scrambled eggs and pigs brains ? Nasty sounding but it filled us up ! Everything was used or canned. It was the coolest thing to sit and listen to the cans pop as they sealed cooling down.
    I give anything to live back then even though it seems harsh sounding to kids these days. But you always had food on the if you were willing to work for it.
    One day I will get that book ! It sounds like a wonderful read !

  37. If anyone thought you were playing any of your personality or delightful weirdness up for effect, they can see for sure now that you come by it honestly and it’s apparently genetic. LOL. Families….am I right?!

  38. My favorites:
    “What are blood thinners?” Hahahahaha

    “I use to think that a loving wife would see the humor in that previous paragraph.” Poor Nelda. I’d love to hear HER stories about your dad.

    “A cute young chick could also ruin my marriage. I’ll stick with my near- sighted astigmatism with floaters.” Words to live by… words. to. live. by. hahahaha

    “I’m not going to take credit for a bunch of nonsense.” hahahaha

    “I probably wouldn’t have given her the ring if it was gold.” hahahahahahaha

    “I changed my mind. My favorite invention that has changed my life is a 19 volt battery-operated screwdriver with an extra lithium battery. Made by Craftsman.” My favorite too!

    “I still smell like her front porch.” hahahahaha
    In the favored words of Ham Porter… you’re killin’ me Smalls.. you’re killin’ me.

  39. Hey Jenny… just a thought…. I bet I’m not the only one that would just LOVE to hear similar type questions asked of your sweetheart Victor. I’ve listened to that IG video of you putting the cape on Dorothy Barker and Victor singing Todd Sweeny about her looking like the Pope (love his voice) hahahaha. Kills me EVERY TIME. My boyfriend just eyes me slant-wise out of the corner of his eye but doesn’t. say. a. word. HILARIOUS!! So yeah, we need to be regaled with a story or two from Saint Victor from his viewpoint 😀

  40. How I wish we had something like this when my parents and grandparents were still alive. My Dad was a born story teller and his tales of growing up on a farm with 6 brothers and 2 sisters were hysterical. He was manic depressive which made my childhood a bit chaotic, but he was very bright (an electrical engineer), kind, loving and so very funny. We lost him 15 years ago and I still miss him every day.

  41. I now understand where your sense of humor comes from. I kept thinking, “How does she do it?” but now I see it’s genetic!
    Keep doing this every year until he dies, then give all the material to a really good editor. I would SO read that book!

  42. Simply fantastic!

    Is it bad that I feel a little bad for Victor, knowing that there are more just like you? Nah, you are treasures.

  43. I asked my mom to write down some of her stories but she said she didn’t know where to begin. This sounds like the answer!

  44. This is such a great idea! My Grandad once wrote me stories about his childhood for something I was doing at school and I have no idea where they went because I didn’t realise that one day I’d want to look back on them. I would have loved to be able to do something like this with him (not that I ever even saw him share the same room as a computer and I imagine trying to teach him to use one would have been its own special nightmare for us both. But its the thought that counts.).

  45. Obvious where your storytelling ability comes from. All my dad gave me was a crooked tooth. And a sense of humor. I had the tooth removed, but I kept the sense of humor.

  46. I love the snippet’s you shared. I would have loved to have done this with my parents. Ask your parents questions while you can. BTW, my dad’s name was Sam, but my sister and I always called him Honey.

  47. I was given Storyworh this year . They are commendable but sometimes it is hard to bring up a memorable topic, it is definitely a job to take on for some . I keep trying .

  48. I love your dad his stories are awesome but I’m still traumatized from the talking squirrel incident from your childhood.

  49. This is so great. I tried to do something similar with my dad, but he was not the story teller your dad is.

  50. This made me cry Jenny. A few years before my Dad died he started recording his life for me because he had a doozie and I was going to write his biography. And he told me he’d made one recording just for me that he didn’t want me to hear until he was gone. I only have one of his tapes. After he died it turned out someone broke into his house while he was in the hospital and took his briefcase (among other things I didn’t give a shit about). I will never know what was on the special tape and I don’t have all his stories. I miss him terribly even after all these years.

    I highly recommend everyone ask their parents to do this thing. There is so much history and life and laughs and horror and tears we don’t know about our parents. Jedi Hugs to everyone.

  51. Your dad’s appreciation for the cube almost made me choke on my sushi…ha-LARIOUS! And there is no question that you are your father’s daughter. Thanks for sharing a little piece of him with us, loved it!

  52. Okay, these stories are an absolute treasure and I’m so glad you shared them. Thanks for the recommendation for StoryWorth; I will absolutely be giving this to my family for Christmas! I love this idea and have thought about trying to do something like this myself but didn’t know what kinds of questions would reveal the lesser-known side of someone I already know (or think I know!) so well. Plus I am Queen ADHD and compiling a book after? No way I’d pull that off on my own! Thanks, Jenny, you saved Christmas for us all! ❤️

  53. I gave the Storyworth to both my mom and my step/adopted dad for Mother’s/Father’s Day2017. To date, my mother has answered one question and my dad has answered six. This is a wonderful idea in theory, but the success depends on the recipient’s being willing to put in the time and effort. I’m so glad your dad has done so.

  54. I used to hang out at Lake Nastywater all summer while attending ASU. Haven’t thought about that in years. I love your dad’s stories. I can see where your storytelling gift comes from.

  55. He definitely gave you your story telling talent! My favorite was “sometimes I used artificials”. Great stories!!

  56. Jenny, you have made my day. The compliments from your reader’s comments gave me an insight of how much pleasure you receive each day when you write your blog. You readers have given my daughter the very best medication for depression. Jenny did get that from me. She can’t cook, but she makes great lemonade from the lemons I gave her. Thank you, Daddy.

  57. My husband and I purchased StoryWorth for our parents on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year after I saw the post on your blog. Even though it’s a gift where they have to do the work, we are all really enjoying it. They said it’s helping them remember things they had totally forgotten about. It’s also lead to fun conversations between my husband and me when we guess what an answer will be or what our answer would be if we had the same question. Can’t wait to get the finished product and surprise our siblings with a copy!

  58. This is so wonderful! It’s easy to see how he’s influenced your story-telling and humor. This is a great idea to keep those memories alive. My grandpa died in 2002 and last year I had the sad realization that I couldn’t remember his voice. I didn’t want that to happen with my mom after she passes, so I started recording her talking about her life and childhood and marrying my dad and such. I know it will be a wonderful treasure when I have to somehow survive without her.

  59. If it wasn’t for cubes there would be no Las Vegas, but then again without spheres there would be no roulette. So I guess it’s a toss up.

  60. Please tell your dad that “I’m not going to take credit for a bunch of nonsense” almost made me spit coffee all over my monitor. That man is high quality entertainment. Also, this service is AMAZING and I’m checking it out ASAP.

  61. I was stuck for ideas for my mom and stepdad this year and have just ordered them each a book. I’m super excited for this. My grandma passed away last year and wish I had something like this from her. Thank you for sharing! (and awesome that the sponsored post will help more kids for the JGCM). My heart is all warmed up this morning.

  62. Your dad is an incredibly good writer and very funny. Is your mom too? Because Your Dad + Your Mom = Bloggess, and we know that is one giant ball of funny and real.

  63. No wonder you are such a wonderful story teller. You got the gene! I loved your father’s stories.

  64. Now I am crying and laughing because my dad has passed away and he was the best story teller. I also agree with your dad, the country hasn’t changed, that is why I moved to the country and WILL NEVER LEAVE.

  65. This is so much awesome. I think I’d like to hear what stories my paternal grandfather could tell. He was crotchety, cantankerous, and believed children should be seen and not heard and preferably not seen either, but in his end years he suddenly started spinning some good yarns.

    My dad wrote out his story, sort of like a diary with more narrative of the time he was stationed overseas during the war while my mother and brother were back in the states (I was not yet even a gleam in the eye). It was great, it reminded me of the letters he sent to me once I moved out, very chatty, interesting but not really newsworthy. Once Dad passed away I told my mom I wanted that notebook (3-ring binder with typed out pages in sheet protectors) and she said I couldn’t have it. So I offered to take it to be copied and keep the copy and she said there were no copy places in her podunk town (there’s a college, so you KNOW there is a copy place) but I let it ride. Now when I ask about it she says she has no idea what I’m talking about. I’d kill her but she ain’t worth doing time for.

  66. Girl you made me cry. That reminded me so much of talking with my Grandmother about her childhood. She died 9 years ago and you brought her back just like she’s sitting beside me right now. Thank you.

  67. My mother is also named Nelda. She always said it was a name from the south, her family is from Kansas and Kentucky. We live in Oregon and I’ve never heard anyone else by that name here. Sisters from another mister.

  68. Jenny, I would buy a book your dad wrote. I love his way of storytelling. Is your mom doing a book, too? And what about your sister? I bet your whole family could be best-selling authors like you. And I would love to read stories about living with you from Hailey and Victor….oh, the stories they could tell. You could be a “poor man’s” Dynasty family. Get them writing……

  69. That is great! It seems like you didn’t fall too far from the tree, with your storytelling and sense of humor.

  70. This is fantastic. I just love this, and even more so, I love your dad’s stories. I see that your story-telling skills were passed down from him. So many similarities in writing style and wit. I would love to have my grandmother do this. Oh the stories she would have to tell I’m sure at 91 years of age. I would have to come over weekly with my laptop to type them for her though, much like your mom since Grandma has never touched a computer.

  71. JENNY!!! Thank You!!!
    The StoryLink link you shared was PERFECT, and WONDERFUL!!!

    I’ve already been brainstorming about what would be a GOOD gift, for my beautiful and amazing Aunt Doris! Who I dearly love and Admire, and who is the Most Amazing !! 93 yr old Live Wire! you have ever known!! I’ve always loved her, but I was thinking and thinking about a Christmas gift .. something to honor her, and say something about how precious she is to me … an elegant? Hermès silk scarf? Jewelry that we can’t afford?!? ?What?

    Then, Serendipitously, tonight, here’s your blog! God-sent! It’s a Wonderful!

    My Aunt Doris is the Last living “first generation” relative that I/we have. My parents, and everyone of my aunts & uncles, have passed on, except for Aunt Doris. And, for me, and my sister, And her 2 kids, and families, this is Such a Heartfelt gift!

    I do Believe, that God, himself, has a hand in these “coincidences”, and I dearly thank You, for being so instrumental in connecting me, with this. SUPERBLY loving gift idea.

    My sister and I are the youngest of our family/ generation – Because Of You!, I have Added 2-3 Of our Oldest, “most venerable” Cousins.

    We are, now, and for the last 4 years, having our “cousin’s reunion”, every summer. We can not describe the Joys this is, for ALL OF US!!!

    Thank you, for this, these gifts, and even more, the inspiration and Memories this process will bring to us, ALL, including me!
    Leslie Rhea/ aka bearzbe

  72. Oh my gosh, that cube rant. GLORIOUS.

    This is amazing, by the way! I have to see if my parents would actually do it, because there is so much I want to know!

  73. Really, Jenny, thank you!
    I’ve clued my husband, these expenses. And the “Why’s”, and”wher-for’s” in the Gifts , I am sending …
    What a Wonderful gift/s to share!!! Jenny, It’s perfect! – for my 93 yr old Aunr Doris, for whom Xmas shopping is challenging! Yet, I still want her to know how very much she means to me/us! And ! my cousins – sister, and for our kids! Their kids! Thank You for sharing this terrific idea!! Wow! Thank You, too, for already, making My Christmas 🎄 especially Happy, this year … for this idea is truly a gift to me, Us, as well! Happy, Healthy, memory-making Christmas and also all of your New Years! Sincerely, Leslie Z.

  74. My Dad was from Harper – same type of family as yours, self sufficient Germans. Great stories, your Dad passed on the storytelling gene. Thank him for us!

  75. Didn’t mean to be anonymous, just didn’t finish filling in the blanks. My usual excuse is I’m blonde.

  76. Didn’t mean to be anonymous, just didn’t finish filling in the blanks. My usual excuse is I’m blonde.

  77. I thought my Auntie was the only Nelda in the world! Still kinda glad my dad talked my mum out of nameing me for her though. Cos Susan is boring, but easy to spell and hard to mishear.

  78. the pic above with John Olsen’s story book on it……my dads name was john olsen. he died during hurricane irma while he and my mom and i (and my great dane and 4 cats) were in an emergency shelter. he died right in front of us from pulmonary embollisms, and im still dealing with and getting over the whole experience. he was 83 years old. i have been writing down his stories for years but i wish i had known about this story worth sooner. the questions asked get stories and info i never thought to ask. thanks for the share.

  79. I got a little teary right from the get go because we lost my dad back in February and this is EXACTLY the sort of thing I wish we had from him. He had amazing stories, and knew all the family history, but nothing was written down.

  80. Congrats on being on the “Hilarious World of Depression” podcast! I downloaded an earlier eps that actor Baron Vaughn guested on. I only know him from “Grace and Frankie” but he’s so watchable. Also he gave a shout out to CCH Pounder in one eps and she’s one of my heroes… Anyway, It’s pretty generous of you guys to do a show like that, and now I’ll look for your eps. Thank you very much!

  81. I’m so happy you got these stories from your dad, Jenny. My dad passed away four years ago and I miss him like crazy every single day. I wish to hell I’d have had a chance to get his stories before he couldn’t tell them any more.

  82. How very sweet and Holy crap! Some of the stories from your dad are HILARIOUS! I will pay you for a copy of that book. Seriously. I will. Plus a plate of cookies.

  83. LOVED your Dad’s stories. My Dad put together a cookbook for all of his children-titled Pop-Pop’s Cooking Makes Scents. He included many family favorites and a few sentences on many of them telling where he got recipe. Sometimes source of recipe was “Pop-Pop’s imagination” One of the recipes was for Burglar Proof Pizza (totally gross-about how to keep burglars from staying long enough to steal stuff.)

  84. These are great! The cube story had me giggling, your dad is awesome! I wish this was a thing when my grandpa was still around, I loved hearing his stories and wish I had them written down!

  85. “yard art that would last for decades” ….. BWAHAHAHAHA Jennifer’s Dad thank you for a much-needed laugh!

  86. Jenny,
    I lost my dad recently. He had an interesting family too.
    All 5 kids were intelligent, handsome, talented and all as mentally ill as f**k.

    Great-grands were I guess very successful…farmers? but they lost everything when the stock market crashed in 1929 or whenever it happened for the very first time.

    Because of that I grew up dirt poor. In my opinion, that was fine.
    Being poor teaches you lots of things that I’m grateful for. Ok so not my ugly hand-me-down prom dress but it makes you appreciate really great stuff like expensive toilet paper and name-brand ice cream.

    Anyway just wanted to say thank you for sharing, that was completely awesome.
    Farmer Boy was always my favorite.

  87. Thank you for sharing – I will never forget how hard I laughed when reading of his adventures with jumbo quail (also known as rowdy turkeys).

  88. I thought this was a GREAT idea so I ordered one for my father. He declined the gift claiming internet security. Well it hurt my feels and made me mad. Today I remembered he may or may not have been a spy in the 50’s – 80’s so maybe there is good reason for his paranoia. Anyway he also declined my gift last year of a 23 & me DNA test. Maybe for the same reasons. Spy’s are assholes. No more gifts for Dad.

  89. Hey Jenny! Apologies if this was already covered in one of the 140 previous comments, but your post said the discount is good through Jan 31, 2018, but when clicking on the link the website says it’s through DEC 31 (i.e., tomorrow)

    I love this idea & thought of giving it to my dad for his 75th birthday next week and my mom’s 70th, but wasn’t sure how much time I have..


  90. This makes me so stinkin excited! What a great idea! Picked one up for Mom and Dad ☺️ Thank you for highlighting this idea and the great discount!

  91. Just wanted you to know that I had no idea this existed before your post. I signed up my mom and it is the best present I have EVER given her. She is zooming ahead, the stories keep tumbling out. The tech is a near-perfect match for what she is comfortable with. Thank you.

  92. Like Emily said, I hadn’t heard of this before. After reading your post – and laughing myself silly – I decided to get Storyworth for my in-laws for Christmas. It’s been fabulous. Best. Gift. Ever. They are 80-ish, in pretty good health but seeing their mortality, and starting to think back on their lives. The storyworth prompts have been perfect, their voices and personalities come through loud and clear, we’ve enjoyed their stories, which are shared by email, and the result will be a book the grandchildren will come to value at some point. Plus they have had fun talking about it with their buddies at the Y (their primary social venue 🙂 ) and getting others interested in trying it. Thank you so much for this!

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