Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tall Tales, Mysteries and other Family Folklore, Part Two

This is a story my mother has told me several times. I've asked her to write it down, but she won't.

The year was 1942 or 1943. My mother would have been seven or eight. My grandfather was a math teacher at Charleston High School. In the summer, the family would stay at a little cottage on Folly Beach.

This particular summer day, my Great-Uncle Dolph was staying with them, Grand Daddy had already left for one of the last days of school. Dolph had a broken leg and had an ankle to hip plaster of paris cast that I am sure was making him more miserable than the broken bone in those pre-air-conditioning days. So perhaps he had hobbled out on the deck that early morning to enjoy a bit of the cool morning breeze off the Atlantic.

My mother recalls she was just sitting down to breakfast when she heard Uncle Dolph yell up to the house, his voice calm.

"Virginia," he hollered, Virginia was my grandmother, "Get the shot gun. The Germans are invading."

Granny went out to look, while my mother hopped down from the table to follow.

Up and down the beach, as far as they could see were ships and from those ships, small rafts full of fully armed men were casting off, heading for shore.

My Grand Mother told Uncle Dolph to get back to the house, which of course, he didn't. She went back in and got the shot gun that Grand Daddy used for hunting and kept at the beach house to fend off the occasional rabid raccoon. She shooed my mom and her younger sisters away to a back room (from where my mom promptly snuck back out to watch), but when Granny went back outside, she didn't hand the gun over to Uncle Dolph, no sir.

She marched down to the edge of the walk, out on to the sand, her apron pocket bulging with ammunition, ready to met the German army head on.

Fortunately, it was American troops. Practicing for the invasion of Normandy, so my mother tells the story.

Heck, if it had been the Germans trying to sneak past Granny that morning, the war would have been over a hell of a lot sooner.

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