The Tornado

I grew up in a town that was so small that they had to hire a town drunk for the 4th of July parade. We did have the town liar who was always spinning yarns, mostly about a horse he owned called Old Grandad (named after a brand of Kentucky whiskey). Now this horse's claim to fame was as a jumper, and I suppose he could do a fair job of jumping because I saw his owner win a bet about his being able to jump over the hood of a Buick. The owner also had the local diary with a couple dozen cows and a long barn with a hayloft.

Anyway, I was walking home from school one day I spotted Old Grandad tied in front of the barn with a long rope so he could jump from one corral to another if the urge struck him. I got to thinking just how funny it would be to give old man Barrett a real story to tell, so I untied the rope, led Old Grandad around to the stock lot behind the barn, threw the rope back over the roof of the barn and tied it back just like it had been. I had no doubt that he would claim the horse had jumped over the barn.

About the time I got home a little cloud popped up and spun off a tiny tornado about the size of a well rope. It snaked around on the ground for a bit, turning over a few outhouses and chicken coops before it sucked back into the cloud. Everyone in town rushed down in front of the courthouse to check the damage and exchange stories. Up until Mr. Barrett arrived, the biggest one was this lady telling that the twister had sucked a hen and a dozen chicks right out of her yard. Last she saw of them they were going into the cloud. They were found later that day three miles away.

Anyway, I digress and must get back to the story. Mr. Barrett arrived all wide eyed and excited, telling that the tornado had picked up Old Grandad and deposited him behind the barn without a scratch. Everyone went with him to see the amazing feat. For years the best story around town was about the tornado that blew a horse over a barn.

I guess since something like 60 years has gone by, any statute of limitations has expired and I can admit my part in one of the greatest hoaxes that ever happened in my hometown.

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Copyright 2000 by Jim Foreman