Another Story

I bet that in the annuals of Story Telling there has to be a special place for those people that can spontaneous create a story that starts and ends with a clear path in between.  What worries me is that I hope I am not starting in the beginning of Dementia.  I had old family and friends that could not tell you where they left their keys but could recite tale after tale of their childhood.   Here's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The outer story was that this morning at Breakfast in Oklahoma City I met a couple of young girls that were in OK City showing animals in some show. They won the right to be there by winning their district.  The girl with the big belt buckle was showing her horse.  The other girl was showing a sheep.  I told a guy with them that I fully support the idea of sheep.  They are best with mint jelly.   He said that was a ba-ba-ba-ba-bad joke.  Then I remembered the story of the first basemen's mitt.

My uncle joined the Navy around the time of the Korean War.  When he was in High School, he was one heck of an athlete and played basketball and first base.  He left Kansas with nothing more than the clothes he was wearing.  He left his first baseman's mitt in the back window package tray on his old Chevy.  He was gone four years and when he returned home, he stayed with us for a while.  He took that old mitt out of his car and threw it away.  Being young and in need of a glove, I saved it from the trash. 

After four years of sitting in the sun in that car, that glove was stiff as a board.  I brought it to my dad and asked him if he had any ideas on how to make it supple.  I was thinking that he might use saddle soap or neat's-foot oil but no, he went into the shelves next to our bathroom.  He brought out a jar of his magic Mutton Grease he called Tallow.  That stuff turned the glove into one of the softest gloves in the game.  The problem came when the smell just did not wear off.  When I joined a little league that summer, the other players would not let me bring that glove in the dug out.  I had to leave it outside on the grass.  I don't think that it ever stopped smelling really bad.  I think the coach made me the catcher so I would use the team's equipment and leave that stinky glove at home.

The girls in the first paragraph had just sat down to eat so I waited until they were about done to tell the rest of the story.

I went to Vietnam on the USNS Geiger and they served a lot of different things.  On the third day out of Long Beach, they served stewed mutton over rice.  I took my first fork full and put it in my mouth.  All I could taste was that damned first baseman's mitt and the more I chewed, the larger the chunk of meat got until I finally had to take a napkin and hide the remains.  First, we had only been at sea for three days so I wasn't completely over the motion sickness, but that damned mutton was so rank it wasn't funny.  

The girls thought that story was kind of funny and they left to go to the livestock show.  I wished them well and I left to come home.   On the way through Wichita, I wondered to myself if there is still somewhere on the east side of town a smell that no one can place.  I'm sure that if the glove wasn't burned, it still smells like that dead sheep left out in the rain. 


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