Pete's January 1999 Article.


“Tall Tales” by Pete Bennett

Some things I’ve never told you about my ancestors. I’ve been doing genealogy and I have discovered that:

My great-great grandfather almost invented electricity. It seemed, that he was too poor and couldn’t afford a kite. He did try to rent one though. I discovered a report that said that he could be seen almost any day, down on the street corner, “hirin’ a kite”!

Another great grandfather was hunting on one of those very cold Pennsylvania days. His eyesight was failing from age and he had used up all the shot he had brought with him. As he was rounding a hill, he came face to face with a large black bear. He quickly tamped some powder into his muzzleloader as the bear charged. Knowing he had no shot he reached up and broke a long pointed icicle from a ledge near him and dropped it into the barrel. He raised the rifle and fired. The bear fell, dead! Family lore has it that the temperature of the barrel was so hot that it melted the icicle when he fired at the bear but, that it was such a cold January day that, the water refroze and became solid again before striking and killing the bear.

My great aunt Tilley was at the Boston Tea Party. She was the first bag thrown overboard!

Family lore is one way you get genealogical info and I discovered that my great uncle Charlie while working at a Brewery in St. Marys drowned in a large vat of beer. The word is he willingly fought of five rescuers. Later they cremated him and he burned for like five days!

Another story passed down through family lore was of another great grandfather who was from Texas. One HOT day he was cultivating popcorn with his team of horses when, the extreme heat caused the corn to begin to pop, right on the stalks. This continued until the popcorn was up about as high as the horses knees. At this point, he horses thought the popcorn was snow and they both froze to death!

From the Italian side of the family...Why there are so many Italians in America named Tony. It seems that during the great immigration influx to this country in the early part of this century there were among them, quite a few orphaned children, God bless them. They, having no one to look after them during there journey, the officials took to writing TO NY on their foreheads so that they could be directed on their way. Of course upon arrival this message was misread as Tony. This story was actually related to me by my great uncle.....TO NY!

A friend discovered a long lost will of a Texas ancestor and he assumed he had been a worthless boisterous bragger as the will stated he had a lot of Bull”.

A lady on the Internet who does genealogy responded to my email suggesting she be sure to back up her hard drive to save loosing her important family data. “I can't back up my hard drive like you suggested.....because I can't find the reverse switch”.

A friend who dabbles in genealogy told me that he had discovered his great grandfather was a railroad man. It seem he had discovered that he was a conductor on the “Underground Railroad” during the Civil War!

I met another guy once who told me his memory was so good he could remember things all the way back to his childhood. He said he was taking this new medication twice a day for his memory and it was really great. He was in his 80's and I was impressed. So I said "What's the medicine called?" He said " It's some big blue and white pills". I said "I didn't ask you that, I said what's it called?" He thought a minute then he said "What's that flower they usually cut off about 20 inches long, has red peddles with little green leaves?" I said you mean a rose?" He said to his wife, "Hey Rose, what's the name of that medicine I take twice a day?"

Another guy called the fire department and said, "Get over here right away my garage is on fire" They said "Quick, how do we get there? He said, "Don't you guys still got those big red trucks?

This guy was driving down the road when he saw a chicken running along side of his car about 60 miles and hour. As this bird passed him it ran in a farmers yard. The guy pulled in seeing the farmer said "you ain't gonna believe what I just saw", It was a chicken running over 60 mph. The farmer said "Ya I know It's a 3 legged chicken we invented them". It's the only chicken in the world that can run that fast! The guy in the car said "Why in the world would you invent a 3 legged chicken? The farmer said "I like the drumstick, my wife likes the drumstick, and our son likes the drumstick." The tourist said "That's a great Idea. What do they taste like? Farmer said "I don't know we ain't never caught one yet".

Another friend related this story to me: He and his wife had gotten a room at the Opryland Hotel. in Nashville TN while on vacation and he said that, in the middle of the night his wife said "What if this room is bugged?" So he said, I looked under the lamp, behind the curtain, in the closet...Then I noticed a rug on the floor, so I looked under it and there was a big metal plate with this funny looking nut on top. So he took the nut off, and looked under the plate....NOTHING!.. So he just covered it back up.. They were checking out the next day and the guy at the front desk said, "How did you guys sleep last night?" he said "Fine, why? “The guy said "Did you hear what happened to the couple in the room below you?" He said "No, what?" He said "A chandelier fell on them last night!"!

Now most of this article has been light hearted material, but there is a serious side to me and as I prepare to celebrate my 60th birthday on the 17th of this month I feel it is very important to leave you this month with something to think about, that will hopefully stay with you after you lay this magazine down, so I give you this poem that says a lot about life and the legacy we wish to leave for others:

THE DASH

I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning ... to the end.

He noted that first came her date of birth

And spoke the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years. (1901-1968)

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For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on this earth....

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;

The cars...the house...the cash.

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.

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So think about this long and hard.

Are there things you'd like to change?

For you never know how much time is left.

That can still be rearranged.

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If we could just slow down enough

To consider what's true and real,

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we've never loved before.

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If we treat each other with respect,

And more often wear a smile...

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.

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So, when your eulogy's being read

With your life's action's to rehash...

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?

The Poem "The Dash"- Author: Linda Ellis-COPYRIGHT 1998

Click here to view more of Linda's Lyrics on her Web Site:


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