Sooooo….this is my friend, John.
As you can tell from the picture, John is an excellent storyteller. And no, he doesn’t read The Blog, so he’ll never know I posted this goofy picture. Nobody tell him!
I took this picture of John at a party last Saturday. Obviously, he’s in the middle of telling a story. John is the sort of storyteller who will act out his stories. If there’s an angry part of the story he’ll frown angrily. If there’s a funny part he’ll pause to laugh. If it’s sad he’ll shake his head and look down. No, he won’t cry. He’s a Marine.
This is Shelley, John’s wife.
She’s 39 ½ years old and I’ve known her since she was 6. This picture was taken at the moment when we all yelled, “Surprise!” for her 40th birthday party. We wanted to be sure she’d be surprised so we had the party 6 months before her birthday. She was pretty surprised!
Shelley also is an excellent storyteller. But when Shelley tells a story, she stays deadpan. Her stories will have you falling off your chair in helpless laughter, but she’ll keep a straight face through the whole telling. How can she tell such hilarious stories with a straight face? It’s a gift.
At the party I overheard John telling one of Shelley’s Birth Stories. Men usually recoil in horror when a gaggle of women start the Telling of the Birth Stories. But this story had a lot of drama with John in a leading role so he tells it whenever he has a fresh audience. It involved an incompetent ambulance service, an airlift via helicopter, a total blood transfusion, and an army of doctors booking it up and down the hallway drenched in Shelley’s blood.
Let me amend that bit about Marines not crying. They do cry, sometimes. When he originally told me the story a couple of years ago he admitted to some tears. He had to stay outside of Shelley’s hospital room during the drama and for a few minutes he was sure his wife was dead. There was a lot of blood on those doctors.
John always ends the tale with the thrilling $250,000 bill that wasn’t covered by insurance because the hospital didn’t get preauthorization and how he told them, “I’m not paying this bill!” just like the old commercial: “I’m not going to pay a lot for this muffler!”
Wait. Wait, wait, wait. That commercial was from 1986? I swear, that commercial was from 2010, I’m sure of it. 1986? No…it’s just not possible…
John’s current stories involved the turkey family that lived in their backyard, the bear family that passed through a few times, the solitary cougar stalking in the hills around their house, and the alligator in the stream where the neighborhood kids play.
The alligator escaped from a local zoo. Apparently, the first to spot him was a small child playing in the stream. He said, “Daddy! Look at the alligator!” His dad murmured, “Billy, don’t make things up.” “But Daddy! There’s an alligator in the stream!”
The dad looked up to see a 6 foot alligator waddling through the stream. SNAP!
The third time the alligator escaped (by making a ramp out of dirt and climbing over the fence), someone “took care” of the problem. There are a lot of hunters up in the foothills of Pennsylvania.
A lot of hunters.
At the party I terrorized all of the guests by taking their portraits.
Here are Shelley’s kids. Isn’t my new lens pretty amazing? These pictures turned out so nice that I’m having them printed and giving them to Shelley as a little gift. I haven’t talked to Shelley in about a year and she has no idea that I’m a budding photographer. I think she’ll be happily surprised with these.