This is one of those funny stories my family loves to tell when my aunt isn’t in the room. It’s from almost 20 years ago, but we all still shake out heads thinking about the silliness behind it all. And since we are coming up on Thanksgiving [at least here in the States!], it is a reminder of her tall tales!!
Dinner finished and like many families we’re clearing the table of the remains from dinner. The turkey has been placed in a corner so that someone can pick it clean to use the bones for soup later, other half eaten bowls of mashed potato, corn, stuffing, all being packaged up. Some going home with others for lunch the next day, some being placed in the refrigerator at my grandparents house for them to decide what to do with. The guys are getting ready to go watch football while the female parts of our family stare at us to leave faster so that they can poke fun at everything we do.
Every now and then someone walks back through and overhears portions of what they are talking about. My Aunt Sally had decided that she wanted to continue her education and was talking with her sister about the classes she was taking and how they were going. Pretty normal interaction until I overhear this one course she is taking. Philosophy. And when she starts mentioning the professor, something just doesn’t sound quite right about her version.
I had picked up the class over the summer as a way of fulfilling some credits without needing to worry about how they might affect my grades. Choosing to take it at some other college meant I could just pretend I didn’t if my grade turned out worse than hoped for. Philosophy was something I was interested in when sitting around with the guys in my fraternity talking about the nature of things, most likely the nature of girls; but it’s still thought-provoking.
Dr. Russell was the person she mentioned was teaching the course. It piqued my curiosity since I had also taken that course. So I sat down and listened for a little while. My mother was looking at me since she thought I would be wrapped up in the notion of overgrown guys running into one another. Sally kept going on and on about the things she was learning and I started to ask some questions. Nothing specific, just general things as if I had overheard them from another classmate. But once she got to how well the professor thought she was doing I had to get up and leave the room. My mother followed since I had left so abruptly.
” I thought you took that class? ”
“Yeah, that was the one I picked up last summer.”
“Well you might say that. The Professor she is taking about died during the course of the class. He had been suffering from some form of Multiple Sclerosis. Good guy who used to give extra credit if you remembered the Russian phrases he was left on the board for us. But the school shut down for the day of his funeral, it was in the paper. How could she possibly think someone wouldn’t know?”
“You know your Aunt, she thinks if her stories are clear enough, no one picks up on the minor detail of the guy being dead!”
This story gets told just about once a year at family gatherings. No one has ever confronted my aunt about it, even as her own daughter got older we brought her in on the joke. We’ve even asked my aunt questions over the years about what she remembered from the class, snickering as the replies become more and more detailed. But still overlooking that the guy had died before she could have ever taken the class.
[I love this topic. I have so many good stories about her that I could write a series of shorts on her alone. Thanks for this one, couldn’t have come at a better time!!!]