WAY back in 1970, I had two Tall Tales published in the men’s magazine, ARGOSY. Just short little things, but each had a quirky punchline.

I would tell Tall Tales at my children’s schools, and sometimes get dressed for the part.

IMeMineCoverWith that in mind, I was delighted to read every word in THEY SHOOT CANOES DON’T THEY? by Patrick F. McManus.

They say every lie is just embroidered truth. Each lie has a kernel of truth to make it believable. Tall Tales? No such rule. That being said, McManus MUST have based his stories on actual events. They ring so dang true, especially to an outdoorsperson.

My favorite chapter is hands down, THE GREEN BOX. Although published in January of 1978, this truth will never be outdated – one person’s treasure is another person’s junk.

“The other day I came home and found my wife cleaning out the garage. . . . . I explained to her that the box she was attempting to commit to oblivion was filled with priceless relics of my youth. ‘You must be thinking of some other box,’ she said. “I checked, and this one is just filled with a bunch of old junk.’

‘Ha!’ I exclaimed, thrusting my hand into the box and withdrawing an artifact at random. ‘And just what do you call this?’

‘Junk,’ she said.

‘Well, it just so happens that this little metal band is a 1950 deer tag. This is the tag of my very first deer.’

‘You shot your first deer in 1950?’

‘No, my very first deer got away that year, but this was its tag.’”

Logic, I tell you. Just plain logic.

This same conundrum came up a few months ago as my ex attempted to sort through the paraphernalia accrued by her parents after years of globe-trotting. Relatives came to pick out a few treasures here and there, but much remains.  (I picked up CANOE from the winnowing.)

This whole experience sent me to my apartment looking at my boxes of memorabilia. I’ve stuffed everything into four totes, but I have to admit to a little “spillage.” I guess an unbiased viewer might look at least three of the totes as “spillage.” Sigh.

IMeMineCanoeMy very good friend Nick Rowland posted this photo and comment on Facebook (click to enlarge):

Just some of the loot I own that is now totally out of date!”

I responded, “ I read somewhere if you haven’t touched something in five years and/or you can’t find a tool to use it (turntable), throw it away. “

His answer, “Nooooo 5 years is too short, I’m wearing my old 1970’s jeans now they are back in fashion :  grin

Any way, CANOE is just chock full of morals for the modern age. It is must reading for outdoorspeople, spouses of ourdoorspeople, children of . . . . well, you get my drift.

And for crying out loud – DON’T throw THAT away!



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