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It seems to me I once heard someone say, “In every lie is a kernel of truth.” Or something like that.

As a child, I would tell tall tales. I remember one time my mother chased me around with an electric cord because she was offended by something I said. She wasn’t mad about a lie, but from something I forgot to tell her. She called me a “deceitful little bugger!” What’s a bugger, anyway?

I didn’t learn my lesson. It was more fun to exaggerate and watch the eyes of the nuns roll around in their heads.

As an adult, I told a couple of tall tales at the Comedy Club in Hollywood. Nobody laughed. Nobody insisted I get the hook. Everyone just sat their in stunned silence. That was the end of my comedy career.

LeavingHomeOf course, once you start down that path, you can’t quit. My wife and I had a couple dozen children and I used to love telling them tall tales for bedtime stories. I think they were as bored as the people in the Comedy Club, but I had more fun than the time eight monkeys tickled me so much I died laughing.

One of our sons was born in Minnesota, and although we moved around a great deal after that, he had some sort of umbilical cord attached to Minneapolis. He ended up graduating from the University of Minnesota. Then he became a techie VIP over night. He was such a pro fixing Internet Technology, he was called to join the team that fixed the Obamacare web site. That was a big deal. Just ask Mr. Obama.

A few years ago that same son told me about this guy on National Public Radio who told tall tales in a really folksy style. I didn’t get that program where I was living, so I never had the privilege of hearing his droll delivery. Oh, yeah, the guy’s name is Garrison Keillor.

Anyway, a week or so ago, I was in a rare book store when I saw this small little gem, LEAVING HOME, by said stylist. It only set me back $1,256.85 plus tax. Or was it a buck at Dollar Tree? Can’t remember.

LeavingHomeCoverThe book is a collection of thirty-six of the author’s “News from Lake Wobegon” monologues from his radio program A Prairie Home Companion, slightly revised for print publication. Try to find the exact match to the book bought – go ahead, I dare you – their must be a hundred variations! This picture is what mine looks like – treasure it, ’cause it’s rare!

Yup, these tall tales HAVE TO have a kernel of truth to them.

I could only read the book one chapter at a time, ’cause I laughed so much my next door neighbor started banging on the wall for quiet. Just last Saturday, I was laughing so hard I peed the bed.

Of course, I had to wash my sheets and stuff in the laundry room of my apartment complex, Naturally, I ignored the sign on the public dryer “Out of order. Again.” So, I stupidly washed my clothes, then found no way to dry them. I took the soggy mess to a laundromat. Sure enough, the place was packed. Musta been a lot of people laughing at this same book. So they had to wash their sheets too.

LEAVING HOME is rollicking good fun.

No lie.

LEAVING HOME (an excerpt from the song by Garrison Keillor)

Now Frankie done said to her Johnnie
Don’t go near that door
Underneath her silk kimono
She drew a forty-four
You sit right there
On that kitchen chair

Now Johnnie fled down the stairway
He’s cryin’ ‘Frankie, don’t shoot’
Wearing his great big parka
And a size thirteen boot
Out in the snow
Twenty-six below

Oh I’m going away, I’m going to stay, never coming home
Gonna miss me honey in the days to come
When the winter wind begins to blow, the ground is covered up
You’re gonna think of me, and miss me your sweetheart
I’m leaving you, darling, if the car will start.

-30-

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