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I was walking across the room to investigate the ice-cream situation when I heard my dad utter the above phrase. I knew he’d hit his stride.

It was the weekend before last, at James & Dahlia’s get-together for their daughter’s first birthday. We’d dropped by to say hello and hand over a big bowl of cookies. Children bounced from wall to wall, giddy on candy from the piñata, and adults clustered in groups chatting about all manner of topics. Dad, as it turned out, was hanging out with James’s brother John, John’s wife Susan, and a couple of the older nephews. He was telling them about a neighbor who had gotten drunk at a livestock auction and came home with seven buffalo calves which he then had to learn how to contain and care for. Fred learned, as Dad was gleefully retelling, that barbed wire doesn’t mean much to a buffalo and that buffalo, when they get the notion to wander, do. When buffalo wander at will through populated areas, mayhem can and probably will ensue. There was some property damage and at least one automotive accident. The moral of the story, if one can be extracted, is that you shouldn’t get drunk at a livestock action.

My dad has a notable narrative style. The first time I saw the TV show “The Wonder Years,” I was struck by how similar the voiceover was to my dad’s storytelling style. Sure, dad’s stories are frequently bawdier and contain some extremely colorful and “country” colloquialisms, and some of his language is definitely not fit for prime-time, but the pacing and tone are very similar. He’s also a man who knows no stranger and who relishes a fresh audience. The story about how my uncle Frank and his friend Bob nearly blew up dad’s old garage with a balloon full of acetylene and a cigarette may get replayed, or the story about how one of our neighbors used to piss off our goat by making his car backfire might be brought out for fresh air. He’s got a wide repertoire for many and any occasion or audience and when the occasion allows, he’s a skilled yarn-spinner.

Today was my dad’s 60th birthday, and I just got off the phone with him a little bit ago. He’s enjoying his new Far Side books and is planning to go for a spin on his new-to-him Fisher tomorrow. He and Mom went out for dinner at their favorite local Mexican restaurant, and it sounds like he’s just having himself one heck of a fine day. He won’t be reading this entry, on account of not having a computer (and subsequently no Internet). I appreciate my folks for being pretty darn awesome, and I wanted to try to share a bit of the awesomeness with anyone who reads. My dad’s a hoot, and that’s the truth.

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