Legends don’t need to be true but they do need to be believable. Probably most of us grew up with one or more family tales that had been passed down. These stories would have had some degree of veracity but with enough time and distance that truth had to be accepted rather than proven.
Years ago, I happened to meet a very old man with a keen recall of long ago events. And, best of all, he knew and was very close to my family. We spent some time, though in retrospect not nearly enough, talking about some of my ancestors and their stories. It was great fun for me and my new friend seemed to enjoy having an audience.
This gentleman was catching a bus, traveling hours up the road to visit a niece and her family. His wait for the bus was long and his travel would be longer.
We had soft-drinks and overly sweet pastries while we talked. Most of our conversation was of the “do you remember,” “did you know,” and “whatever happened to” variety. Then, as I was leaving and only minutes before his bus should arrive he told me something about one of the family legends that blew holes in what I had known since childhood.
No empires crumbled. There was no resulting regime change. Barbarians remained in Washington D.C. and did not storm the gates. The old fellow’s information was important to me and nothing more. Until now.
Family Lore, one of our coming soon stories, is about that legend: involving horses, presidents, railroads, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Straight up, with a twist.