cautionary tale

One of my  sisters  told me a cautionary tale from Ireland .  A  fishing boat sank and the fishermen were thrown into the sea . Only one of them knew how to swim and he saved the other men , one at a time . He pulled them in to shore , one at a time , by their hair , except for one . One fisherman drowned .  Not enough hair to take hold of .GOSCIM VACATION 2015 112

I’m not sure why my sister chose to issue this cautionary tale . I’m not exactly sure , to be honest , what a cautionary tale is . Am I supposed to be cautious from now on whenever I row out on the Irish sea with the lads ? No one could drag me in to shore by my hair , for sure .  But , then again , I know how to swim .model hair down 1895

That tale got me thinking about cautionary tales .

I visited with a couple of long lost friends recently . I know them from  35 years ago when we all were young and spry . Now , none of us are quite as spry , if spry means what I think it means . I should have looked it up before I wrote this , I know  . But , hey , it is whatever  it is . Sometimes we just have to go with our best guess and hope for the best . Sometimes also , after all , the best laid plans of mice and men are often gone for naught . Right  Lenny ? Right George ? ( Literary reference ! ) .

My friend Tony told me his memory of what he calls ” The Sermon on the Mount ” when  he and I went camping once all those many years ago, more than thirty ,  and I , evidently , stood up on a boulder and preached at him in older- brother style about his intentions toward his  then  girlfriend , Kathy .  It was a ” You’d better treat her right or you’ll  have me to deal with ”  sort of a lecture , I guess .

” And at some point I realized he was serious , ” Tony said of me  , as he told the story in his living room to Ada and Kathy and me . He laughed gleefully  as he spoke , and the very air in the room  reflected the sparkle of the generously shared joy that frolics playfully within the limitless playground of his dark Sicilian eyes .

I  have blocked the specifics of the sermon out from my memory for now . I don’t often preach . Sometimes , sure .  I , evidently  , had been well- oiled at the time with  too many beers when my deep evangelic side kind of brusquely showed itself .LASSEN TRIP 2-3 014

A cautionary tale told to my friend Tony ?

I won’t claim much credit , necessarily , for a successful long-term loving couple’s relationship  , but the two of them have been together all these many years , settled and content , and working as an effective team . He remembers my sermon on the mount , anyway , and that must say something . All I know is that he let me inside his house a week or so ago , after thirty  years , and he offered me a bottle of good beer .  That’s a good sign .

Enough of cautionary tales , though . I think the culture is drowning in cautionary tales .  I think that I hear , subliminally at least , cautionary tales all day long . Everyone in the news and over the internet issues dire warnings about us all being on the brink of disaster . On the Eve of Destruction . Things are worse by far than ever before , I hear . The country is collapsing ! The founding fathers are turning over in their graves ! All that we’ve ever believed in and cherished is disappearing fast !  bad advicd

The sky is falling in . The sky is falling !

It’s an old familiar  folk tale , folks . Henny Penny , aka Chicken Little , sounds the alarm that the world is coming to an end . We are all tempted to run for the hills .

The collected tale was first published in Danish in 1823 by Just Mathias Thiele. Now , nearly 192 years later , the sky is still falling ?  More and more people churn themselves into hysterical panic as the manipulators stoke the fires of fear for their own various reasons .  Fear is the modern mode ?hen

Come on ! Get over it . 



Filed under humor

2 responses to “cautionary tale

  1. Dear Dan, You were a kind man when we first met you all those years ago, and through the years you’ve held close to your heart that same kind attitude toward your friends. Whenever we think of you, we smile. Thanks for this story. Please, you and Ada stay in touch.

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