There is a famous myth in the Brook clan;
a legend through generations told.
And my dad relates it with full Élan
as he allows the details to unfold.
“My dad and Uncle were genuine cards,
each as slick and wiley as the other.
And they wove stories that Shakespeare the bard
would only have told a sneaky brother.
These “Pieces of work” did not tolerate
dicey stories that seemed too tall to tell;
if the story did not corroborate
a cordial invite was given to hell.”
“One day, Uncle, with quite a drunken gate,
wobbled into our house with gun-in-hand
and with inebriated speech did state
and swear, as he did solemnly stand,
this old gun had a history so great
grandpa would pay to hold it in his hand.”
“What’s this history so great?” pop did say.
“Wh-ell, dish gun’s a killer, doncha know,
it ta-hook Poncho Villa’s life the sad day
that (burp) to His Great Maker he did go.”
“What! Don’cha waste my time with this sad rhyme”
roared my irate pop, quite irritably.
“You are just a drunk, crazy old bastard
and I just don’t have time, so off with ye!”
“Stung, Uncle insisted, with blazing eyes,
that this rusty old gun must surely be
the one and only rare, unique and prized–
and missing— gun that shot Poncho V.
“Aghast, Pop measured him with blazing eyes.
In a flash, with one great bellow and punch
he sent his brother-in-law through the door,
then sat down with a sigh to eat his lunch.”
“What happened to that “rare and priceless gun”?
All good tale-tellers have to speculate:
that dodgy seller surely had some fun
and took that money to the gambling gates!
This story is a legend in our family, so I thought I would share it as a rhymed poem in iambic pentameter (10 syllables to a line). People often crashed through doors and windows in Norristown, PA, where my ancestors lived and eked out a living. The story is faithfully handed down as told by my Grandpa Leo Kingston Brook, a storytelling genius, to my dad Lee Charles Brook, a second storytelling genius, and then to me. Today is my dad’s birthday if he were still living, so it is fitting and bittersweet that I remember my favorite story on a day that makes me a little sad. The memories surrounding this tale make me smile and miss the mystery of their richly hued, one-of-a-kind, tongue-in-cheek stories.