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Family Stories and Tales

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Last year (Christmas 2001) my mother lost her younger brother in an accident a week before the holidays. To me he was the coolest uncle anyone could ever ask to have, and his death made for a subdued Christmas holiday. Were it not for the young children in the family, we might not have celebrated at all.
After the kids had opened their gifts and we had eaten dinner, we started talking about this man who was a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, or an in-law to the people gathered at my mom's house.
We started telling stories we knew about him and before you knew it, he was there with us as if he were still alive.
Mom told the story which is my favorite. I've heard it over and over since I was a kid and I still haven't heard it enough times....


In his youth, the sixties and seventies, my uncle was a wanderer. Back in the days when hitchhiking was a common way of getting around, he wandered all around the U.S. and there were times when he would be out of touch with the family for months at a time. When he returned, though, he was always full of stories about his travels, and many of them still entertain us at family gatherings.
One summer in the mid-70's, when I about five, he showed up a our door and ended up staying a couple of weeks.
He had just come from a hike through the Pacific Northwest, coming home east through Montana where, at one point, he'd been picked up by a carload of people as he walked through what he called the middle of nowhere.
The driver, an older woman, stopped to give him a ride, and a young man who'd been in the passenger seat, moved to the back so my uncle could have the front spot. This put three men crowded into the rear seat, and my uncle squeezed in the front with the driver and a young lady who might have been the driver's daughter, or daughter-in-law.
It was a Saturday, getting on towards evening, and the passengers in the car had been passing around a bottle of whiskey and a joint. They were kind enough to share with the stranger.
They drove along for a while, talking, asking my uncle questions, etc., and as the bottle went around and emptied, and the joint gradually disappeared, the driver now had the time to notice the young woman beside her in the front had been carrying on a flirtation with my uncle over the last several miles.
Driver didn't like it. She started displaying an unfriendly attitude toward my uncle. Young lady didn't care, but Uncle could feel the sudden hostility.
Soon, Driver looked across at my uncle and announced, "I have a bad feeling about you. I don't think I should have stopped and let you in my car."
My uncle said something to the effect that he was sorry she felt that way.
After a few minutes of silence in which young lady continued to show an interest in Uncle, Driver looked across the younger woman, again, and said, "I don't like you. I don't like your attitude. There is something not right about you."
Knowing he was about to get kicked out of the car at any moment, my uncle decided to have some fun with the driver. He told her, "I'm sorry if I'm making you uncomfortable. I'm just trying to do my job. Sometimes people don't understand that's all I'm trying to do."
Someone asked him what job he was doing, and he said, "I've been sent here to help you."
"Sent here by who?"
"I can't tell you that. I can only say someone here has been troubled, and I was sent to help."
After a short while longer with the others trying to get more information out of him, the driver started getting uncomfortable with the conversation, and she pulled over to the side of the road and ordered my uncle to get out of her car.
He opened the door and put his pack on the side of the road, but turned once more to the others before getting out and asked, "Are you sure no one here sent for me?"
Of course, no one knew what he was talking about, but the young lady and the men in back were intrigued, and the driver was now getting very upset with the way things were going. Her companions were suddenly not as drunk or as high as they were just minutes ago, and instead of backing her, they were all focused on finding out more about the guy she was throwing out of her car. Wait, wait, what is he talking about, let him explain, what kind of help is he talking about, who sent for you, one of us, wait...?!
Uncle got out of the car and leaned down, looking back inside. "Well, if no one needs help, I'll go back and tell them you didn't need anyone to be sent here. I'm sorry to have bothered you and I'm sorry I couldn't do anything for you."
They had just come out of an S curve. The road was winding through some small hills, and they had pulled over next to a low fence beyond which were several low hills. Behind the car was a thick stand of trees they'd just passed in the bend of the last curve.
Nodding good-bye to everyone, my uncle picked up his pack and walked into the ditch and up to the fence. With as much dignity as he could project he climbed over the fence and started walking up the hill, as stiffly and purposefully as he could - as if he meant to do this.
He was actually trying to put the hill between him and them in case the driver decided to have her male passengers beat him up and rob him, or something, for being so weird. He was suspicious, he knew the car was still there and the occupants were watching him, because he didn't hear the door close nor the car drive away. He didn't want to look back, but he knew they might be following him.
When he reached the top of the hill, he walked a couple steps across it before throwing himself quickly to the ground. He heaved his pack down the other side of the hill and rolled down after it as fast as he could go. At the bottom, he grabbed his pack and risked looking up. No one was following him, but he wasn't safe yet, so he ran to the stand of trees he had just passed in the car, and only when he was safely hidden among them, did he look back. He was not being pursued, but around one part of the hill, he could see the car's tail lights shining in the dusk, still parked along side the road where he'd been left off.
My uncle stayed hidden in the trees for a while, and after a short time he saw the headlights of a car coming through the S curve toward his position. He hurried through the trees and went back out to the blacktop to thumb another ride.
He was picked up by a lone farmer or rancher in a small truck pulling a horse trailer, and he found himself coming up behind the stopped car and passing it.
As the pickup rounded the curve, my uncle could see in the fading light that everyone who'd been in the car, including the driver, were now standing alongside the fence in the ditch and they were all looking up at the top of the hill!
My uncle pretended to drop something on the floor and he leaned down to get it when the truck drove past the car, but when he straightened up and looked in the rearview mirror outside his window he could see none of the people had moved. They were still staring at the top of the hill.
Over the years, as we retell this story, our big joke has been that one day we're going to take a vacation and go to that area of Montana, stop in at all the bars around there and see if anyone gets plastered and starts talking about a mysterious hitchhiker who vanished into thin air after being told no one needed the help he offered.

In addition to possibly creating myths, my uncle also spread them, unashamedly...


The Goat Man, or Devil Man, is a fixture in urban legends in the upper midwest. There are variations on the story everywhere. My uncle picked up a version of it as he traveled and brought it home with him to a family reunion we had in 1985.
On both sides of my family we are descended of the Dacotah Sioux and French settlers or trappers. Though both my parents's families were raised as Catholics, over the last three decades many of my mother's cousins have claimed to have abandoned the church to practice native religions. Over time it's become a bone of contention between my mom, and her brothers and sisters, and their cousins who claim to no longer be Catholics, whether or not they've really given up the church or if it is just talk.
It wasn't a real argument. I used to think it was when I was very small, but as I got older I recognized it as more of a teasing debate between them. A way to poke fun at each other without starting a real fight or getting real feelings hurt. I don't know if that describes it adequately, but it's the best I can do.
I was 14 the summer of the reunion, and I remember the talk eventually getting ‘round to this old argument. One of my mom's favorite tricks was to shut up everybody by telling stories about the devil when she felt her cousins were getting too obnoxious. Afterward she would watch the ones who got up and went into another room to get a drink, or whatever, but who really were leaving the room so they could cross themselves and ward off the devil where they thought they couldn't be seen. She knew what they were doing. That would always pretty much put an end to that argument, as you can imagine. It still does even today. Once a Catholic, always a Catholic, when it comes to fear of the devil - in my family, anyway.
Well, that time, my uncle decided to tell a devil story to end the debate.
He said it happened in a roadside bar in southern Wyoming. He was hitching through and his ride had taken him to a small junction where there was a gas station, souvenir shop and a bar close to a KOA campground. He was coming east and his ride was turning south, so he got out at the junction and went into the bar for a few minutes...
"On entering, the first thing I noticed was that, though there were many cars outside and the bar should be jumping, it wasn't. All the customers, including the bartender, were crowded into and around the two booths and the two tables farthest away from the bar. There was no music playing in the jukebox and the pool tables at the back of the room were idle.
"I went to the bar and sat on a stool and noticed a lone man sitting at another stool at the far end of the bar. The man looked over and we both nodded to one another, and then the bartender came over and asked me what I wanted.
"I talked to the bartender for a few minutes and noticed he kept giving the other man at the bar wary looks, and when the guy signaled for another beer, the bartender took it over and got the money as fast as he could without saying a word or even looking at the other customer. He came right back over and started talking to me again.
"After a few minutes, one of the people at a table got up and went to the restroom at the back of the bar, and as he passed the other man at the far end of the bar, he walked as far away as he could from the man, almost sidling past against the opposite wall though there was plenty of room between the two of them. When the man came out of the restrooms, he did the same thing to get past.
"Naturally, I was curious. What the heck was going on? Did the man smell bad? Was he dangerous?
"When a half dozen women went to the restrooms and returned, passing the man in the same manner both ways, all huddled together and staying as far away from the guy as possible, I finally asked the bartender what the matter was. Why was everyone afraid of that guy?
"The bartender looked frightened and in a low voice told me to go see for myself. I had to see it myself to believe it, I was assured.
"I finished my beer, asked the bartender to keep an eye on my pack, and headed for the restrooms. As I neared the guy, the man never moved to show he was aware of anyone around him, just sipped his beer and ate nuts from a bowl beside him on the bar. I was astonished, though, because the closer I got the more apprehensive I became.
"The man was definitely odd. There was something strange about his hair, and his legs were in an odd position on the stool. Closer yet, I could now see what was wrong. The man's dark hair was cut short along the sides and long on top, but that didn't hide what looked like two black horns growing up from his skull.
"Shocked by what I was seeing, I stared hard as I went by the man, because the guy's legs were not human. They had hooves in place of feet, and worse yet, there was a thick matting of hair on his legs where the his pant legs had drawn up.
"I went into the rest room, stunned by what I saw, but soon began to convince myself, it must have been the beer I'd had and the dim lighting that was making me see things. I went back out and the man was still there at the bar, still had two black horns on his head, and still had cloven hooves instead of feet..."
My uncle got out of the bar as fast as he could. He had his canteen filled with water and bought some snacks to carry in his pack and put as much distance between himself and that junction as was possible that evening.
After telling the story at the reunion, my uncle swore up and down it really happened to him, and needless to say, this story ended the religion argument in a big way, making my mom and my uncle very gleeful over all the Hail Mary's they imagined were being whispered afterward!
That might have been the end of that, if not for several years later, when we went to a wedding, and the family was gathered together again, and late at the reception the talk turned to the old argument. This time, though, neither Mom nor her brother had to tell a devil story to end it. Someone else did, and they sat there with wide-eyed astonishment and listened while one of their cousins told the same devil man story to everyone listening, almost word for word, but now it didn't happen to my uncle! It happened, " honest to god, cross my heart!", to the cousin who was telling the story! And it didn't happen in Wyoming. No, it happened right there in the small town where we were, and it was at the truckstop out by the interstate, two miles away.
That, readers, is how urban legends grow and spread.


I was very small the first time I overheard one of my father's friends telling the Goat Man tale. Scared me silly.
The events took place basically as my uncle told the story years later.
Only the location ever changes and it usually happens to a friend, or a friend of a friend. My uncle and his cousin are the only two people I've ever heard tell it in the first person.
The story always starts with someone stopping in at a bar in a remote location - truckstop, crossroads, small airfield, etc. - and includes the patrons all huddled together in one corner of the establishment with a lone man sitting at the bar and everyone afraid to go near him. The newcomer goes to see what's the matter and notices the horns and hooves and then beats a hasty retreat from the place.
A variation on it I've heard tells of a cemetary with a devil man's face on a tombstone. This tale usually starts with a friend of a friend being dared to go into the cemetary and approach a headstone made of some kind of red rock. The person takes the dare and finds the headstone. They notice the original carving of angels upon it has weathered badly and the face of a horned and malevalent looking man has replaced it. The person races out of the cemetary and speeds away in his or her car and refuses to go near the place again.
I heard this variation when I was a teenager visiting relatives in western Nebraska, and again from a classmate in college who was from Hot Springs, SD. Neither was a first person account.
There are probably more variations out there floating around, but these are the only two I've heard more than once.

When I was small, my family lived in the Black Hills of South Dakota. My father and his brothers had a gift shop in old Keystone, off the main road through town, and my mother worked as a security guard at a cement plant. My father's family lived out of the area but my mother's family was from Rapid City. My siblings and I grew up spending a lot of time with our maternal grandparents.
Friday and Saturday nights were a treat for us kids - we often spent those nights sleeping over with our grandparents. I enjoyed those times because my grandmother would tell us stories or read to us when we went to bed. Any particular night could mean a traditional Indian story - Oktomi, the spider, stories were our favorites - or the latest Dr. Seuss. (She made a pretty stern Lorax.) After I saw Star Wars and thought I was Luke Skywalker for about a year, she bought the novelization of the movie and read it to me (and soon after that I started making up my own SW stories) and I became hooked on books and reading forever. (She also read Splinter of the Mind's Eye to me, too, and later helped me read the Han Solo books.)
The best, in my opinion, bedtime story Grandma told was a kind of ghost story that she heard from her father. I used to beg her to tell this story over and over until it became the one she saved just for me, after my brother and sister went to sleep.
I first told this story on the internet about a year ago on one of the Native American message boards at AOL, and at an old journal site I used to have. Is it a ghost story or an angel story? I'll let you decide.


The story takes place in the early 1940s and concerns one of my great-grandfather's closest friends.
His name was Moses. As a young man he lost his eyesight to an illness that also claimed the life of his mother, but he was a strong and resilient youth and he coped with both losses well. He continued to live in his family's rural home for the rest of his life. A neighbor farmed his land for him and so he was able to live comfortably on his income from that arrangement and keep his home.
By all accounts, he didn't let his blindness affect his life too much. He was familiar with the area in and around the small town where he lived and took care of himself quite well.
Once a week, he would walk three miles into town along a two lane blacktop to buy groceries and tend to other business, and then meet his friends for lunch or just to talk. There was a particular street corner where many of the American Indian men would gather to get caught up with one another's news. There was a large tree next to the town's post office and a few benches had been placed under it, and this is where Moses, my great grandfather and others would gather for their talks.
The day of the incident, Moses got up early for his walk into town because he had many things to do before meeting his friends. At the end of the dirt drive to his house, he would turn south and walk along the blacktop for about a half mile before coming to a bridge across the Big Sioux River. On the other side of the bridge, the blacktop started up a long, low hill, and about a half mile beyond the crest of the hill was an intersection with a gravel country road. Once beyond the crossroad it was straight level walk the rest of the way into town.
That day, Moses crossed the bridge and started walking up the hill. Near the top, he blacked out for a what seemed like a short time, and when he came to his senses he was surprised to find himself walking back down the hill. Puzzled, he stopped to listen to the sounds around him and get his bearings, and then he turned around and started walking back up the hill. After a few steps, the same thing happened again. He blacked out and when he came to, he was turned around and walking down the hill.
Determined to get to town, he tried to go up the hill a third time. Once more he blacked out, but when he came to this time he was on the bridge walking away from the hill. Well, okay, this time he got the message. For some reason, something did not want him going up the hill, so he kept walking across the bridge and went back to his house. He didn't go anywhere the rest of the day.
In town, the morning passed and when Moses didn't show to meet his friends by noon, they began to get worried. It wasn't like him to say he was going to be someplace early and not show up. My great-grandfather and two of the other men borrowed a car from someone to drive to Moses' house and see if he was alright. When they got to his house they were relieved and glad to see he was, indeed, alright.
They told him there had been an accident at the crossroads up the hill from his house. Early that morning two trucks carrying corn had collided and tipped over, spilling their contents. One of the drivers had been thrown from his truck and covered by the corn, and the other driver had just managed to dig him out in time and saved him from suffocation. There were people still at the site cleaning up the mess.
The trucks and the corn all ended up on the side of the road where Moses always walked when going to and from town. When Moses told them what had happened to him that morning, they all knew why something had kept him from going up the hill that day.

The End

...and then there is...

Nothing weird has ever happened to me, nothing unexplainable, anyway, but my cousin had a strange experience happen to him about 5 years ago. After he got married, he and his wife lived in her small hometown up north for three years. We call it his Blair Witch experience because it happened in the middle of nowhere in a wooded area alongside a river.
Each fall during those three years, my cousin went hunting with his father-in-law. There was a river nearby the town they lived in and during the fall hunting seasons - deer, duck, pheasant, whatever - they would go to the river and drive along the banks looking for good spots. I don't remember what they were after that day. That isn't the interesting part, anyway.
They left very early that day, before dawn and went to a part of the river on the land of a friend where they'd gotten a deer the year before. They were driving the father-in-law's Ford, extended cab, tool box in the bed with every kind of tool stuffed in it, and a special little covered area for his dogs to safely ride in. They weren't allowed in the cab.
It was cold and they were dressed warmly because the temperature was going to reach a high of 39 that day. They parked, let the dogs out at dawn and walked around a while. The dogs would take off after something every now and then, but they didn't see a deer or a pheasant. By midmorning they were ready to move on, so they drove farther upsteam and stopped at a bend in the river about a mile from a small dam. They parked again, let the dogs out and got out to walk around. The dogs flushed out a couple of rabbits, but nothing else, so they decided to eat an early lunch, then walk down to the dam.
They were on the truckbed, with the cooler opened and sandwiches and stuff pulled out, when they heard movement in the bushes and weeds at the front of the truck. The dogs leaped up and ran off barking like crazy toward the bushes.
My cousin and his father-in-law grabbed their guns, forgot about the food and started after the dogs. They went through the bushes, toward a small stand of trees across a little clearing and all of a sudden they see the dogs come tearing out of the trees, running straight back for the truck as fast as they could go. They shot past the guys without making a sound or stopping.
They'd never seen the dogs do that before.
Looking at the trees, they didn't see anything, didn't hear anything, and they went back to the truck and found the dogs hiding under it, right up against the tires, scared and whimpering, and wouldn't come out no matter what.
My cousin was crouched down by one of the tires, trying to get one of the dogs to come out when they heard movement on the other side of the bushes and tall weeds again. The father-in-law, standing, turned around and faced it, and my cousin, hunkered down, turned his head to look over his shoulder.
That's all my cousin remembers. The next thing he knew, that he knows happened, he and his father-in-law were back in the truckbed sitting beside the open cooler. The sandwich he had taken out and started to open was beside the cooler, dried out and getting hard where the wrap was pulled back and the ice at the bottom of the cooler was almost all melted. Not only that, but the sun was straight up, high in the sky, and the dogs were inside the cab of the truck looking out the window and barking to be let out.
They both noticed all of these things at the time, but never really thought about the strangeness of them until later. At that time they just agreed with each other that they weren't going to get a deer or any pheasants that day, let's go home. Which they did, instead of staying out all day. It wasn't until a day or two later my cousin realized that he had no memory of what went on from midmorning to past noon on that day. He doesn't, to this day, remember anything from that 90 minutes to 2 hours.
If that isn't strange enough, his father-in-law, after taking such time and money to outfit his truck just the way he wanted it, sold it soon after this happened.
My cousin told us this story at Thanksgiving that year, just weeks after it occured, and he was still really curious about it, wondering what happened; but after selling his truck, his father-in-law wouldn't talk about it anymore. He didn't deny any of it, he just refused to talk about it.
All these years later, we still ask my cousin once in a while if he ever figured out what happened that day, but he never has. He lives in Ohio now and nothing like it has ever happened to him again.
I don't know about the father-in-law, though.


As I pointed out in an earlier story, nothing strange or unusual has ever happened to me, though that type of thing often happens to people around me. I live about twenty-six miles west of a major city in a wooded and hilly rural area dotted with small farms and homes sitting on small acreages. I have a clear view of the sky in all directions from the hilltop behind my house. I often set up my small telescope there and look at the sky with my nieces and nephews.
I work second shift, so I drive home every week night between 11pm and as late as 3:30am if working overtime. I have two horses and work outdoors with them for several hours a day.
I have never, ever seen anything unexplainable or strange in the sky, on the ground, or anywhere else, day or night in my life. I have traveled by car to many places across the Midwest and each trip has been uneventful and without interruption.
I guess that's why I'm partial to stories of this kind. It's the closest I get to experiencing them myself - by listening and watching the reactions of others as they relate them.
A Christmas visit this year (2002) by some of my mother's cousins from up north, brought to my attention an exciting incident that happened to them about six years ago.
They lived in Washington state for many years and whenever there was a family event in the Midwest, they would drive from Washington to eastern South Dakota where the big family events most often take place. About two years ago they moved to South Dakota permanently.
That summer six years ago, the family was having a memorial for a member of the family and relatives came from everywhere.
My mom's cousins in this story were a mother in her early 50s; her son, about 23; his wife; a teenage boy, and two younger children. They were driving across Montana on their way to the memorial. The three adults were taking turns driving the SUV and sleeping in hopes of making the trip without having to stop overnight anywhere.
One evening, as the sun was setting, the mother and the son's wife traded places. The younger woman took over driving, and the mother got into the back of the SUV with the kids to get some sleep. Reclining on the back seat, the mother noticed a bright light in the sky behind them as they drove east. The sun was nearly set and it seemed unusual to see a star out before the sun went down, so she supposed it was an airplane and thought no more of it. She slept for about two hours and when she awoke, she looked out the window and saw that the bright light was still in the sky behind them. Now, she decided it had to be a star after all.
They were now in a part of the state where towns and farms or ranch homesteads were extremely few and far between. With nothing but open country around the highway, they seemed to be the only car traveling through the area that day. It was dark and there were no lights to be seen on the ground except their own car headlights.
After a time, the son's wife got tired of driving and her husband took over. She moved to the back seat to sleep, and the mother came to the front seat. After just a few minutes, the son's wife commented on the strange bright light in the sky behind them. She, too, thought it was a star at first, but when the car went through a series of curves around some hills, the light stayed visible to her no matter which direction they went, almost as if it was closer than it looked and it was following them.
Alarmed she brought it to her husband's attention, and that began a couple of tense hours as they drove along the unfamiliar road and watched with growing unease as the bright light appeared to chase them.
Getting frightened, the women urged the son to drive faster and stop at the first town they came to and find a motel to get them off the road until morning. It was past midnight when they finally saw a sign saying a small town was thirty miles ahead of them.
All the while, the light steadily followed them.
They had to leave the highway and drive along a two lane road for six miles to reach the town, and the light paced them every mile.
Reaching the town, they found tree lined streets shadowing the roads from street lights, and because it was after midnight, the town was closed up as tight as a drum. Along the tree lined streets they lost sight of the light as they drove along looking for a police station in the main part of town. Everything was closed.
The women were very frightened and begged the son to stop somewhere, anywhere, after they failed to find a motel or a police station. Turning into a narrow alleyway between two buildings along the short main street, the son turned off the lights and the engine and assured the women they would stay there until daylight. They stayed in the vehicle planning to sleep as well as they could in their seats.
But the light wasn't finished with them yet. From the back seat, the son's wife whispered she could see it behind them slowly flying from right to left beyond the town. Looking out, the son could see it, too. They watched it until it was lost to sight, blocked by the building to their left. A few minutes later they were shocked and scared to see it in the sky in front of them as it passed through their line of vision between the buildings. It circled the town several times before apparently giving up and going away - presumably to find another car to follow.
They managed to get a couple hours of sleep before dawn, but in all, they spent a very uncomfortable night terrified the light, whatever it was, would find them.
The remainder of their drive was uneventful, and on the drive home a few days later, they took a route farther to the south across Wyoming.

Hmmm? What's that?
Do I hear you saying "a military aircraft on maneuvers?" Practicing their tracking skills on what they thought was an unsuspecting vehicle?
A satellite?
I don't know.
The End


I was recently told another tale to add to my list of "Uncle Stories." One of my mom's cousins was here in the KC area for a recent NDN art show and he dropped by my house and noticed I had a few copies of the newer Conan the Barbarian books. They reminded him of one of the many times he was out with my late uncle and almost got into big trouble, and my uncle's obsession with the Conan books saved them.
This was during their hitchhiking days in the 80s. Back then my uncle was a big fan of the Robert E. Howard original Conan novels and all of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan books. Apparently he had all of the volumes and he read and re-read them until they fell apart. Then, he punched holes in the pages and held them together with small lengths of wire. He took them everywhere with him packed in a small bag of their own. Many a night when the two of them were hitching together they would spend evenings around a small camp fire with my uncle reading his favorite parts out loud for entertainment.
They were in a bar just outside of the twin cities and they were playing pool for money to carry them over. They were on their way to Montana for a pow wow.
The two of them were pretty good at pool, often depending on a game or two to keep them going. They used what they won for food along the way of their journeys, and a big win would pay for a motel room here and there.
At this small bar they were doing pretty good, winning a lot against players who were not in their class of ability. As the evening went on it began to become apparent they were, maybe, winning too much and wearing out their welcome. The people they played were beginning to get annoyed at losing all the time.
One guy in particular was getting angrier and angrier about their winning and began to make comments as he got more and more drunk. My mom's cousin started to feel they should leave before the other people started to agree with the teed off guy.
My uncle was willing to leave, but he kept getting talked into one more game by some of the people who were overly confident they could win their money back. My uncle won another game, and the guy finally cracked. He and my uncle and the cousin got into a shouting match that was getting uglier by the minute.
The guy said something about cheating Indians, and my uncle yelled back, "We aren't cheating you son of a nameless dog!"
Everyone in the room went silent for a fraction of a second, and then they all started laughing. It was such an unexpected thing for anyone to say, it was hilarious. People were laughing so hard, they were grabbing things to hold themselves upright, leaning over the pool tables and laughing until they cried.
My mom's cousin didn't think they were going to get out of the bar with any of the money they won, but after that unintended bit of tension breaking, they not only left with their money, but also after a few beers bought for them by the others.

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