Tell your own story

by Erik Craddock -
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I grew up hearing stories about the crazy antics of all my Craddock relatives. I can remember us sitting around laughing about grandpa Van doing a back flip but catching his thumbs in his belt loops. Or dad and uncle Joe pulling pranks on their older brothers then hiding in the woods til the heat died down. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time trying to get all of those old stories written down. I have a lot of them. I will be posting them here on this website a few at a time for awhile.

Many of us consider the good stories to be the ones about the people who aren’t with us any more. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of really good stories about them. We tend to discount the stories that we know best. The ones about ourselves, or our kids. Someday these stories about us will be cherished by our kids and grand kids. Where better to get them than the horse’s mouth. For one thing, we have to make sure they get told right. The embarrassing bits about everyone else need to be included. Like that time, Rodney Craddock jumped out at me wearing a gorilla mask and I slugged him in the nose. Now that was funny.

Another thing to consider is that stories about our ancestors are only fascinate those of us that are getting a little older. The kids don’t usually get it. I can remember telling my son about his great great great grandfather who was a marshal. I showed him a picture of me in the old Cottonwood Grove jail cell. His response was a less than excited “cool”. However when I told him stories about his Papa Larry, that got a chuckle. But then he surprised me. He wanted stores about me when I was a kid. I had never really considered that anyone might care about the little events that had happened in my life. It makes sense though. I wish I had more first hand stories from my grandparents. I have always been more focused on hearing others’ stories. I imagine most of us are.

Fifty years from now, when my grandchildren ask about me, will anyone remember that I spent two years of my life living in the middle of the Panamanian jungle? Or that I once set foot on five continents in one twenty four hour period? Heck, I’m interested in the fact that my great grandfather crossed a river in a buggy and built a house that still stands. These are events that I’m sure he would have found mundane. If not for those like Aunt Fay who had a knack for turning any event into a lively story, I might know even less.

The moral to this story is that when it comes to loved ones, no detail is too mundane. To search into our pasts is to get a glimpse of our potential future. Courage, compassion, intelligence, a sense of adventure, musically inclined, witty, determined and many other qualities come to mind when I think about the deeds of my ancestors. I have that same blood running through my veins and am capable of all those things and more.

So send me stories about you and yours. As I mentioned earlier, nothing is too mundane. All you have to do is send me an email at If you aren’t that great at writing, one of us can clean it up for you. Better yet, just turn on the camera on your phone and do your worst. The point is to get me those stories. Your children will thank you.