Sun 24 Nov 2013
K. Willis Creekstrum of Huntsville, Alabama always fondly recalled April 19, 1923. “I was but a pup,” he’d say with teary eyes, “only ten years old, and I was playing out in front of our house. This was back when pappy lost his job working the mill. We were poor. Back then, most suppers were just porterhouse steaks, only an inch and three-quarters thick, somewhat chewy and without a terribly satisfying beef flavor, caesar salads that were crisp and flavorful but with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese that lacked body and complexity, plus baked potatoes. We were so dirt poor we could only dress those spuds with butter, bacon bits, cheddar cheese and sour cream. No chives at all, we couldn’t afford that kind of fancy garnishment–– can you imagine such a thing?! Dessert would be some fresh strawberry shortcake with whipped cream or chocolate cake and ice cream. Amazing to think our family survived such a meager spread. Anyways, like I say, I was playing out front when I looked down and what do you think I saw on the sidewalk? Well, sir, if you hold your gosh darn horses I’ll tell you. I saw me a shiny penny. As God is my witness, I looked down and there was President Abraham Lincoln, the inventor of Lincoln Logs, looking right up at me and I swear he smiled. Well, sir, I reckon my heart skipped a beat or twelve. I dove on that shiny penny fast– before my brother older Pete saw it. Pete was awful mean, had him a terrible bad temper. He used to ask me how I was feeling and before I could answer, he’d punch me in the stomach, smack a crowbar across my kneecaps and gouge my eyeballs with razor blades. Pete grew up to be a famous psychotic killer. Got his name and picture in all the newspapers. He was the ambitious one in our family, Pete was. Anyway, I took that shiny penny and put it in my pocket and I said right then and there that this is my lucky day and I’ll bet this shiny penny will bring me nothing but good luck all the days of my life.”
How wrong K. Willis Creekstrum was!
Yes, Creekstrum would meet and marry the girl of his dreams, Amanda Hugginstuff, and they would have six beautiful, successful children and 14 beautiful, successful grandchildren and 17 quite attractive, relatively successful great grandchildren and he’d win $58 million in the lottery and be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a haiku poem he wrote on a Denny’s napkin and a Nobel Peace Prize for handsomeness, but yesterday his luck ran out when he died at age 101.
Relatives at his death bed report that he clutched his now dull “lucky penny” in his right fist and said, “I’ve been cheated! What a damn gyp!”
K. Willis Creekstrum will be buried with his ironic “lucky penny” and as a trumpet plays “Taps” a trombonist will play “Wah Wah Wah!”