Hattie’s View: Sticking to the truth

by Ellen Coffey


In this day of questionable social media stories, sometimes referred to as fake news, a little truth can be twisted into huge network stories.

Our family storyteller, Uncle Moot Sturkie, who served in the military during WWII, could be one of today’s media Talking Heads. His Tarzan story, from last week, was our favorite.

Uncle, claimed Tarzan and his chimp, Cheetah, were part of a heroic rescue team of the downed plane’s crew delivering much-needed supplies in Africa.

Mom’s later fact-checking revealed The Plane crash wasn’t a hoax but revealed these twisted facts.

  1. Uncle did in-fact meet Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, in Silver Springs Florida, but not in the jungles of South Africa.
  2. He did help load a cargo plane with humanitarian supplies, destination unknown.
  3. This plane did not crash. But Uncle did witness a simulated plane crash being filmed for a movie.
  4. Uncle had been deployed in Europe, he may have seen some early Tarzan movie sets outside of London, England, or in the UK.
  5. We know he did once visit Weissmuller in Silver Springs, Florida.

Mama was not pleased that her “kids hung on his every word told for truth.”

Dad countered that “All of the Grimm brothers stories were fiction. Mama had no problem with them.”

Mom argued “Our kids understand fairy tales but your brother whips the truth into an omelet. I don’t like it. I want our children to see through the webs people weave.”

Poor Mama.

She couldn’t win. Uncle Moot even weaved bigger stories from fragments of truth when he came to live with us a few years later. He had become a friend of Jackie Gleason. The great one. Here we go again.

All I can say is, “we enjoyed being entertained by our Uncle. We didn’t really mind that our he garnished a few facts to produce a great story. But Mom’s prayers were answered when he married and moved to Camden.

My sister, Betty, now 85, often laughs with me as we recall Uncle Moot’s tall tales.

It’s a crying shame he didn’t write a book, or maybe even become a world famous TV commentator.

As for Mama, she was teaching her kids the value of discernment and she favored sticking to the truth.

Truth is sometimes hard to recognize these days, Y’all

More next week.

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