Granddaddy Ell's Coat and Other Favorite Tales

No reunion is complete without the telling of certain family stories. Here's a sampling.

Hester Stockton, from Knoxville, Tenn., is part of a six-trunk family tree that has a reunion in Paris, Texas, every year.

"In 1890 my granddaddy Ell had an 11-year-old son, John Thomas, who wanted to go on a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas City. Granddaddy didn't want him to come because he knew it was too dangerous.

Now, Granddaddy always wore this huge coat even in summer. It was called Ell's Great Coat. So he told John Thomas to stand in an open field, and Ell went back a ways out of sight and flapped his Great Coat at a bunch of cattle. They all ran straight at John Thomas who jumped out of his skin and climbed a tree.

He decided he didn't want to go on the cattle drive after all."

* * *

"In l937 when my Grandma lived with us, she could make a table walk. If some of us kids were really having trouble or feeling bad, she'd say, 'Ah, I can make a table walk,' trying to help them forget their troubles.

She would set all of us around a wooden table, our hands flat on top and touching each other because nobody in this family can trust anybody else when it comes to something like this.

She said the energy around the table caused it to rise off the floor. When the table did this, we were so fascinated we went out and told everybody our grandma could make a table walk."

* * *

Bill Griffin of Marlboro, Mass., is a member of the Kennelly family originally from Ireland.

"When my cousin Michael in New York City was in the second grade he said he was going to run away. His mother said, 'OK, if you want to.'

She helped him pack a bag, and he put on his little white communion suit, a tie, and Sunday shoes. He walked down a half a block, put his suitcase down and sat on it because he didn't know where to go.

His mother was watching him from a window. Finally his father drove around the block pretending to find him like it was a big deal and brought him home."

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