Our genealogical society will be having a seminar in the fall and I have been asked to present a talk on writing a family history or a life story. I always enjoy talking on this particular subject and since there will be some people in attendance who have heard me talk on this before, I have been ruminating about how to freshen up the talk.
Early this morning before the newspaper arrived I was nosing around in a book entitled "Lifelines" looking for new takes on old themes. One thing that caught my eye was the necessity of looking at what you write with the eye of person with no knowledge of your family. What you write may be clear to you, but for someone without your background of family lore, it may be clear as mud! I give everything I write to my husband Jerry for reading. He is charged with telling me what is hard for him to understand or follow. He's been married to me for 35 years and if he doesn't understand what I'm saying, then I need to simplify it so he can.
I decided this was a good point to stress in my talk, one I haven't really dealt with a lot in my earlier presentation. Words can carry a lot of baggage and you do have to be careful that what you are writing will be read in the same way you intend it to.
So this is maybe why what I later read in the newspaper this morning struck me so funny that I could hardly read it to Jerry. The story was about a sad event, and I don't mean to make light of it, but I found the wording so peculiar that I burst out laughing.
Seems Turkey season opened and a group of men went on a Turkey hunt. Here's the way the article read (I'm leaving out identifying information.)
"A local man is dead after a member of his hunting party mistook him for a turkey and shot him. The sheriff says the group was hunting on the opening day of turkey season and one man was on his hands and knees crawling through a bush when his friend mistook him for a turkey and fired."
There is something about being mistaken for a turkey that I find exceptionally funny. I am truly sorry that it happened, but I can't remember when I have laughed so hard.
And you can be sure the story will be used to illustrate a point in the upcoming talk I am working on!