Harold Mc Murrin
"Stories about who we are and where we've come from are the most effective stories of all."
Bill Dauphinais
Harold McMurrin 
One of the best storytellers I ever knew was my mom's cousin Harold McMurrin. Harold had been a singer and actor on Broadway in his youth. He had a rich baritone and great delivery. Harold loved to tell stories, and everyone loved to hear him tell them.

Harold could say outrageous things that would get you in trouble in most families.  He and Sandy were married for thirty plus years, and she enjoyed his sense of humor as much as anyone. I remember Harold announcing, with Sandy present, "Today is my fiftieth wedding anniversary." Everyone knew they hadn't been married that long. Harold patiently explained that this was indeed his fiftieth wedding anniversary-if you went back to his first marriage and counted all four of his marriages together. He had a way of saying things that made Sandy and everyone else laugh.

Harold was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom passed away before him. When Harold announced that he was the last of the McMurrins, his nephew Bill said, "That's not true. I'm a McMurrin, and what about your three kids, not to mention all your other McMurrin relatives?" Harold wouldn't budge, "No, I'm the last of the McMurrins," he insisted.

"How do you figure that?" asked Bill, incredu¬lously. "Because your mothers have diluted the gene pool," replied Harold, unmoved. My mother is a McMurrin too and really laughed when she heard that one. Harold had a special talent for commentary.

When Harold went into the hospital in his final days, just shy of ninety, he was in a weakened condition. The doctors, testing his alertness, asked him if he knew who the President was. Harold admitted that he didn't, and after a moment added, "But I'm sure it's the wrong guy."

Harold was telling stories, sharing the family history and making people laugh until nearly ninety. That's possible for all of us. We tell a story in everything we do, and the people that story has the most influence on are our children. What kind of influence is up to us, and that's a choice we can make every day and night.

Excerpted from my book, Before We Say "Goodnight:" How to tell bedtime stories about your life and family.
- Hank Frazee, Author of  Referral Upgrade   and  Before We Say "Goodnight"
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