Stories we tell

My tribute to my grandfather, Joel Freeman. To see the other posts I referenced here, visit

Remembering Joel

from Gabe Freeman

I love reading all these stories about Papa. From the funny to the dark, the personal to the sublime.

The night before the funeral, My brother and I were talking about how strange this moment is. How, when we die, we stop being a story narrated by ourselves and become a story that is told by others.

I remember one story Papa told me, from back in the early 40s. It was in his years at Upsala College. He was a track athlete and a fantastic runner (it’s his story, after all). One day his coach pulls him aside and says, “You’re a fantastic runner, kid, and I think you could be a great hurdler too. Why don’t you give it a shot?” Papa’s eager to try.

He goes to the starting line and 3 2 1 he’s off, running toward the first hurdle. He leaps over…

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