I have been struggling on whether to write this story for a long time now. I do not want to embarrass anyone in the family and so I have held back from writing about it. I was talking to Barb the other night and she suggested that maybe I change the names of people involved so no one would be embarrassed. This is what I decided to do. Names have been changed to protect anyone from any embarrassment. This is an important story because it was discussed for years after it happened. As a matter of fact, the event still comes up in discussions today.
So, let me present the story of a young child, let's say from the southeastern United States visiting his grandparents one summer for a week or so.
The boy's name was Robbie D. Jr. but he did not like that name. His sister , K. Joyce use to call him Beau Beau instead of brother when she was extremely young and the nickname stuck. To this particular family he was known as Beau. He was a cute little kid with many of the traits he would later pass on to his younger son, Connie. He seemed to always be where he wasn't supposed to be. He would get himself into fixes every now and then and after everyone got over the experience it would soon fade from memory. All except one event.
His grandparents lived in the midwest, in the heart of the country. VERY close to , let's say, Kansas City, Missouri. Okay so his mother brings Beau and his sister up to this midwest town to visit her parents. The grandparent's loved it when they visited and always had a good time with them. Beau had two uncles who lived in this Missouri town who loved to tease the kids as much as possible. It was easy to tease them because they would believe every thing the elder uncle told them, no matter how outrageous The Uncle could have those kids believing that you could make chocolate out of dirt if the right proportions of water and sugar were added to the dirt. The uncle would have to be careful what he told them because as sure as he told them they could make chocolate out of dirt, those kids would be out back eating sweet mud just to see if it was true. .
The grandparent's house was a split level. It had a rod iron railing that went up along side the stairs that led to the bedroom level. This railing had vertical rods that connected the top to the bottom of the rail, much as you see with wooden railings today. This was where Beau would find his most infamous trick that would haunt him the rest of his life.
One Saturday, Beau was in the hallway that led to the bedrooms and went by the railing. Beau decided to play a game by pretending he was in jail or something, The uncle was not quite sure what caused Beau to do what he did. Where the railing was straight along the hallway, the bars were far enough apart for Beau to stick his head between them and act like he was in jail holding on to the bars with his little hands. He did this a few times and started getting attention from the uncles, who both encouraged him to continue doing so.
Where the railing went down the stairs though, the space between the bars was just slight smaller then the ones up on the hallway. Beau made that fateful mistake of sliding his head into the space between two of the bars on going down the stairs. He had to squeeze a little harder to get his head in there but he persevered unto his head popped out between the bars. He then began making goofy faces and trying to bring attention to himself.
By this time, everyone had grown tired of Beau playing like he was in jail and people started drifting out of the living room. Soon Beau found out that he was the only one in the living room and so he decided to go join the rest of the family. Something went terribly wrong though. As Beau went to pull his head out from between the bars, it stopped moving back. His head was stuck. Apparently just that tiny bit of difference in the spacing of the bars was enough to catch Beau like a venus flytrap catching a, well a fly I suppose.
Anyway, Beau had to get out of this situation and he would most prefer it if nobody knew that he had been stuck. He worked his head this way and that coming to the same outcome each time. He was stuck. He tried to use his muscles in his skinny little arms to pry the bars apart to get his head out but to no avail. He was stuck and stuck good. As the realization of his predicament became more and more clear he began to panic. It was not long before the family could here him crying softly from the other room and so they got up to go see what was wrong.
As the family entered the living room and upon seeing Beau, they all had a different expression on their faces. His mother had a look of shock. His sister began to cry. Grandma had a look of wonderment while grandpa tried to suppress a small tight grin. The uncles immediately started pointing and laughing. All of this brought Beau to tears that dripped like a leaky faucet that may need a towel out underneath to soak them up.
Beau's crying intensified as people stared at him wondering how did that and his grandpa wondered aloud why he had gotten himself stuck. All of this made beau not only panic and cry more and beg to be let loose from the trap but also started to make him angry. He wanted out now and he demanded through his tears that they get him loose.
The families first plan was to try soap. They lathered up his head with bar soap and tried to work his head loose. It did not work and Beau began to cry more. Then they tried dishwashing soap figuring it would be slicker than bar soap. After coating the whole side of his head, it still would not budge from the between the bars. The next attempt was to try margarine along with all the soap already on his head. They greased him up and one of the uncles suggested they may want to be careful because as hot as Beau was getting he could fry his head in butter. With this both uncles fell down upon the couch laughing and holding their sides which made Beau all the more angry and scared and he began to cry and scream that he wanted out.
It was then that his grandmother pulled out the big gun. If this large can of Crisco couldn't loosen his head, then nothing would. As they started pasting his head with the white greasy concoction, the uncles totally lost it. The laughter being put out by the uncles almost was as loud as Beau's crying screaming.
"It's the CRISCO KID!!" the uncles shouted while pointing at the stuck little greasy headed boy.
"Oh Criiiii-sco, I theenk we stuck!" they said in a very poor Spanish accent.
Grandma gave the uncles a mean look and told them to settle down, but even as she tried to be stern a smile emerged from even her lips. As for the uncles, they could not contain themselves even if they tried. This was too good to be true.
After trying to loosen his head with the Crisco and failing once again, his grandpa went to the garage and got a hacksaw.
"OH NO!!!" cried the uncles, "Don't cut his head off!!!"
This brought a fresh round of crying and screaming from Beau. But he needn't worry. Grandpa took the hack saw and cut the rod at the bottom of the railing and soon enough Beau was freed from his nightmare. It took him several hours to settle down and to get calm enough to go to bed. What he didn't realize was that his nightmare was just beginning.
When Beau awoke the next morning he was greeted by one of his uncles with a hearty "Morning Crisco!!" Beau ignored him and tried to go about his business. Soon the other uncle walked in the room.
"How's it going Crisco?" he asked innocently. Beau lost it then. He rushed his uncle and started to swing at the uncles legs shouting for them to stop. He was NOT the Crisco Kid. He was Beau. That did not deter the uncles though and for the rest of Beau's visit to his grandparents he was known as the Crisco Kid and each time he would get mad and beg them to stop calling him that.
Beau realized how bad this was going to be the next time they came to visit. The first words out of the uncles mouths were "Hey.... Criiii-sco" and Beau would lose his temper again. Slowly over the years, as Beau grew to be bigger than his uncles, the sounds of CRISCO being called out became less often.
Grandpa took some black electrical tape and taped the bottom of the infamous rod to the lower railing. The tape still sits there to this day reminding every one of the day the Crisco Kid joined the family.
Every once in a while one of the uncles will let slip a Crisco remark to Beau. When Beau hears it he gives the uncle a look of intimate death and the word Crisco is not used a second time. Beau will always have to live with the memory of being the Cisco kid and that is good enough for the uncles ... for now.
When Beau brought his own sons up to visit, one of the uncles took Beau's son up the stairs to where the tape held the rod iron railing together and told him the story of the day his dad became known as the Crisco Kid. His son thought it a funny story but just that, a story. These uncles could and would tell them anything and so Beau's boys always took what the uncles said with a little bit of doubt. And so on the day the uncle told them about their dad being the Crisco kid, they did what any good son would do. They went to Beau and asked him "Dad, is it true you were the Crisco Kid?"
Beau could not get angry with his boys and he let go one of his shy, big dimpled smiles and just said, "no... and don't believe anything your uncles tell you." That seemed to satisfy his sons for the moment but as they have grown older, I think they kind of believe there is some truth to their dad being "The Crisco Kid" for a day, for a week, and on to for years even up until today.
As far as his uncles are concerned, Beau will always be "THE CRISCO KID".