A Big Fish Story: The Buffalo's Horn

Jun 15, 2015
Nadya Faulx / KMUW

My great-grandparents lived out on a farm southeast of Augusta, on property that my great-grandmother’s father had homesteaded.

When I was a young child, a buffalo horn in their glassed cupboard caught my eye. I asked my great-grandfather about it and he simply told me that he and some friends had heard that there was a buffalo in the county and that they had gone out and found it and shot it. He said that the horn had hung on a nail over the door of their first house on the property for several years.

Ryan Somma / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic / Wikimedia Commons

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my grandfather was to go fishing, and especially for channel catfish.

One day, when I was about 10 years old, my grandpa and I went out to a country pond and put our lines in. We may have had a few nibbles, but eventually I got a serious bite on my line. It was clearly a big, strong fish. Grandpa coached me as I slowly fought the fish and got it reeled in to the bank.

It turned out to be about a 5 1/2-pound channel catfish, which is pretty good size. But the size wasn’t the amazing part.

A Big Fish Story - The Ballad Of Brushy Bill

Jun 9, 2015
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

My great-grandmother, Molly Brown of Texas, was married to a man named Oliver Roberts.

If you’re really up on your Old West history, or if you’ve ever seen the cinematic masterpiece called Young Guns II, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Ollie by his nickname, “Brushy Bill” Roberts.

But even if you’ve never heard of Brushy Bill, I guarantee you’ve heard of the guy who Ollie claimed he actually was—Billy the Kid.

A Big Fish Story: Saved By The Skin Of His Hook

Jun 5, 2015
Gretchen Mitchell

My grandpa, Richard Cornelius Mathew Foley, was a tall, handsome, thin bloke with a head of wavy hair. He grew up in the late 1800s in a coal mining town in Oklahoma, where it was easy for children to get into things they shouldn’t.

Well, one day Richard came upon his younger sister playing with a bomb cap, like it was a toy. He swiped the cap away and ran to dispose of it, but it blew up in his hand, leaving a stump just below the elbow.

A Big Fish Story: Three Birds With One Stone

Jun 1, 2015
Mike Briley

James Lewis Yearout was my dad’s dad, and in his younger days he was known to go afield after a partridge or two. This was back when they had muzzle loading shotguns, and in those old hard-money days, shot and powder were precious commodities. Grandpa said that he never fired his gun unless he could bag more than one bird with his shot.

macrophile, flickr Creative Commons

Stories are quick, powerful ways to present complex, human themes, so why do we often insist on using discrete, numerical approaches to complex, human problems?

A case in point recently aired on NPR's Morning Edition. Shankar Vedantam covered a study in which the techniques of Cognitive Behavior Therapy were used to help at-risk youth think through conflicts in order to prevent violent acts.