Street Smarts & Storytelling

I come from a long line of storytellers. Some told stories to get them out of trouble. Some told stories to pass the time before the ‘talkies’, the internet, Netflix, and Tik Tok.  And some told stories to pass down details of our family adventures, embellished a little to make them sound more exciting.

I wrote my first book, The Shoes Come First, as a fun embellishment of a story my dad told me about one Uncle Powderly. (Yes, that was his real name). He wasn’t a time traveler like the characters in my story, but he did have a few run-ins with the notorious Pancho Villa.

Back in the day, my family wasn’t a family of scholars or Nobel prize-winning scientists, but we had street smarts. We (my several greats uncle Powderly included ) knew what it took to get food on the table and smiles on the kid’s faces.

Looking out amongst his heard of mules, he knew Villa wouldn’t buy these thin, feeble animals. So, he improvised. Shortly before Villa saw the mules, he fed them sodium bicarbonate. In our time, better known as Alka-Seltzer. This fizzy additive to their water caused the mules to have large, puffed bellies and a more studly appearance.

Villa took one look at the sturdy mules and was all in. My uncle took home the big bucks, praying every step of the way Villa would have the mules across the border before they passed gas and the Alka Selzer wore off.

Sometimes it pays to have street smarts.

I hope this story gave you a chuckle because life should make you laugh. Check out the fun adventures with Jennifer Cloud in my snarky time travel series.

I’d love to hear your fun family fables, real or embellished! You can reach me at

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki Batman says:

    I love your story, Janet! My grandmother knew Bonnie Parker’s grandmother and took three daughters, including my mom, to Bonnie’s funeral. Family stories need to be shared.


  2. Janet & Vicki what interesting stories. Thanks for sharing.


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