25 February 2009

Crookshank: Minor Basketball Legend

On the edge of Hoosier National Forest, Indiana, USA, lies the Crookshank family homestead nestled amongst the greenest tall pines just on the left hip of a low lying mountain range. Eleven generations of Crookshanks have called the Hoosier state home (even prior to statehood in 1816 ), but that home court winning streak came to an abrupt and angry end when Wallace Earnest Crookshank IV (“Wally”) moved his family to neighboring and equally basketball-loving state of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, USA.

As father-son spats go, the Crookshanks have seen and survived their fair share, less than most, more than some. But the familial peace of this branch of the Crookshanks was shattered seemingly beyond repair when Wally and his dad "Trip" (Wallace III) Crookshank disagreed over Wally’s favorite gal, soon-to-be-wife, Isabella.

Turns out, the Crookshanks are a capable bunch of gentlemen farmers (and gentlelady), with a keen eye for picking a good melon, literally. This melon-pickin’ skill carried over from farming into other areas of their lives and served them well, whether in business, theology, which cousin to choose for a pick-up game of hoop, or in choosing a spouse. It is said that a Crookshank can spot an ill-intentioned, ulterior motive a mile away, and detect manure before an outsider has a chance to put shovel into pile. They are often called “wise behind their ears” for their slightly protruding listening discs, but it’s the “wise beyond their years” knack for making good decisions that has resulted in the family Crookshank choosing spouses with amazing accuracy of darn near 90% -- making for an odd thing really when a Crookshank marriage doesn’t take root and blossom.

And so it was that Trip Crookshank simply did not agree with Wallace-the-lesser’s decision to spend his hard-earned savings on an engagement ring for Isabella Smith of the French Lick, Indiana Smith’s. To Trip’s way of thinking, they didn’t know her long enough and not enough was known about Isabella or her family. Wally was smitten, however, and so off he and his new bride went to Prospect, Kentucky, to start a new life, away from prying eyes (he felt) of family who might be judging him and the 18-yr-old's ability to discern for himself his choice of mate, thank you very much. Eighteen months and one baby boy later, Wally returned to Indiana with his son Wesley Ellis Crookshank riding shotgun -- no longer smitten, but rather somewhat smote after Isabella-the-lesser-half ran off with a Kentucky wildcat heading out west to make his fortune in California in the motion picture business. Wally was now part of the dubious 10% crowd that chose or guessed wrong on the multiple-choice exam of love.

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