How to Be a Family-Reunion Rockstar

Whenever our family gets together there is always a time set aside for some Patrick F. McManus stories. There’s nothing like laughter to bring everyone closer together.

If you enjoy reading out loud then set a time for mid-morning or mid afternoon before meal preparations begin.

If you don’t typically read out loud you might want to prepare everyone in advance. Plan to read just one story and test the waters. Ask parents to encourage the younger children to be respectful. A typical story could last fifteen minutes or so. Even if you haven’t read out loud very much, when you hear the laughter you’ll be swept up in everyone’s enjoyment.

Here is a short list of stories that have never failed to bring tears of laughter at our family reunions.

A Really Nice Blizzard

Found in the book Rubber Legs and White Tail Hairs.

When school gets canceled because of a blizzard, Rancid Crabtree shows Pat and Crazy Eddie Muldoon the proper way to ride an upside-down truck fender wearing a parachute.

The Grasshopper Trap

Found in the book The Grasshopper Trap.

Finally, one of Crazy Eddie’s ideas for a contraption actually works. With Rancid Crabtree’s help they build a grasshopper trap that works, in some ways, even better than they imagined. In other ways, not quite.

Pouring My Own

Found in the book Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink!

Pouring concrete isn’t nearly the fun experience you might imagine, and Pat explains why.


Found in the book Rubber Legs and White Tail Hairs.

Returning from a fishing trip, Pat, Retch Sweeney, and Al Finley, find a farmer selling pigs for $7 apiece. Unable to pass up such a good deal they load up six of them in gunny sacks. Bedlam ensues. Of course.

Ralston Comes Through

Found in the book The Bear in the Attic.

Out of desperation, Patrick and his cousin, Buck, seek the advice of a fortune teller to find out where they might find some good fishing. Pat also uses this opportunity to test Buck’s fear of spiders.

Tenner-Shoe Blight

Found in the book How I Got This Way.

As Pat is explaining the necessities of all his different types of outdoor shoes and boots to his wife, Bun, he is reminded of the universal footwear of his childhood, tenner shoes. One time his cousin Buck won a contest to see who could keep their tenner shoes on the longest. He kept them on so long his toes grew together.

There you go, you rockstar you. And you don’t even need to wear leather and makeup!

Five Great Camping Stories by Patrick F. McManus

Here it is the dead-heat of the summer and all I want to do is head up to higher altitudes for a relaxing camping weekend. We know how those “relaxing camping weekends” can turn out to be not so relaxing, but that’s another post.

While you’re packing up everything don’t forget to take these Patrick McManus stories with you.

1. Get Ready

Found in the book How I Got This Way.
note: Read this one before you go.

Preparing for your trip can be so tedious, you might just want to do it the way Patrick does.

2. The Big Trip

Found in the book A Fine and Pleasant Misery.

Patrick finally gets to experience the big trip of his childhood imaginings, full of more misery and hardship than he could possibly hope for.

3. The Family Camper’s Dictionary

Found in the book Never Sniff a Gift Fish.

For those new to the sport of camping, Patrick has compiled a helpful dictionary of terms and phrases.

4. The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw

Found in the book The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw.

When the Muldoons invite Patrick to go camping, his Mom makes him take along an old fur coat to ward off the chill of the cold mountain night. This leads to a problem of mistaken identity.

5. But Where’s the Park Papa?

Found in the book A Fine and Pleasant Misery.

Taking the family with you? Patrick and his family spend their vacation at a national park, with the rest of humanity, it seems.

Now you’re all set, get out there and relax!