Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tall Tale Example # 2 ... Birth of a Legend !

Here is another example of a Tall Tale. This is one that I used to win our club contest and then lost (due to being over the allotted time) at the Area Contest.

Title: Birth of a legend !
by Dave Wheeler, WestConn Toastmasters, Club 599


The rain came down in sheets. It pelted the window of Santa Ana Memorial Hospital and clouds darkened the sky. Lightning struck so close that it seemed like it was inside the room. The thunder roared and in the next second a baby boy was born. The clouds parted and a rainbow appeared.

It was October 1, 1924 when Charles T. Masters was brought into the lives of his parents, Mr. A.T. Masters and Ms. Ima Mentor. Charles was delivered by none other than Dr. Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters International.

When the doctor held up the newborn boy and slapped his bottom, he did not cry out like a normal baby. Instead he said, “Thank you Doctor, Father, fellow babies and of course, honored mother.”

As he grew, he was drawn to public speaking.

As a toddler living in Santa Ana, California, he would listen at the door of the speakers club meetings and when they came out for a break, he would sell them hot, crispy bread as a snack. This is how Charles T. Masters got his nickname, “Toast”. From then on he was know as Charles “Toast” Masters.

Conflict / Challenge:
Of course, Toast’s life was not without hardships. His mother died when he was 3 and a few years later, his father married a strict, older woman with dark red hair named. Adelai T. Bronze. After the wedding, Mrs. A. T. Masters-Bronze, as she was now know, proceeded to take over the Masters household and make life very tough for Toast.

Adie really did not like seeing Toast happy. Every time he would talk, she would lock him in his room and tell him to be quiet. Toast had to whisper speeches that he wrote so his stepmother would not hear him .... like “I have a dream”.

Toast had to figure out other ways to speak so that his stepmother would not punish him. One way was to work parts of a speech into everyday conversations. At dinner, his stepmother would say, “Pass the potatoes!” to which Toast would reply, “I regret that I have but one potato to give for my family.”

He looked for any opportunity to speak.

When he went to school, he was selected to give the morning announcements ... “The first part of the school day will include impromptu speaking in the hallways, while the second third of the school day will included prepared works. The last third of the school day we will get our report cards and evaluations.”

His voice was so passionate and emotionally compelling that every time he did the announcements the school nurse’s office would end up with at least 2 or 3 girls that had swooned at the sound of his voice. Eventually the nurse figured out that on days that Toast was speaking she had to stock up on smelling salts!

Toast studied hard and was selected Valedictorian of his high school class. As graduation approached, he would practice his valedictory speech underwater in the pool so that his stepmother would not hear him. “Thank you principal LaffMaster, “

When graduation day came, Toast strode up to the stage. He gave such a stirring commencement speech about his struggles growing up … becoming a good student, a great speaker and a solid citizen … that the ceremony had to be stopped so people could get extra tissues to wipe away the tears in their eyes.

His stepmother was the only one at graduation who did not weep from the speech. She held it all in and the pressure inside her head turned her hair completely white by the end of his speech. From that point on, she was know as Mrs. A.T. Masters – Silver.

Of course you know how this story ends ....

Toast went on to found Speaking clubs around the world and win contests in every category imaginable.

He passed away a couple years ago, but the legend of “Toast” Masters says that, when the moon is full, like it is tonight, and there is a speech contest going on, like we have here tonight, his spirit will enter the room and place a dollar bill in the pocket of the contestant that he feels should win.

[take out dollar]

Mr. Contest Master.

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