Tall Tale—The Thirty-Three Foot Jump

Last week I got roped into doing a Tall Tale at my Toastmasters Club Fall Contest. Not sure whether I confirmed my desire to be a storyteller or just embarrased myself, but it was fun.

The audio on my video is low, so I’ll spare y’all the actual speech. But here’s the tale, minus my animations.

Hope you enjoy Thirty-Three Feet.

For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth


In April of 2010, my papaw went on to be with the Lord. But he left his stories behind, and I want to dedicate this tale to him. It’s about the time he jumped thirty-three feet.

William Kenneth Odell always looked for ways to win a bet. His greatest feat came when he bet a coworker, Jimmy, he could jump thirty-three feet. The amount? Ten thousand dollars.

The bet taken, William Kenneth prepared to make the jump. He strapped on his size twenty cowboy boots, and donned his thirty gallon hat.

Not too big of a fool, Jimmy checked the bottom of the boots by whacking them with a sledgehammer to make sure they didn’t have springs and he grabbed the thirty gallon hat to make William Kenneth didn’t have a propeller hidden in it.

My papaw may have been a lot of things, but he didn’t cheat. And he always honored his bets. I know that from experience.

William Kenneth backed way three miles down the sidewalk as hundreds of thousands of people gathered to watch, including the mayor, the governor, and the boss man’s daughter.

He tipped his hat to a little girl with seven hundred and eighty freckles as he took his position, standing straight up with his shoulders drawn ten feet back. His chest could puff out over his belt back then.

He saw Jimmy in the distance, with logs he called arms folded over his chest, grin wider than the Mississippi river.

William Kenneth took in a deep breath that sucked the mayor and governor’s hats into the drainage ditch.

With one, two, three bounces, William Kenneth took off lickety-split. He flashed by the little freckled faced girl so fast it caught her painted toenails on fire. In fact, it caught three dozen houses and five hundred acres of land on fire and set off every alarm in the city.

The debris that was caught up in his wake created a tornado that busted out all the windows of a seventy-two story building.

Right before he was to go airborne, the toe of William Kenneth’s boot caught in a hairline crack in the sidewalk and sent him dancing on one foot.

The crowd shrieked so loud it shattered all the fine china in a nine hundred mile radius. The boss’s daughter led a vote right then to oust the mayor and governor for not fixing all the hairline cracks in the city sidewalks.

William Kenneth got his foot back on the sidewalk and rocked back on the heels of his boots so hard he rippled the concrete for sixty miles.

All his momentum gone, he leaned forward and—hopped.

He turned to Jimmy. “Pay up.”

Jimmy swallowed his cantaloupe sized lump of tobacco and said, “You didn’t jump no thirty-three feet!”

“I did to. Look at it, from here to here.”

“That ain’t thirty-three feet!”

With the whole town backing him, including the mayor, the governor, and the boss’s daughter, William Kenneth replied, “It sure is. It’s a third of three feet.”

It took all of William Kenneth’s speed to outrun Jimmy’s bullets as they chased him to the bank.

About Sarah Elisabeth

Sarah Elisabeth is a freelance writer and flash fiction master, turning the pages each day to see what God has next for her life.

6 thoughts on “Tall Tale—The Thirty-Three Foot Jump

  • nice writing, if only the experience was true and not a tall tale, could be one to look back on

    • Thanks Phil!

      It is true, in part. My papaw bet a guy he worked with $100 he could jump a third of three feet. With his Oklahoma accent, he made it sound like “33 feet.” My papaw won that bet 😉 And I stretched it into a tall tale.

    • lol, Cindy, well this is one of his tamer tales. My lists of ‘things you don’t say to a police officer’ came from my papaw 😉

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