C. Stroup – The Klackerman’s Final Episode

Well, The Klackerman is back this month with his last few appearances.  He’s been busy again, getting around. 

My Bro Jack and sis-in-law, Fran, came to Texas for a visit. At the time there was a small island in the pond behind our house, maybe fifty feet out from the end of our property.  My sister-in-law noticed something out there but couldn’t figure out what it was.  It wasn’t a bird or a tree; that much she was sure of.  So after she and my bro puzzled over it for quite a while they finally asked for the binoculars.  Once focused on the mystery object they began to laugh.  Of course it was The Klackerman!

A couple of days before their arrival I had my son take the paddleboat out to the island.  He found a rather tall stick, jammed it into the ground and put the hollow figurine on top of it.  We figured that was a better place to have The Klackerman show up than somewhere in the house.  This was not our private island, however, and a neighbor boy was out visiting there after Brad had put The Klackerman in place.  He thought he’d found a real treasure (which he had) and claimed it for his own.  It took quite a bit of explaining and convincing to get him to give it back to us so we could put it on display again.

One Christmas Eve while we were visiting St. Louis we were over at Jack and Fran’s.  The vaulted ceiling in their living room was 15 feet high…and really a perfect spot to put The Klackerman.  And they did just that.  They hung him on a hook at the very highest peak.  Half way through opening packages my brother started looking up so as to draw my attention in that direction.  Yep, there he was, The Klackerman, completely out of reach.  Since there was no way to get him down, he remained in their possession.  Remember, one of the rules of the game was you had to retrieve him to receive him.

The very next year we were back visiting again on Christmas Eve.  Since The Klackerman had not been seen for the past 12 months we had a hunch that we’d find him still on that vaulted ceiling.  So my husband had rigged a pole that could be put together to extend to that height.  One end had a hook on it.  He’d left it in the car but was quick to bring it in as we both looked up to the ceiling as soon as we got inside.  Yep, there he was still hanging way up high.  Jack and Fran were beside themselves when they saw the pole.  How dare we find a way to get The Klackerman down!  “Well,” we told them, “you shouldn’t have left him up there.  You should have chosen a different plan.”

This was a tricky feat to get him down without breaking him.  In fact, it’s a miracle he was never broken as many times as he changed hands!  Ken put the pole extensions together and oh so carefully began to lift The Klackerman off the ceiling hook.  After several attempts and gasps from his audience he successfully completed the rescue.

Since I hadn’t had The Klackerman in all that time I had to come up with a substitute.  So for Jack for that Christmas, I wrapped up a special jigsaw puzzle.  Once all the pieces were put into place it was The Klackerman.  I had taken a picture of him sitting on the toilet seat ready to dive in and be flushed away forever.  The company I sent the photo to made an actual puzzle from the picture.  Jack was half way through putting it together before he realized what it was.

Now here’s where I missed out on an incredible opportunity.  My sister-in-law was picked to be on Wheel of Fortune as one of the contestants.  And as it turned out she won and went on to win the bonus round as well.  This always warrants friends in the audience to be invited up on stage.  I so should have mailed The Klackerman to the California friends and had them hand it to her on stage at the end.  Just think, The Klackerman could have appeared on TV and seen by millions.  Oh well.

Instead I had to settle for him showing up at the party Fran threw when the program actually aired.  She’d invited everyone she knew and none of them knew she’d won.  That was quite a surprise for all who attended.  But more of a surprise was The Klackerman’s attendance.  He got about as much attention as Fran.

So from 1970 until 1995 The Klackerman became a well-seasoned traveler and notorious in his own right.  He managed to stay in one piece and never had so much as a chip out of him.  He was repeatedly sent through the mail, wrapped, copied, baked and made into license plates.  He was drowned in a carton of milk, hung from the highest ceiling and flew on a plane.  But still he had a lot of life left in him.

My brother Jack passed away in 1995 and so the game was over.  It was only proper that The Klackerman be put to rest along with my bro.  And that’s exactly what happened to him ~ I put him in Jack’s casket.  That might sound a bit bizarre or perhaps even disrespectful.  But had you known Jack you’d know that The Klackerman had to go with him. 

That would have been the end except for what happened when I decided to write these memoirs.  I needed a picture of The Klackerman and searched high and low to find one. 

After I told Max, the editor, I couldn’t find a decent photo I found one.  It was buried away in an album from when The Klackerman debuted in Connecticut.  I was actually looking for something else when he suddenly appeared.  It was just like in the old days…

Originally published in the January 2011 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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