Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!

By: Joe Hayes
Illustrator: Antonio Castro L.
Joe Hayes’ mother knew how to stretch the family’s budget nearly as well as Joe streeeeeetches the truth.


Joe Hayes' mother knew how to stretch the family's budget nearly as well as Joe streeeeeetches the truth. Kids today grow up knowing all about recycling. But when Joe Hayes was a kid, recycling hadn't been invented. Money was so tight for Joe's family that they had to be inventive about using and reusing everything. They didn't call it recycling, they called it making do. Joe says his family was dirt-poor. In fact, he says, they lived in a wide-open stretch of played-out land where even the dirt was broke, so impoverished that all anyone could manage to get out of it was beans. Beans and more beans, that's all folks grew and that's all folks ate. So imagine the family's delight when Joe's father turned up one day with a big fat hambone! There was rejoicing all over the place, especially at the dinner table that night. Joe's mother was determined to make that bone last as long as she possibly could. As thrifty as she was, she would have done just that except the neighbors got wind of the bone's arrival. Being neighborly, she just had to share that bone. That's when this Tall Tale got even TALLER.

Awards and Accomodations

2018 Storytelling World Award

1 review for Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!

  1. Midwest Book Review

    Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone! is another rip snorting tall tale from Joe Hayes’ memories of growing up during the Great Depression in Arizona. Told in florid, fluent exaggerated style, Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone! has all its inherent humor underlined and accented by the lifelike detailed, slightly caricatured color illustrations. The story goes that Joe’s thrifty, Depression era Mom could make do with very little, and she could stretch that very little very far indeed. Case in point: In a dry year when nothing grew well but beans, people grew very tired of eating meal after meal of just beans. Joe’s Dad took bags of beans far away to sell to make a bit of profit, but he didn’t make much after travel expenses, so he spent his profit on a nice hambone. His wife used the hambone to flavor the family’s Sunday beans, and the results made Grandpa so happy he shouted, “Hal-La-Loo-Ya!” Because Joe’s mom was so thrifty, she took the hambone out of the beans and hung it to dry, so she could use it again to flavor next Sunday’s beans. However, that hambone’s flavor recycling story did not end there. All the neighbors got wind of the hambone and asked if they could use it to flavor their beans for upcoming special events. Permission was granted, and the hambone was safely returned each time. One day Grandpa unfortunately lost his false teeth into the bottom of the well while he was washing up to prepare to attend another festivity being celebrated with the hambone. Luckily Joe’s brother Stan came up with a brilliant plan to get the false teeth out of the bottom of the well. he would lower the hambone tied to a fishing line into the well, and the teeth, so used to loving the taste of the beautiful hambone, would clamp down on it and be dragged up on the fishing line. Of course, the plan proceeded successfully, but not with out a crucial hitch. In the recovery of Grandpa’s false teeth from the well, there was an ultimate sacrifice of the great mythical hambone. But therein lies the mystic ending of another great tall tale from the pen of award winning storyteller Joe Hayes, meant to be savored and enjoyed many times over, just like Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!

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