I never met Johnny Rice, but he sounded like a character:
Johnny claimed to have fished as a child with Ernest Hemingway, said he once saw a live mermaid and told a tale about falling into a marsh while drunk and waking up next to a large, cranky alligator that spoke to him.
He also told of falling off of a gambling ship 30 miles off Key West and making his way back to shore by riding the Gulf Stream for many hours.
“They’d reported me as dead in the newspapers,” he said in January. “It was God who saved me. I never would have been able to swim all that distance by myself.”
Grover said telling “embellished” tales was something all three brothers did.
“We loved to tell stories, especially Johnny and I,” Grover said. “But then, our sister would show up and tell the truth about what happened, and totally ruin our stories. We learned not to tell them when she was around.”