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 Do Tell Story Swap Summary - November 13, 2018

Veterans’ Day provided the theme for several of this month’s stories.

Meg Brown told us about Lt. Thomas McBride, a California boy who in 1945 was a high-level investigator for the military, stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, where thousands of pilots and support crew were trained. McBride used low-level common sense to solve a mystery of missing navigational buoys that had been puzzling officers and crew members alike.

Clare Morris and Sharon Elwell both told about the spontaneous Christmas Eve truce in WWI that was triggered by the old carol, “Silent Night.” The two stories together created a rich and touching insight into the meaning of humanity and war.

Rosemary Hayes told an ancient Japanese folktale, “Homecoming,” about a Samurai warrior who receives a shock upon returning to his family.

Elisheva Hart told about the invasion of Santa Rosa by a militia group from Petaluma, which could have been the last military action of the Civil War. The upcoming attack never took place, since the valiant warriors stopped to rest their horses and have a drink or two at the Washoe House, making the courier who rode ahead to warn the citizenry the first example of fake news.

Cal Johnson told of Jimmy Durante, who reluctantly agreed to appear at the Veterans’ Hospital for a brief 10-minute monologue. Touched by two soldiers, each of whom had lost an arm, sitting together so that they could applaud, Durante continued with his full routine for them.

Elaine Stanley told of soldiers in hand-to-hand combat who became so exhausted they agreed to put down their swords for the night and resume the fight at dawn. During the night, they told each other about their families. In the morning, they found themselves unable to kill someone whose story they knew.

Other wonderful stories were not about military life or warfare:

Hal McCown told of going to visit grandparents who had come of age during the Depression. His mother warned that the food he would experience would not be what he was used to, since the grandparents were in financial difficulty. He was delighted to find that “soaks,” white bread soaked with coffee, and peanut butter on white bread made the best meals he’d ever tasted.

Katy Mangan told a beautiful story of gratitude – about Eduardo, who wove a poncho to keep his friend Ruby warm.

Cal Johnson told us about Agatha. He said, “I didn’t like horses, but I liked her!” He was able to impress his father by managing Agatha without a bridle or halter, even in an unusually difficult situation.

Hal McCown told about Coach Morales, who found a way to give Mitchell Marcus, the learning-disabled manager of his high school basketball team, an opportunity to play. 

John told of a trip down the Zambesi River that left him “feeling like a drowned rat, but glad to be alive!”

It was an evening of great fun and variety! Join us December 11th for more stories you won't want to miss.

Submitted by Sharon Elwell

Do Tell Story Swap Summary– October 2018

As fall darkened the skies early, stories to warm the heart and tickle the funnybone were told at the October Swap. Here are the highlights.

Evelynn Hardisty started out the Swap by telling of her mother, a vibrant, easy going person. After her passing, understanding how unique and ahead of her time she was came as a comfort and brought memories of happiness.

Pat Krenke’s story, “The Witches’ Broom” had the Halloween flair October is known for. This tale was how a woman came to own a magic broom that did whatever she asked. Then jealous neighbors destroyed the broom but that wasn’t the end. That broom came back to haunt the town.

Brandon Spars introduced us to two notorious people he met in the Marshall Islands. One, Consuma, was a very, very large man who wielded a machete and terrorized the local store owner. The other was Isha, another very large person whose chosen weapon was lifting up her garment. When these two come together, the ferocious fight reverberated through the community.

Cal Johnson told the wonderful twister of a tale “The Man with No Luck”. A man searches to the end of the world, but in spite of all he learns and hears he can’t see luck when it hits him in the eye and the consequences are dire.

Max Fenson took us back to the early days of the fight against tuberculosis and showed how much a Norwegian postman and cancelled stamps can do to change the world. Collecting and selling stamps created donations that supported the effort to eradicate the disease.

Sher Christian mused about consciousness with spiders and other insects as a point of reference. Finally this moved her think differently about them.

Siri Fenson noted that the day celebrated Leif Erickson and offered a condensed history of Erickson’s travels and discoveries. This included discovering North America about a century before Christopher Columbus. When Columbus landed on that beach did he find a sign: “you are here!”?

Laurie Reaume taught piano and one student inspired this story. Having played piano 75 years previously as a child, Lucy was up for the challenge. Her attitude about new things and learning and being challenged had not diminished at all. A great lesson to us all.

Sharon Elwell’s “Waltzing with Bears” just has to be heard. All I got was Uncle Walter was not right in the head, he declared he was waltzing with bears. Well, I was so entranced I can’t tell you how it went but it was charming!

Mary Tuner heard this story many years ago from Jackie, a storyteller that traveled through the South gathering stories. This one was told to her by an old woman. As a child, the woman woke to find her father was bringing up a wooden box. Then he put her mother in box and nailed it shut. He called the people and took the box to the cemetery and buried it. Then later, they see a woman coming from the cemetery and it was Mother. Grave robbers had opened the grave and cut off her finger for her ring and the shock had woken her from a trance. Ever after, the tale of the Woman in White as a ghost has persisted in the South.

Elaine Stanley’s classic “What IS Truth?” is a tale of magic, wisdom and mystery. When a man finds an ugly wise woman with a beautiful voice in a cave, he stays to learn her wisdom. But can he tell the truth when she asks if she is beautiful? 
John told us about the encounter with a Bengal tiger on a trip to India. He told of the work to protect this endangered tiger. The trip included a ride on as elephant from which he could see the tiger in relative safety.

Hal’s ghost story of another “white woman” finished off our October Swap. This story’s ghost is a woman in a wine stained dress and grape debris in her hair. She haunts a building that despite being remodeled is still her home. Who killed her? She cannot tell her murder and so is stuck in the afterlife. Chills!

Join us for November’s Swap on November 13th. We hope to see you there!

Do Tell Swap Summary - September 11, 2018

Robin Whealdon's summary for this month leaves me wishing I had heard these stories so I would know how everything came out! It was a rare night where stories came together to form a web of experiences connected together. It was a good night for stories.

Katy got us going with a true story about stories- how a group of tellers from Do Tell had recently taken on some unexpected trials as they told historical tales for an event celebrating Santa Rosa. Katy's jovial offering concluded with her appreciation for Sharon and Brandon, her fellow tellers, who were in her words 'unflappable.'

Next Hal shared a family story he first heard when he was twelve years old about his grandpa and grandma who married in 1899. This delightful and interesting story gave us a peek into an earlier time of fruitfulness and farming.

Cher also shared a story from her grandparents' time. She told us of an encounter between natives and a white peddler, a tale with a most surprising ending!

Tonight's EMCEE, Sharon, delighted us with a fantastical story, from the mind of Orson Scott Card, in which a middle sister must find the way to out trick a cunning wish-granting dragon. 

This night had many stories from early America, John brought us another one, a true story from the 1800s about a boy who missed the picnic but lived to tell about it. 

Laurie, inspired by this month's corn moon, told us all about the corn growing and corn feasting of her childhood days in Wisconsin. Then we heard a hunger-inducing description of her more recent feasting on tasty ears of corn to celebrate the memory of her father on his September 6th birthday.

Vina has been coming to Do Tell for several years and tonight was her debut to tell! We delighted in a visceral telling of harvesting prunes in the early mornings in the Sacramento Valley.

Robin told us of how she discovered Baba Yaga's house out in the desert. She then shared an old Russian story about that witch, with a little addendum of how she made contact with Baba Yaga herself.

Elaine groomed us with an Ozark tall tale that seemed to be about her very own life path. We were well primed for big belly laughs.

At Sharon's request, Laurie shared with us her story of accidental bravery when she found herself singing in front of 200 people as a little girl . . . and we all got to sing!

Richard, visiting from Long Island, told us a harrowing true story of being lost at sea with a broken boat, and the strange way he and his family found their way home.

Katy transformed, before our eyes, into Shirley Anne! The unflappable Shirley Anne was determined to redo her kitchen and floors! No one can stop her . . . not even her husband! 

Our final teller for the evening was Elaine. She entertained us with the story of how Coyote tricked all the dogs in the world to let him into their party, only to find that he was put to work in the coatroom. Yet, we find out that he didn't let that stop him from having some fun.

Join us on Tuesday, October 9th for swapping stories. Come to tell, come to listen. 

Do Tell Swap Summary – August 14, 2018

Everyone has a story, and this month stories about personal experiences predominated. Stories ranged across life’s events providing listeners with a lot to remember and relate to.

John Lambert, a new teller, entertained us with his encounter with a Komodo Dragon. As large and dangerous as he described them, John still felt lucky to have seen one.

Laurie’s tale of the invasion of the yellowjackets was a home owner’s nightmare. After trying less toxic and yet futile methods of getting rid of them, she finally left it up to the professional. However, even with his bag of tricks, he still found disposing of these invaders a big challenge.

Cal’s reminiscence was of summer dances with soft nights and cool music to swing your girl to. Cal struck just the right tone to bring everyone’s thoughts back to the day of their own summer nights.

George Magnar was another new teller that has a lot to tell. He started by telling us of Col. Joe Rogers Jr., his hero, who was a fighter and a test pilot. George’s knowledge of aviation and experience promise many more great stories to be heard from him.

Katy told about coming home from England and of the arduous, and for most travelers, familiar set of obstacles she had to overcome. Finally, declaring “The Eagle has Landed”, she found home at last.

Hal reminded us that school is starting up and with it some iconic events and the student behaviors that come with it. In this case, he recalled his daughter’s Science Fair project. The combination of ambition, ignorance and procrastination usually means an all nighter, at least by the parent. I imagine we’ve all been there at least once on this one. 

Sharon’s story of Luther Burbank reminded us of the contribution of this great man. Sharon wove the historical setting with the innovation Burbank brought to his work, illustrating how he changed the world.

Nicolene’s story “Synchronicity” describes the strange tricks life plays when two people meet only to find, after sharing stories that they have met before.

Mary told a story that blended an old Appalachian story and a Pete Seeger song called “Sody Saleratus”. When the cook wanted sody saleratus for her biscuits and sends her husband to the store, he makes up a song which delays him getting the sody. After a while, the cook has to go herself if there were to be any biscuits. 

Robin’s family is now owned by a new cat. This happens when a cat is hanging around soft hearted people and needs a home. Robin took him home and his outsized personality and personal beauty won them over. So when he escaped, the search was on. Smart cat, he came home on his own and all was well – at least for now!

Come to the Swap Tuesday, September 11th for fun and entertainment. Come to tell, come to listen. 

Sharon provides some humor.
Cal has everyone's attention.
Clare weaving her story.

         Robin gets to the scary part.