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Do Tell Story Swap ~ Story Summaries August 13, 2019

August dog days didn’t keep story lovers from coming out to the Swap. 31 interested listeners were rewarded with a full spectrum of stories.

Ed Lewis, our guest teller who hails from Davis, CA, started us out with a tale of his world travels. His story drew a map that gradually culminated in self knowledge and his life’s work.

Evelyn Hardesty followed up with a sweet story about rebelling against her “no” mom and being a “yes” mom for her own daughter. But as in the tale told by Death in An Appointment in Samara, by W. Somerset Maugham, one cannot avoid one’s fate, and the consequences of a “yes” strategy are sure to catch up with you.

Rosemary Hayes brought us a creation story from the Marshall Islands. Their belief was that the Creator sung the islands, animals, vegetation, and of course, man, into being. Rosemary asked us all to imagine what being into sung into existence might be like.

Sharon Elwell’s experience teaching Mexican kids during a hot summer week included complete obliviousness of the bell, and being taught herself by a child’s astute objection to a contest on the argument that it would insure only one happy person rather than a classroom full of happy kids. 

Rick Roberts told of living on a mining claim above Big Sur he had invested in with some friends. Lacking a certain experience with primal living, one friend took his .22 rifle to go hunt up some food. When he came back with just a blue jay, he was so ridiculed he wouldn’t talk to anyone. He cooked up that bird and ate it. Was he adhering to the rule, “Only kill what you will eat?” Or was he trying to save face?

Elaine Stanley’s tale of going to boarding school in England shows the enthusiasm generated by rewards. Receiving candy because she was the only one who admitted to talking, she hoped to game the system by confessing each time. Unfortunately that did not bring the rewards she hoped for.

Meg Brown told of going to the recent Sierra Storytelling Festival near Grass Valley. Her reason to go was to ask for the retelling of a story by Tim Tingle, a Choctaw Indian she had seen at the Bay Area Storytelling Festival in 2016. Fortune and fate were with her as she did get to make the request and hear the story she had been trying to find for so long.

Hal McCown often tells tales we can all relate to. This one was about trying to move a new chair into his man cave. It was too big to fit through almost all of the doors, it was heavy, and there was only his wife and himself to get it done. Sound familiar? But success is all the sweeter when it is accomplished.

Mary Turner brought us a story from Ireland about how the harp became the symbol of the country and remains important to the Irish people. When the wife of the chief heard the wind blowing along the coast, she requested an instrument be created to make a similar beautiful sound. After much work and experimentation, the Irish harp was created to give pleasure to people ever since.

Laurie Reaume’s story, “Sousa-phobia,” described her aversion for the song “The Stars and Stripes Forever” that goes around and around in her head and drives her to distraction. We all have a dreaded ear worm tune (or two!) and nodded in empathy as she related that experience. 

We are looking forward to meeting for more stories and friendship on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at Oakmont Gardens. Join us to listen or tell! 

​Do Tell Story Swap Summaries July 9, 2019

The storytellers came out to the Swap this month to share tales for a long summer evening. Brandon Spars began the evening with an account of his multi-age summer school storytelling class. To keep their attention, he decided to tell the scariest story he could think of. He didn’t want to bore the older kids, or horrify the youngest, who was only seven years old. He told the children of living in Bali, all alone in a rice paddy far from the school where he was teaching. He had been told that he needed to make offerings to prevent being beset by the local demons, but he didn’t do it. One night a growling creature was in the house with him. He recounted the encounter in two ways – telling the older children that the creature may have been a demon, while assuring the youngest that it was only a local dog. To his surprise, when he asked what kind of story he should tell next, the youngest asked for a tale of demons!

Diane Baines told a tender story of her mom, who had grown up in Saskatchewan and studied for a piano teacher’s certificate. She taught piano in villages on the train line until she married and moved to Long Beach. Music held their family together in many ways. When her three grown daughters moved away, they would sing to one another on the phone. Their mother would sing the Sabbath prayers to them. When she became old and infirm, her daughters did the singing to her – songs she loved from the 30s and 40s. As she neared death, they were able to ease her pain by holding her hand and singing, “When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbing Along.”

Rosemary Hayes told a traditional Lakota story of a hazel nut. One man tried to pound it with a rock, but the nut always slipped from his grasp, refusing to be caught for that purpose. One day the hazel nut was found by a young man on a spirit search. The nut told him it would be his spirit guide if the boy agreed to always listen and obey what it told him. The hazel nut said that it could not be hurt or contained. Desiring those qualities for himself, the young boy accepted the bargain and became a mighty warrior. 

Laurie Reaume told a story she called “Fully Booked.” She recounted the development of her outdoor lending library: gathering the container, painting it a colorful blue, collecting the books, and choosing a name: “Out of the Blue.” She invited everyone to contribute books to share with her neighborhood.

Gerri Runz told a comical misadventure, taking her friends on a field trip to Solar Living and unexpectedly ending up at a marijuana festival. When she told the event worker that she was looking for solar mosquito repellant, they were equally surprised.
She also told a story that shows the different between optimistic and pessimistic children. In a room with toys, candy, and ice cream, the pessimist is alone for an hour. Asked afterward, he said he hadn’t eaten the ice cream or the candy because he would probably make a mess and his mother would be upset. He hadn’t opened any of the toys because he would probably break them. The optimistic child, in a barn full of manure, is shoveling after an hour. He said that with so much manure, there had to be a pony in there someplace. 

Evelyn Hardesty shared experiences with her daughter who is her polar opposite in personality and taste. The differences led to such experiences as a public argument in Home Depot about whether the girl could paint her sunny room black. An “angel’ solved the problem by holding up a sample of purple – a color they could both live with. As years went by, the mother-daughter differences deepened, until at last the daughter began reconnecting. Evelyn quoted Shakespeare: “All’s well that ends well.”

Sharon Elwell told a story about the prettiest girl in her high school, who became pregnant very early, causing everyone to pity her. At the 20-year class reunion, when most of the group were drowning in gloom over the teenagers they were raising, the prettiest girl’s children had already graduated from college – and so had she, causing all that pity to turn to envy.

Katy Mangan told of creating a “despacho,” a Peruvian shamanic blessing for their land and for their new house after the 2017 fire had destroyed both. The blessing is an offering to Mother Earth that requires assembling 40 different items and putting them together in an exact way. After many adventures assembling the items – including tobacco, which involved a trip to a sketchy smoke shop – the ceremony took place. Later, Katy noticed that her sense of calm about the many ongoing decisions and steps that remained to be taken was strengthened, and she felt at peace and in tune with the earth. 

Anne Marie Cheney is a hospice nurse. She told of admitting a patient on Sunday, which is difficult because the necessary medications are not readily available on Sunday. This particular patient was going directly from the hospital to a board and care home where she had never been. She was agitated, and despite the nurse’s best efforts, her medications would not be available for at least two hours. Desperate, Anne Marie decided to rely on the placebo effect. She created a bitter tasting tea and administered it to the patient by drops, telling her that it was very powerful and might make her sleepy. By the time the real meds arrived, the woman was still sleeping. 

John Lambert told of a trip down the Colorado River, starting at Moab. Thrown from the raft, he went a quarter mile through the rapids, and finally was able to pull himself out of the water – still holding the paddle!

Hal McCown told of a trip to Mt. Hermon with friends in his brand-new Pontiac 6000 STE – the best domestic touring car. After a canoe adventure, he fell in the water and was soaked. Not wanting to ride in his beautiful new car while wet, he rode home in a black plastic garbage bag. His new jeans under the bag turned his legs blue – and they stayed that way for three weeks. 

Vina Brey Fogle closed up the night’s stories with a Sonoma County experience that had everyone laughing. She related an adventure with a Barbados ram that belonged to her son. When lambs were born, the ram attacked them, and Vina’s son called to ask his parents to put the ram in their pen with their two goats For two months, the ram butted and tormented their goats. Up until then, their only form of confrontation for the two had been to climb on an inverted bathtub and knock each other off. When the ram finally left, the goats, finally free from attack, went around and around the paddock, looking for him. 
We are looking forward to seeing everyone for more stories and friendship. Join us August 13, 2019.

 Sharon Elwell
Elaine Stanley 
​Rick Roberts 
Laurie Reaume 
Thanks go out to Ed Lewis, our guest teller this month. Telling  his story to a full house.
Hal McCown