December Swap Update

teller and audienceHoliday 2015 table

Thanks to the publicity and full house turnout for Tellabration!™ last month, 19 of the 31 people at our December Do Tell Story Swap were first timers!  Welcome to everyone who came to hear stories and to tell them.

To celebrate the season and the last Swap of the year, we decorated our refreshment table with a red tablecloth, fresh greens, hot water dispenser for cocoa, cider and tea, and lots of goodies.  Folks enjoyed the festive atmosphere, mixing and mingling in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

The Christmas and winter season brought out poignant and varied stories. Starting with Pat’s touching story on the importance of family and the love between generations, we heard other stories of love and generosity:

Cal’s story of how a man’s kindness to two brothers brightened their holiday and his, in the story, “A Brother Like That” by Don Clark.

Mary’s tale of “The Little Pagan Faun” from a 1927 short story collection by Patrick Chalmers, brought together two cultural traditions and described the beauty of the true meaning of the gift of Christmas.

Martha’s “The King and the Shoemaker” reminds us that the smallest gift, when it is your most valuable possession, is the one that brings the most reward. This story is from a collection called, “The Beautiful Blue Jay and other Tales of India.”

And Craig’s delightful story of finally getting to be Santa Claus after a childhood yearning to do so, had everyone rooting for him.  Craig happily has been a Santa Claus every December since 2005!

A Swap wouldn’t be complete, whatever the time of year, without some great stories from the teller’s real life.  Laurie’s true tale, “Hung Up” took the listeners right into the frustration of her exasperating phone call to the DMV.  Resigned sighs soon revealed the comical, universal side of her situation, especially in the “Can you believe it?!” outcome.  Chard’s story “The Train” about being a visually impaired traveler separated from his companion at a series of London train stations, was tender and told with suspense.

Neil recalled days as an altar boy, 5 cent popcorn at the movies, collecting hardwood Strombecker model kit airplanes, and hearing a libidinous librarian’s definition of packages!  Nendohwoab described his adventures raising redworms, crickets and more to sell as bait. His encounter with a ranger in Kentucky while he was collecting newts brought laughter when Nendohwoab and the ranger had differing ideas of what a “naturalist” was!

Alicia entertained us with a wonderful story from Verna Aardema’s book, “Bimwilli and the Zimwi”.  Bimwilli is a Swahili girl who outsmarts an evil, shape-shifting Zimwi.  Liz entertained us with great expressions and body language in her dramatic telling of “The Tortoise and the Hare”.  We were  reminded that, during the hectic holiday season, Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

At evening’s end, Elaine recited “The Butterfly and the Honeybee” with its fun punchline and no sting.

Come hear what the buzz is about at our monthly Do Tell Story Swaps!  Our next gathering will be on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.  We would love to hear your story, perhaps about holiday fun, food, mishaps or goofy gifts!  Any tale, tall or true, is welcome.  Feel free to post a comment here so that our storytelling community stays connected on-line as well as at our Swaps.

“People have wanted to narrate since first we banged rocks together and wondered about fire. There’ll be tellings as long as there are any of us here, until the stars disappear one by one like turned-out lights.” — China Miéville

Best wishes for the New Year!