Ask for Stories and Storytellers Send Them - Thanks

A friend has asked me to tell a story at her upcoming wedding. I was touched and honored and said "yes" in a flash. I hung up the phone and said, "oh drat!" Well that's not exactly what I said but you get the meaning. Why? Because now I have to find a story that will fit  - and learn it.

I am not one of those storytellers who walks around with stories for all occasions sitting right on the tips of their tongues. Since I stopped telling stories in schools I have concentrated on personal stories - what I call "oral memoir". I rarely tell folktales now which means a search is needed - - or maybe not.

Remembering the days of the fabled Listserv STORYTELL, I went to the Storytellers Facebook group and politely (I hope) shouted HELP.  And that is what started rolling in - generous help from storytellers across the country in the form of suggestions of stories they love and have told for weddings. I would like to raise my voice and call out Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Second step was a search of my bookshelves - and what a richness is tucked in there covered with dust. I am finding myself very grateful to my friend for the nudge to uncover The Way of the Storyteller by Ruth Sawyer and other valuable books that have been on the shelves patiently waiting for me to remember them. I think one of my problems is that I often put the tried and true aside hoping to find quick "answers"in the new and glittery.

One storyteller wrote to Facebook suggesting the Cherokee story First Strawberries.  Reading it I could see the smiles on the happy faces of some memory challenged elders when I told it to them at a senior residence one cold afternoon some years ago. That afternoon one of the women told me "I can almost smell them." I had forgotten the joy in that story.

Another suggested The Stone At the Door where the man cannot quite lift the heavy stone until his candidate bride, seeing the difficulty, reaches down to help him. Beautiful. I admit it, I lean toward that story. Reading it I wished someone had told such a wise story when Jim and I got married to clue us in that a marriage is built on noticing and helping each other. Maybe we would not have had to muddle those lessons on our own.

I have a feeling my friend's request is leading me in a good direction.

Last night I did not take my iPad to bed with me so I could watch a Netflix movie, I snuggled under covers with one of my yellowed old books and read new-to-me well-tested  stories The Magic Box and The Bird Who Spoke Three Times. Seems to me as my eyes closed I was thinking about telling those stories  - - -  as well as a yet-to-be-named story for my friend's wedding.

Thanks dear storytellers.

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