Second Session: Saturday afternoon
For lunch we took the shuttle to Bellevue, the antebellum home of Ben Hill, the Confederate and US Senator. We enjoyed homemade soup (I had potato, Sheila taco) and cornbread with homemade cookies for dessert, while we talked with out tablemates who included two of my Facebook friends, featured storyteller Michael Reno Harrell and our Atlanta storyteller friend Janice Butt as well as Janice’s friend whose name escapes me, and a nice couple from Carrollton.
The second session started with Megan Hicks who told some stories in her mother’s voice. Her mother talked of the terror of Western-Union telegrams during World War Two when they often brought news of war deaths. And of the train trip with her new groom and the lonely ride back after seeing him off. She met another seventeen-year-old bride to share her ride and her troubles. “This is what is called the ‘long haul’, she said, ‘and we’re in it.”
Michael Reno Harrell took the stage again to talk about his new friends, the rich New York couple who, visiting the Blue Ridge, fell in love with the mountains... “so they bought one.” When Michael spied the label “Armani” on his new friend suit coat on the back of a chair he thought, “That’s a hundred dollar suit, I bet!” Michael described a big snow as “axle deep to a ferris wheel.” But in the end, his new friends convinced him “It ain’t about where you’re from. It’s who you are.” He finished up with his song about the rules for “living here in the South.”
Bill Harley, a former resident of Rhode Island shares the common resentment of the citizens there over the frequent comparison of unusual things to the size of the diminutive state. Here’s a link to the lyrics of Bill’s song on the topic:
Did you see that bride’s diamond? It’s the size of the state of Rode Island!
Then he talked of being lost out West, but nearly dying in Rhode Island. Out west they’ve reintroduced wolves to the ecosystem and wonderfully strange things happened: deer moved to the hills, so trees came back to the valleys, and then the grass, which filtered and slowed the water which revived the streams and rivers. Who knew wolves would improve the rivers?
Then just for fun his classic Harley song: Down in the Backpack to the tune of Under the Boardwalk.
Barbara McBride-Smith grabbed our attention with this opening: “The first time my sister Pat got cancer she figured she could whup it. The second time she got mad.” Pat was profoundly deaf. Barbara sprinkled American Sign Launguage accompaniment into the touching story of Pat’s valient fight against cancer. “Why can’t we find a cure for cancer without torturing people?”
Pat seemed to have extra sensitive tactile, visual, olfactory, and gustatory abilities in spite of her auditory deficit. As she explained her final wishes to Barbara she instructed that she wanted doors and windows opened when she died so that the aroma of roses or panzies could fill the house. Barbara made sure that wish was granted. And now, Barbara stubbornly asserts, she can actually smell the panzies that Pat’s spirit is “pushing up”.
Next : Third Session - Saturday night.