I love visiting Sutton. This little town on the banks of the Elk River is a gem that's beginning to polish itself after a long downward slide. With an active arts studio, a sculpture's studio, a classy bed-and-breakfast, new and promising coffee shop, old brick streets and interesting architecture, the town has some things going for it.
The elementary school is another one of the towns charms. Perched high on the side of a hill overlooking the town, the school is a busy place. Today, for example, was their Heritage Festival. Children dressed in their Halloween costumes and marched down the hill and through the town. Everyone stopped to watch and cheer them on.
The principal is an interesting man too. A bluegrass musician, he brings a creative flair to his job. Mix that with a great personality and an ability to make a little go a long way, and I think you've got the mix for the perfect school administrator.
I was there to tell stories for the third year in a row. This year I decided to tell Jack stories. I try not to repeat stories for audiences that have heard me before, and these kids had heard most of my tall tales and ghost stories. But I hadn't told them much about Jack, so he was the star of the show today. I chose Jack and Old Fire Dragaman, and one I call Jack and the Ghost (my variation on several tales with a like theme, like this one) for today, along with the short tall tale Jack's Hunting Trip.
An added pleasure was seeing Quinton again. I remember him 3 years ago as a happy 2nd grader. Today he is taller than I am, getting ready to move on to middle school next year. Quinton gave me a funny little rubber monster when I first met him, and I still have it--named after him. Like so many of the Sutton children, Quinton is a good listener, and there is nothing that makes a storyteller's job more enjoyable than that.