What a great evening we had with the SOCO tellers in Columbus, Ohio! (SOCO stands for Storytellers of Central Ohio.)
I was the featured teller for the SpeakEasy at the Maennerchor Restaurant in Columbus this week. Several SOCO tellers were there when we arrived so we got to visit during dinner. It was especially nice to see Bev Comer who was my hostess last year when I came to the SpeakEasy.
Larry Staats, a Jackson County native who has lived in Columbus for many years, shared some memories of his boyhood and had us doubled up with laughter at the table. Other old friends who were there were Jim Flanagan, Melanie Pratt, Cathy Jo Smith, Joyce Geary and Sally Crandall. I met several tellers who were new to me, always a pleasure.
The accordion player left the stage and we were ready to go. Joyce did the best introduction I have ever been honored with--she'd certainly done her homework. Since there seemed to be an interest in ballads, I sang several during my performance, and told one of my favorite Jack tales (Jack and Old Fire Dragaman) and as an example of our West Virginia ghost stories I told the state's most famous tale, The Greenbrier Ghost.
The open mike portion of the program was a blast. Sally told a story about Jack in New York, Jim described his adventures with drunken raccoons, Cathy Jo introduced us to some of her more unusual relatives, Hank Arbaugh treated us to Canadian ballads, and Melanie told another of my favorite Jack tales, Soldier Jack.
As we left, Larry remarked that he'd enjoyed himself very much, and that it was an evening of excellent entertainment. I agreed--it's been a while since I've been to a storytelling event (November?), and this was a fine treat in the middle of the winter.
The next teller for SpeakEasy is Andy Fraenkel, also of West Virginia. The schedule of tellers is on the SOCO website, and I am hoping we'll be able to go back to listen at least once more during the series.