Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th! and Other News

My 4th is a little different this year: I'm telling stories! Most years I am in town with the crowds, enjoying the parade, music, and fireworks, catching up with friends and enjoying the happy mood.

This year I am telling Appalachian stories at the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair, and I'm loving it.

The idea was that I would tell stories for children, then teach them to tell stories, and finish up with a puppet-making activity. (The picture at left is the sample puppets for the program.) I set up last night, and as a last minute thought, I added my coal mining display items just in case I had some audiences that were mostly adults.

That was a good decision; most of my listeners today were adults! I told a wide range of stories, sang a few ballads, and even collected two new ghost stories.

The last group included two little girls who were so excited about learning stories and making the puppets, and even though the group was a mix of all ages from 4 to senior citizens, we all had a great time playing with stories.

I was tickled to see my grandson Jared and his girlfriend come in during the telling; Jared was one of my first listeners when I was just beginning as a storyteller, and he even took a storytelling class in college a couple years ago, and attended the National Storytelling Festival.

Being flexible is a storyteller's stock-in-trade and it served me well today. I surveyed each audience, assessed what might be best for each group and we all had a great time. From Jack tales to ghost stories, tall tales, historical stories and participation tales, it was a fun day.

I even had a little time to walk around and enjoy the peaceful mood of the people browsing in the many tents. One busy place was the vendor selling Appalachian wood toys. The prices were right and there were hands-on things for the kids to play with. I bet many parents walked away with lighter wallets and happy children.

And...yesterday we drove to Ohio to get my new (used) van!  Last week my beloved car's transmission went out and I knew it was time for new wheels. I've been searching online and finally had a brainstorm: I went to the website of USAA where we have our car insurance because I knew they did car loans as well. USAA is a company that serves military people and their families; if anyone in your family is connected to the military and is a USAA member, you can also become a member and get the most incredibly good rates on car and house insurance and all kinds of other financial services.

What I didn't know was that they also have a car-finding service. I clicked on used cars, put in the kind I was looking for and up popped a list of available vehicles within a few hours of my home. I found one I liked, called the dealership to be sure it was still available and set up a time to go see it. Then I filled out the online loan application and in a few minutes, the loan was approved. We drove to Columbus, completed the rest of the paperwork and drove out of there with a beautiful 2007 Toyota Sienna van that is exactly what I need for my storytelling and for all the hauling we do with our antiques business. I got home in time to load up my things for the arts and crafts fair, get everything set up and ready for today, and then go out to dinner to celebrate! That was the easiest car purchase I've ever made. I love my new van and had to laugh when I realized that we put it to work immediately when we got it home. She'd better get used to it, because I see a lot of adventures ahead in this van.

Tomorrow I will be back at the fair, telling more stories and enjoying the beauty of Cedar Lakes and the happiness of the people who come to experience this unique event. And in the evening, another event that might be more difficult but will certainly be one of the more meaningful things I will do this year: visit my son Jon's 25th class reunion and tell them about my son's life. He would have loved to be there; now I will go in his stead to let them know what their classmate made of his life.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Jeanne Baney said...

What a nice way to spend the 4th!

Sue said...

It's wonderful that you will represent your son at his 25th class reunion and tell his high school friends what he did with his life.

I have to believe that he will be there in spirit, and I hope the experience will be more warm and comforting than difficult.


Nance said...

Sue, will look forward to an account of Jon's reunion. I just so admire you for being able to go and relate. Many wouldn't be able to do what you plan to. PTs and prayers . . . (after the fact). Take care, Nance

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