I spent last Saturday afternoon in North Carolina, and Indiana, and Mississippi, and even part of Ireland. I sat and listened to tales of an old hound dog that saved a family from a snake, school buddies discovering the magic of water balloons (until they were caught throwing them), and fairies visiting young children in their dreams. It was magical and mystical, and a great way to start the weekend without having to travel too far from home.
The event that made this possible was the 25th annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival held in Provo Canyon. It brings together some of the world’s best storytellers С and yes, that is a profession all its own. It also draws thousands of loyal patrons each year, from all age groups. For older folks, it’s a throwback to days when grandparents or great-grandparents spun their yarns on front porches, living rooms or around the dinner table. For younger parents, it’s a great way to start new family traditions С doing something together as a family that involves both the mind and the soul. And even for children, the Festival has activities that include musicians, puppetry, and making pottery.
Why am I sharing this? If you’ve read this column the past three weeks (thanks to both of you who have, by the way), you know that I am ALL ABOUT the story. Yours, mine, and many others. And what these talented storytellers were able to bring to the Festival again this year, as in years past, is the ability to share tales which all of us can relate to. The pranks we pulled as youth, the loving pet we remember from our childhood or even adulthood, the dreams and fantasies we enjoyed or enduredСwe’ve almost all had them. But we don’t often choose, or may not know exactly how, to share them. These folks do, and they make it look so easy. For them, it only became easier when they chose to do it again and again and again.
What I come away with each year from the Timp Fest is the need and the desire to share my tales with my family and friends, not so much to impress them with what I’ve done as to impress upon them the need they have to share theirs. I loved hearing my grandfather and father tell me what life was like for them when they were my age С at whatever age I was when they told me!
In late July, my wife and I visited Boston for a few days. There, we heard stories of the Revolution, of course, but also tales of much more contemporary times. Of heroes who began emerging when they threw overtaxed tea into the harbor, to heroes who treated complete strangers after the Boston Marathon bombings last yearСhelping victims until medical personnel could arrive. Those stories and experiences made me realize once again how fortunate and blessed I am to live in a country where we can express our thoughts freelyСeven if it’s just to tell a story or two.