Saturday, April 19, 2014

storytellers we


I tell more stories than jokes.  My dad was that way.  I was thinking today about the jokes my dad used to tell ~ and they weren't many.  He had a few funny jokes.  His kids knew them well because we heard them whenever company had joined us at the dinner table.  Dad also had some standard jokes that he'd tell for his lay ministry work visiting churches.  Those jokes were always new to different congregations.

Dad did have plenty of stories.  Dad knew how to tell them.  I always enjoyed listening to his stories of his growing up in a big family in Cheraw, South Carolina.  Most of his childhood tellings had to do with his mischievous older brother Murdoch who was the teaser of the family.

There was that time Murdoch fell asleep in the bathtub and failed to get out when his Papa, Mr. Burruss Finlayson, was banging on the door to get in.  There were two entries into the bathroom and Murdoch woke up too late and ran out the door when his Papa gained entry using one of the doors.  Murdoch grabbed a towel as he escaped through the front of the house.  The towel, unfortunately, was snatched by the screen door as he fled.  Murdoch ended up running down the sidewalk buck naked.  In his haste, he literally ran into a little lady that was their neighbor.

Needless to say, Murdoch spent the remainder of his childhood and young adulthood avoiding her.  It was a funny story to hear and just one of many stories my father used to tell.

My older brother used to tell jokes, but he too is a better storyteller than a joke-teller.  Brook can tell a story with perfect accuracy and make it entertaining to boot.  His stories can go into overtime because of the needed setup for accuracy's sake.  Brooky is as a history buff and knows his scripture too.  He can tell a story, teach a lesson while entertaining you at the same time.  He's a high school teacher and I know he is an excellent one at that.  I've run into many of his past students down through the years and they've all told me how he was their favorite.  I must agree, he's taught me many a lesson as my big brother while growing up.  Even when he's not teaching, he's entertained me with many a fascinating tale.

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
-Rudyard Kipling


As for me, I am a good storyteller too.  I once had a job where my supervisor once commented what a wonderful and interesting life I have had and am having ~ with all the many rich experiences I had shared with him.  I replied that my life was probably no more adventurous or interesting than anyone else, I just knew how to tell a story.  Every life has a story, it's just that not everyone knows how to tell it.

My stories don't always have a moral like those of my father.  Not all my stories have a lesson like those my brother can tell.  I tell stories that encourage laughter, because that's what I'm about.  It's the funny things in life I remember and enjoy recounting.  I like to tell stories that inspire laughter.


Afterthought: I hope that when I die, family and friends don't gather round to mourn, but rather come and tell the funny stories that came from what was my life.  I really want my end to bring on a good punchline.  
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