May 13, 2017
Family mother’s day lunch starts the same as most family dinners.
We find a spot in the kitchen for all the stuff we’ve prepared, make a circle in the den, and the designated prayer (Randy) prays. Thanks for family…food…good relationship…blessings on our lives…in Jesus ‘ name, Amen.
Everyone moves toward the kitchen.
Designated prayer says, “Wait! It’s mother’s day! I forgot to mention mother’s day! Everyone come back.”
No one comes back.
Dishes filled, places found, good food.
Then the stories begin.
The Drowning. (Harper)
The three year old comes into the room.
“When it’s hot, we’re going to the beach. Then I won’t be scared because of the water and sand. It’s not a swimming pool. When I was a baby, I “drowned” when someone pushed me under the water in the swimming pool.”
Someone at the table says, “I
” drowned” too, when I was little….”
Not her story. She walked off.
“I stopped to get a haircut the other day.
The girl starts asking questions. ‘So, what brings you here in the middle of the work day?’
‘I just want a haircut.’
‘Must be sump’n going on.’
‘I just want a haircut.'”
Someone at the table says, “She may have really needed someone to talk to.”
“Not to me. I just wanted a haircut. I paid her for a haircut.”
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Jayci)
The fourteen year old went to D.C. with her family. She told us how the guard at the Tomb of the unknown soldier would march back and forth, with the exact number of steps each time.
There were some people there, talking, being disrespectful.
You’re not supposed to talk at the tomb.
The soldier stopped his march, turned toward the people, and, with carefully scripted words, rebuked the disrespectful talkers.
“That was my favorite part of everything we saw!” said the fourteen year old.
The Troubled Actor (Adam)
An award was given to our family cop for saving a life.
It seems, an actor, having trouble coping with life, had fallen into drugs, moved in with his mom, was feeling paranoid, and was threatening to jump from the fourth floor balcony of the apartment.
“We were trying to talk him down, but weren’t having much luck. The officer downstairs hollered and got his attention, distracted him, just long enough for us to grab him.”
Life saved, for now.
Mean Patient in Doctor’s Office (Zoë)
The new receptionist got broken in fast with customer relations. He came in angry, cursing her, the other receptionists, the nurses.
“He threw some papers at me, used the F-word a couple of times, said he wanted to talk to a nurse, but ‘not that SOB. He’s a liar.’ Except, he didn’t use the abbreviation. I was polite and offered to go back and see if there was someone to help him. But I was shaking so much. The others said he is always like that.”
Dead Bunnies (Kristin)
It started when she found a dead baby bunny in the yard. Then, she found one in the house. The two dogs pretended they had no idea how that got there.
No more freedom in the back yard. From now on, leash only.
Then she decided to use the shock collar, and just watch.
“I looked out the window, and he had a bunny in his mouth. I pushed the button, the bunny dropped, the dog retreated, and I ran out. The bunny was still alive, so, I found the nest, put it back in, put up a barrier to keep out the dogs. I guess it worked. They are gone now. I do not like dead bunnies in my house.”
The Confrontation (Jenny)
It was the end of a Parks and Rec fourth grade basketball game.
“We had lost, 35-4. Our girls tried hard, but they were all new. The other team was like professionals. So, I was talking to my team right after the game.
‘Coach. COACH! You need to line up your team so we can shake hands and go!’
‘Are you, a fourth grader, trying to tell me, an adult, what to do with my team?'”
As the mother/coach came out of the stands, the confrontation began.
The storyteller’s eyes were bright, and distant, as the scene replayed itself in her mind…
“Oh, you are one of those…Wait, are you recording this? Why are you recording this?”
Misunderstandings abound. We, too, were seeing the stories with each line.
” ‘Take it outside? What are we going to do? Fight?’ She was a head taller, and strong. I don’t know if I was more angry, or scared. But I knew, if we went outside, I was dead.”
We couldn’t stop listening. The color, the descriptions…
“I was so excited, I probably looked like a crazy peacock, jumping up and down, flapping its wings.” (We got a demonstration.)
“After shaking hands, she accused me of “a racist handshake. ‘Racist handshake? What is a racist handshake? That’s not a thing. Is it? Is that a thing?”
We were all laughing, living the story with her.
Her fourteen year old stepped in defense of her mother.
“Are you going to hit me? Go ahead, hit me!”
“Are you going to hit a fourteen year old?”
We were all leaning forward in anticipation.
The story continued…
“Jesus? Are we talking about Jesus, now? Let’s talk about Jesus! I LOVE JESUS!”
No confrontation is complete unless the police come.
The police came.
She told her story first, then the confrontater told hers, showed her video, and left quietly.
“You’re free to go, Ma’am.”
“Did she really show you the video?”
“Yes, Ma’am, she did.” He smiled sheepishly. “You are free to go.”
The Bullies (Jayci)
Imbedded into the life of the fourteen year old was a story of middle school mean girls, cyber bullying, betrayal, and intimidation. She had not wanted to tell why she wasn’t playing soccer next year, and left the room. She came back a little later, and she told her story. But, where it took a turn, and rose above the typical was when she took out her phone, scrolled through some messages and read us her response. She told her of her faith in Jesus, she offered her friendship, and forgiveness to her tormentor.
The angels were singing.
The old storyteller, 90 in less than two months, was sitting off to the side with his cane, a slight smile on his face, an occasional comment coming from his mouth.
He had been planting seeds of storytelling into these minds for all their lives.
He had learned the perfect balance of when to speak and when to listen.
Today, he didn’t tell any stories.
Today he enjoyed the fruit of his harvest.