|| You are invited
to complete and submit the comment card found at the bottom
of this page. Request rates and permission for publication on
the comment card found at the bottom of this page or by emailing
The bark felt good scratching David's
back, applying relief from a sunburn of last week, just now peeling.
His legs crossed, his mind both listening and taking flight from
time to time. What a wonderful idea Susan, his wife, had -- hiring
a storyteller for Jake's sixth birthday party.
David was invisible to the children
listening as he sat on the exact opposite side of the tree from
Marcus, the graduate student in drama, who made a fair of amount
of extra income from his engaging storytelling skills.
David began to wonder what type of
story he would want if a storyteller was hired for his next birthday,
forty-four years, he could hardly believe it. He wondered if his
ideal story would be that much different from what Jake might also
For starters it must take place in
the outdoors; streams, rivers, mountains, animals, trails, must
all abound in this story. Early morning or late evening, during
that golden light time of day would be best.
And it must have tension. Good stories
always have tension, and this would be no exception. Not too much
through, David could only go so far before tension became a pain
that David didn't want to face.
Discovery. Something must become known
by the end of the story that was not known at the beginning. And,
if this discovery heralded a personal revelation all the better.
Children were also an essential element
for the story that David continued to conjure. But here he suspected
he departed from Jake. Jake, David thought, would want some kung-fu
fighting super ninja hero who leapt into the scene and most likely
exited just as fast. David wanted the fragileness of the child to
be explored. That incredibly fine line between rugged little explorer
and crying child. The story would instill that gut wrenching notion
that no child ever deserves to be harmed, and in the end the child
while vulnerable to harm, must end up protected and whole.
Finally, the story must involve the
child teaching something to the adults. This would most likely happen
without the child, and maybe even the adults, knowing this wisdom
had been transferred.
A moment later David was aware he'd
been daydreaming, but no matter how hard he tried he tried could
not figure out where the daydream had taken him. And then he heard
in his mind those strange little sounds people make as they snuggle
into a cold bed, he remembered being in Canada in July as a child
and crawling into his sleeping bag after ten in the evening, exhausted
and amazed that sky was not yet dark. Startled by the coolness of
the bag that he must quickly warm The storyteller must find a way
to convey the security of the tent, of muffled adult voices nearby.
David flashed on the beauty of the "goodnight John Boy" ending to
the Walton's television show and felt a bit silly.
Then just as quickly and easily as
all these thoughts had come to him they began to vanish. He was
aware that the storyteller on the other side of tree had finished
and the eighteen children (he had suggested, with no luck, no more
than ten) were up and scrambling towards the birthday cake.
He lifted himself up, his right leg
completely asleep and tingling, and leaned against the tree for
support, afraid he would fall down. This necessary pause caused
him to stop and see, not just look, at what was going on around
him. His son ensconced by friends, his wife ever the organizer keeping
things under control, and his mother, Jake's called her Nanny, working
the scoop -- elbows deep in Neapolitan ice cream and not caring.
Maybe when he retired, David mused,
he would become a storyteller too.