We grew up on stories – the uphill climb (both ways) in a blizzard, the thrill of a championship game, chasing chickens in the yard to ready them for dinner that night, where you met the love of your life, the first driving lesson….the list goes on. Why? Because we all love a good story. We love, and need, to tell them and we love, and need, to hear them.
April 27 is National Tell a Story Day. George Rafeedle created this day in 2009 to help us understand the value of the oral story. This day is our reminder to share our stories and encourage others to do the same.
My kids went to story hour at the library. New stories every week by the librarian who would change her tone and facial expressions to match the words in the books. I listened to my Auntie Evie tell stories of growing up on the Red Lake Indian Reservation – she was making mud pies in her yard when she met the ‘boy’ who became her husband. High school athletes revel in the stories of their critical games and championship victories. These stories can become embellished over the years and will develop a patina of their own. We all remember different details of events and will tell the story the way our memory holds them.
Years ago I heard Barbara Kingsolver read from her book, The Poisonwood Bible, at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver. I was captivated hearing the author read her own words in person.
I wish I would have teased more stories out of my grandma who was the first (and only) in her family to go to college and make a career. Or stories from her sister who homesteaded in Montana as a young woman. I get impatient waiting for the computer printer to spew out two pages; I doubt I was cut out to be a homesteader, but she is my ancestor – I have her DNA! Fortunately, my grandma wrote down the basics of her life so we have some history – she lived to 92; I am sure there were many tales untold. It would have been so much sweeter to hear her tell me the stories.
I challenge you to celebrate Tell a Story Day. Call a relative and ask them for a bit of family history. Your children’s stuffed animals would love to hear a story. Make up a fun tale at the dinner table with your family. Lessons are learned in our stories. They become part of our legacy. We will take many stories to our grave, but we have many to tell.