classes, no books, barely any conversation just an old pickup truck parked along the bank of a creek.
As Dad recalls, every time I ask him about it, "So we get in and I turn the key, and the truck takes off, lurching [he starts laughing here] . . . and immediately turns and dives down the embankment it was about ten feet down [laughter getting very quickly more intense] . . . and Sam's yelling in this Armenian accent, 'Sheeft! Clotch! Goddamn it! Sheeft! Clotch!' [by now he can barely wheeze out the words] . . . and I look over just in time to see his big, bald head clunk on the windshield. . . . Oh, my God [laughter completely uncontrollable by now with me laughing too]."
Of course, no one was hurt. Grandpa lived a long and happy life filled with funny, interesting, sad, wise stories. I thought a lot about all those stories as I left last year's Tellabration drunk with laughter and filled with wonder, once again, at the power of the spoken word.
Tellabration is a national festival hosted locally by the Ann Arbor Storytelling Guild at Genesis of Ann Arbor (St. Clare's Episcopal Church / Temple Beth Emeth). I got there a bit late, and the big sanctuary was nearly filled with people of all ages, listening intently as several local tellers warmed up the crowd with their best tales. I particularly connected with Jeff Doyle and his goofy, scary story involving a family camping trip, a dark Upper Peninsula outhouse, and bears.