Storytelling event was a delightful experience

Published 5:18am Sunday, June 23, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed last Saturday night’s Down by the River storytelling event. All of the presenters did a fabulous job whether they were telling a story, singing or giving a monologue. Kudos to those who dreamed it up and carried it through.
In case you missed it, well, you should have been there! It was entertaining from start to finish.
Phyllis Kennedy kicked things off with a little talk about oral history (storytelling) and the night continued from there.
As always, I enjoyed Joe Allen Turner’s stories. But this event was different than most in that it focused more on personal stories and recollections than the area’s history in general. Of course, history and past events couldn’t help but creep in.
Anyway, Joe Allen took us back to the days when watching someone bury a cow or herd mules through town was plenty of entertainment for two young boys. Streets being paved was high excitement.
Dennis Fain made us feel the disappointment of a young boy who lost out on a bike because of a major flood. But we also got a glimpse of what it was like for a fellow whose grandmother owned the local movie theatre.
Jerry Willis took us to a shootout in downtown back in the day. That one was serious, but the following tale of investigating the current police department building alone at night was lighthearted. His retelling of accounts he has heard from others about otherworldly experiences was pleasantly spooky.
Tommy Head made us feel like we were there on the river with him and his friends. I particularly loved the one about them being far upriver when they heard the siren wail and immediately knew everyone in town thought they had drowned. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer had nothing on Tommy.
Marion Sanford brought down the house with his stories. The one about punching a donkey was a definite hit – no pun intended.
As I left that night, I thought, “They should have this once a month – or at least once a quarter.”
It was great just hearing folks tell stories about their past, or repeat stories that had been passed down to them. The thought even entered my mind that perhaps someone might want to start a storytellers circle or club.
Then I realized that such a group wouldn’t be anything new – that’s what front porches used to be for.
Until next week …

Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of The Wetumpka Her­ald and Elmore County Weekend. She can be reached at 334-567-7811. Her email address is

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