IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
"Tales of Galt"
My Favorite Video Blogs
(for others, see Links page)
Britain's Got Talent - Dominic
(more from Britain's Got Talent)
Britain's Got Talent
(you MUST watch this!)
O Mio Babbino Caro
Women in Art
Family Stories Vlog
That's My Answer
Have you answered
THE OLD STORIES
30 June 2007
It was an entertaining story and she told it well. It was about a chicken named Henrietta who was a family pet and how when Henrietta was old enough to start laying eggs, she would hop up the long flight of stairs, and onto the pillow of the woman of the house and lay her egg right in the center of the pillow each morning.
Then when the people who owned the chicken went on vacation, someone else took care of Henrietta and she pecked on the feet of the caretaker, who was working in her garden at the time, and hopped away a little bit, returning to peck on the feet again until the woman got the idea that she should follow the chicken. Henrietta led her to the little coop they had brought for her bed, the woman opened the door and Henrietta went in and laid her egg.
The story was told better than I have done so here because it was told by the woman in whose care Henrietta lived out the remainder of her days. I was enthralled listening to tales about this apparently very intelligent chicken.
At one point I looked over at her husband who was kind of rolling his eyes.
"Not a chicken person?" I asked.
"Well, I've heard this story hundreds of times," he sighed.
I was thinking about that and how it is with couples in long-term marriages or relationships. You have to listen to your partner's stories over and over again, especially if they are stories which delight, such as the story of Henrietta, the intelligent chicken.
I think of that fact every time someone comments on my job as a theatre critic and talks about how lovely it must be to be able to attend all of those shows.
I always reply, as if reading from a script that I have memorized, that the best thing about being a critic is that you get to go to all those shows and the worst thing about being a critic is that you have to go to all those shows.
I'm sure Walt is in the background with the same expression as the man with the chicken stories.
But when someone hasn't heard about your chicken or hasn't heard your explanation of what it's been like to be a critic, it's fun to share the same old material with a new audience. And of course, over time it gets more expansive, with appropriate gesticulations, giggles in the right places, and perfected inflections.
I've listened to my mother tell family stories over and over again to people who may have heard them before, or people who have never heard them before. Once you get into a groove, you are pretty expert in telling the story and it varies little in delivery or content. I'm glad that I've recorded so many of them on video.
Walt's family is great at sharing memories of the old times, especially the days when they were growing up on Oahu, living in Aina Haina. They tell them gleefully, as if they haven't thought of these things in years when, in fact, they come up almost every time they get together. I've heard those stories so often I sometimes think that I was living there on Hind Drive with them. Sometimes they forget a little detail and when they stumble, I'm often able to fill in the blanks because I've heard the stories so often.
But that's what human beings are, isn't it? We have evolved telling the stories of our past, and passing on the stories of our forefathers and mothers. There is a whole storytelling culture, the people who went around telling the old stories, like the seanache in Ireland (my own culture).
But every culture has its story tellers. It helps to bridge the gap between generations. I just read an interesting book called "Mutant Message from Forever," about an Aboriginal girl who had been removed from her mother at birth and raised in English schools for Aborigines. As an adult she went searching for her own identity and found a group of natives living in the outback, who taught her about her history through telling the old stories.
Story telling is common in Native American and African cultures. Human beings have a great need to pass along the old stories to others. You see these days, especially in older people, groups springing up helping people record their stories for future generations.
I suppose that blogging (or journaling) is the modern version of ancient story telling. It allows us not only to record our day to day lives, but also to keep alive the old stories for people who haven't heard them yet, or for future generations who might go looking for the stories of their past.
My cousin is working hard at preserving the old stories in our family, making certain that she gathers together all of the material she can find so that when she is gone there is a record left behind for her grandchildren, even though they probably won't appreciate it until they are our age.
I hope that my friend continues to talk about Henrietta. It's a delightful story.
It is the job of the long-suffering spouse to
sit back and listen for the hundredth time because keeping those stories
alive is an important part of being human.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2649