Thank you to everyone who came out to the show last Thursday. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the holidays without actually dealing with the holidays. December is always a weird month for me (and maybe for a lot of people) but listening to people share stories felt like a surprisingly wonderful gift exchange. Maybe that should be a new holiday tradition, trading stories instead of trinkets. A guy can dream, right?

We had two wonderful first timers onstage this month. Dana told the story of overcoming her fear of public speaking by accepting that, in her words, “you have to suck before you succeed.” I have a feeling that first speech Dana gave years ago in front of a room full of dogs wasn’t nearly as bad as she described it. But if it was, she’s come a long way because everyone in the audience that night at Roy Street could tell that her fear of public speaking is something she’s long since conquered. You did great Dana 🙂

Jonathan, our other first-timer, told us about the time he was falsely accused of getting mud on a little girl’s dress in kindergarten and how that lead him to a career in criminal justice. I don’t want to say Jonathan holds grudges, but it’s been 46 years since “The Incident With The Coat” and Jonathan’s old kindergarten teacher better hope she doesn’t come up against him in court one day.

Rich, one of our regulars, told the story of his travels behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany and John told his own travel story of his climb up an active volcano in South America. I have to say I do get a little jealous every time I hear about people’s international adventures. I’ve had a passport for over 30 years and it doesn’t have a single stamp on it. I do think that certain places I’ve been should have their own you’re-in-America-but-not-really passport stamp but what do I know.

Zoe told a great story about how shocking it can be to find out how the people you went to school with turned out years later. And Stephanie told a sweet, sweet story of her little girl finding the courage to do the thing that scared her the most. Catherine won the never-do-what-I-did award when she told us about the time she Superglued her eye shut. About two minutes into her story I think everyone was silently putting Superglue Eye Shut right at the top of our list of things never to do.

David’s story of being the attending physician when his boss and mentor had a heart attack was especially interesting to me because I could see him discovering the real meaning of the story as he told it. Sometimes you think you know what a story’s about but then you tell it live and suddenly you realize it’s about something else. I’m so lucky I get to be right up close to the stage when I see a teller going through that. I can’t wait to see how David rewrites that story with the new meaning in mind.

The story that broke my heart that night was Sonny’s. Sonny always tells these quiet little stories that make you lean forward in your chair because you want to catch every word. Last month he told a poignant story about a heart he carved into an old oak tree 60 years ago that’s still rising into the sky inch by inch every year. Last Thursday he told us about one of his friends who passed away recently and wondered if he would have to grace to face his own mortality as courageously as his friend did. It was a story that even though it ended on stage for us we knew it wasn’t ending for Sonny. It was a sad and quiet moment and one that I know many of us are still feeling. I hope you’re well, Sonny.

Special thanks to everyone who told a story that night: Niranjan, Zoe, Sonny, Ginger, Jonathan, Dana, Marty, Stephanie, Rich, John M and David, and Catherine. More special thanks to the two tellers I had to bump because we ran out of time: Rebecca and Dan. Thank you for understanding. I promise to get you onstage as soon as possible.

Next month’s show will be January 25. The theme is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” I’ll get the invite out in a day or two.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

See you in 2018!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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