Thank you all for coming out last week and bringing all that amazing energy. I don’t know what the particulate matter in the air was last Thursday but it sure put us all in a good mood. I enjoyed every second of this show. I’m glad so many of you got to be there and share that.

My notes for the show are buried in a bag in a closet so I’m going to do my best to remember the details. I’ve been telling bits and pieces of stories to friends at work today so some of your stories are still warm inside me.

One of my favorite things about FGS is that I hear things I never hear anywhere else. For instance, has anyone in your family ever punched a preacher? If you had been at Roy St last Thursday you would have found out what the consequences of that are. Also, if anyone from that night ever gets a tumor there’s a good chance they’ll nickname it Boomer the Tumor. I think more medical conditions should get nicknames. Personally, I’m looking forward to Drew the Flu and Jake the Ache.

Zoe told us about a moment of kindness she shared with Alan Arkin during an audition many years ago. I love hearing stories of celebrities being kind when no one is looking. Zoe held onto that memory for decades before sharing it with us that night. It shows you how much a few handwritten words on a piece of paper can mean to someone.

Maryanne shared a wonderful story about collecting bottle caps when she was a little girl hoping to win a contest so she could see Roy Rogers in person. What she discovered was that a TV cowboy couldn’t hold a candle to the real hero in her house, her dad. Now when I hear the song Happy Trails I get to think of Maryanne and her dad. That’s another thing I love about hearing your stories. When you share how you feel about a song or an object from your past it shapes my own feelings about those things. The next time Happy Trails comes on the radio I’m going to sing along like I always do but maybe a little softer and with a smile people wonder about. (if you’re curious what radio station I listen to that would play Happy Trails, you can tune in to KBRD 680AM and get an idea of what it’s like to be trapped in a car with me)

Gary’s story of falling in love with Glen Campbell’s music brought me back to the Fairview Manor Apartments in Fairbanks, AK in 1975 when I first heard Rhinestone Cowboy. Thank you, Gary, for reminding me of how much I loved that song and how it was one of the few bright spots in my life at that time. I never got to tell Glen that so I’m telling you.

Just before Gary told us about Glen Campbell, we heard a great story from first-timer Marie about how she fell in love with Li’l Abner. Actually, she fell in love with an actor who played Li’l Abner. Then, after a few blissful years of marriage, she found out L’il Abner was not being faithful. Only in Hollywood would L’il Abner do such a thing. Marie, I’m so glad you told that story and I hope that one day you’ll find an Alley Oop or a Popeye who will treat you right. In the meantime, please come back and tell more stories 🙂

I don’t want any more days to go by before I get this email out so I’m going to end with a quick thank you to two tellers whose stories snuck right into my heart. Bill’s story about the pointlessness of suffering hit me on a lot of levels. It was a brave, redemptive story of how important it is to make amends and then do what you can to bring joy to the world. I hope he tells it again someday so more people have a chance to hear it. It’s a story everyone needs to hear, some of us more than once.

David’s story about holding a divorce ceremony on the beach with his ex-wife was so incredibly touching, I don’t even know what to say. I know he was nervous walking up to that microphone knowing how honest and vulnerable he was about to be. I’m glad he did it. And I’m grateful that everyone in the audience was there to support him.

Thanks to all the tellers who shared stories that night but special thanks goes to my son, Taran. He surprised me with a beautiful story about the last time he said goodbye to his grandmother. I was there that night and the next morning when we found her passed away. It was the first time my son had gone through something like that. I was proud of how he acted then and I’m proud of how he’s dealing with it now. Watching my son grow through the stories he tells has been one of the greatest things this show has given me. Thanks for making nights like this happen.

Our next show is September 27. The theme is Taking a Chance. I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can. I hope to see a bunch of you there.

Take care,

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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