Story-Telling At Claire’s House

It’s Saturday morning and I’m at Claire’s house. We got here yesterday with the boys in tow to celebrate Christmas with the whole family.

You’d never know a baby lives here at night. If she makes a peep, wants to eat, her mom and dad are right on top of it. That’s so courteous of them. After a good night’s sleep, I’m sitting on the couch watching Claire groove in her vibrating chair, talking to her hand, laughing and kicking her feet.

Last night at dinner, Cassie asked me…wait, no, she whined, “You’re not gonna tell Claire stories about me when I was a kid, are you? At least, not the one like the time I put a penny in the light socket, right?”

“Are you kidding me?” I laughed. “I’ll not only tell her, I’m gonna show her the penny!”

We’re a story-telling family. It’s what we do at the dinner table when we’re all together. Last night I told the family how old I felt the other night when Andy observed out loud, “Next summer I’ll be able to drive here,” and how it reminded me of the day 14 years ago when Carlene’s Aunt Flo came to visit and she sat down at the breakfast table and said to me, “This means I can have babies.”

The girls laughed, but of course Andy and Kevin moved around uncomfortable in their chairs because I dared mention that their sister got her period like normal girls do, so the point of my story was a little lost. There was a lot of looking around the room at that moment.

For whatever reason, apropos of nothing, I remembered my movie-star dress. When I was 5 years old, I had a short-sleeve blue sparkly dress that I wore every time I watched “Gilligan’s Island.” I wanted to be Ginger when I grew up. The kids found this amusing.

That’s how story-telling goes with us. One thing to one thing to another.

When we were driving here yesterday, the song “The Cover Of The Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook came on. The boys were playing video games in the back seat when I turned around and started singing, “Well we’re big rock singers, we got golden fingers, and we’re loved everywhere we go…” They looked up for a second, gave me a blank look, and went back to their games. Undeterred, I launched into my story.

“When I was 9 or 10 years old and living in Jasper, a school bus would pick a bunch of us kids up in the park and take us 11 miles north to the Pipestone public pool to swim for the afternoon. We sang this song all the way up there. That and ’99 Bottles of Beer…’,” I said dreamily, a little lost in thought. My story only rendered a small smile from Kevin, but I didn’t care. I just looked out the window and kept right on singing.

“(Rolling stone…..) Wanna see our pictures on the cover. (Stone…..) Wanna buy five copies for my mother….. (yeah) (Stone…..) Wanna see my smilin’ face. On the cover of the rollin’ stone…”

I guess that’s why I’m a writer. I love telling stories. I love hearing stories. I’m currently reading “Little Heathens” by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. It’s a fun book of memories of growing up during the Great Depression. Not that the Great Depression was fun, but Kalish is a fun story-teller. I highly recommend this book.

Time to get ready for the day. What stories will today hold? That’s what makes living so fun. You just never know what’ll happen next.

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