Journeys are interesting, even if the journey is a short one. Last Wednesday I set out for a show in Hillsboro, where I would be telling at a church for their Mother/Child banquet.
It was a pleasant afternoon, with the temperature just right and the sun shining, but not even this alleviated my nervousness in the drive, and as I started out onto the highway I realized it had been years I had needed to drive 65 miles an hour.
Now I should explain I have never been one to drive for pleasure, and particularly not one who relaxes on a long drive. So it is a rarity, though I am not terrified by it to the point of inability to function.
As mentioned, the day was pleasant, and fortunately I was traveling at a time when traffic wasn't heavy. Plus I had good maps. So I was able to appreciate that gradual change in landscape as I headed further south, and saw the gradual rise of hills.
And it really didn't seem an hour before I entered Hillsboro, and soon saw the church parking lot.
The theme was "The Seeds of Kindness," which the ladies of the church were indeed practicing that evening as they invited me to join them for dinner. And a very good dinner indeed - as one of their relations is a trained chef.
Nor could I have asked for a better audience as even the youngest girls settled down, and the audience was attentive through my half hour show. And as I told I realized I had the right stories for the night - each emphasizing some kindness.
One was the Chinese story, "The Magic Tapestry," another was the Scottish story, "The Stolen Bairn," and the third was the Japanese story, "The Fox Wife."
And later I realized that the three stories also emphasized something else - female determination and creativity.
The first begins with the old widow weaving for three years after she has fallen in love with a water colored painting that she was wishes to create in thread. The mother of the stolen bairn must create two items that the Sidhe have not seen before. And the wife in the "Fox wife" must be recognized for what she truly is - fox and woman.
All were well received, and it was a supporative group that offered praise at the end of the evening. It helped to fuel me for the long drive home. And though I did get lost (and wish for a GPS unit) it was still good - I even saw a doe grazing by the side of the road as I came back into town. She looked up at me, gazed a while, and went back to eating as I passed.
A gentle sign and closing for the end of my evening's journey.
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I am a Springfield, IL based storyteller with a fascination for how folklore travels, and for history.