Over the last few months shows have been woven between household projects; a good portion of my preparations having been done after chasing down the youngest hound (a four-legged Ms. Houdini), or listening to the pounding of the roofer. The one constant thread has been the wonderful weather for all of the outside events.
I began the Fall season with Hope School's Fall Festival and Lincoln Memorial Garden's Indian Summer Festival.
While I will admit that animals will upstage you every time I didn't mind being placed near the pony ring at the Hope School Fall Festival. To see the joy on the children's faces as they rode the ring was more than worth it, since, for many, that was one of their few, grand, adventures.
And the one story I did get to tell offered me another treasure - the little boy's mother said, "I've never seen him sit so long, and pay attention."
At the Lincoln Memorial Garden's Indian Summer Festival I was placed in the children's area with my two puppets - Kit, the fox, and Rupert, the squirrel.
I had many willing listeners, but Kit and Rupert stole the scene (even if they are puppets), and they oft got petted. Or kissed gently on their noses.
The season of All Hallow's began with Clayville's haunted house, and I had the pleasure of doing two Saturday nights at the bonfire. This is the time when even the adults are willing to suspend belief and settle in for a tale.
And from those two nights I have a couple of moments that stand out ...
The first began when a young lady came to see how long I'd be telling; then later, after the haunted house, she came back for a tale. She had said that she had been really scared in the house so I asked her how scary did she want the tale. She held out her hands, barely inches apart, and said, "This scary."
After "Tam Lin," she asked for another; again I asked her how scary.
And she widened her hands, and said, "This much."
The other moment came when I had gone to the concession stand for some more coffee. I was dressed in a large black opera coat, which is very shapeless on me (though warm). And nearby was one of the volunteers, in shapeless, ragged, "witch's" costume.
My friend saw a child point at me, and exclaim, "That's the witch!"
To which Amanda said, "No, that's the storyteller."
The child considered this, and exclaimed, even more loudly, "The storyteller's a Witch!!!!"
And of all my Fall shows, each wonderful and special, the one that made me very grateful for my ability to weave stories was when I did a Halloween show for Hope School. What was to be a half hour show turned into an hour, and for most of that the Hope School residents were caught in the stories. I couldn't ask for a better night.
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I am a Springfield, IL based storyteller with a fascination for how folklore travels, and for history.