I feel as though I did little more than show up myself at that workshop I ran yesterday. I mean, I told a few funny stories, sure, but for every story of mine it seemed as if each of those 30 people had three stories. They scribbled in their notebooks like happy schoolchildren, just as I hoped they would and then the brave ones read what they had written and got us all laughing, or thinking, or feeling that certain catch in the throat.
The stories came so thick and fast I can only remember a few of them: Like the one about the 92-year-old who, on the lip of that Next Great Adventure, told the undertaker she did NOT want a pillow under her head in her casket because why be seen for the last time with a cascade of double chins?
Another told about the two-and-a-half-year-old who fell asleep on one very long road trip, waking only long after, in utter darkness in a region thinly settled and sparsely lit. Her parents in the front seat heard her stir; then, out of the darkness came her little voice.
“Who turned out the goddam LIGHTS?”
Word is, Dad put his hands up over his face. He knew well where she had heard such language.
Kids say so many dear and funny things and we shared a good number of them between our jottings-down.
Meanwhile, the library provided lemonade and bakery items, a big old box o’ joe and a platter of Irish soda bread with a list of its every ingredient hand-written in a neat blue hand.
I had them write to a ‘Six Things I Love’ prompt and also one that starts “I knew I shouldn’t be laughing….”
That last brought a very touching the tale by a man scattering his father’s ashes.
At one point a woman spoke of her very earliest memory when, on seeing her papa approaching her crib, out of pure joy and pride she took hold of its rails and executed a perfect acrobat’s tumble just for him.
We went on for nearly 90 minutes which to me seemed like ten minutes.
At the end, by way of closing, I asked them to write a sentence that started “I used to… but now I…” in response to which folks wrote some lovely things.
The thing that stays most in my mind now that it’s Monday-Monday-can’t-trust-that-day? A sentence one woman wrote that went, “I used to be cynical, but now I have a seven-year-old.”
Let’s none of us be cynical, on this or any day since life asks of us Hope, and faith in things unseen..
God bless poor Mama Cass, who died so suddenly. God bless lucky Us, who are all still here with our fruit platters and the many stories that connect us.