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Tennessee – Day 2

September 29, 2013

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Tennessee – Day 2

The day began WAY too early. At 6 AM, Faye, the Festival Coordinator, wiggled my toes. Faye and I began storytelling together in Jonesborough, TN over fifteen years ago and we are still good friends. I was headed to School #1 and four performances: Grades 9-12, 6 – 8, 3- 5, PreK-2 – about 200 each. In a bright shiny gymn, the air con blasted arctic air overhead. But the kids were receptive and the sessions went well. My young park ranger escort and I talked about a mutual passion: anthropology. Her dream is a research project that explores the cultural, economic, political, and social history of a community that borders Big South Fork. I hope she has a chance to do it.

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There were five featured tellers for this festival: Lynne Ford, an Affrilachian (African-American with an Appalachian heritage) teller, as “warm and motherly as a fresh-baked biscuit” (as a teller friend said); me; Tim Tingle, a wonderful Choctaw teller from Texas who can tell a spooky “jump” tale better than anyone I have ever seen; Faye; and Doug Elliot, a trained scientist, herbalist and woodscrafter, a quiet, deliberative man who comes alive onstage as he weaves complex environmental issues and his own life experience into quirky, fun stories and songs.

A little after 3 pm. I returned to the cabin, “tuckered” (as the Tennessee folks say) and took a nap. Later that evening, Tim and I performed around a campfire  for a video being shot to promote the park and the festival. There was a small audience,  pine trees were silhouetted against the lights, and the cicadas hummed. Tim told a wonderful old chestnut of a ghost story, “Tailybone” and the children in the audience shrieked right on cue. The filmakers loved it. But we didn’t get back to the cabin until after 11 PM and as I fell asleep, 6 AM loomed..

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