The Story Teller

Most cultures have a special name for a “story teller.”  That concept fascinates me as both a historian and a writer.  These story tellers not only pass along the oral history of the culture, but for thousands of years, they were the primary source of entertainment.

My father is a story teller.  He has great delivery, never misses a line or flubs up a word, it’s just a natural gift.  Growing up, I loved listening to my dad tell stories of his life.  As an adult, I find my fascination with my dad’s stories hasn’t diminished.

Yesterday, I posted a very short piece of flash fiction inspired by a true event that happened to my father when he was younger.

The setup:  My father has always worked construction.  It’s his thing.  He could have done other things, but he never really wanted a job outside of driving a semi and doing construction.

He and another guy he worked with got a call from a pastor one day.  One of the larger obelisk grave stones was tumbling over.  The two loaded up a back-hoe and went to fix the monument.  My dad was running the large piece of machinery and the other guy was supposed to be measuring how deep dad was digging.  Either the other guy wasn’t paying attention or the coffin wasn’t buried six feet below, because my dad picked up a bucket of dirt and when he emptied it, there was the skull sitting on top of the pile with some bits of wood.  Both men are fraidy-cats and took off.  Someone else had to go back, bury the skull and the busted coffin and reset the falling obelisk.

It is one of my dad’s favorite stories to tell.  I’ve heard it dozens of times with no variations, except that sometimes the guy wasn’t paying attention to the depth and sometimes the coffin wasn’t at the expected depth.

Out of respect for the dead, I didn’t mention the cemetery or the name of the pastor or the grave my father disturbed… all of which I know.

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  1. Maria D.

     /  March 19, 2014

    Storytellers are an important part of every society:) So that’s where you get your storytelling gene



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