Tell me a story, Aunt Lisa.
My niece’s eyes plead. Her smile dances. She waits expectantly, ready to leap from a precipice and embrace stories of the past: escapades of her mom or me or her Uncle Dan. And sometimes these stories detour into the world of make believe silliness.
Tell us a story, Lisa.
I still see them. My younger brother and sister bounce up and down, eager. Their eyes twinkle. I write a play to act out. The living room transforms into a stage and the words come to life. I pen a radio program to record and send to Grandma, or perhaps a book tied together with yarn that features each as the main character. They smile. They laugh.
Tell me a story, Grandma.
Really, I didn’t have to ask. I still hear her Southern voice telling stories of Appalachia, where she and Grandpa grew up. These tales brim with unusual names, strange ways and mysterious places. I sit captivated.
And so…I tell stories.
Sometimes words crash inside my mind like a cascade of waves against Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Other times…they glide…rolling… drifting into my heart as a summer day on the Platte River. But they are always there, somewhere. They wait. They rattle. Then they call out for me to hear them. An essay. A short story. A narrative of someone else’s life or talent. And once that household of words are expressed on the page, another assemblage gathers and waits for their day. I hope for a brief intermission. Always, I’m longing to meet them.