There’s a hymn I like. I like the words “I love to tell the story….something, something” I forget the rest but then I hum the tune. I like it because the words resonate with me. I do indeed love to tell a story. I love to hear a good story too.
Once in the third grade I learned another name for story was yarn. I underlined that vocabulary word, yarn, put a dash out beside it and defined it as a narrative of adventures, or in other words, a fabulously told story. I’d already had much experience with such things. I come from a long line of yarn spinners, and by the time 3rd grade rolled around and provided me another name for a story, my love of one had already been declared.
My Aunt Sis, yep that’s a thing, an Aunt Sis, a for real person, who can spin a yarn better than most. She filled my 9-year-old ears with tales of the poor Hinkle children barefoot and stair-stepped playing for hours in the woods. She told of me about adventures long since passed and mostly forgotten, adventures that’d’ve even made Huck Finn jealous. I reckon the love of a good story comes from deep within the roots of who I am.
Part of a good story is the teller. The narrator of the story has the power to make or break it. I practiced my yarn skills growing up and to this day when my story gets a little heavy on insignificant details, a little long on the verbiage my mama will often, in an exasperated tone say “For the love!!! Land this baby!!” That means, I’ve talked too long and it’s time to wrap it up. Sometimes I can hear her in my head when I am posting on the Facebook, writing out a Blog post, recounting my day, any number of storytelling mediums. I can hear her saying the same “For the Love! Land this one already.” I’ve just a mind to do that.
There is a particular Storyteller who happens to be one of my favorites. I love how he carefully weaves his words together to produce such an accurate picture I can almost smell those biscuits his mama cooks or feel the air of the Alabama mountains. Unlike another one of my favorites, I’ve never met this guy. He’d likely say, “Amy Martin who?” unless of course he coincidentally knew one of the other 900 Amy Martins in the state of Alabama.
He regularly writes for 2 of my favorite periodicals. I asked mama just the other day if she’d gotten her latest edition of the issue to which she holds a subscription. His writings require trips to the library for me to catch up on his wordsmithing publications. However there is one, that like many Southerners, my Mama holds a subscription. She reads it and places it on the coffee table knowing I’ll make my way there to read it. I will often head to her house, make myself a Pepsi on ice, settle in my favorite chair, flip to the next to last page of the newest issue and find his article. We meet regularly, the Author and I, having settled in for a one-sided conversation with an old friend. It is a few moments every month I truly enjoy.
So when recently I inquired about the location of her latest issue to my dismay she said, “No, I let my subscription run out.”
I debated going to library or even the dreaded Big Store of Confusion to see what my friend had to say for the month. But as it would happen, after a drive in a torrential downpour, peering through foggy windows and a safe arrival 10 minutes late for an appointment, I looked on the waiting room table and there he sat, as if he were waiting for me to come in from the rain. In that long-awaited issue, He talked of New Orleans and beads and hotdogs. I mused at his statement about the men in Dr Seuss hats, “because you couldn’t get snockered enough for a Dr. Seuss hat, even if you had not grown up Congregational Holiness.” The King must’ve known when he prompted its placement on a table, I needed it desperately. A little something just for me. It was in fact, a reminder that the King knows the little things and the big things and is concerned with the details of my life.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:1-4