ECHO


ECHO
by Sharon Stevens
I was watching Josh Groban on “America’s Got talent” as he sang with the finalist Forte‘. The song they sang together was “Brave” from Groban’s ALLTHAT ECHOES album. Josh said that performing with the three talented men for him was a full circle moment. The producer for AGT is Houston Howell who is a local son. His parents are teachers from the Canyon area, and tell me that they are overjoyed when they see their son appear on screen doing his job.
At Wal-marts a few years ago I was buying ingredients for homemade cookies for a celebration at our Buffalo Bookstore. Sugar, flour, more sugar, more flour. I kept checking my list over and again. This would go in for making Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, sugar cookies, ginger snaps and any other cookie recipe I might find between now and then. I thought I had everything in my basket. What was I forgetting?
The lady who was checking out the groceries was always one of my favorites. She would smile, and chat, if only briefly. But this time it was different. She saw all the sugar and just had to share a story. She said that seeing the sweet brought up the most precious memories. Her mother had died when she was thirteen and being the oldest of the siblings she had to take responsibility for everything in the household during the years of the Depression before World War II. Her father didn’t drive so he traded all his gas rations for sugar as his children liked this on their cereal. He said this is what he could do. I could only imagine what this meant to her as she remembered not only the heartache of the loss of her mother, but the simple gesture of love her father shared with his children.
When she shared this with me I knew it was only moments out of a lifetime for the both of us. She needed to connect, and what better person to link with than me. I so love a good message.
I noticed the cashier who shared this with me, Jeanine Trout, passed away this past week. When I saw her obituary in the newspaper I was struck with how privileged I was to know that in a brief moment in the checkout line at Wal-Marts I was given a priceless gift. An echo coming full circle.
This past week celebrated International Dot Day. Another treasure! I purchased little scissors at Wal-Marts to cut out my dots. I will never forget visiting with our daughter’s kindergarten teacher before the first day of class. Mrs. Baker told us to be sure and purchase a GOOD pair of scissors. She explained that if we got the rounded, cheap scissors that the kids got very frustrated. They couldn’t cut, took more time, and the edges were ragged and chewed the paper or tore it to pieces, and it wasn’t worth it. The teacher told us that she would teach the kids how to use the better scissors so they wouldn’t harm each other. She knew that this simple advice would carry Andrea through her lifetime, in whatever she pursued. And it did.
I remember this when I bought my cutters for Dot Day and the teacher was right. They cut beautifully, easily and completely in moments. Another echo.
As writers we are given so many special moments of echos. How can we ignore when they are dropped into our lap. We might not connect right then and there, or tomorrow, or the day after that. But we know when the time will be right to gather these back into our souls, until we open our hearts to share them again.
And for a special note. This next week I will be celebrating 20 years since my first creative writing class at Amarillo College with Jodi Thomas and DeWanna Pace. In fact, I spent the evening of September 23, 1993 at Llano Cemetery while Jodi shared all the echos of those buried beneath our steps. I can’t tell you what a tremendous journey and gift this has been!
And for the final note: We have witnessed so many tragedies this past week with the flooding in Colorado and the shooting at the Navy yard in Washington DC. In the coming days we will hear so many wonderful stories of those lost. We need only to collect and protect them for another day.
Echos every one, coming full circle.
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ECHO


ECHO
by Sharon Stevens
 
 
I was watching Josh Groban on “America’s Got talent” as he sang with the finalist Forte‘. The song they sang together was “Brave” from Groban’s ALLTHAT ECHOES album. Josh said that performing with the three talented men for him was a full circle moment. The producer for AGT is Houston Howell who is a local son. His parents are teachers from the Canyon area, and tell me that they are overjoyed when they see their son appear on screen doing his job.
 
At Wal-marts a few years ago I was buying ingredients for homemade cookies for a celebration at our Buffalo Bookstore. Sugar, flour, more sugar, more flour. I kept checking my list over and again. This would go in for making Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, sugar cookies, ginger snaps and any other cookie recipe I might find between now and then. I thought I had everything in my basket. What was I forgetting?
 
The lady who was checking out the groceries was always one of my favorites. She would smile, and chat, if only briefly. But this time it was different. She saw all the sugar and just had to share a story. She said that seeing the sweet brought up the most precious memories. Her mother had died when she was thirteen and being the oldest of the siblings she had to take responsibility for everything in the household during the years of the Depression before World War II. Her father didn’t drive so he traded all his gas rations for sugar as his children liked this on their cereal. He said this is what he could do. I could only imagine what this meant to her as she remembered not only the heartache of the loss of her mother, but the simple gesture of love her father shared with his children.
 
When she shared this with me I knew it was only moments out of a lifetime for the both of us. She needed to connect, and what better person to link with than me. I so love a good message.
  
I noticed the cashier who shared this with me, Jeanine Trout, passed away this past week. When I saw her obituary in the newspaper I was struck with how privileged I was to know that in a brief moment in the checkout line at Wal-Marts I was given a priceless gift. An echo coming full circle.
  
This past week celebrated International Dot Day. Another treasure! I purchased little scissors at Wal-Marts to cut out my dots. I will never forget visiting with our daughter’s kindergarten teacher before the first day of class. Mrs. Baker told us to be sure and purchase a GOOD pair of scissors. She explained that if we got the rounded, cheap scissors that the kids got very frustrated. They couldn’t cut, took more time, and the edges were ragged and chewed the paper or tore it to pieces, and it wasn’t worth it. The teacher told us that she would teach the kids how to use the better scissors so they wouldn’t harm each other. She knew that this simple advice would carry Andrea through her lifetime, in whatever she pursued. And it did.
 
I remember this when I bought my cutters for Dot Day and the teacher was right. They cut beautifully, easily and completely in moments. Another echo.
 
As writers we are given so many special moments of echos. How can we ignore when they are dropped into our lap. We might not connect right then and there, or tomorrow, or the day after that. But we know when the time will be right to gather these back into our souls, until we open our hearts to share them again.
 
And for a special note. This next week I will be celebrating 20 years since my first creative writing class at Amarillo College with Jodi Thomas and DeWanna Pace. In fact, I spent the evening of September 23, 1993 at Llano Cemetery while Jodi shared all the echos of those buried beneath our steps. I can’t tell you what a tremendous journey and gift this has been!
 
And for the final note: We have witnessed so many tragedies this past week with the flooding in Colorado and the shooting at the Navy yard in Washington DC. In the coming days we will hear so many wonderful stories of those lost. We need only to collect and protect them for another day.
 
Echos every one, coming full circle.

STORY


STORY

by Sharon Stevens

“The telling of a tale links you with everyone who has told it before.

There are no new tales, only new tellers in their own way,

and if you listen closely you can hear the voice of everyone who has ever told the tale.”

by William Brooks

From POWER OF THE STORY

by Rives Collins & Pamela J. Cooper

I always jump at the chance when asked to volunteer as a storyteller for the annual Panhandle Plains Historical Museum (PPHM), “Cemetery by Twilight Tour”. Who wouldn’t be excited with the opportunity to research and celebrate the lives of those at rest in the historic Llano Cemetery.

For one minute after answering the call I am utterly elated, and the next terribly dejected. The task before me begins to swell like a Tsunami, simply because what I am expected to accomplish. One, I have to complete the assignment before Saturday October 15, 2011 at 3:30, and, two, condense one hundred years of community history from a mountain to a molehill within just one area family. And three, I have to limit my story to eight minutes or less. With hours of research facing me this is just a tad bit overwhelming.

The simple fact of the matter for me is this…the stories never stop. You can’t get them to slow down long enough to put a handle on the memories. You can’t just put your hand up and command thoughts to wait their turn, or to back up and make room for the important facts to come forward. It is like putting your fingers in a dike to stop the flow of water when another hole beside you opens up. In the case of the drought we have been experiencing here, no doubt it is the panhandle dust that will bury me deep underneath.

My load would also be a great deal lighter if I had limited experiences and resources to choose from. But my choices include a full weekend of programs that intersect on every level with what I am compiling.

On Thursday night October 13, 2011 at 5:30pm WTAMU in conjunction with the PPHM will be hosting The Remnant Trust lecture by Dr. Wade Shaffer speaking on “The City in Early America, The City Upon the Hill”. All free and open to the public.

Friday October 14, 2011 the Friends of the WTAMU Cornette Library will be hosting Jodi Thomas, New York Times Bestselling author and Writer-In-Residence at the college for their fall luncheon at 12:00pm. Her talk will be on “Working in Harmony-Combining Art and Craft” and also for her reception for that evening from 4:00 to 6:00pm.

Then there is the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Chuck wagon Supper on October 15, 2011 at 5:00pm at the Palo Duro Cowboy Church on Highway 60 West of Canyon with cowboy poetry, storytelling, music and authentic chuck wagon food.

How can I choose what is relevant to my journey? Who knows where an idea might fall into place at just the right moment?

And I can’t forget about the resources. Does anyone have any idea as a writer how many places I connect with to follow the story? The Archives at PPHM or the Cornette Library, or any library within the Harrington Consortium, or every library around the country can and will assist me at any time. If I want to find out about the schools I can research through the school districts. Churches have people just crying for an opportunity to help with their faith, their members and their church history. Reading someone’s Master’s Thesis is an outstanding source of information from architecture to theater. Scanning through area magazines with a local flair like “Accent West” and the “Amarillo Magazine” unwittingly connects me forward. The Internet offers links around the world, but directs me to treasures and information right here at home in city newspapers of the Amarillo Globe News and Canyon News with archives online for today as well as years ago.

And the people, so many people. Wherever I am I mention one name and invariably someone will step out and share with me a story attached to a name, a place, a kinfolk, a time, an adventure. How can I choose? How can I limit? How can I condense?

The simple answer is that I can’t, and that’s okay!

In his book from RUSH TO DESTINY, Larry Jay Martin writes about the appreciation for the characters out of America’s past. He remarks, “Without all of them there would be no story.”

In the eight minutes I appear before you at the Llano Cemetery I can’t share every memory I accumulated while researching the epitaph carved on a tombstone. I know I will never be able to list the accomplishments of the family buried there beneath the earth.

My message is simpler than that. In that moment where we congregate together honoring the movers and shakers of our area, we are simply sharing of all that is good that surrounds us. I am a “new teller” telling the same story so that those listening might be encouraged and inspired to research on their own at the museum, or a library, or to talk with someone to connect with their heritage and history, then to pass it on.

I know that my version of the story is not the only one out there. That evening there will be storytellers throughout that will share about the people they represent. Trudy Hanson, professor at WTAMU, usually brings her students along. Hanson is a passionate professor and gifted storyteller and she is also the one who requires the book, THE POWER OF THE STORY. She is a true storyteller.

Come visit Llano or attend any of the other events in our area. If you stop at the Wolflin burial plot I can’t promise you I will limit my talk to only one story,I can only follow where my heart leads. And that, my friend, is the ultimate power of a story because…

“If you listen closely you can hear the voice of everyone who has ever told a tale.”

Sharon Stevens