Friday, August 14, 2015

Soggy Campfire Tales

Sometimes you get to do fun things... I am a storyteller– as in professional storyteller– when I am not teaching, reading about teaching, planning for teaching, assessing my teaching, prepping materials for teaching, and making the classroom just right for teaching. In other words, almost never. But that doesn't mean I don't love it. In this phase of my life, though, about the only people who get to hear my stories are my kindergartners... except for at one special backyard annual event, which happened tonight.

A classic scene of campfire stories

Stories 'round the campfire began as dusk was falling. What a lovely scene.

We heard a story about a lost bear... with the grandparents of the lost bear in the audience, which lent an important perspective. Clouds gathered and the wind started to blow.

We moved on to why Beetles are Bald. Leaves that we hadn't noticed were starting to turn swirled around our heads, landing in the fire that leapt up and crackled away.

We heard a classic scary story remembered from youth camp days about a mysterious black velvet ribbon. The story picked up pace as the velocity of the wind increased, thunder rolled in the distance, and a smattering of raindrops fell.

That didn't stop us. "It's going to blow over" was our mantra as umbrellas came out.

A not so classic scene as umbrellas went up

Stories continued with some thrills from piranhas, stingrays, and caimans. And more rain.

Cozy under umbrellas
as the rain fell and the tellers did tell
We tried to keep the marshmallows under shelter so the s'mores weren't soggy.

Our last story was a read aloud rendition of a Christmas story written by an eight year old teller. Good thing it was laminated. As much as we wanted to keep going, we were all getting soaked, so we squashed down the borrowed umbrellas, grabbed the s'more fixins, and put out the fire... just as the rain slowed enough so people could scurry to their cars and down the sidewalk home. All the beautiful weather we've had here in Michigan this summer, and this. one. night. it had to rain. sigh.

As midnight approaches and I sit here writing this, from the open deck door I smell the wet earth mingled with smokey fire pit, and hear the quiet shush of the rain, now gently falling. This will be a memory of summer. I thank all the neighbors and guild storytellers who joined in, Gertrude, my neighbor and fellow teller who helped host, and Jonathan who readied the backyard. We'll do it again next year and hope for more than just one hour of fun.

The post Soggy Campfire Tales first appeared on


  1. The weather was soggy but spirits were high. The fire was dancing and the stories a delight. thanks for the memories however brief - still sweet as a Hershey Bar.

    1. Thanks, Laura. It was a good time. So glad you were there. Kathleen


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