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My kids call my father-in-law "Papa". And Papa is best known for his slew of stories just before bedtime each night of his visits.

Each tale the same as his last. Each begins with "One day little Papa..." Then the plot moves quickly and predictably, always retracing Papa's supposed childhood. The story moves through some mundane activity like "little Papa was picking strawberries" or "little Papa went to bed" and then there's a brief, very brief, suspense.

"One day little Papa was walking to school and he saw a little old lady standing on the corner. She looked like she needed help crossing the street so little Papa walked over to help her. 'Can I help you,' little Papa asked. And little Papa reached out to take her hand and...'AHHHHHHHH!!! I'm gonna eat you, little Papa.' 'OH no! It's that big bad wolf!!"

And screams erupt from wide-eyed faces and quickly cross-fade into shrieks of laughter followed by, "Tell another story!"

And he does. "One day little Papa..."

Honestly, he's a bad story teller. Predictable. Brief. No characterization. No denouement. No tension and resolution. Always little Papa. Always a wolf big and bad.

But it's good to the audience. They're enthralled and thrilled every time. Not because of the words spoken but because of the one speaking. In the right company, in the right voice, the most unprofessional yarn is heard as an epic as grand as the listener's love for its teller.

Got thoughts? Post a comment below or discuss on my message-board.


Blogger Kathryn said...

Your kids will always remember those special times. Wonderful.

Blogger GrovesFan said...

My kids call my father in law "Papa" too. He loves to tell them stories about when their daddy was a little boy. Sure keeps my husband "human" in my kids eyes. One of his favorites is about giving hair cuts in the basement, or the time the Easter basket was hidden in the trash can. He's not a professional story teller either, but they love to cuddle in his lap for the stories too.


Anonymous lc said...

My grandpa used to tell me stories about him getting eaten by wolves too, they were meant to be scary but somehow they always turned out funny:)
(i see bad blam).

Anonymous WAY Employee said...

I love telling stories - I hope to tell my own children someday (when I have them) really horribly cheesy stories. The tradition can then continue on to when I'm a grandpa (okay, so that's like a billion years away, but still...)

Blogger Brad said...

Great story Shaun. Papa (my mom's dad) used to tell us the same bedtime story over and over when we stayed at their house...it never got old.

Brad here. Sorry for the belated response. SO good to hear from you! I have been keeping up with you and your family through your website and blog, but really appreciated hearing from you!

I know we didn't hang out that much while we were there but we SO appreciated you guys...the dinner, encouraging Don to come to the showcase, your encouragement to me as a 'fledgling' artist. It meant alot for us during that time.

If you are ever in the area and you want to look me up you can e-mail me at: brada@gracestl.org. Or if you want, you can e-mail me and I can send you our contact info so that if and when you are in the area, we could hook up. That would be a lot of fun...


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