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Papa Joe  ~  Travel Notes

PJ's Travel Notes

PJ Tour Notes #2

York, Nebraska 6/4 - 6/7, 1996

This is one of the friendliest cities I have ever been to. Everyone says hello. People go out of their way to let you know that you are welcome there. And they love storytelling. There are village tellers everywhere. I could listen to stories here all day without even asking for them. They just tell them. In the homes, the parks (lots of these), at the shops, and especially at Midway Cafe.

The Midway Cafe is a family owned Bar and Grill. When I first came to town last Summer, the owner told me all I wanted was on the house. This was before they even saw a show. So much for "no free lunch". It wouldn't have mattered if I did have to pay for my meals. The prices are very low. The Stuertz seem to have a mission of providing decent meals for all people. And by the crowds they get at meal times, it seems to work for them.

There is a park in this city, that runs along the entire Southern border, West to East, following the course of Beaver Creek. The East end is little used except for the joggers and bicyclist who traverse the whole length. It is a wonderful spot for a traveling teller to rest and play. Tasha and Zaque enjoy swimming in the creek and chasing the birds. And there are no "NO" signs.

Tellers interested in performing for senior audiences should consider visiting this county. The groups are wonderful, open and warm. Did I say friendly?


Hildreth, Nebraska 6/6/96

More of a village really. We spent the night at the librarian's farm just out side of town. Zaque was surprised to find he's not that big of a dog. They have a00 pound Great Dane. Poor Zaque, he was afraid to get out of the Vardo.

The plains people are good people. Everywhere we met them.


Snake River Canyon, Idaho 6/8-6/9, 1996

It was Sues turn to meet some of her friends from the Internet. While there were no formal gatherings, we were welcomed into their home and got a tour of the Twin Falls area. They really have a lot of potatoes and the sage that grows here is the sweetest I have ever tasted.

Latah County, Idaho 6/12 - 6/15, 1996

Betsy, I could write a book about your area.

Our first trip up Moscow Mountain (pronounced Mosco) was fun. I had just filled all of our holding tanks and we were using a low octane gasoline. (Low octane gasoline is the norm around here. Sometimes, I fell that I could push the Vardo faster than the gas would turn the engine.) Anyway, Between the weight and the wash out, we stalled out about half way up. That was when the rear brakes decided to stop working. Backing down into the wash out wouldn't have been bad if the road was a little wider. As it was, sliding down that deep incline into a ravine didn't seem like fun. Instead, I stood on my brakes (the front ones were working, Thank goodness) and waited for Betsy's husband, Cope to pull us the rest of the way up the mountain. Great start. Glad the shows went better.

The next night we spent on the Nez Perce Reservation with Ferris. He held a sweat lodge ceremony. It seems to me that there is no better way to wash the miles away from a weary traveler. And he answered a question for me. In response to my feelings of anger at the injustice of the world he offered that I was missing the balancing justice. I am still revolted by it, but the anger is gone. There is balance in the world.

He also shared a tale. His grandmother's version of Coyote and the Rock. It was much like the version in Keepers of the Earth, except Coyote pisses on Rock and claims he's better because he can move around. I love those earthy tellings. Nothing cut out for print. Why do we take all the scat out of our tales?

Betsy, you offer such a wide variety of audiences and settings. I told sixteen different stories at seven locations and never drove more than0 miles to get there. Storytelling Heaven. I do have to say the press was a little more than I am used to. Seeing my face in a color spread on the front page of the paper at every street corner and news stand, was a trial to my modesty. Seemed to bring in the crowd for the last show, But is my face really that red.

We walked a lot in the evenings. Lots of quiet paths and some very old trees. Raven spoke to us in an ancient grove of cedar. I even got to slip into the opening of an old gold mine. Funny the work some folks will do to get at that shiny stuff. The trees are more beautiful.

I enjoyed Moscow Mountain so much that I broke a rule of mine and stayed until the last minute. We got to the first Spokane County show only5 minutes before it started. Then we went back to Moscow later on. Just couldn't make the good-byes stick. Teaching the weaving of dream catchers was fun too. There are many ways to spin a story.


Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe

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